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Pop quiz: what happened in 1066? What about 1649? 1688? Any Historian worth his or her salt knows these famous dates. But how do you know what happened? This week, the Independent has compiled a ‘History of the First World War in 100 Moments’, a beautiful and moving collection of documents, photographs and more, piecing together a picture of the extraordinary years between 1939-45. This is, as you know, is the fundamental problem of History as a subject – indeed, it is the reason it exists in the first place. Can we ever know the truth of an event? Indeed, it is easy to see how quickly History can become fiction in this week’s article describing how the author of The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas has used letters written between soldiers and their families to write his new book. Perhaps the answer is to return directly to the source… Have a look at these ‘letters that changed the world’ and see what the Historian in you can draw from them…

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