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We hope that his knowledge of colloquial German has improved since he gave (or rather sold) his expert evidence in the Lipstadt trial, and that he has memorised the names and positions of at least some of the top Nazis.

Dialogue with Professor Richard J Evans, briefly continued

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David Irving comments:

   AS for the much-praised scholar Richard "Skunky" Evans, we hope that his knowledge of colloquial German has improved since he gave (or rather sold) his expert evidence in the Lipstadt trial, and that he has memorised the names and positions of at least some of the top Nazis (Albert Speer springs to mind).
   His much-vilified three-volume history of the Third Reich has an interesting history: besides paying him half a million pounds to give his unbiased and objective views about me in the trial of DJC Irving vs. Penguin Books Ltd and Lipstadt, Penguin Books secretly negotiated a one million pound contract for this turgid opus; this interesting fact was not disclosed to the High Court -- the views of the judge, Sir Charles Gray, who later called the payments made to the expert witnesses "obscene", would have been interesting to hear.
   The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, reviewing this Evans opus, titled its review, "Kein feines Ohr Richard Evans hebt zu einem dreibändigen Werk über das Dritte Reich" -- they deemed the first volume of his Trilogy boring, needlessly elaborate, and insensitive ("weil das Wesen der Geschichte nun einmal die Nuance ist, in Evans' voluminöser, von viel überflüssiger Ausführlichkeit begleiteter Darstellung zuweilen einfach vermißt.")

Richard Evans

   I guess Evans will prefer to stick with the opinions of his Jewish friends and -- in the Lipstadt trial -- paymasters.
   I wrote in an earlier piece of the Faustian pledge this left-wing Cambridge history professor had signed when they paid him up to half a million pounds (plus hidden bonuses) for his "expert evidence" against me; he is now lumbered with these unlikeable friends for the rest of his life.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Jonas: Thanks again for the response. I understood your point. What I am saying is that when you unequivocally write that Irving's writing is "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…" then by definition you are saying that absolutely nothing he has written is "valuable."

You also wrote on page 253, "Irving is essentially an ideologue who uses history for his own political purposes; he is not primarily concerned with discovering and interpreting what happened in the past, he is concerned merely to give a selective and tendentious account of it to further his own ideological ends in the present…That is why, in my expert report, in a passage that the judge did not in the end accept, I concluded that Irving was not a historian."

To categorize Irving in such a manner in Lying About History without adding clauses such as "he has discovered some valuable documents" would give the reader the impression that Irving has produced nothing worth reading.

Moreover, are noted historians such as John Keegan, A. J. P. Taylor, Donald Cameron Watt, J. E. Molpurgo, Stephen Spender, Hugh Trevor Roper, Norman Stone, Gordon A. Craig, Larry Thompston, Francis L. Lowewenheim, John Erickson, Michael Howard, Stephen Roskill, among others, wrong in praising Irving the ideologue? What do they have to gain in praising such a mad man who is furthering his own ideological purposes? I guess Irving is not the only mad man in town.

Of course not a single historian is perfect and we all have our biases and preconceptions, and Irving certainly has his shortcomings.

Simply because a historian might be wrong on a few issues does not necessarily mean that his entire work is worthless. For example, William L. Shirer, in The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, advanced the now defunct idea that the German used Jewish fat to make soap. Alleged eyewitness accounts were also summoned to propagate the same idea. Yet even Lipstadt now agrees that this is balderdash. Should we discount Shirer's entire book as "worthless"?

Should we discount all eyewitnesses as well? In the same sense, rational people should accept the premise that Irving is probably wrong on some of his views and sources, but it is the job of the historian&emdash;and a noted figure like you&emdash;to clearly point out where he is right and where he is wrong. Moreover, summoning the opinions of like-minded historians to disprove Irving will not do for the same reason that other noted figures also praise him. As previously suggested, Irving will continue to laugh at the popular historians when they cannot disprove him by the archives, since this is where most of his sources originated. Lying About History gives the impression that Irving's entire edifice is "worthless," and I do not think this is in line with historical research, since other noted historians have found his work to be valuable. Lipstadt for example used to assign the book Fragments: Memories of a Wartime Childhood 1939-1948 to her students. The Holocaust memoir of Benjamin Wilkomirski, Fragments, came out in 1995 and enjoyed immediate success. Practically overnight, the book received worldwide success. Publishers Weekly, Historical Standard & Scholarship, the National Jewish Historical Scholarship & Books Awards, Prix Memoire de la Shoah, have all praised the book. To make a long story short, the whole story was a complete hoax, a thread-bare fabrication by a non-Jew who lived in Switzerland during the war.

Despite the revelation of Fragments as a hoax, Deborah Lipstadt stated the book was still "powerful as a novel"! I am sure you would say that Lipstadt is quite wrong here, but it would be illogical to dismiss all her work as "worthless" without a convergence of evidence. I am a bit surprised that you say your book does not rely on what other historians have said. You frequently cite secondary sources in your massive endnotes and in the text itself. For one example, on page 243 you wrote, "Both Charles Sydnor and John Lukacs had identified inaccuracies in Irving's accounts of military campaign" without even telling the reader where the accuracies lie.

This same citation is repeated in Lipstadt's Denying History with the exact implication. Do misleading citations like this serve the interest of historical scholarship?

Evans: Irving has indeed produced nothing worth reading. The only things worth reading are the documents he has discovered, for which you have to go back to the originals, as I did. His manipulations and inventions were partly exposed by Trevor-Roper and Sereny in the 1970s but their full extent only became apparent as a result of my work during the trial. All the historians you list are completely wrong in their views of him apart from Trevor-Roper, who sent me a lengthy letter before the trial branding Irving as an ideologue whose work was without value. Many historians changed their mind as a result of the trial's exposure of Irving's falsifications so it is no use citing their pre-trial views. In any case you are doing the same thing that you wrongly accuse me of doing, namely using other historians to bolster your case.

To repeat: my assessment of Irving is not based on the opinions of other historians, but on my own research. Please read my book again if you cannot grasp this point. Irving's views have in fact been disproved by the archives. Again, read the judgement and my book if you cannot grasp this point. Of course I refer to other historians' work like any proper historian does (Irving does not) but you can check it out via the page references in my footnotes, which are in no sense misleading. And in any case it is the archival record and the way Irving misuses it that is at the centre of 'Lying about Hitler'.

Shirer's 'Rise and Fall of the Third Reich' is pretty much worthless. It was out of date even when it was written. The only real value is in his own participant observation, best approached through his wonderful 'Berlin Diary'. This correspondence is now closed.

12:09 Irving: It looks like you got seriously under his skin.

"This correspondence is now closed." What a twit. Losing at draughts, he petulantly sweeps the checkers off the board. In a tantrum.


Jonas: I am going to make this available in a book so that people can see what Historian Evans really is up to. I've got a very short answer from Michael Shermer, co-author of Denying History. It is intellectually embarrassing to read those guys' responses.


... on this website: 

Index on Richard Evans
Publisher drops Irving trial book
Die Zeit reviews Eva Menasse's book
Richard Evans: Lying About Hitler: History, the Holocaust and the David Irving Trial [Our book review]
Prof. Evans smears Prof. Ernst Nolte, says world's Jews "never declared war on Nazi Germany"


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Victor will owe less to history than to how we see ourselves
Man of hope and glory
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