Thirty Years of History Today

Michael Crowder looks back over 30 years of history publishing

When the first issue of History Today appeared in January, 1951, its founding editors – Peter Quennell and Alan Hodge – wrote that it would be devoted to the study of history in its widest meaning. Reflecting on the changes that had taken place in the world and Britain's place in it over the preceding half-century, the editors argued that though these changes had been 'bewilderingly swift', they had 'sharpened our sense of historical perspective' and 'heightened our appreciation of the national heritage we still preserve'. And, by way of underlining the importance of a magazine bearing the title History Today , they argued that the historian was 'better qualified than most men to understand his own time'.

If the changes that had taken place between the First World War and the Korean War seemed dramatic then, they can in no way compare with the experiences of the past three decades. And it may be a moot point as to whether anyone, historian or otherwise, can fully comprehend the implications of some of the changes that have occurred since 1951.

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