Further to Richard\'s posts about military history being in fashion, or not, and the comments about teaching of military history in schools, the other day I saw something which I thought might be perfect for getting a younger, computer savvy generation interested in military history and world events. Intrigued by a comment on Esther MacCullum-Stewart\'s fabulous website Break of Day in the Trenches, I went to the website of the a new computer game Making History.
This is a great game where you can run different WWII scenarios. An article on Wired discusses a well-known counterfactual historian using the game to test his theory that WWII could have been prevented if Britain had confronted Germany over the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1938. His recreated Britain was crushed by Germany, but his teenage son then played the same scenario and came out on top by setting up trade agreements with France which forced them to support Britain and led to victory over Germany! Obviously this is just a simulation, though based on lots of research, I can see how this kind of \'playing with history\' could really engage teenagers to think strategically, to consider how historical \'fact\' was not inevitable at the time, and how things might have happened differently.
I think I may be buying a copy of Making History when it comes out to see what I can make of WWII, but before I do, maybe I shall move Fateful Choices from my fantasy reading list into my Amazon shopping basket to help me a little. I\'ve been a fan of Sir Ian Kershaw\'s work for years, and in his new book, he works closely with primary material to analyse ten decisions from 1940-41, including Hitler\'s invasion of Russia, Roosevelt opting to aid Britain and Japan choosing war with the United States, and the consequences of each decision, all of which "served to turn several different conflicts into one truly global conflagration." Kershaw\'s book is not counterfactual, but maybe if people become hooked on history by challenging what might have been in Making History, they will be inspired to turn to the masters to learn more about why what did happen, did.