Unless correspondents ask us not to, this Website will post selected letters that it receives and invite open debate.
A Norwegian academic reveals, Saturday, November 1, 2003, just how neutral "expert witness" Richard Evans really was during the Lipstadt Trial
How neutral was Prof Richard "Skunky" Evans at the Lipstadt Trial?
SHORTLY after the trial I had a seminar with Dr Evans in Cambridge, where I am writing my PhD. I was struck by the level of animosity, verging on hatred, the professor displayed against your person and research, claiming inter alia that the research that you had carried out was all 'worthless'.
I realise that the academic tone is rougher in Britain than in my native Norway, but nevertheless the eagerness to assert that if one has done one mistake all the research ever done is worthless, struck me as ill conceived.
[Website comment: After spending 20 man-years searching Mr Irving's 30 works, Evans and his team charged that the author had made 19 errors (e.g., he had misread a five-letter word in Himmler's handwriting). In a deeply hostile judgment, Mr Justice Gray reduced the figure to twelve.]
Lets face it: It would be the nightmare of most academics to have every footnote ever written rummaged.
The malice of Dr Evans (right) reminded me of the advice given to me by my history professor in Tromsö when as an undergrad I contemplated looking at the Holocaust: "You are not Jewish and the only thing you will achieve is to part with your good name and be branded an anti-Semite." Unfortunately also academia is playing up to the increasingly 1984esque political correctness of the international politics today.
I just finished reading Hitler's War which I found thought provoking. I also enjoyed the Rommel biography. I do find the step by step hypothesis more compelling than the "take over the world" strategy generally taught in schools. I very much agree that WWII is a historical phenomenon that should be dealt with by historians like other phenomenon -- this seems to be increasingly possible, although the trial was a blow to the academic freedom of expression.
And now to the point: I am currently living in Berlin but will attend a conference in London in mid November. I would very much like to meet you for a coffee and a chat about generally about the nature of history and the obligations of historians. I would like to use the chat for an article in Norway's intellectual weekly Morgenbladet about political correctness and historical research.
[Name known to us, withheld at his request]
Bookmark the download page to find the latest new free books