Quotes about history

A collection of quotes on the topic of history.

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Joachim Peiper photo

„History is always written by the victor and histories of the vanquished belong to a shrinking circle of those who were there.“

—  Joachim Peiper SS officer 1915 - 1976
Parker, Hitler's Warrior, chapter 19, citing Peiper to Karl Wortmann, November 28, 1974 in note 27.

Bartolomé de las Casas photo

„God is the one who always remembers those whom history has forgotten.“

—  Bartolomé de las Casas Spanish Dominican friar, historian, and social reformer 1474 - 1566

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David Hilbert photo

„History teaches the continuity of the development of science. We know that every age has its own problems, which the following age either solves or casts aside as profitless and replaces by new ones.“

—  David Hilbert, Mathematical Problems
Mathematical Problems (1900), Context: History teaches the continuity of the development of science. We know that every age has its own problems, which the following age either solves or casts aside as profitless and replaces by new ones. If we would obtain an idea of the probable development of mathematical knowledge in the immediate future, we must let the unsettled questions pass before our minds and look over the problems which the science of today sets and whose solution we expect from the future. To such a review of problems the present day, lying at the meeting of the centuries, seems to me well adapted. For the close of a great epoch not only invites us to look back into the past but also directs our thoughts to the unknown future.

Ivo Andrič photo
Vera Rubin photo
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Paul Robeson photo
Antonio Gramsci photo

„History is at once freedom and necessity.“

—  Antonio Gramsci Italian writer, politician, theorist, sociologist and linguist 1891 - 1937
Selections from the Prison Notebooks (1971).

Malcolm Muggeridge photo

„I can say with truth that I have never, even in times of greatest preoccupation with carnal, worldly and egotistic pursuits, seriously doubted that our existence here is related in some mysterious way to a more comprehensive and lasting existence elsewhere; that somehow or other we belong to a larger scene than our earthly life provides, and to a wider reach of time than our earthly allotment of three score years and ten…It has never been possible for me to persuade myself that the universe could have been created, and we, homo sapiens, so-called, have, generation after generation, somehow made our appearance to sojourn briefly on our tiny earth, solely in order to mount the interminable soap opera, with the same characters and situations endlessly recurring, that we call history. It would be like building a great stadium for a display of tiddly-winks, or a vast opera house for a mouth-organ recital. There must, in other words, be another reason for our existence and that of the universe than just getting through the days of our life as best we may; some other destiny than merely using up such physical, intellectual and spiritual creativity as has been vouchsafed us. This, anyway, has been the strongly held conviction of the greatest artists, saints, philosophers and, until quite recent times, scientists, through the Christian centuries, who have all assumed that the New Testament promise of eternal life is valid, and that the great drama of the Incarnation which embodies it, is indeed the master drama of our existence. To suppose that these distinguished believers were all credulous fools whose folly and credulity in holding such beliefs has now been finally exposed, would seem to me to be untenable; and anyway I'd rather be wrong with Dante and Shakespeare and Milton, with Augustine of Hippo and Francis of Assisi, with Dr. Johnson, Blake and Dostoevsky, than right with Voltaire, Rousseau, Darwin, the Huxleys, Herbert Spencer, H. G. Wells and Bernard Shaw.“

—  Malcolm Muggeridge English journalist, author, media personality, and satirist 1903 - 1990
Confessions of a Twentieth-Century Pilgrim (1988)

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Karl Marx photo
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Marcus Garvey photo

„A Race without the knowledge of its history is like a tree without roots.“

—  Marcus Garvey Jamaica-born British political activist, Pan-Africanist, orator, and entrepreneur 1887 - 1940
Misattributed, Though often attributed to Garvey, this statement first appears in Charles Siefert's 1938 pamphlet, The Negro's or Ethiopian's Contribution to Art.

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