Challenges Facing Historians Looking to Interpret a Source Essay

2118 Words May 29th, 2011 9 Pages
Many would agree that WW2 changed the face of history and it was a war that had very different elements to any war fought before. The proceeding discussion illuminates one aspect of the war ,the aid effort during wartime Australia.
How can one understand the sentiments and beliefs of the time? How can one form an opinion or draw a conclusion about the aid effort during WW2.
To gain an insight and better understanding of that era one turns to the primary and secondary sources available. One would need to understand the distinction between primary and secondary sources before seeking to analyse and interpret the sources. A primary source is a document, book or object that was created during the time that is being analysed. A secondary
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However in the context of the 1940’s it is possible that the idea behind the poster was more popular or more widely known. This source uses a mixture of pictures and text to convey its message .
If all three primary sources were to be looked at in today’s context they would require further clarification. Ironically what would appear in terms in context the simplest primary source , would be the source that would be the most easily recognised and understood in today’s environment.

When looking at any primary source there are many challenges one faces and one may question not only the authors reliability , but also what drove the author to create this source. One would question the authors own belief in the message that is being conveyed.
It is always difficult to interpret and understand primary sources of a bygone era . And one’s understanding of that era can be perceived as subjective. To form some sort of opinion one would need to delve into secondary sources written about that era, however opinions can sometimes be subjective.
The issue at the time of the printing of the 3 primary sources was that there was not only Australia at war, but the majority of the world was involved in conflict.
For any historian looking at these sources and seeking to comment on them one would need to consider firstly that

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