Teaching History Online
Number 118: 4th January, 2004
Spartacus Educational publishes Teaching History Online every week. The newsletter includes news, reviews of websites and articles on using ICT in the history classroom. Members of the mailing list are invited to submit information for inclusion in future editions of Teaching History Online. In this way we hope to create a community of people involved in using the Internet to teach history. Currently there are 33,680 subscribers to the newsletter.
Teaching the Holocaust: January 2004 saw the launch of an international forum which enables people from all over the world to post information, ask questions, and to take part in debates about education. The forum also helps teachers to find partners for subject specific and cross-curricular curriculum projects. It is hoped that the forum will provide a world community of teachers. Most of the website is in English but there is also sections in German, Spanish, French, Dutch and Swedish. In the near future there will be sections added in other languages. There is currently an interesting debate taking place on the teaching of the Holocaust.
Lyndon Baines Johnson: In 1940 Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first American president to secretly record his telephone conversations. Jimmy Carter is the only president since Roosevelt to refuse to tape conversations. However, it was Lyndon B. Johnson who was the obsessive taper of conversations. A recent study showed he recorded 400 hours of phone calls. The most interesting of these include the conversations that took place between Johnson and J. Edgar Hoover. The National Archives also has a tape recording of a telephone call where Johnson explains how he blackmailed Earl Warren to carry out an investigation into the assassination of Kennedy.
The Kennedy Assassination: It's the most controversial case in modern American history. Did Lee Harvey Oswald kill John Kennedy by himself, or did a conspiracy do it? And if a conspiracy did it, did the conspiracy include Oswald? A recent survey showed that most Americans still believe that a conspiracy killed Kennedy. John McAdams does not take this view and he attempts to use his website to expose a vast number of bogus factoids about the case. This website is dedicated to debunking the mass of misinformation and disinformation surrounding the murder of JFK. As McAdams points out: "If you are believer in Oswald as a lone gunman, you are likely to enjoy this website, since most of that misinformation and disinformation has come from conspiracists."
Dealey Plaza Revisited: Although the assassination of President John F. Kennedy occurred 40 years ago, the controversy over the events surrounding the assassination has never died down. This website was produced by Helen Thompson of Texas Monthly. She visits the crucial sites connected with the assassination, from Lee Harvey Oswald's boarding house on West Beckley to the site of the infamous backyard photographs. The tour of Dealey Plaza provides you with photographs and descriptions of these sites, along with comments from four assassination experts about the importance of events that took place in Dallas on 22nd November, 1963.
Nook of Eclectic Inquiry: John Marsland holds strong opinions on the assassination of John F. Kennedy. "The assassination of John F. Kennedy was not only a capital crime, but one which burgled Americans of their presidential vote - for on 22 November 1963 the government of the United States was changed, with no open polls, nor any votes cast." The website includes the Warren Commission Executive Session Transcripts, the Autopsy Reports of Lee Harvey Oswald & J. D. Tippit, the Rockefeller Commission Report, Assassination Records Review Board and details of Jack Ruby's telephone calls.
Real History Archives: Lisa Pease established the Real History Archives in 1993. She is fully committed to the idea that there are dark forces running the United States. "This site exists because we are not being told the truth about our history. Are you under the impression that Oswald killed Kennedy? That the Media is independent? That the CIA never operates without presidential authority? If so, you need to peruse these archives and find out what you've been missing." Pease argues that "it's time for those of us who care about our future to start reclaiming our past."
Marie Stuart Society: Formed in 1992 to mark the 450th anniversary of the birth of Mary, the Queen of Scots, the main objective of the Marie Stuart Society is to promote the further study of her life and times. A journal is produced three times a year and is circulated to all members. It contains interesting and sometimes little-known information about Mary, her courtiers, her people and her times. The website includes a great deal of information on Mary organised under headings such as Timeline, Family Trees, the Parents, the Husbands, Childhood & France, Captivity & Plots, Mary & Elizabeth, Mary's Letters and Places to Visit.
Past Pleasures: During Queen Victorias reign changes took place in the way people spent their leisure time. Sports like cricket, football and rugby began to be organised with agreed rules and national competitions, such as the FA cup. Lawn Tennis was invented in the 1830s and a new sight on the streets of Victorian Britain was the bicycle, in its various different designs. With the growth of the railways, people began to travel more and visiting the seaside began a popular pastime. Crowds also flocked to horse races such as the famous Derby. These photographs and posters from Victorian Britain on the Public Record Office website can help us understand how leisure time was spent. They also hold important clues about who enjoyed which sport.
Fair Oaks 1862: Following its humiliating defeat at the First Battle of Bull Run, General George B. McClellan took command of the Union Army of the Potomac. In the spring of 1862, having rebuilt his forces, the "Little Napoleon" devised a plan to end the war in a single campaign. Transporting his army by sea to the Virginia Peninsula, he would outflank Confederate forces and march unopposed on Richmond, the Southern capital. Excessive caution squandered the opportunity, however, and on 31 May the Confederates struck at McClellans divided forces at Fair Oaks. This book details McClellans controversial Peninsula campaign and the southern attempt to halt the Union juggernaut. (Angus Konstam, ISBN: 1841766801, £12.99)