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In 1989 David Irving wrote this essay as an afterword to a book by Paul Rassinier, posthumously published in Germany.





by David Irving


IN AN AGE in which the writing of history has become dangerously politicised, with the Marxist-Leninist perspective gradually replacing the more traditional views and values, any alternative angle on the events of the first half of this century in Europe is to be welcomed.

No one single book can give a true perspective of a historical event: we need two or more, and from widely spaced viewpoints, just as the sailor needs widely separated stars and planets to navigate by. Nor do we have to agree with all that a book says. Seldom is a navigator actually required to steer toward one star, but he needs to keep all the principal celestial axes and pinpoints in view.

So it is with history. Each man, each reader, prefers his own explanation of events -- but he needs well-spaced, responsible literature to help him form his opinion.

The author of this book, the late Paul Rassinier is one such far-flung star. A pacifist, a socialist, a member of the anti-Hitler Résistance, a former inmate of Hitler's concentration camps: we have read works of history by people with these grim qualifications before -- and yet, Rassinier dared to think the unthinkable.

The Second World War began in an unthinkable way: essentially, it arose from a series of local squabbles, in which none of the later combatants had a direct interest at all.

There had been, since 1933, a squabble between the National Socialists and the Jews, both inside and outside Germany. Each group had enforced boycotts on the other.

This irritating, ugly, irrelevant dispute was swamped, from early 1939 onwards. by the far larger squabble that emerged between Germany and Poland.




As the newspaper magnate Lord Beaverbrook (later one of Churchill's Cabinet ministers but also most vociferous critic too) wrote in March 1938, "There are twenty thousand German Jews in England -- in the professions, pursuing research, in chemical operations, etcetera. These all work against such an accommodation [with Germany]."


This was a dispute over what, in retrospect, were the merest geographical trifles -- former German territories that Hitler, in the name of a now immensely strengthened German people, demanded back. In each case, somehow, the great international bystanders -- France, Britain, and then the Soviet Union and the United States -- found themselves dragged into these distant squabbles.

The outcome, in 1945, was satisfactory only to the United States and the Soviet Union on the one hand, and to what subsequently became the State of Israel on the other. Wretched Poland was twice trampled underfoot, her intelligentsia and officer corps being murdered within the first months by Hitler's and Stalin's Schergen [killers]. The French lost their empire. Britain was bankrupt by December 1940, had to sell up all of her overseas investments -- to the immense satisfaction and benefit of her American cousins -- and shortly lost her Empire too.

Churchill, 1940Where did all this have its origin? In the hateful class war on which the Marxists and, to an increasingly violent degree, the Socialists had thrived? Or had race war supplanted class war by 1933, as the world's Jewish community -- with the French politicians like Léon Blum and Georges Mandel at their head -- girded themselves for a crusade of revenge against Hitler and his men, a ruthless crusade that was to be fought out with other people's armies and other people's blood? One letter shocked me more than any other which I discovered while writing the biography of Winston Churchill -- a letter in the archives of Churchill's éminence grise Chaim Weizmann (later the first president of the State of Israel).

Pleading with the British prime minister to allow increased Jewish immigration into Palestine, and to allow a Jewish Army, Weizmann offered a political bribe: he wrote reminding Churchill on September 10, 1941, that the Jewish community in the United States was the largest ethnic grouping that still backed Britain's war against Hitler; he claimed that this Jewish community had single-handedly brought the United States into World War I on Britain's side in 1917; and he promised that what they had done before, they could do again.


Thus it is a calumny to see Hitler and his grand strategy alone as the sole origin of Europe's calamity. What can we say with certainty about Hitler -- if we are to ignore the increasingly absurd positions adopted by the semi-blind professors currently teaching history in the German historical institutes?

First, that Adolf Hitler was a patriot -- from first to last, he intended to restore Germany's former unity, pride, and greatness. Having come to power in 1933 he enforced the programme which he had always said he would, from 1922 onward: he restored confidence in the central Government, he rebuilt the German economy, he banished unemployment, he rebuilt the impoverished Wehrmacht, and then he used this new-found muscle to regain Germany's lost sovereignty and embarked on his adventure of winning Lebensraum in the East. He had no evil designs on Britain and her Empire whatever, quite the contrary: this did not prevent the lying German émigrés who had fled to Britain from proclaiming to all who would listen -- or could be bought -- that the British Empire was at risk.

Hitler's foreign policy was guided by the desire for secure frontiers, and the need to expand to the east: he had little interest in the South Tyrol, none at all in the Alsace and Lorraine.

He justified his rearmament of Germany in violation of the Treaty of Versailles by pointing to the failure of the other treaty signatories to adhere to their disarmament obligations.

The war had its origins in Europe's ill adjusted frontiers, in themselves relics of the Treaty of Versailles. German had been separated from German, and it was Hitler's will that they should be united again. The Rhineland was easy: he could stage a fait accompli, and get away with it. Austria was easy too: as Sir Alexander Cadogan, Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office, privately wrote, they had only kept Germany and Austria apart out of spite -- the F.O. had been totally misinformed about the depth of Austria's pro-German feeling. (The Austrian ambassador in London, Georg Franckenstein, decided to stay in Britain: he joined the British Secret Service, M.I.6; and he became "Sir George Franckenstein" before the war was over!)

President RooseveltThe forces pushing Europe into war were not just in Berlin. Joseph Stalin hoped for a European conflict, out of which the Soviet Union would emerge as tertius gaudens (lachender Dritte), with the rest of Europe in ruins. Franklin D. Roosevelt, asked in September 1938 whether a European war was beneficial for the United States, grandly told his Cabinet (as the private diary of his Secretary of the Interior Harold F. Ickes reveals), "A war in Europe can only be good for us. They have to buy their armaments and ammunition from us. Already the gold of Europe is flowing to us so fast that we have not enough warships to carry it across the Atlantic!"

Later, in 1939, Hitler's troops would find in Warsaw archives the telegrams from Polish ambassadors in London, Paris, and Washington revealing how F.D.R. was urging those governments to war with Germany, while posing as a peacemaker. When the German foreign ministry published the captured Polish telegrams in 1940, Graf Jerzy Potocki, Polish ambassador in Washington, denied that they were authentic; but they were -- I have seen the original carbon copies in his papers in the Hoover Library in California.

Similar forces in Britain militated against peace. Winston Churchill, alone and without Cabinet employment since 1930, had cried out for war against somebody -- anybody -- for years.

From July 1936, when London's Jewish community (with the solid backing of the American Jewish authorities) started financially assisting him on a substantial scale, Churchill aimed his hate-filled warmongering speeches and writings against Germany alone. In this crusade he found ready, and often wealthy, backing from the refugees flooding into Britain.

As the newspaper magnate Lord Beaverbrook (later one of Churchill's Cabinet ministers but also most vociferous critic too) wrote in March 1938, "There are twenty thousand German Jews in England -- in the professions, pursuing research, in chemical operations, etcetera. These all work against such an accommodation [with Germany]." "The Jews," the same press lord rasped in another letter from London, "have got a big position in the press here. . . At last I am shaken. The Jews may drive us into war. I do not mean with any conscious purpose of doing so. They do not mean to do it. But unconsciously . . . their political influence is moving us in that direction."* This was the belief of Britain's prime minister Neville Chamberlain; it was the belief of the U.S. Ambassador in Britain, Joseph P. Kennedy, too.

Perhaps this was an exaggeration, an oversimplification: perhaps it is fairer to say that there were nations whose parched economies thirsted for war. All that we can say for certainty, now that we have complete access to the archives, is that until Munich, in 1938, Germany was able to regain her lost possessions without resort to war.

Even after Prague, in March 1939, both Mr Chamberlain and the French were at first inclined to shrug their shoulders and allow Hitler this excess as well. But almost instantly the latent forces of the anti-Hitler coalition -- the British press, the Jewish émigrés, the foreign governments, the bankers and armament manufacturers, snapped the last bonds of restraint.

Under pressure from some or all of these quarters, Chamberlain uttered his fateful guarantee to the Poles at the end of March 1939; on August 25, it was ratified by the British Parliament. Their resolve thus stiffened at the last instant, the Poles refused to listen to Germany's demands, and war became inevitable.

It was as though Peace, always a fragile swimmer in the oceans of national affairs, thus struck a sudden current -- a hidden undertow -- and vanished from sight for the next six years.

* Beaverbrook Papers, House of Lords Records Office.

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© David Irving 1989

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