Why is history important?

Why is history important? In History Club this week we discussed this very question! Student David suggested that it teaches us about things that happened in the past, so that we can learn from them and not make the same mistakes. It is also important to remember those people who have contributed so much to the way we live today, inventors, artists, writers, soldiers and sailors, and many more. Many of these people were not famous, just ordinary people, and some even gave up their lives in wars to protect our country so that the rest of us can live in peace. Many of these people are often forgotten, and David suggested that this is especially the case with people from other parts of the world such as the Caribbean and India who fought for Britain in the last two wars, which is very sad.

Why is history important?
Sir William Reginald Hall, Director of Naval intelligence during World War I,
known as ‘Blinker Hall’

History is also full of exciting mysteries and things that have happened that people might never have heard of. For example, how many people have ever heard of room 40 in the Admiralty building in London and why the little band of people who worked there were so important in helping Britain win World War I? On 22nd September 1914 a German U-boat (that is, a submarine) sank three British warships, HMS Aboukir, HMS Hogue and HMS Cressy, and one thousand four hundred sailors lost their lives. This is a very tragic loss of life, but how many people would know about that today? However, this tragedy, had a direct effect on future events in the war, such as the sinking of the Lusitania. It encouraged the government to take the threat of submarines much more seriously. The propaganda effort against German submarine warfare was stepped up, and even more importantly the little band of people working secretly in room 40, under the capable leadership of Admiral Sir William ‘Blinker’ Hall, were able to decode the German ciphers and so track down and sink the U-boats, changing the course of the war!

What do you think? Why is History important? Which parts of history most interest you? Why not come to History club and tell us all about it? We’d love to hear from you!

Victoria Harrington, Teacher of History