History often gets a bad rap among students. Because it deals with events hundreds or even thousands of years in the past, it can be difficult to make its lessons seem relevant to modern times. This may also be because some of the most interesting, heartbreaking, and bizarre historical events are not taught in school at all.
Whether dealing with sensitive racial topics or complex, multi-generational dynasties of foreign lands, many of the things you didn't learn in history class are still affecting the world of today. One Redditor asked the r/History subreddit for some of the most significant historical events that are unfairly ignored. These are the top responses.
From Redditor u/brothermuffin:
I attended public school and private university in the USA and NEVER heard mention of the Tulsa Massacre.
From Redditor u/AndrijKuz:
Fun fact, being from Tulsa, this was absolutely *buried* city-wide for about 80 years. I only heard about it in 10th grade in High School. Apparently virtually every prominent city official was a member of the KKK and there was a region-wide cover up. They even cut out article from the Tulsa World from archives. Also, historical estimates are probably low, and there might still be 3 separate mass graves in the center of the city.
From Redditor u/bocepheid:
I'm a transplant in Oklahoma, lived here a long time but had never heard of it until one of my students asked about it as a research topic. After reading that paper I made several pilgrimages to Tulsa to see what I could learn there. As it turns out, almost nothing. The city whitewashed it thoroughly. An incredible, thriving community, destroyed.
From Redditor u/wampusboy:
The smallpox pandemic that devastated the Native Americans. The disease swept through the population so fast, that almost all contact with Native American cultures were basically with post-apocalyptic societies that were thrown into chaos. Something like 99% of them were dead by the time Europeans even made it far enough to contact them. Smallpox is literally the only reason Europeans were able to colonize North America. History classes just treat it like a single event among many, when it was a history-defining event. The Native American cultures we think we know were just the shattered remnants of what they were before.
From Redditor u/tom_the_tanker:
The period directly following the First World War, 1917-1924, should be a chapter equal to the war all on its own. It was an earthshaking period in Europe, America and Asia, and sowed the seeds for everything from the modern protests to 9/11 to the Soviet Union to fascism to the Troubles to the Yugoslav breakup.
Essentially, the collapse of four Empires in Europe, the emergence of communism and fascism, disease, disillusionment and economic catastrophe probably caused more deaths than WWI and did more lasting damage psychologically and socially
From 1917-1924 you had:
- Spanish Flu
- Global economic crisis
- Irish War of Independence
- Allied occupation of the Ruhr/German passive resistance
- Rise of Mussolini in Italy
- Civil War/failed socialist revolution in Germany
- Hitler's Beer Hall putsch
- Hungary is communist for like a year
- Romanian invasion of Transylvania
- Polish war of independence against Bolsheviks and Germans
- Baltic wars of independence, along with proto-fascist Freikorps running around
- Ukraine tries to become independent, overrun by Bolsheviks
- Finnish War of Independence
- Serbian conquest of modern Yugoslavia
- Allies try to carve up Turkey, resulting in Turkish War of Independence
- Arab revolts throughout Middle East
- creation of Saudi Arabia
- Caucasian states try to become independent, crushed between Bolsheviks and Turks
- "Red Summer" of race violence and Tulsa Race Riot in America
- Women's suffrage achieved in America
- Red Scare in Europe and America
- Uprising against Spanish in Morocco
- Emergence of modern Zionism
- And, of course, the Russian Revolution and Russian Civil War, which almost no one in the West really knows much about and is horrifically misunderstood, and almost certainly killed more Russians than WWI.
So yeah, it was chaos and the immediate post-World War I era is almost never featured or understood in the regular curriculum. It needs at least a chapter in every high school history textbook.
From Redditor u/dhalsim282:
The entirety of South East Asia was sorely neglected in my history studies growing up in the US. We learned a little about Japan in WW2. There was cursory Chinese history, different dynasties and such. That was about it. "Indians" still referred to Native Americans half the time in my school. I remember actually correcting a teacher on that and being scolded for it.
I only recently learned that India was a huge factor in WW2, about 3 million Indians died. They fought both the Japanese on the Eastern front and Germans on the western. This is in contrast to 380,000 US soldiers dying, and about 400,000 British. No one ever gives the Indians a word in WW2 history.