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
Professor Richard J Evans, briefly
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
The Frankfurter Allgemeine
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
begleiteter Darstellung zuweilen einfach
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
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
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
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
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
This same citation is repeated in Lipstadt's Denying
History with the exact implication. Do misleading
citations like this serve the interest of historical
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
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
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.
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.