Archive/File: holocaust/england/irving libel Last-Modified: 1994/02/15 <35> His first book, The Destruction of Dresden (London: W. Kimber, 1963), caused a sensation by its accusation that the Anglo-American raids on Dresden in February 1945 constituted a major war atrocity. Irving's book, which exaggerated threefold the number of deaths that actually occurred and made unfounded charges about Allied actions, has since been refuted. Two of this later books, Accident: The Death of General Sikorski (London: W. Kimber, 1967), and The Destruction of Convoy PQ 17 (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1969), prompted legal action. Irving lost both cases and had to pay damages and costs of about #45,000 in the libel suit on Convoy PQ 17. Irving first entered the headlines in 1970. In July of that year, he was forced to apologize in the High Court of London for "making a wholly untrue and highly damaging statement about a woman writer." -- not an auspicious start for someone who claims to be in pursuit of the truth. Later that year, Irving was back in the headlines, concerning publication of his book, "The Destruction of Convoy PQ17". Ostensibly an expose of an ill-fated 1942 Arctic convoy headed for the Soviet Union during World War II, it eventually resulted in Irving being fined 40,000 British pounds for libel. Irving's book faulted Captain John Broome, commander of the convoy at the time, saying he was guilty of "downright disobedience" and "downright desertion of the convoy." Broome brought suit against Irving for false statements, and won a judgment in August of 1970. Irving's lawyers appealed, and lost in March, 1971. The case is revealing because of what it says about Irving's abilities as a historian and his motives as an author. According to the Times of London, Irving showed a copy of the manuscript to Broome before publication. Broome objected to the accuracy of some thirty passages in the book, and threatened to sue for libel if Irving did not make changes. At that point, William Kimbers Ltd., Irving's publisher, notified him that they would not publish the book as it was then written. Later, Irving published the book with another publisher. The court found that Irving "was warned from most responsible quarters that his book contained libels on Captain Broome... To make [the book] a success he was ready to risk libel actions... Documentary evidence... showed that [Irving] had deliberately set out to attack Captain Broome and in spite of the most explicit warnings persisted in his attack because it would help sell the book." The court labeled Irving's conduct as "outrageous and shocking." Irving's misrepresentations did not end with the publication of his book. According to Cesarani, in 1979, a German publisher had to pay compensation to the father of Anne Frank after printing the German edition of Irving's book, Hitler's War. Irving had claimed that Anne Frank's diary was a forgery. In light of publicity about David Irving, who wrote a book in which he claims the Holocaust did not happen, it should be pointed out that he makes a living writing books which cast doubt on historical events. In 1970, his book, The Destruction of Convoy PQ17, caused an uproar, particularly in naval circles, and resulted in a court action against Irving for libel. The action was taken by Capt. John Broome, senior officer in charge of the naval escort. In July 1942, 36 merchant ships set sail from the United Kingdom for Murmansk with supplies for the besieged Russians. In the Barents Sea, it [the convoy] came under heavy attack by German aircraft and U- boats. The British admiralty, acting on intelligence reports (later proved false) that the battleship Tirpitz had put to sea, gave an order for the convoy to scatter while the naval escorts searched for the battleship. Captain Broome complained that in Irving's book, the blame for the convoy's destruction was put on him, the inference being that the navy had abandoned the merchant ships. The judge found in Capt. Broome's favor. But by then, his reputation had been damaged by the questionable 'facts' written about the incident.
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