The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Case for David Irving
by Nigel Jackson

Marcellus then concludes that to support the principle of revisionism is to support the freedom of speech in history,

He explains, moving into more controversial territory, that when history is written by partisan historians from victor nations, it tends to be biased. Correction is needed by impartial study of the secret records of wartime governments and of their ministers, diplomats, military leaders and other functionaries. There is no doubt that David Irving is a master of this method.

Since World War Two, Marcellus asserts, it is regrettable that the "court historians" (those historical writers who, for one reason or another, support the Establishment line) have often been given privileged access to the records, while dissident historians have been excluded from them. The access given to Churchill's official biographer, Dr Martin Gilbert, by Her Majesty the Queen, but denied to David Irving, is a case in point (relating to documents held by the British Crown). Contrary to the view of the profanum vulgus, Marcellus points out that the revisionist scholars who are working in many nations around the world cannot be grouped together at a particular position on the conventional "left-centre-right" political spectrum. They are men and women who believe that citizens have right to know what their governments are doing behind the scenes and behind the propaganda. They are opposed to the imposition of monolithic "orthodoxy" in the area of historical studies. Their approach tends naturally to lead towards reconciliation, greater understanding, the resolution of conflicts and the diminution of future wars. "By wresting control of the past from established interests and returning it to those who lived and suffered it, revisionist may make possible a secure and prosperous future for all of us". However, the concept of revisionism is more profound, and requires further explication.

The Shorter Oxford Dictionary (the two-volume 1973 edition) provides the Latin origin of the term. The prefix "re-" in front of the verb videre (to see) can denote "back", "again" or "repeatedly" - and all of these possibilities are relevant to our topic. The revisionist approach is one which looks back, sometimes very far back indeed, even into ancient times; it looks again, not accepting the first offered explanation; and it looks repeatedly, in that it engages in a very serious and onerous and rigorous study of its materials.

The esteemed dictionary further gives us a 1611 date for the earliest reference to "revision", understood as the "action of revising, especially critical or careful examination or perusal with a view to correcting or improving". There is an 1865 date for the first appearance of a "revisionist" as "one who advocates revision"; and there is an 1881 date for "revisionists", these being the revisers of the Bible.

That last reference remids us that the act of revision applies to every aspect of our traditional inheritance of culture and civilisation - and not just to history, or the history of our present century. Revisionism is an attitude that is indispensable to the maintenance of that inheritance; it must be undertaken anew by each generation; and there is nothing that can claim to be sacrosanct from such renewed investigation. Only God, Allah, the ain-soph, stands immune to such scrutinies - but not the man-made theologies, rituals, cults, texts and political forms which are created (more or less wisely) in the name of that ultimate.

The great traditionalist poet, T.S. Eliot, understood well the importance of revisionism. His famous essay, Tradition and the Individual Talent, is filled with its spirit, applied to his own field of literature. He knew that being traditional does not mean "a blind acceptance or timid adherence" to the previous generation and its successes (real or apparent). He wrote:

"Tradition is a matter of much wider significance. It cannot be inherited, and if you want it you must obtain it by great labour. It involves, in the first place, the historical sense, which we may call nearly indispendable to anyone who would continue to be a poet beyond his twenty-fifth year; and the historical sense compels a man to write not merely with his own generation in his bones, but with a feeling that the whole of the literature of Europe from Homer, and within it, the whole of the literature of his own country, has a simultaneous existence and composes a simultaneous order."

Our time is disfigured by a squalid attempt by a currently powerful ehnic minority with long-established antecedents (or some of the members thereof) to stamp out the works of the revisionist historians whose researches are felt to offend them or strike at their interests. Because of his status, David Irving is seen as a major threat to those groups who seek to profit by their own version of history.

No honourable person or educational institution will succumb to the pressure associated with this misdirected enterprise. The revisionist historians (in the narrower senses of the phrase) are a part of a much larger community of endeavour that is vital to the continued wellbeing of humanity; and that is the prime reason why their freedom to speak, research, write and publish should be firmly and fearlessly defended.

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