Does History Repeat Itself?

While not recurring in precisely the same way, historical events, and especially those of an economic, political or social nature, often correspond with later events and those unfolding in the present. As Mark Twain put it, history does not repeat itself, but it does occasionally rhyme. Journalists and historians use these parallels between past and present events to better understand or pose questions about current trends and likely futures.

In January 2014, for example, The Guardian published an article exploring the commonalities between the geopolitical situation in 2014 with that during the lead up to World War I in 1914. These include the rise of new superpowers to challenge the existing hegemony or status quo and the ongoing stand-offs over strategically important regions, such as the west Pacific Senkaku islands. Furthermore, widespread leaking of sensitive information from websites such as WikiLeaks has been compared to the early 20th century French intelligence leaks and the British fears of Russian spies.

Other news outlets have compared the confidence of Russian President Vladimir Putin over his ability to conquer Ukraine to the arrogance of Adolf Hitler in the lead up to World War II.

Anti-Semitism and other ethnic conflicts are certainly still an issue around the world, with many religiously framed disputes dating far back into history.