When an individual or a group is in conflict or in crisis with another, their subjective nature makes their perceptions of this conflict or crisis different (sometimes drastically). There is the perception of the one who perceives it (rightly or wrongly) as a victim. And there is that of the one who is responsible for it, and who thinks of it or, on the contrary, denies it. These different perspectives depend on the limited human senses (and subject to illusions, even hallucinations), psychological filters (religious, cultural, educational, social …) and the point of view or momentary positions adopted in relation to the circumstances or to the scene of conflict or crisis.
If the protagonists are brought to testify, directly in front of a court or indirectly before history, we will have the version of the real or supposed victim, and that of the other side. However, there is a third one. This is the one exposing the strict objective truth. It seems that it is never fully known, even after careful investigations by historians, journalists or detectives … And often, it is ignored.
Whether historical, criminal or social events, treated respectively by historians, investigators such as detectives, or journalists, history generally retains the version of the “winner” of the conflict or the crisis, forgets that of the loser and sacrifices the third: the truth. This last one cannot be fully known, but approximated more or less by clues and facts.
From an impartial, scientific and objective point of view, the testimonies of the protagonists of a conflict or a crisis are subjective. They should not therefore be regarded as indubitable facts, but as more or less convincing and plausible evidence. The material traces of the event are more facts. However, they tend to disappear or fade over time and can be deliberately altered or even manufactured. It is difficult to reconstruct after the facts a scene of crime or conflict. And it is all the more so when the pressure of the “winner” is added when he does not want, for various reasons, to see his version modified or replaced in favor of that of the “vanquished” (and even less for the benefit of the truth).
Particularly for ideological or political reasons, History is gradually taking on taboos: clues or inconvenient facts for the winner’s version. This is particularly the case for two special violent chapters: the French Revolution and the Second World War. In the first example, the winner is the “Republic” and the loser, the kingship. And as the latter has almost disappeared, it can hardly defend itself. The official version, that of the winners, mentions in particular that this revolution would have been spontaneous, made by the people to appropriate the power at the expense of the King. The big problem with this version is that the masses have never had the power since then (not anymore than they had before).
The version of the losers, especially that of the Chouans, is hidden, forgotten, but more or less resuscitated by some people, like Marion Sigaut. According to this version, the instigators of the French Revolution would be especially the Freemasons. And the real authors of the taking of the Bastille and other events in Paris would be a bunch of criminals out of Marseilles prisons. In a nation of the “republic” type, such a hypothesis is taboo. Nevertheless, it is not necessarily more just than the other. And the real version, the third one, is perhaps to be found somewhere between the two, this if possible by historians not animated by ideology or by political interests.
The second historical chapter evoked, the Second World War, presents elements that are probably even more taboo. The version written in the history books, in (almost?) all the nations, is, of course, that of the winners of the conflict. It says that Hitler would have been the biggest super big villain of all time, exceeding in cruelty the Alexander, Caesar, Genghis Khan, Attila … and other conquerors. He allegedly exterminated up to six million Jews and as many people from other cultural or ethnic branches, according to some of the winners, but a little less according to others. To do this, he would have used a whole structure of deportation and extermination in death camps, thanks to a gas chambers industry.
The losers’ version, especially that of the Germans and the Japanese, is even officially condemned by them, because Germany and Japan have been defeated and are still occupied militarily by some of the winners (who still have their several bases). It attempts to be reborn only through characters being, of course, very controversial and generally qualified as revisionists, when it is not “negationists”. According to the latter, there was no particular gassing. As one might expect, they use many arguments to try to prove their case. However, this can become as extremist as the other, especially when pushed by an ideology. And here, too, the historical truth is probably to be found somewhere between the two.
If one day we have a reliable way to go back even visually in time, if we do not travel physically, we may find that our history is more fairy tales than reality. The truth will rise from among the different historical theses and antitheses. It will emerge as a form of synthesis and the balance of all this will appear to us as a lesson: human objectivity can only arise from the union of individual subjectivities. It is by uniting our various points of view that the truth springs.
See also: Multiple Thinking