Documents on the Fight for Real History

David Irving

[Photoby Michael Hentz, for
The New York Times]

To: Reader's Letters,
The Nation

New York City, replying to an otherwise excellent article by Aryeh Neier in their "May 6, 1996" issue about the St Martin's Press scandal.
April 22, 1996

London, May 6, 1996

Sir, THE FACT-CHECKERS employed by American magazines are the envy of us all. They seem however to check only the lesser details, while the larger allegations pass unscrutinised. Where, to give one example, can I be found to have 'denied the Holocaust'? Certainly not in my biography, Goebbels. Mastermind of the Third Reich. (In fact, the answer is, nowhere). At most, I have voiced a muted but proper scepticism about some aspects of that immense tragedy.

My opponents have employed two of the principles established (in 1940) by the Nazi propagandist Dr Joseph Goebbels himself: firstly, that if you repeat a simple lie often enough, it will eventually be believed; secondly, that you must never be seen to initiate the lie in your own journals, but always plant it somewhere else. Goebbels would start his lies in, for example, the ostensibly neutral wartime Svenska Dagbladet , and then "quote" it as coming from that source.

The modern equivalent is the Internet, a cesspit choking in its own unverified cyber-flotsam. To persuade Saint Martin's Press that I was an author unworthy of their imprint, my opponents first seeded their materials around the Net, then fished them out, wiped off the slime, and presented them as fact to my baffled publishers.
Despite my requests SMP never once invited my comments on these stories. They assured me they intended to stand firm. Coming under a barrage of death threats and obscene calls, they capitulated on the eve of publication. Cancelling production of the book which, in private, they had repeatedly lauded to the skies, they ascribed their decision not to their own cowardice, but to what they claimed to have learned only now about me, from the Internet. To see my thirty-five year record as one of the world's leading historians on Nazi Germany ignored, indeed publicly trampled on by my own publishers, has been a very miserable experience indeed.

Yours faithfully, David Irving

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