David Irving

[Photoby Michael Hentz, for The New York Times]

Letter to the Editor of
University of Kent newspaper

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 London, November 3, 1983

AS READERS of this magazine will know, the Assistant Master of Darwin College, Mr Bennett, has disallowed the talk I was invited to give to your University History Society because, I understand, of threats by student groups to cause disturbances.
This talk was arranged back in February and scheduled to take place yesterday, Wednesday November 2nd.
Nothing has yet been communicated to me in writing, but I understand that Jewish, Communist, and other student bodies talked of the possibility of violence if my lecture went ahead.
Going by past experience of other British student bodies attached to the National Union of Students I had warned the organizers to expect such a move a day or two before the planned date; and, sure enough, three days before the meeting an entirely "spontaneous" assembly of Kent students was called and, without any reference to me, the invitation to me was cancelled.

Kent University students should realize how they have been duped by a London-directed conspiracy of bigots.
This is the latest of a string of last-minute cancellations resulting from a well-funded and centrally directed attempt at preventing me, and other dissident personalities from speaking on university campuses.
Perhaps you should also know that this attempt to intimidate student audiences does not always succeed.
At Reading University on October 18 five hundred students packed the Palmer Building to hear me lecture while five hundred more demonstrated outside.
There too a last-minute attempt was made to block the meeting, at the behest of the same sinister figures in London; posters called for violent opposition.
But police protected the building.
Invited to vote, the Reading University audience decided 500:20 to give me a hearing, and in the event they listened for two hours.
When one of the vociferous demonstrators who had sneaked into the hall complained that there were hundreds of others outside who would have voted that I not be heard, I replied: "They're having their wish granted. They're outside, and they can't hear me."
Each such cancellation is a personal sorrow for me, but not a great tragedy except maybe for those many of you who had planned to hear me speak.
I have many other engagements planned for British and Irish universities this autumn.

* *

I am of course unaware of what precise arguments were used in this particular case, because the material attacking me has not been disclosed to me it is invariably defamatory but usually lacks an author's or printer's name, so I cannot take the normal course which the law allows.
In some cases, for example the smearsheet Searchlight published in Birmingham, the perpetrators and writers have had to serve prison sentences and other penalties for housebreaking, arson and other felonies.
I have therefore challenged your student body at Canterbury to reveal any documents they received from the anonymous London organizers of the boycott or from the thwarted bigots at Reading, so that I can take such action.
It is clear that this is a vendetta born of the fear of these minority organisations: they see the big audiences that I pull: they know that my arguments are unassailable: so they use smears and threats of violence to get me banned.

* *

Clearly these tactics worked at Canterbury.
Who is behind it and why? It is understandable that some unthinking Jewish society members might resent my objective approach to investigating the Third Reich.

But is there not a danger that their violent methods will prove counter-productive? Certainly at Reading I detected a growing frustration and irritation by the hundreds of students at the undemocratic used by certain members of that society to prevent me from being heard.
This kind of behaviour makes it very hard for normal listeners to continue displaying a benign attitude.
The members of Kent's history society will probably already take a less jaundiced view of my books.
Respectable historians like A.J.P. Taylor, Hugh Trevor-Roper, Norman Stone, D.C.Watt and Ronald Lewin have certainly come out on my side in the past.
(See enclosure [Not posted on this site]) I have been a professional author for twenty years.
It may document my neutrality and international reputation if I tell your student body something they may not have known at the time my attendance was debated, namely that my works are published throughout the world (including the Soviet Union and elsewhere behind the Iron Curtain) always by established publishers like Macmillan, Weidenfeld, Hodders and Michael Joseph and that I have freely researched with official assistance in Moscow, Budapest and Potsdam.
If I am kosher enough for the K.G.B. I might just be good enough for the National Union of Students! Next week Kent University is to debate my exclusion.
Ironically, I will not be allowed to attend.
But is this not the real fascism of our age - to use violence to prevent the statement of controversial or conflicting views? Perhaps this time the students at Canterbury should decide to blow a raspberry at the bigots of the Left and reissue my invitation.
I would be happy to accept a challenge to debate, on whatever subject; history shows that the side which is frightened of open discussion is the side with the most to conceal.
It may be that my facts or hypotheses are open to challenge.
Then let them be openly challenged, in public debate! Come to that, it may even be that my politics are anathema: but unless you students have a chance to hear them, you will never find out.

Yours faithfully,
David Irving

© Focal Point David Irving 1998