Recently, the History channel ran a series about the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, I found it to be riveting. If we had had worldwide instant communication back in the 1930’s, would Hitler have been able to do what he did in his failed attempt for world dominance? Where was the focus of the rest of the world as he marched over Poland, Czechoslovakia, etc? Could we have stopped him as he tried to annihilate all the Jews in Germany?
I watched the story unfold in Japan when the devastating earthquake struck and months earlier, I watched in amazement the live footage of the miraculous recovery of the Chilean miners.
I could only wonder what it would have been like had we had the technology we now enjoy to view history as it happened
Picture Columbus back in 1492 as he arrives on our shores but at what he thought was India. He named the natives that he encountered “Indians.” They are now referred to as native Americans. Some talking heads would probably have had a field day with the former nomenclature. They might have referred to Columbus as that “knucklehead” who did not know where he was when he got here. Never mind that he was on the high seas for months. Instead of praising him for his efforts, they would choose to ridicule him for his wrong assumption.
As we roll through history, the major events like the Declaration of Independence would be covered much like the Tea party is now. Bunch of troublemakers who want to break away from the mother country? Are they nuts?
Then a rag-tag Army of farmers calling themselves Minutemen would be given little chance of succeeding against the mighty British Army. We all know how that turned out!
Imagine Lincoln’s Gettysburg address getting short shrift. A short speech of about two minutes. Not even a teleprompter in sight. Just some scribbles on the back of an envelope. What was he thinking?
The citizens of our young country did not have the advantage – or disadvantage, depending on your point of view – of the instant analysis of events.
Even with the coverage of our space shots there are still unbelievers who think man’s walk on the moon is a hoax. Some people will never believe no matter the evidence unless they themselves did the stroll and planted the flag.
And what about someone like Beethoven…and all those symphonies? I can picture the media calling after him, “Hey, Ludwig, I hear you’re going deaf and that you noticed it when you were in the courtyard where you live. You looked up and saw the bells swinging but could not hear them ring. How are you going to write music when you can’t hear?”
I guess we are better off that technology did not exist back then. When you come right down to it, historians do a pretty good job of keeping us informed no matter what the 4th Estate says of the times or events. Don’t get me wrong — I am not knocking the press. I think the Fourth Estate is wonderful. I was just playing a game of “what if” as I hit the remote looking for something on television besides disasters.