Historical negationism  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Historical negationism or denialism is an illegitimate distortion of the historical record. It is often imprecisely referred to as historical revisionism, but that term also denotes a legitimate academic pursuit of re-interpretation of the historical record and questioning the accepted views.

In attempting to revise the past, illegitimate historical revisionism may use techniques inadmissible in proper historical discourse, such as presenting known forged documents as genuine; inventing ingenious but implausible reasons for distrusting genuine documents; attributing conclusions to books and sources that report the opposite; manipulating statistical series to support the given point of view; and deliberately mis-translating texts (in languages other than the revisionist's).

Some countries, such as Germany, have criminalised the negationist revision of certain historical events, while others take a more cautious position for various reasons, such as protection of free speech; still others mandate negationist views.

Notable examples of negationism include Holocaust denial, Armenian Genocide denial and Japanese war crime denial.

In literature, the consequences of historical revisionism have been imaginatively depicted in some works of fiction, such as Nineteen Eighty-Four, by George Orwell. In modern times, negationism may spread via new media, such as the Internet.


See also

Cases of denialism




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Historical negationism" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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