Essay Me, Myself and I

Submitted By Joneslf1
Words: 596
Pages: 3

Since primary school my interest in the past has inspired me to question how events have influenced the modern world; not only how they happened but why they are important for today and the future. History allows me to interpret the development of the world and engages my interest like no other subject: I agree with David McCullough that "History is who we are and why we are the way we are." Study of the Soviet Union and its formation into one of the most significant nations persuaded me to travel to Moscow to experience its culture directly. After reading Orlando Figes brutal descriptions of the survival of peasants in “The Whisperers; Private Life in Stalin’s Russia”, I witnessed the solemn atmosphere of Lenin’s mausoleum, the intimidating Kremlin, the moving memorials to World War 2 and, most notably, the provocative ‘Hall of Glory”. These inspired me to write an extended essay on Stalingrad and its influence in the outcome of the Second World War. Antony Beevor’s ‘Stalingrad’ exposes the enormity of the sacrifices made by patriotic citizens who, ironically, sought to extinguish the regime they saved although the author fails, in my view, to acknowledge Stalin’s pre-war influence, most notably the industrial revolution.
AS Spanish studies kindled an interest in the Franco era, specifically his rise to power. Giles Tremlett’s‘Ghosts of Spain’, revealed the tragedies of the past and Spain’s race to modernity following Franco. I also admired his uncovering of an obscure past; the impact of the quasi-Fascist regime on the culture of Spain, and the extent of political actions and their influence on the culture of Spain prompted me to present a talk to the European Culture Society on the “History and Impact of Franco on the rivalry of El Clasico”. I also attend History Society meetings, discussing notions such as “nostalgia” or “eras” and arguing in favour of Counterfactual History, since it permits us to view events from different perspectives and is a useful evaluative tool, rejecting the claim that it distracts us from the historical truth and should only be applied to decisions rather than events beyond human control. The logical skills developed through the intellectual discipline of Mathematics, combined with the analytical approach to data interpretation I have acquired through Statistics and Geography, have sharpened my historical judgments.
Ancient Historiography has also fascinated me. Study of Tacitus’ work during GCSE Latin was followed up by