Our task as historians is to make past conflicts live again; not to lament the verdict or to wish for a different one. It bewildered me when my old master A. F. Pribram, a very great historian, said in the nineteen-thirties: “It is still not decided whether the Habsburg monarchy could have found a solution for its national problems.” How can we decide about something that did not happen? Heaven knows, we have difficulty enough in deciding what did happen. Events decided that the Habsburgs had not found a solution for their national problems; that is all we know or need to know. Whenever I read the phrase: “whether so-and-so acted rightly must be left for historians to decide,” I close the book; the writer has moved from history to make-believe.

A. J. P. Taylor (1906-1990) British historian, journalist, broadcaster [Alan John Percivale Taylor]
Trouble Makers: Dissent Over Foreign Policy 1792-1939 (1957)
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Added on 23-Aug-21 | Last updated 23-Aug-21
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