History Personal Statement Example 27

The changing interpretations of the past has left an enduring mark on the way I perceive history as an expression of the developing morals and values held by society. Historical works have provided me with an invaluable insight into the perspectives of the time of which they were written and comparisons between works of varying periods have enabled me to observe the change and continuity in human behaviour. The similarities and differences between contemporary analysis of the French Revolution such as Edmund Burke "Reflection on the Revolution in France" and "The Rights of Man" by Tom Paine compared with modern interpretations of the events of 1789 highlight the continual debate between conservatives and radicals on what form the nature of government should take.

The notion of change has captivated my interest and through the study of history I have been able to observe how the major events of our past have been revised to suit changes in attitude or specific purposes. For example Robert Mugabe's manipulation of the events concerning British colonialism had been moulded around an anti-British propaganda campaign. The way in which there is no final indisputable answer to questions aroused through a study of history led me to delve deeper into our past and to truly appreciate what I can learn from history which has enabled me to develop an understanding of the world and its affairs.

My attendance at the Sutton Trust Oxford summer school in August provided me with a valuable insight into student life at university and confirmed my desire to take history at degree level. I relished the opportunity to research a variety of topics, including McCarthyism, the reign of King Henry VIII, the role of cities in Russia and the debate as to whether the German population was fully aware of the Holocaust. The latter was particularly interesting, as in April I had taken part in the Holocaust Education Trust visit to Auschwitz. Further reading along with these experiences consolidated my view that letters from the front and the language used by Hitler and his minister's indirectly informed the people of the regimes intentions and actions concerning the 'Jewish Question.' I found David Bankier's view that public awareness of the holocaust increased the level of anti-Semitism due a communal sense of responsibility and that there was no turning back stimulating as it provided the realisation that there is no way of generalizing human behaviour in relation to the holocaust, or in fact for any other period or anywhere.

Membership of Politics and Debating societies has enabled me to put into practice the knowledge gained through the study of history and exposed me to new ways of interpreting human behaviour. The most significant impact debating competitively has been on my outlook is the realisation of how we little we learn from history and the inevitability of repeating its mistakes. The agreement for the placement of interceptor missiles in Eastern Europe is a complete disregard of the experiences of the Cold War.

By December my Duke of Edinburgh Gold and Basic Expedition Leadership awards will be drawing to a close which has collectively been physically and mentally demanding. Through the responsibilities and challenges of the experiences I have developed greater organisational and communication skills which are applicable to studying successfully at a higher level. As a reader of the Times and History Review I continue to make connections between current affairs and the past whilst running for the college competitively has kept me fit and relatively stress free during my career in education. At university I welcome the opportunity to be part of a vibrant academic community and I cannot wait to immerse myself further into the events that have changed the face of humanity and their impacts on society today. History gives me this opportunity, its breadth and depth will challenge me but the rewards and understanding gained will be immeasurable.

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This personal statement was written by DarylJames for application in 2009.

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Intended for an application to Oxford History.


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