History is not simply a record of all past events, but a record of what we think is important from the past, and what historians have chosen to interpret from the sources we have available to us. As they are interpreting history, these historians may unintentionally explain events in a way that will benefit certain groups more than others. These historians will inevitably color their arguments with their own biases, as different historians will interpret events differently. To add on to this, the history that we know is always changing based on new evidence that we find – historical revisionism.
Different figures can also shape history by rejecting ideas, changing our records of the past and changing our knowledge of history. This is different from revisionism, as revisionism entails refining a historical event based on new evidence, not denying the event itself. Historical denial is protecting information from being shared and claiming that facts are untrue. It can involve blame-shifting, censorship and media manipulation. Some government figures and leaders do this, altering history in their nations to help themselves. An example of this would be the Russian president Dmitri Menvedev. In 2009, he established the History Commission of Russia, to counter attempts to rewrite history in a non-patriotic way, that would disadvantage Russia. Historian Isaak Rozental said that “[This] approach is not to study history but to use it.”
Evidently, we cannot say that history is comprised entirely of facts – it is subjective, full of many perspectives or viewpoints. So, it it interesting to consider how “true” our history really is, and how to justify this truth. But in my opinion, absolute truths are not always available. Through historians, we can only interpret evidence to the best of our ability, and try to find a glimpse of the truth.