“I chose Extension History because I wanted to challenge myself,” said Maximus.
“I was very nervous to begin an extension course but History has always been one of my strongest subjects. It entertains and excites me.
“Dr Dennett was definitely a big reason as to why I persevered with the course. From the very first lesson he helped me when I doubted myself or had any extra questions, no matter how many there were, leading to long debates. I also did extension to prove that I was capable of completing a uni course in high school and that I have the intelligence to pursue more complex subjects.”
Maximus said the topics have changed the way he views history.
“The idea that you can never truly know history, and that what we know is a distorted view of the past, manipulated by those who recounted it, leaves so many unanswerable questions about what really formed the world we live in today.”
The subjects JFK module and Exploring the Man and the Myth tied in perfectly with Maximus’s thesis on Kennedy’s assassination.
“So much, and yet so little is known about who assassinated John F Kennedy and why. The number of conspiracy theories launched over the last 60 years are mind-blowing. The public went from believing the government to being swayed by a Hollywood film (Oliver Stone’s JFK) to finally having access in 2017 to almost every classified government document ever created,” he said.
“I chose my sources carefully, based on their credibility. Two of them, Mark Lane (Plausible Denial) and Jefferson Morley (Our Man in Mexico) took legal action against the CIA or agents of the CIA. Morley had a 16 year Freedom of Information battle with the CIA. Another, Fletcher Prouty (JFK: The CIA, Vietnam And The Plot To Assassinate John F. Kennedy) worked as Chief of Special Operations for Kennedy and had intimate inside knowledge of the Pentagon.
“Each produced compelling arguments which resonated with me, and from there I was able to build my own opinions on what might have happened that fateful day of November 22, 1963. The Warren Commission, established to investigate the JFK assassination, ignored so much evidence that it begged for a different truth to be told. In fact, the conclusion that a lone assassin killed the president was reached before the Commission even began. This was not a catalogue of historical facts, it was a cover up from the very beginning and history needed rewriting.
“From all my research I soon came to understand that JFK’s biggest enemies were not the Cold War leaders who were a threat to the United States, but his own war-mad military and espionage chiefs.”
In a year’s worth of study and research into his Major Project topic, Maximus said he read multiple books from JFK researchers, analysed movies, and assessed the reliability of all sources.
“I went through media files and opinion pieces, watched the Zapruder film of the assassination (where JFK’s head explodes), interviews and documentaries, and filled an entire journal on my ideas, research, reflections, and anything that I deemed important in compiling my hypothesis.
“Writing the Major Work was very difficult because sifting through a year’s worth of material and drawing it into a concise and logical argument, with footnotes referencing the validity of every point I made, was the very essence of historiography. Writing it was enjoyable, as I could finally put everything together and conclude my beliefs and findings, and name who the co-conspirators of JFK’s murder most likely were. I had spent so much time studying it that I felt I had all the information necessary to produce a solid thesis.
“Pinning the blame on one person is impossible in regards to the JFK assassination, and knowing Lee Harvey Oswald was blamed for it infuriated me. I’m so glad I chose this topic because it was not a painful process, but more about learning new perspectives; I felt like a detective unraveling the past to resolve one of history’s biggest mysteries.”
Maximus thanked Dr Dennett for his support throughout Year 12.
“From the beginning he always said ‘Trust nobody, especially me’ and that taught me to scrutinise every source and be wary that all history is written from a viewpoint, and there are many interpretations and theories of the same historical person or event,” he said.
“Learning to recognise this and form my own opinions has changed the way I see history forever.”