History Personal Statement Example 61

What interests me about history is the human side of it; the fact that humans portray events from a biased stand point, as much as one tries to remain neutral. I love the fact that history affects people in so many ways, for example, when Henry VIII split from the Catholic Church between 1532 and 1534, this had a huge impact on the people of Britain in varying ways and studying different perspectives is key in understanding the implications of the decision. E.g. this stripped a peasant of their greatest source of comfort in their hard life, and was so unpopular it caused the Pilgrimage of Grace. However for Henry VIII, the reformation did not make much difference to his life; there is little evidence he ever really changed his religious feelings despite being head of the Church of England.
One of the things which drives my desire to study history further is my natural curiosity, as one is always discovering new things. It is thrilling to find parallels between things that have happened in the past or even something which is happening now. E.g., between studying Russia and keeping up with current affairs I have noticed that socialist states lack willingness to accept aid from other countries; in the years 1932-33, Stalin refused to accept aid from the west during the famine and instead denied it was happening; a similar thing is happening in Venezuela where President Maduro is refusing to accept aid being offered by other countries despite his country being in crisis. To further my knowledge on socialist states, I’ve read Mao by Jung Chang, which is a biography that charts Chairman Mao’s rise to power in communist China. As well as learning about the origins of communist China, it made me realise that the accepted version of history is not always the most accurate version; the authors go against the usual romanticised view on Mao’s rise to power.
Recently, I went to an exhibition at the Tate modern called ‘Red star over Russia’; it was about the propaganda and art used in Soviet-era Russia. It was amazing to see the power that art had over a population and to see how easily propaganda could influence the thinking of the population of such an enormous country. The novel I am studying in my French class (Un Sac de Billes- a semi-autobiographical novel), shows how all-encompassing propaganda can be as one of the things which stayed with the author was being gripped by Nazi propaganda films despite being Jewish. In November last year I was chosen from my year to visit Auschwitz with the Holocaust Educational Trust. It was sobering to experience the scale of the Holocaust; one can’t really get the feel for how enormous the camps were through pictures. I was extremely lucky to have that experience and it made me realise how important it is to study history. Another exhibition I have been to was at the design museum in London called ‘Hope to Nope: Graphics and Politics 2008-18’; this looked at the use of media in world events and related to both my interest in politics and history as it explored the historical use of media in shaping the world.
I have been volunteering at my local constituency office once a week which has led to securing three days work experience with my MP Chris Matheson in Westminster. As well as learning organisational and team work skills, I have been given responsibility for the filing system, all of which has meant I’ve gained an understanding of jobs in administration and public service which appeals to me. Whilst on my work experience in Westminster, I was able to sit in on various meetings, watch votes on legislature, and sit in the gallery to watch debates in the house. By studying history, I would be able to acquire multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary skills, crucial for working in government, as well as academic flexibility, something required for any job. I have an interest in becoming an MP or civil servant and hope to follow the path of many MPs who hold History degrees.

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