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From ivanpv@aol.com Mon Oct 28 07:21:29 PST 1996
Article: 77445 of alt.revisionism
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From: ivanpv@aol.com (IVANPV)
Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: Re: Irving as a Historian
Date: 25 Oct 1996 22:08:14 -0400
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     As David Irving points out in "Hitler's War:  An Introduction to the
New Edition" (which I found on the Web at Raven's site),  reviewers began
to vehemently criticize him when  "Hitler's War" was released.  In this
book,  Irving  denied that Hitler was responsible for the mass
extermination of Jews, although he had not yet denied the existence of a
deliberate, comprehensive extermination policy.  Therefore,  I think an
honest assessment of the non-stigmatized Irving must deal only with
reviews of his books published prior to 1977. (Mr. R. Graves, in a couple
of  posts I have seen, doesn't recognize this point.)  
      A good illustration of the beginning of Irving's ostracism is the
review of "Hitler's War" by historian John Lukacs in the "National Review"
(Aug. 19, 1977, p. 946)  Lukacs begins the review by admitting that Irving
"has written useful, well researched, and, on the whole, fair books on the
bombing of Dresden, on German atomic bomb research, on the 'Luftwaffe,'
and on the disaster that befell one particular Allied convoy sailing for
Russia in 1942."   Lukacs then goes on to completely lambaste "Hitler's
War."   
       Perhaps because denying  Hitler's responsibility was not as
complete a violation of the orthodox Holocaust position as denying a
comprehensive program of mass extermination, Irving's  reputation was not
savaged as much in the late 1970s as it would be later as he moved to the
more extreme taboo--breaking position.  For example,  Milton Mayer, author
of "They Thought They Were Free:  the Germans, 1933-1945," writes about
"Hitler's War" in "The Progressive" (June 1978, pp. 40-41):  "Irving
depreciates his own work, and he diverts both the professional and the lay
reader from its immense merits by adverting again and again to what is
historically an insignificant contention:  that there is no 'hard'
evidence that Hitler actually know of the extermination of the Jews until
almost the end of the war."  In essence, although Mayer thoroughly
rejected Irving's "Hitler's ignorance" thesis, he still conceded the
work's "immense merits."
	Individuals like Mr. Graves appear ignorant of  reviews that
acknowledge Irving's achievements as a historian.  And perhaps they are
not completely at fault.  Such information does not seem to be included at
the Nizkor site, which purports to be fair and objective.  Perhaps, it is
an oversight.  But at present, it appears that Nizkor is selectively
compiling information to discredit Irving, instead of presenting a
balanced assessment of his work.  
       Mr. Graves wrote in his post of October 21:  "The only people
calling him [Irving] a historian are either anonymous or Nazi sympathizers
. . ."   Such a smear is reminiscent of  Joe McCarthy's blanket charges of
Communism.  Nazism is as much a devil term today as Communism was in the
1950s.  And such charges destroy reputations and careers as much today as
the Communist charge did in the 1950s What evidence does Graves have that
John Lukacs, Milton Meyer, or the reviewers  I cited in my previous post
(Oct. 20)--Warren Miller, Drew Middleton, D.S. Greenberg, J.W. Weigel--are
"Nazi sympathizers?"  In their reviews they certainly imply that Irving is
a historian.   Recently, Gordon Craig and Christopher Hitchens praised
some aspects of Irving's historical work.  Are they "Nazi sympathizers?" 
What is meant by the term "Nazi sympathizer?"   Does it mean that these
people want to establish a racist, war-oriented.  totalitarian state?  Or
is simply depicting Irving as a historian enough to make one, ipso facto,
a "Nazi sympathizer" in Mr. Graves eyes?    
      Nizkor and the defenders of Holocaust orthodoxy in this newsgroup
claim to support the free discussion of ideas, unlike the openly
suppressive Simon Wisenthal Center.  However, branding people with the
smear term "Nazi sympathizers" for simply maintaining that Irving is a
historian has the same suppressive effect.  In his heyday, Joe McCarthy
did not directly censor ideas, develop a blacklist, or fire people  from
jobs.  But his charges and the repressive atmosphere fostered by him had
that effect.  Similarly,  charges of "Nazi sympathizers" have the same
effect today. 
        David Irving alleges that many  historians privately praise his
work-- at least  certain aspects of it-- but are too fearful to do so in
public. Mr. Graves' smear provides evidence for this allegation.  Is it
therefore the aim of the defenders of Holocaust orthodoxy  like Mr. Graves
to intimidate by smears  individuals who stray even a scintilla from that
orthodoxy (such as by refusing to utterly condemn revisionists) or do they
really seek to defeat revisionism by the merits of  their arguments?  If
their goal is the latter they should use different methods.  



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