Portal:History
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Portal:History

The History Portal


History (from Greek ?, historia, meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired by investigation") is the study of the past. Events occurring before the invention of writing systems are considered prehistory. "History" is an umbrella term that relates to past events as well as the memory, discovery, collection, organization, presentation, and interpretation of information about these events. Historians place the past in context using historical sources such as written documents, oral accounts, ecological markers, and material objects including art and artifacts.

History also includes the academic discipline which uses narrative to describe, examine, question, and analyze a sequence of past events, investigate the patterns of cause and effect that are related to them. Historians seek to understand and represent the past through narratives. They often debate which narrative best explains an event, as well as the significance of different causes and effects. Historians also debate the nature of history and its usefulness by discussing the study of the discipline as an end in itself and as a way of providing "perspective" on the problems of the present.

Stories common to a particular culture, but not supported by external sources (such as the tales surrounding King Arthur), are usually classified as cultural heritage or legends. History differs from myth in that it is supported by evidence. However, ancient influences have helped spawn variant interpretations of the nature of history which have evolved over the centuries and continue to change today. The modern study of history is wide-ranging, and includes the study of specific regions and the study of certain topical or thematic elements of historical investigation. History is often taught as part of primary and secondary education, and the academic study of history is a major discipline in university studies.

Herodotus, a 5th-century BC Greek historian is often considered (within the Western tradition) to be the "father of history," or, by some, the "father of lies." Along with his contemporary Thucydides, he helped form the foundations for the modern study of human history. Their works continue to be read today, and the gap between the culture-focused Herodotus and the military-focused Thucydides remains a point of contention or approach in modern historical writing. In East Asia, a state chronicle, the Spring and Autumn Annals, was known to be compiled from as early as 722BC although only 2nd-centuryBC texts have survived.

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The history of Poland from 1945 to 1989 spans the period of communist rule imposed over Poland after the end of World War II. These years, while featuring general industrialization, urbanization and many improvements in the standard of living,[a1] were marred by early Stalinist repressions, social unrest, political strife and severe economic difficulties.

Near the end of World War II, the advancing Soviet Red Army, along with the Polish Armed Forces in the East, pushed out the Nazi German forces from occupied Poland. In February 1945, the Yalta Conference sanctioned the formation of a provisional government of Poland from a compromise coalition, until postwar elections. Joseph Stalin, the leader of the Soviet Union, manipulated the implementation of that ruling. A practically communist-controlled Provisional Government of National Unity was formed in Warsaw by ignoring the Polish government-in-exile based in London since 1940. Read more...

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The Charge of the Light Brigade was a charge of British cavalry led by Lord Cardigan against Russian forces during the Battle of Balaclava on 25 October 1854 in the Crimean War. The charge was the result of a miscommunication, and produced no decisive gains and very high casualties. It is best remembered as the subject of the famous poem "The Charge of the Light Brigade" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

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Pilecki in a colorized pre-1939 photograph

Witold Pilecki (13 May 1901 – 25 May 1948; Polish pronunciation: ['vit?lt pi'l?t?sk?i]; codenames Roman Jezierski, Tomasz Serafi?ski, Druh, Witold) was a Polish cavalry officer, intelligence agent, and resistance leader. During World War II, he volunteered to be captured by the Nazis and embedded in Auschwitz concentration camp, to understand the nature of the camp, which was not known at the time. After his escape several years later, he wrote Witold's Report, the first comprehensive intelligence report on the atrocities of the Holocaust.

He was born in Karelia, to which his grandfather had been forcibly resettled from Poland by the Russian tsar after supporting the January Uprising in 1863. Pilecki served as a cavalry officer in the Polish Army in the Polish-Soviet War and World War II. He was also a co-founder of the Secret Polish Army resistance group and later, a member of the Home Army (Armia Krajowa). Read more...

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