History is not just what happened in the past, but a complex intersection of truths, bias, and hopes. A glance at two very different historians, the Roman Tacitus, and the Byzantine Procopius, shows the range, and difficulty inherent in the study of history. History encompasses at least three different ways of accessing the history: it can be remembered or recovered or even invented. All are imperfect in some way. For instance, no historian or historical source reveals the full and unvarnished truth about history, so memory is a fallible guide. Also, no evidence brought to light through archaeology or historical investigation is complete without context, and sometimes the significance of recovered historical data is hard to determine. Furthermore, many purported “histories” can be shown to have been invented; at the same time, yet, these fabrications still tell us much about a society’s beliefs and dreams. All in all, the best histories are the best stories.
Let’s discuss a few major Historical events in Today’s History.
1940: Tide turns in the Battle of Britain
Over Britain, the Royal Air Force (RAF) launches a major counterattack against the German Luftwaffe. In September 1940, the German air force launched a massive blitz against London, hoping to bomb the British capital into submission. After a week of almost ceaseless attacks, many areas of London were in flames and the royal palace, churches, and hospitals had all been hit. Yet, the German concentration on London allowed the RAF to recuperate elsewhere. On this day in 1940, the RAF launched a vigorous counterattack, downing a reported 185 German planes. Although the actual figure was probably closer to sixty, the defeat was serious enough to convince Nazi leader Adolf Hitler to abandon his plans for an invasion of Britain.
Today in Sports History
1985: Europe wins Ryder Cup
Tony Jacklin’s team of golfers has beaten the United States in the Ryder Cup for the first time in 28 years after dominating the final day of the competition. The European team beat the United States by 16.5 points to 11.5 points – their biggest ever win over the Americans. The closest Europe has come to defeating the US since 1957 was a draw in 1969.
Victory at the Belfry Golf Club at Sutton Coldfield, England, was secured by Scotland’s Sam Torrance, who made an 18-foot birdie at the eighteenth hole.