We humans are not free-floating beings who can see everything from space, we are located in a time and a place, and will therefore always have a special perspective on what we see – this also applies to ‘the history of the world’ – our world history is therefore a Danish world history, seen through Danish eyes!
World history offers a multitude of stories, which in themselves are exciting to delve into, but they also say a lot about who we are and perhaps a little about where we are going. The Western world has created enormous progress for humanity, but it also contains some of the darkest chapters. Some of these chapters Denmark has merely witnessed from the sidelines, others we have participated in.
The belief in progress was dealt a double blow by both the First World War and the Holocaust during the Second World War. Still, there is perhaps reason for optimism – crises and wars have been succeeded by times of peace with growth and stability, development, and progress.
Together we get a good chronological overview of some of the most important events in the world with a special focus on the history of the Western world, which more than any other culture dominates the world today. This applies to the history of our democracy both in antiquity and in modern times. It is also the story of the Europeanization of the world with first the great explorers and then imperialism. It is about multicultural kingdoms versus the establishment of nation states, but world history is also about cultural clashes or ‘clash of civilizations’: Hopefully it will be clear that not all cultures and religions are equally good from a Danish and from a modern Western perspective. At the same time, the Western world and the modern world have their dark sides, which still haunt us.
Knowledge of and curiosity about world history is crucial for a person’s formation: If we are to understand the world we live in and the perspective of other people, we must also have knowledge of what has shaped us and those we meet in Denmark and abroad.