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  • David Irving??

    I know that he's not a WW2 personality but I couldn't figure out where else to pose this question and get the responses I'm looking for.

    I have and have read David Irving's Hitler's War and found it to be ludicrous in it's conclusions, however, I've seen another book by Irving footnoted extensively in other WW2 books. It was The War Between The Generals and I've seen it in at least 4 other books on the European Theater. So my question would be: Did Irving start out as a legitimate historian and author? Was the start of his Holocaust denying and revisionism when he wrote Hitler's War? And why did he start taking this viewpoint or was it always there? And do his later books nullify what he might have written that was "good history"?Having never read The War Between The Generals I'm just curious as to why he would start writing "history" that was sure to inflame people.
    Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

  • #2
    Originally posted by revans View Post
    I know that he's not a WW2 personality but I couldn't figure out where else to pose this question and get the responses I'm looking for.

    I have and have read David Irving's Hitler's War and found it to be ludicrous in it's conclusions, however, I've seen another book by Irving footnoted extensively in other WW2 books. It was The War Between The Generals and I've seen it in at least 4 other books on the European Theater. So my question would be: Did Irving start out as a legitimate historian and author? Was the start of his Holocaust denying and revisionism when he wrote Hitler's War? And why did he start taking this viewpoint or was it always there? And do his later books nullify what he might have written that was "good history"?Having never read The War Between The Generals I'm just curious as to why he would start writing "history" that was sure to inflame people.

    Irving has been making things up since his first major book, 'The Destruction of Dresden' in 1963. He was never a legitimate historian. His books are only fit for use as toilet paper.

    "Not one of [Irving's] books, speeches or articles, not one paragraph, not one sentence in any of them, can be taken on trust as an accurate representation of its historical subject. All of them are completely worthless as history, because Irving cannot be trusted anywhere, in any of them, to give a reliable account of what he is talking or writing about. ... if we mean by historian someone who is concerned to discover the truth about the past, and to give as accurate a representation of it as possible, then Irving is not a historian." Richard J. Evans testomony at the Irving libel trial.

    "Irving has for his own ideological reasons persistently and deliberately misrepresented and manipulated historical evidence; that for the same reasons he has portrayed Hitler in an unwarrantedly favourable light, principally in relation to his attitude towards and responsibility for the treatment of the Jews; that he is an active Holocaust denier; that he is anti-Semitic and racist, and that he associates with right-wing extremists who promote neo-Nazism" Judgement of Mr Justice Gray in the same libel trial.

    Remember in the UK it is much easier for the plaintiff (in this case Irving) to win a libel case than in the US. The burden of proof is entirely on the defence (Lipstadt and Penguin books) to show that what they have claimed is true, no malice need be shown. Thus it has been proven in court that Irving as well as being a Holocaust Denier has lied in a number of his books to show Hitler and the Nazis in a good light and conversely the Allies in a bad light.
    "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

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    • #3
      Some folk just don't get it. Mr. Irving is among that group. The sad part is that he isn't simply the only one.

      Regards,
      Dennis
      If stupid was a criminal offense Sea Lion believers would be doing life.

      Shouting out to Half Pint for bringing back the big mugs!

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      • #4
        Okay, with the above answers in mind, why would other reputable historians footnote his work in their own books? This has got me really confused now.
        Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by revans View Post
          Okay, with the above answers in mind, why would other reputable historians footnote his work in their own books? This has got me really confused now.
          Being unaware of the dates involved I'd check those first. Were the citations before or after he was exposed?

          I don't know, just my two cents.......
          If stupid was a criminal offense Sea Lion believers would be doing life.

          Shouting out to Half Pint for bringing back the big mugs!

          Comment


          • #6
            I Can't Tell You How David Irving Started Out

            But in the present I personally consider him to be a Total & Complete Wacko Nutjob.

            I know other people do too.

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            • #7
              David Irving is a right wing fascist and Nazi apologist that much is abundantly true. However, to label all of his work as lies and fantasy is utterly incorrect and misguided. Some of his work is pretty good and as the OP mentioned, footnoted by other authors, some prominent military historians among them, such as John Keegan for example. His ridiculous and repugnant views however, have completely overshadowed any good work he has done.
              "Huge moustaches, tiny brains!"

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Doppleganger View Post
                David Irving is a right wing fascist and Nazi apologist that much is abundantly true. However, to label all of his work as lies and fantasy is utterly incorrect and misguided. Some of his work is pretty good and as the OP mentioned, footnoted by other authors, some prominent military historians among them, such as John Keegan for example. His ridiculous and repugnant views however, have completely overshadowed any good work he has done.
                He did revise his figures for the Dresden casualties a couple of years after the book was first published stating (something like) that he didn't want to perpetuate any inaccuracies in his work that further research might reveal. It suggests that he had ambitions to be a serious historian at least. Around the time of the infamous trial mentioned above he drew support from Keegan and Gita Sereny amongst others from the Historical community. Imho one should read his early work with considerable caution and his avoid his later work completely, unless one treats it as 'alternative history'
                Signing out.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Irving has never been a serious historian. He revised his already ludicrous 1963 figure of 135,000 Dresden bombing deaths to a mythical 250,000 in 1967. The true figure was between 35,000 and 40,000. Far from suggesting that he was seriously attempting to be taken seriously as a historian, his original numbers and the revisions suggest that Irving was attempting to smear the Allies to make Nazi Germany appear to be the victim of a vendetta orchestrated by rest of the world.

                  Irving often selectively quotes John Keegan. For example, Irving cites Keegan's approval of Hitler's War in the book The Battle of History:Re-Fighting World War II, but he never quotes page 10 where Keegan writes "Some controversies are entirely bogus, like David Irving's contention that Hitler's subordinates kept from the fact of the Final Solution."

                  Even in the 2000 trial Keegan did not willingly support Irving. Keegan had to be subpoenaed to appear. Even though he was Irving's witness Keegan was not much help. He described Irving's view on the Holocaust as "perverse" and Keegan wanted to make it clear that he was being forced to give testimony. When Irving tried to get Keegan to say that it was only after Irving wrote Hitler's War in 1977 that serious research about the Holocaust began, Keegan basically said Irving had no effect on Holocaust studies.
                  (his testimony is online here http://www.hdot.org/trial/transcripts/day16/pages11-15)

                  I apologise if my post seems a little angry, but the subject of David Irving really makes me a little
                  "The legitimate object of war is a more perfect peace." General William T. Sherman , 20 July 1865

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by pmririshman View Post
                    I apologise if my post seems a little angry, but the subject of David Irving really makes me a little
                    That's understandable. I just find him frustrating since he is such an engaging writer.

                    I can't find the evidence to support my contention that he revised his casualty figure for Dresden downwards so, for now at least, I'll have to withdraw it.

                    However, looking around the web earlier on I did find a lot of variation in the supposed death toll at Dresden from as low as 20,000 to a high of 60,000 and a general agreement that anything like an exact figure will never be known. I also found a letter written to 'The Independent' April this year that makes for interesting reading.

                    Sir: As someone deeply involved in Coventry's civic and cathedral twinning and reconciliation links with Dresden during the 1960s, I deplore current attempts to downplay the mass slaughter wreaked upon that city by the Allied airforces' deliberately created inferno (Robert Hanks, 16 April; letters, 17, 20 April). The Nazis, doubtless for propaganda, put the number of dead at 250,000, but David Irving's research set the total at 135,000, a figure derived from Hanns Voight, superintendent of the Dresden Lost Persons Centre in 1945.

                    Curiously, it was the post-1945 Communist mayor of Dresden, Walter Weidauer, who first advanced the much reduced figure of 35,000 - for political reasons. He attacked Irving for helping "[Western] Imperialists' spread the notion that atomic bombing was no worse than a major conventional air-raid" (Walter Weidauer, Inferno Dresden, 1966). Since this down-playing of the casualty figures resulted from the (very understandable) wish to highlight the distinctive horrors of atomic bombing, GDR official documents on this subject must surely remain suspect.

                    None of the raid survivors, Protestant clergy and civic officials involved in the Dresden-Coventry partnership whom I met ever doubted the number of deaths was over 100,000, even if the Voight-Irving figure could not be exactly verified. Certainly the very extensive area of the Heidefriedhof (official cemetery) indicated corpses on that scale.

                    Irving's later deplorable Holocaust denial and far-right notions do not invalidate the research for his Destruction of Dresden, whose publication in 1963 determined Provost H C N Williams of Coventry Cathedral to embark upon a reconciliation project. Irving himself proposed a British appeal to build a memorial in Dresden, but after wide-ranging consultation, Coventry Cathedral's project with the GDR Christian "Action Reconciliation" organisation, to rebuild the maternity wing of the Protestant Deaconess Hospital, gutted by the RAF, became the celebrated practical expression of British-German reconciliation across the Cold War divide. And Provost Williams always accepted the 135,000 death toll.

                    THE REV BRIAN G COOPER

                    EDINBURGH
                    Of course that doesn't make Irving correct in any shape or form but he has committed far greater sins against History than his account of the bombing of Dresden.
                    Signing out.

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                    • #11
                      How does his book "The War Between The Generals" hold up? This is the one I've seen footnoted. It is an account of the infighting between the Western Allied generals. I can't see how this would be a controversial work.
                      Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by revans View Post
                        How does his book "The War Between The Generals" hold up? This is the one I've seen footnoted. It is an account of the infighting between the Western Allied generals. I can't see how this would be a controversial work.
                        I haven't read that book. All that I know about it is Carlo D'Este wrote that it was "of little historical value" (Decision In Normandy p. 13). What books footnote Irving's The War Between The Generals?
                        "The legitimate object of war is a more perfect peace." General William T. Sherman , 20 July 1865

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by pmririshman View Post
                          I haven't read that book. All that I know about it is Carlo D'Este wrote that it was "of little historical value" (Decision In Normandy p. 13). What books footnote Irving's The War Between The Generals?
                          Carlo D'Este's Patton-A Genius For War. I was really surprised by this and got to looking to see if there was another David Irving who wrote WW2 books. It's the one and the same. I've seen it in other books but do not have them to hand. They were from the local library. But this is the only book from him that I've ever seen footnoted.
                          Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Full Monty View Post
                            That's understandable. I just find him frustrating since he is such an engaging writer.

                            I can't find the evidence to support my contention that he revised his casualty figure for Dresden downwards so, for now at least, I'll have to withdraw it.

                            However, looking around the web earlier on I did find a lot of variation in the supposed death toll at Dresden from as low as 20,000 to a high of 60,000 and a general agreement that anything like an exact figure will never be known. I also found a letter written to 'The Independent' April this year that makes for interesting reading.



                            Of course that doesn't make Irving correct in any shape or form but he has committed far greater sins against History than his account of the bombing of Dresden.
                            One of Irvings many 'sins against history' includes his manufacture of the figures for the Dresden bombing as found in a British court, despite Coopers' disingenius comments above. -



                            The below quote is from another letter to the Independant.

                            "Sir: The Rev Brian G Cooper's assertion (letter, 25 April) that David Irving's research on the bombing of Dresden was valid is incorrect. Mr Cooper has made a subjective assertion that does not accord with the facts as presented by Professor Richard Evans of Cambridge University.

                            Professor Evans made a detailed analysis of Irving's work in his role as a defence witness in the Irving libel trial in 2000. Mr Justice Gray, in his ruling, stated "the estimates of 100,000 and more deaths which Irving continued to put about in the 1990s lacked evidential basis and were as such as no responsible historian would have made".

                            Mr Justice Gray ruled that Irving's historical treatment of Dresden was part of a slanting of evidence to falsely claim perverse equivalence to the Holocaust, and an integral part of Irving's "deplorable Holocaust denial ".

                            These factual findings are at variance with Mr Cooper's claim that Irving's research into Dresden is not invalidated. Indeed, Mr Justice Gray said the Dresden figures from Irving's book are an example of "occasions where Irving's treatment of the historical evidence is so perverse and egregious it is difficult to believe it is inadvertence on his part".

                            The suffering and loss of life in the Dresden bombing was terrible, and the Coventry reconciliation is a noble effort to redress some of that wrong. Mr Cooper's claims do nothing to advance the Coventry reconciliation effort.

                            To use the "research" of a discredited author in support of a cause not only weakens the cause but besmirches its very nature. "

                            If you look through the evidence from the Irving trial you will find several instantces of falsification in the Destruction of Dresden including numbers and the made up story about strafing of civilians.

                            The latest research by the Dresden Museum points to a death toll of 25,000 based on bodycount, in line with the casualty numbers from other similar attacks.
                            "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by revans View Post
                              Carlo D'Este's Patton-A Genius For War. I was really surprised by this and got to looking to see if there was another David Irving who wrote WW2 books. It's the one and the same. I've seen it in other books but do not have them to hand. They were from the local library. But this is the only book from him that I've ever seen footnoted.
                              If you read the footnotes, you'll find that D'Este is detailing the mistakes Irving made in his book.
                              "The legitimate object of war is a more perfect peace." General William T. Sherman , 20 July 1865

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