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GERMANY: Hitler, the Holocaust, Antisemitism

Harry Papasotiriou describes the rise and fall of a scholar:

"Regarding David Irving, I would say that this is a case of an impressive scholar gone very badly wrong on account of his politics. I would concur with John Keegan, that Irving's "Hitler's War" is one of the best books on WWII from the German perspective (Keegan reaffirmed his assessment of this book at the London trial). Yet having read the verdict of the trial (some one hundred dense pages), I can no longer trust anything written by Irving relating to Hitler's anti-Semitism, let alone the Holocaust. Irving was exposed at the trial as failing basic standards of historiography on these matters, when he himself had reached high standards on other military and diplomatic aspects of WWII. But he was already seriously failing as a historian in his extremely polemic biography of Winston Churchill, which at times presented items from Goebbels's propaganda as facts with no further evidence. It is a great pity that a scholar who has done immense work on the German archives regarding WWII, and earlier in his career produced valuable historical syntheses, allowed his pro-Hitler political views to override the minimal professional standards of historiography. What began as a very promising career in writing history has now been discredited beyond redemption."

My comment: This is a good summary, but the publicity of the trial did much to damage his reputation. He was a fool to start it. He is fighting, so the argument will go on. Theologically, no one is beyond redemption except those who have sinned against the Holy Ghost, whatever that means. I do not think David Irving has been accused of that.

Ronald Hilton - 7/16/00