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Hitler and the "Little Worms"
Dear Mr. Irving,
On page 197 of your book, "Hitler's War," is the quotation, "Our opponents are like little worms -- I saw them all at Munich!" I read, however, in "The Travesty of Nürnberg" the following:
The third forgery, Document L-3, bears an FBI laboratory stamp and was never even accepted into evidence (II 286 <<320-321>>), but 250 copies of it were given to the press as authentic (II 286-293 <<320-328>>).
This document is quoted by A.J.P. Taylor on page 254 of The Origins of the Second World War (Fawcet Paperbacks, 2nd Edition, with Answer to his critics) giving his source as German Foreign Policy, Series D vii, No. 192 and 193.
L-3 is the source of many statements attributed to Hitler, particularly "who today remembers the fate of the Armenians?" and 'our enemies are like little worms, I saw them all at Munich." 'Hitler' also compares himself to Ghengis Khan and says and says he will exterminate the Poles, and kick Chamberlain in the groin in front of the photographers. The document appears to have been prepared on the same typewriter as many other Nuremberg documents, including the two other versions of the same speech. This typewriter was probably a Martin from the other Triumph Adler Werke, Nuremberg. (pp.9,10).
Carlos W. Porter says that the document with the reference to "worms" is a forgery. A forgery means fraudulent or not true, no? Why do you print this quotation with the reference to "worms" as if true, please?
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David Irving replies:
I AM (relatively) confident in the integrity of that quotation. First let me apologise that my answer may lack precision on two grounds: (a) I first wrote that passage back in the late 1960s, and (b) all of my files and records were seized by the British Government's Trustee on May 23, 2002 and it will take quite a battle in the coming months to locate and recover them, if they have not already been destroyed. (They have so far refused to comply with my requests).
There are several parallel accounts of Hitler's speech on August 22, 1939. My memory is that Peter Hoffmann, now at McGill University, wrote a very fine analysis of all the different versions in a paper for the Institut für Zeitgeschichte quarterly journal, VfZ, back in the 1950s or early 1960s. I subsequently found two or three more items, e.g. the brief reference in Manstein's pocket diary.
L-3 was rightly discounted as a probable forgery. It was generated by opposition circles close to Admiral Canaris (right) and Colonel Oster, and fed to a foreign journalist (Louis Lochner?) with the intent of discrediting Hitler. It went way over the top, and so failed in its long term purpose: e.g. Göring leaping onto a piano to applaud Hitler's pronouncements.
However it was based loosely on the more authentic version actually written by Canaris, which has a PS (Paris-Storey) number; and I believe (though I am open to correction) that the "worms" reference is in that, along with a cynical remark about British prime minister Neville Chamberlain and his umbrella.
I am opening a new file of amendments to make eventually in the expanded two-volume edition of Hitler's War which I shall produce as part of a complete set of my works in 2-3 years' time. If my source on "worms" is weak, then I shall of course excise the sentence; but I don't think it is weak.Illustration by Walter Frentz, from David Irving: "Hitler's War" (Millennium Edition, 2002)