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Douglas Rees spotted the General-Patton-and-his-niece story in The War Between the Generals, Friday, March 26, 2004

Churchill and Hitler, volumes on

A FEW days ago, the hard disk on my computer went to the great beyond. Among the things I lost were the downloads I had earlier made of several of your books in pdf format. I was overjoyed to find that replacements were still available.

Among other things, I consider your description of General George S Patton Jr in "The War Between the Generals" as among the best I have ever encountered. I noticed that you hinted at (but did not quite mention) Jean Gordon, Patton's niece, with whom the general had a more-than-avuncular familiarity.

As someone who has had an inordinate love of history throughout his life, I am appalled at the current tendency (both in America and in Europe) to apply criminal and other sanctions to "revisionist" historians. Your treatment by the German government and others has been a case in point.

No one alive could detest Hitler, his regime, and the "final solution" more than I do. I firmly believe that the Holocaust did take place (though the precise details of how it happened -- how many people were killed when and where -- are subject to research and possible revision). But I also believe that those who take a contrary view should be refuted in the open court of rational debate, and not suppressed by the power of entrenched institutions.

When we begin to censor ideas -- even those we consider bad -- we give them a credibility they would not otherwise possess. The Catholic Church found this out, to its sorrow, long ago. I wish modern "liberals" would learn from that historical experience.

Douglas Rees


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David Irving comments:

SORRY to hear about the computer crash; yes, my book downloads will be there for a long time, and I will keep them free for readers as long as I can afford to.

The first clue about Patton's relationship with his niece came when I had the handwritten diary of Lieut.-General Everett S Hughes transcribed -- a hellish task, which took Molly McClellan some three months and cost me $5,000 twenty years ago, a lot of money in those days.

She phoned me in London with the announcement, "You've hit pay dirt!" --- evidently some kind of Americanism. Hughes had a 1944 conversation with Patton in which the latter boasted, "Jean has been mine for twelve years." Since she was 24 at that time, Hughes was surprised, and recorded the remark. When Parade magazine published an item based on my book, Beatrice Patton furiously rejected it. The latest Patton biography confirms however that my version is correct. Jean Gordon committed suicide when news of Patton's untimely death in December 1945 reached her in Washington.

 © Focal Point 2004 David Irving