One of the key skills you need to begin to develop as a historian is the effective use of primary evidence to evaluate secondary sources (i.e. a historian). Being able to look at a historian’s argument and then examine primary evidence from the period can enable you to develop your own ideas about whether you agree or disagree with a historian’s viewpoint. This can be challenging to do effectively but is very rewarding.
This article looks at how this process might work by focusing on a historian called Robert Conquest who wrote about Stalin and the Great Terror. We will see whether his viewpoint on why the Terror happened is challenged or supported by some of the primary evidence that is available now.
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