The study raised new questions about the teaching of history after it found that 11 per cent of the British population believed Hitler did not exist and 9 per cent said Winston Churchill was fictional. A further 33 per cent believed Mussolini was not a real historical figure…. Some 27 per cent of people interviewed thought Robin Hood, whose story has been featured in films by directors such as Kevin Costner and Mel Brooks, existed whereas 42 per cent believed Mel Gibson’s Braveheart was an invention. More than 60 thought the Battle of Helms Deep in the Lord of the Rings trilogy actually took place….
Fictional events that we believe did take place
War of the Worlds , Martian invasion – 6 per cent
Battle of Helms Deep , Rings Trilogy – The Two Towers – 3 per cent
Battle of Endor , The Return of the Jedi – 2 per cent
Planet of the Apes , the apes rule Earth – 1 per cent
Battlestar Galactica , the defeat of humanity by cyborgs – 1 per cent
And I, for one, saulte our new cyborg overlords…
Of course, it’s Hollywood’s fault — how dare Californians presume to educate Britons? Listen to me now and believe me later, U.K. — if you want your sense of history muddled beyond belief, get your own movies!
Note: An editor should have caught this: “More than 60 thought the Battle of Helms Deep in the Lord of the Rings trilogy actually took place.” That should be “More than 60 people out of the survey of 2069,” or, as the last paragraph in the story specifies, just 3%.