The rise of grievance history

Since the end of the Cold War there has been a marked increase in accounts of the past made by those considered to have been on the ‘losing side’ of history. But, warns Jeremy Black, we should all be wary of the forces such histories can unleash.

A woman mourns a child during the deportation of Armenians by the Turks, 1915. Getty Images/AFP‘Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?’ asked Hitler in 1939. The answer now is far more people than then and not just Armenians and scholars. Hitler’s own genocidal policies guaranteed a new audience determined to remember cases of historical mass brutality. In 2001 France even introduced a law declaring that the Ottoman Turks committed genocide against the Armenians in 1915. In addition to the recovery and expression of the histories of those who feel they have been on the losing side of history, the process has led to a questioning of Whiggish accounts of all kinds of other histories.

To continue reading this article you will need to purchase access to the online archive.

Buy Online Access  Buy Print & Archive Subscription

If you have already purchased access, or are a print & archive subscriber, please ensure you are logged in.

Please email if you have any problems.