Elementary school children need their history books revised in order to better understand America's history. Right now, it is watered down,and does not teach children the proper history, including the good and the bad about America's role. This hurts the children's education, which can be harmful as they grow to adulthood since they will not be able to fully appreciate and understand current events.
Most people in the US never seemed to appreciate how the US unwittingly started the Cold War.
Consider the end of World War II and the following years from the perspective of the Soviets.
• While the USSR lost something between 8 & 12 million troops, the US lost less than half a million. The Soviet military was drastically weakened from what it had been before the war. By contrast, the US military, was much bigger and stronger than it had been before the war.
• The US had just dropped two atomic bombs, the most powerful weapons ever used, and no nation had anything approaching a weapon of equivalent power.
• While other nations were rapidly disbanding their militaries, and dismantling their war machines, the US continued to build its naval, land, and air capabilities. This included Operation Paperclip, wherein formerly Nazi scientists and engineers were brought to the US specifically to help develop military technology.
• The US was building military bases all over the world, despite the fact that most nations were severely weakened, were drawing down military readiness, and there were no apparent military threats to guard against.
• While the US was the USSR’s ally during the war, the Soviets remembered that Hitler had been their ally, but had turned and attacked them. This left Stalin and the Soviet government understandably distrustful.
• Hitler and Hirohito had just tried to take over the world, and they had started with less combined military power than the US had at the end of World War II.
Start with the fear born of suffering invasion and Nazi atrocities that resulted in the loss of over 25 million people (soldiers and civilians combined). Combine that with the fact that the US was maintaining a large standing army, was in possession of nuclear weapons, accelerating the development of military technology, and was planting of military bases worldwide.
This could have looked like nothing else but preparations to take over the world.
Of course the USSR viewed the US as an enemy and a serious threat, and stepped up to a war footing in its relations with America and its allies. The USSR began nuclear weapon development, built up the military, and took over the Eastern Block nations as a way to create a buffer zone, all of which makes sense. These actions, combined with Soviet communist ideology could have looked like nothing else but preparations to take over the world.
Too often people fail to appreciate the critical advantages of empathy, of seeing themselves and their actions from perspectives other than their own. How the US began the Cold War is a perfect example.
Yes, history books should be revised to show how conflict was initiated on both sides. High school history books are notorious for excluding the pressures on the enemy's side that led them to the conflict in the first place. This does not allow for students to realize that there was a reason why both groups of people felt the need to escalate the situation. As a whole country, there are no bad people or ethnic groups. Just difficult decisions.
Teaching children what the Cold War was really about and what it was really like is only the tip of the Iceberg when it comes to giving American children a better understanding of history. We need to talk about what Thanksgiving really was like and who Christopher Columbus really was for a start.
History books should be heavily revised and the curriculum for what students learn should be changed dramatically as well. Our country's youth needs to see the wrongs we have done in the past. There are large parts of history taught in the United States that are very minimal or missing altogether. This is done to make us not look so bad but we need to be able to comprehend everything and that means everything even if it makes us look like the bad guy.