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Friday, 14 June, 2002, 23:00 GMT 00:00 UK

Sir Ian Kershaw: Dissecting Hitler

THE knighthood awarded to Professor Ian Kershaw is just the latest in a long line of plaudits for the best-selling historian, explains Andrew Walker of the BBC's News Profiles Unit.

Ian Kershaw, professor of modern history at Sheffield University, is widely regarded as the world's leading expert on Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich.

His magisterial two-volume biography of the dictator, titled Hubris and Nemesis respectively, has redefined the way we look at that darkest of eras.

David Irving writes on Tuesday, July 16, 2002: Lawyers for the BBC, a corporation which has not hesitated to steal my videos and broadcast them, and to plagiarise and exploit many of my thirty books without according me any credit for my research, have forbidden me in a letter dated July 15, 2002, to reproduce the full article. The above sentences are posted as fair usage. There follows my summary of the rest:

The article continue by describing Kershaw as a sixty year old Lancashire born Catholic son of a Royal Air Force mechanic who had admitted that he never thought of himself as "academically able." His history teacher, a Catholic priest, Father Burke, was "brilliant," Sir Ian said. Later, at Liverpool University, he became an expert in medieval history and a "real-ale addict". Visiting West Germany in 1972 he was surprised by an aging Nazi's remark that "the Jew is a louse". Kershaw claims to have worked for a decade on Hitler [David Irving: -- in fact Kershaw sat with a copy of my Hitler's War at his elbow throughout, plagiarising sections of it.] Kershaw disbelieved that the Nazis were a highly-organised party machine. He saw Hitler as a man without an inner life, and expressed jocular delight when that "bullet finally went through that bloke's head."

Related items on this website:

A sample of Kershaw's writing: "Hitler screamed: 'You have all betrayed me'."
New York Times: Mr. Kershaw said he dismissed the idea of interviewing surviving members of the Nazi regime
Free download, Millenium edition of David Irving: Hitler's War
 Other David Irving free books downloads

Reviews of Kershaw's books:

N Y Times, Dec 10, 2000: "In Volume II of his biography, Ian Kershaw shows that Hitler had the perfect personality for a cult leader"
The Observer, Oct 15, 2000: "Ian Kershaw reveals a Führer who was a clinically insane monster but a dull amateur with bad breath in Hitler 1936-45"

David Irving

David Irving comments, Saturday, June 15, 2002:

A READER sends me the above news item. Congratulations, "Sir" Ian! Conformism, no matter how distasteful it is to the alert brain, has its rewards if persisted in. As Field Marshal Wolfram von Richthofen wrote in his diary, when awarded the Oak Leaves and Diamonds (I believe), "It's all good stuff for the medals cushion on top of the coffin."
   My reader asks however: "How objective and good a researcher is Ian Kershaw? Does he make any valid points or unearth things that you have already dealt with? In other words, is he worth reading?"
   I have to answer truthfully: "He told me [when I
approached him to act as an expert witness in the Lipstadt action] he's not much good at reading German; he did not interview any of Hitler's people [see: New York Times interview]. His book is regurgitated from the works of others, from what I hear; I have heard he relies very heavily on my books, not always admitting it."
   The historians who were really worth their salt -- Gibbon, Macaulay, A J P Taylor come straight to mind -- were never offered Knighthoods by a grateful establishment, and would not have accepted them if they were.


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