Britons have a hard time telling historical fact from Hollywood fiction, says a survey of “average adults.” From the Independent:
The Battle of Hastings never took place and Adolf Hitler is a fictional character. Robin Hood really existed, Harold Wilson saved Britain during the Second World War and Conan the Barbarian is a bona fide figure from early Nordic history.
. . . Researchers, who conducted face-to-face interviews with more than 2,000 people, found that almost a third of the population thinks the Cold War was not real and 6 per cent believe The War of the Worlds, H G Wells’s fictional account of a Martian invasion, did happen.
. . . 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.
While 57 per cent believe in King Arthur and 5 percent in Conan the Barbarian, 42 percent don’t realize that William Wallace, the 13th century Scottish hero of Mel Gibson’s Braveheart, really did exist. And 38 percent doubt the existence of Genghis Khan.