The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/l/lipstadt.deborah/citations/lipstadt.006

Newsgroups: alt.revisionism,soc.history
Subject: Holocaust Almanac - Denial and the Relativising of WWII crimes
Summary: The denial technique of cleansing Hitler and the Nazi Party through
         the relativization of history explored by Deborah Lipstadt
Followup-To: alt.revisionism
Organization: The Old Frog's Almanac, Vancouver Island, CANADA
Lines: 145

Archive/File: holocaust/usa/lipstadt lipstadt.006
Last-Modified: 1994/01/07

   "The argument that the United States committed atrocities as great,
   if not greater, than those committed by Germany has become a
   fulcrum of contemporary Holocaust denial and a theme repeated
   continually in their literature. But the deniers do not stop with
   this. In order to achieve their goals, one of which is the
   historical rehabilitation of Germany, they must 'eliminate' the
   Holocaust. Once they do so, this equation - everyone is equally
   guilty - becomes even easier to make. If there was no Holocaust and
   the Allies committed terrible atrocities, then what was so bad
   about Nazi Germany?

   It is also a central argument for those who relativize the
   Holocaust - that is, those who say the Nazis were no worse than
   anyone else. For the relativizer, these charges serve as immoral
   equivalents that mitigate the uniqueness of German wrongs. George
   Morgenstern, and editor of the _Chicago Tribune_, offered a mild
   example of American postwar equalizing, or relativizing,
   wrongdoings when he argued that none of the Allies had 'clean
   hands' or were real 'exemplar[s] of justice.' While the fascist
   'slave states' were abhorrent to decent people, the British Empire,
   whose existence was dependent on the 'exploitation' of millions of
   native, was equally abhorrent.<42> William Neumann, who had been
   one of the first to attack prewar U.S. foreign policy, believed
   that Allied atrocities were the 'point by point' equivalent of the
   Nazis'.<43>  Stalin had invaded Poland in 1939, England and France
   had declared war on Germany, and the United States had committed
   acts of aggression against Germany _before_ Pearl Harbor in the
   form of lendlease. Frederick Libby of the Nation Council for the
   Prevention of War tried to lessen Germany's burden by stating that
   'no nation has a monopoly on atrocities. War itself is the supremem

   There were those who, not satisfied with attacking Roosevelt or
   equating German and American wrongdoing, went a step further and
   portrayed Germany as the much-maligned victim of Allied aggression.
   Such arguments served as the model for those who would eventually
   seek not just to exculpate Germany for the Holocaust but to deny
   its existence altogether. According to these postwar revisionists,
   the bombing of Dresden and Cologne as well as Allied postware
   policy toward Germany were equivalent to Nazi atrocities. They
   assailed Allied acquiescence in allowing the bifurcation of Germany
   and Soviet hegemony in Eastern Europe, ignoring the fact that the
   West had no alternative short of armed conflict with the Soviets.
   They demanded, and succeeded in getting, special American
   immigration permits for Germans.<45> Ignoring similar conditions in
   other parts of Europe, they accused the United States of allowing
   German people to starve and insisted that special relief plans be
   instituted to help Germany. Isolationist forces in the Senate
   persuaded a total of thirty-four senators to inform the president
   jointly that Germany and Austria were 'facing starvation on a scale
   never before experienced in Western Civilization.'<46> Utley and
   other revisionists falsely claimed that, for three years after
   their unconditional surrender, the Allies kept the Germans on
   rations that were less than or, at best, the same as those in a
   concentration camp.


   She [Freda Utley] exonerated the German war criminals who were
   tried at Nuremberg because what they did was 'minor in extent if
   not in degree' compared with the postwar behavior of the Russian
   armies and the 'genocide' committed by Poles and Czechs against
   Germans.<53> Taking the tactic of immoral equivalencies to its
   ultimate extreme, she argued that 'there was no crime the Nazis had
   committed which we or our allies had not also committed.'<54>"
   (Lipstadt, 43-44)

   "Years later, in an example of how deniers pervert historical
   arguments, a virtually identical argument was made by Austin App:

      The top U.S. media, possibly because they are dominated by
      Jews... have no tradition of fairness to anyone they
      hate....They have also in wartime subverted much of the public
      to a frenzy of prejudice. Even in our Civil War, where Americans
      fought against Americans, Americans of the North were told and
      came to believe that Choctaw County stunk with dead bodies of
      murdered slaves and that Southern belles had worn necklaces
      strong of Yankee eyeballs!... If Yankees could believe that
      Southern girls wore necklaces of Yankee eyeballs, would they not
      even more readily believe that Germans made lampshades out of
      the skins of prisoners, or that they boiled Jews into soap?<66>

   Two decades later this argument would be reiterated in an essay in
   the Holocaust revisionist publication _The Journal of Historical
   Review_.<67>... By finding what they deemed to be historical
   parallels, deniers hoped to demonstrate that the Holocaust was not
   the only time that the public had been tricked by historical


   By 1950 the foundation had been laid for those who would not simply
   seek to relativize or mitigate Germany's actions - the arguments
   they needed to buttress their charges of a Holcaust "hoax" had been
   made, some voiced by legitimate historians and others expressed by
   extremist politicians and journalists. Virtually all the
   revisionists' charges were adopted by the deniers, including
   Germany's lack of culpibility, chicanery by both Presidents Wilson
   and Roosevelt, suppression of the truth after both wars, and use of
   propaganda - falsified atrocity stores in particular - to whip up
   public support. These arguments would become crucial elements in
   the deniers' attempt to prove that the Holocaust "hoax" is not a
   unique phenomenon but alink in a chain of tradition whose hallmarks
   were chicanery, conspiracy, and deception. The French writer Nadine
   Fresco noted in her analysis of Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson,
   'One cannot establish a science whose only ethic is suspicion.'<72> 
   Yet that is what the more extreme World War II revisionists were
   attempting to do.
   Nonetheless, there was one thing these defenders of Nazi Germany
   and critics of American involvement and postwar Allied policy never
   suggested: namely that the atrocities in question had not happened.
   Irrespective of which side of the ocean they were on, they stopped
   short of this denial. They may have claimed that they were not as
   bad as had been reported. They may have argued that the Soviets or
   the Allies had committed similar acts or that Hitler knew nothing
   about them. They may have also ignored the moral implications of
   such behavior in order to argue that Allied and Axis behavior were
   virtually equal. But they did not deny that they were factual.
   Accusations to that effect were not long in coming, however,
   gaining currency within a few years after the war." (Lipstadt,

                               Work cited

   Lipstadt, Deborah E.  Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on
   Truth and Memory.  New York: The Free Press (A division of
   Macmillan, Inc.), 1993.

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.