1887

n Historia - Where fact and memory meet : the amateur historian's contribution to military history : conference paper

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Abstract

Military history has an enthusiastic following that might astonish historians in other fields. Amateur military historians and readers often have experienced military life and became emotionally bound to it in a way unknown to readers of other history. The amateur military historians' facile writing enables readers - civilians and soldiers - to participate vicariously in warfare. The amateurs imagine there is only one true unqualified history, seldom check evidence thoroughly or consider alternative views. They forget that memories fade, the battlefield is confused, that the soldiers sees only a fragment of the fighting and that history cannot be tailored for the sake of friendship. Professional military history writing was always neglected in South Africa. Few regular officers wrote about their wars. Amateur writers have predominated in the field, journalists being the major contributors. However, a recent generation spent in military service has been producing numerous books, several by other ranks. Their contemporaries, the veterans of MK and APLA are writing about their military experiences. Digital publishing has dramatically affected the production of South African amateur military history.

Die krygsgeskiedenis geniet 'n aanhang wat ander geskiedkundiges mag verbaas. Amateur geskiedkundiges en lesers het dikwels die militêre lewe ervaar en emosioneel daartoe verbind geraak op 'n wyse vreemd vir geskiedenislesers. Die amateur geskiedskrywers se oppervlakkige skryfstyl laat burgerlike en militêre lesers toe om oorlogvoering middelik te ervaar. Die amateurs glo dat daar net een ongekwalifiseerde geskiedenis bestaan, kontroleer selde bewyse of alternatiewe vertolkings. Hul vergeet dat die geheue onbetroubaar raak, dat die slagveld verward is, dat die soldaat net 'n fragment van die geveg ervaar en dat die geskiedenis nie terwille van vriendskap aangepas mag word nie. Professionele militêre geskiedskrywing is nog altyd in Suid-Afrika verwaarloos. Selde het beroepsoffisiere herinneringe of beskrywings van oorlog op skrif gestel. Amateurskrywers het die veld oorheers, veral joernaliste wat hoofsaaklik regimentsgeskiedenise geskryf het. Die jonger geslag geslag wat militêre diens verrig het, het egter al talle boeke geskryf, 'n aantal deur manskappe. Hulle tydsgenote, die veterane van MK en APLA het ook al hoe meer oor hulle militêre ervaringe begin skryf. Digitale uitgwery het die produksie van Suid-Afrikaanse amateur militêre geskiedenis dramatises beïnvloed.

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/content/hist/58/1/EJC136187
2013-05-01
2016-12-09
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