Books By David Irving?

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DrG
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Re: Books By David Irving?

Post by DrG » 20 Mar 2009 13:46

If ever any historian's works had to be scrutinized by a team of scholars under the direction of any other historian with political/idelogical/universitary opposition to him, his works would by found full of "misconceptions, mistakes, fabrications, etc.". If we add that the marxist historian that was used as expert wittness during the Lipstadt trial was also going to sign a very lucrative contract with the Penguin Books (Lipstadt's publisher), then we have another reason to be unsurprised by his "discoveries". :roll:

Irving has been a pioneer in many aspects of Nazi German history and had received excellent reviews by other historians (I remember Keegan, just to cite one), then fell in disgrace with mainstream media and academics for mere political reasons (and there is no other field of research more political than history, expecially of WW2).

Guido

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Qvist
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Re: Books By David Irving?

Post by Qvist » 20 Mar 2009 13:59

Let me re-iterate, that I believe, that it is important to allow differing opinons. They might not always fit in with the 'acceptable' viewpoint, and they may cause controversy, however if you deny that right to freely express an opinion, to openly attempt a fair and open minded discussion on events, to stubbornly resist any possibility that the alternative COULD be the truth, then is it me that has the problem? I dopn't think so.


You flatter yourself. The problem isn't that your statements are controversial, fails to fit with "the acceptable viewpoint" and denies the possibility of alternative truth. The problem is that they're bullshit. You don't grasp the significance of German expansion east - or of allowing Europe to be reordered on the basis of blatant aggression - for the general position of the western powers. You subscribe to the delusional view that Eastern Europe and the Soviet union was somehow "germanic", and hence that there was an element of legitimacy in Hitlerian eastern expansion. You're buying into the "zionists and Brits persecuting Germany" hullaballoo that was a mainstay of German propaganda then and now and that has never had any reality beyond that, as anyone with an ounce of sense knows. You clearly haven't understood much about the realtion of sources to history, since you labor under the misconception that any historian's work can consist of "archival fact".

Possibly Irving raises issues worth discussing. You however don't.

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Re: Books By David Irving?

Post by TL » 20 Mar 2009 14:34

Hello!

I have to agree with Qvist on this. Don't get me wrong, though, I'm all for non-PC, convention/myth-busting history. As long as the research is (even close to) sound. Irving is certainly non-PC and a mythbuster, however, his research is not sound. In fact, it is riddled with distortions and misrepresentations etc. that are not even down to incompetence. They are deliberate and clearly part of an agenda. This is not research or 'another view' of historical events. It is fantasy of the most dangerous kind: based on (poorly) hidden agendas with actual events laced with careful fabrications. People do not have a hard time accepting Irving, because of what he is saying. It's his highly suspect methods of 'research'. We're not talking about PC versus non-PC, but historical research versus bullshit...

Cheers,

TL

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Re: Books By David Irving?

Post by Qvist » 20 Mar 2009 14:46

If ever any historian's works had to be scrutinized by a team of scholars under the direction of any other historian with political/idelogical/universitary opposition to him, his works would by found full of "misconceptions, mistakes, fabrications, etc.". If we add that the marxist historian that was used as expert wittness during the Lipstadt trial was also going to sign a very lucrative contract with the Penguin Books (Lipstadt's publisher), then we have another reason to be unsurprised by his "discoveries".

Irving has been a pioneer in many aspects of Nazi German history and had received excellent reviews by other historians (I remember Keegan, just to cite one), then fell in disgrace with mainstream media and academics for mere political reasons (and there is no other field of research more political than history, expecially of WW2).


I think this amounts to unwarranted generalisation.

1. Irving was found to have fabricated and distorted evidence in a verdict in a court of law. No matter how hostile the expert witness was, he had to justify his conclusions with proof in order to convince the judge, who obviously was indeed convinced.

2. this is not something you can say for other historians, and also not something you can compare in any meaningful way with the normal shortcomings all works of history are more or less subject to.

3. While any historian with an axe to grind against another could indeed point out things he thinks are misconceptions and mistakes, do you seriously mean that you can find find - and prove - fabrications and manipulation and distortion of evidence in most works of history?

4. In light of this, do you think you are justified in your conclusion that Irving fell out of favor solely for reasons of politics?

5. How many favorable reviews of Irving have you read since he was convicted? Do you think this might be due to the fact that most historians accepts that being convicted in a court of law of, essentially, historical fraud is something that ought to be taken seriously?

6. Not sure how much Keegan's opinion is worth, quite frankly. I've never seen him reference a German source that wasn't published in English, so what does he know about how Irving uses the sources?

7. To end the argument against your post and give my own personal opinion: I've read both Hitler's War and The Trail of the Fox. I must confess I don't find either of them particularly good, or very thought-provoking for that matter. He writes with a consistent, massive and obvious bias towards the interpretations he advances. In Hitler's War, his sourcing is frequently downright ludicruous - drawing on sources that are remote from the issues concerned, to the point where you suspect they are being used because they say the right thing (such as using Count Cianos diaries to prove a point about the condition of German forces on the Eastern Front, if I remember correctly). Wherever I was in a position where I was myself acquainted with the relevant sources for the issue discussed, I almost invariably found that Irving's depiction was strange to say the least. He consistently takes an apologetic approach to Hitler's role, using the sources he needs to illustrate the point and avoiding those who contradict it. Furthermore, he generally fails to raise even the most obvious arguments against and questions to whatever line Hitler took on a question. In sum, it becomes a dreary and rather pointless apologia for Adolf that very quickly ceases to read as relevant. It doesn't help to dig up new sources if your use of them is entirely one-sided and you ignore everything that doesn't fit the picture you want to draw. For my part, I have no time for a historian who treats history as a form of polemical tract, and who can never be trusted to offer a perspective on anything that doesn't reek of his own bias. IF the perspective he offered could be adequately sourced and backed by reasonable historical argument, then I would agree that it would be challenging and stimulating, however much one might have disagreed with it. If it can (which I strongly doubt), Irving certainly does not accomplish it. As it is, the only thing they challenge is the limit of my ability to keep reading in spite of the intellectual nausea and irritation that reading them brings on.

cheers

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Re: Books By David Irving?

Post by LWD » 20 Mar 2009 15:08

Engländer wrote:...Remember what I said, that questioning historic events should be a good thing....


It is. However fabricating and falsifying it isn't. Revisionism used to be considered a good thing until the Nazi symps gave it a bad name.

Engländer wrote:...The Destruction of Dresden is, in my opinion, his best work.


Isn't that the one where he deliberatly ignored the reasonable and accepted numbers for casualties and used a highly inflated one even though he knew better?

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Re: Books By David Irving?

Post by trollelite » 20 Mar 2009 16:07

For me he represents those British that painfully realized one victory over Germany cost more than ten defeat... Who knows, perhaps later the word pyrrhic victory would be replaced by churchillic victory? :roll:

The British Empire was built, basically, on same principles of Hitler's Germany. When they buried the Reich they buried the Empire as well. I am just astonished why such a clever people as Churchill cannot realize this.

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Re: Books By David Irving?

Post by Urmel » 20 Mar 2009 16:12

The agitprop machine is working overtime in this thread. :roll:
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

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Re: Books By David Irving?

Post by Kunikov » 20 Mar 2009 17:01

Engländer wrote:Kunikov, are you saying that there are no truths in Irvings work?

There seems to be an element of anger in your post, and certainly sarcasm.



Are you not able to answer a few simple questions without resorting to putting words in other people's proverbial mouths?

Once more:

Is there a reason as to why you are now taking Irving at his word? Perhaps we'll have to wait until you have read a few more 'hundreds of books' before you can question his conclusions?

For the record: Irving lies, manipulates, and ignores facts that do not add up to his thesis/point of view. Why aren't you happy to question that aspect of his wonderful research?
"Opinions founded on prejudice are always sustained with the greatest violence." Jewish proverb
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Re: Books By David Irving?

Post by DrG » 20 Mar 2009 19:28

Qvist,

while Mr. Justice Gray may have found prof. Evans' remarks important and enough to judge against Irving in the trial started, quite foolishly, by him, I have read Evans' report too and I don't share the judge's opinion, not to talk about the fact that Evans was also economically involved in the matter, something quite immoral, if not illegal, for an expert wittness in a tribunal. I, as everybody else, am entitled to judge with my own brain, without thinking that a tribunal can impose its opinion to everybody.

About those that you call "normal shortcomings", I have quite a lower opinion of the average historian (there are dozens of historians fundamentally biased on a national or ideological way), even if a professional and academic one; by the way, Irving is often charged of having inflated the number of Dresden bombing victims: on the other hand, what about the scores of historians who have lazily quoted the 4 million deaths for Auschwitz?

As far as "fabrication" is concerned, I would like to see you point out which documents were fabricated by Irving. This is something well beyond the usual charges on him.

The fact that Irving has disappeared from reviews since his defeat in the Lipstadt trial is just another example of pure and simple conformism: if you work in a University, the first thing you must know is what you can and cannot write. Just an example: a month ago I was talking with a professor about a theory put forward by an American professor who had won the Nobel prize in Economics. This theory, even though the Nobel laureate describes it as a mathematical law is, matemathically, wrong and illogical. Yet, nobody dares to criticize it in an article, because no journal would ever publish it. Peer review, in scientific journals, and the economic control of the publisher, in common newspapers (or do you think that publshers like to be object of boycott?), are a powerful tool for utter conformism.

Your remark about Keegan is extremely surprising: it seems that even Keegan is worhtless when he reviews positively Irving (while I am pretty sure that if his opinion had been negative it would have been loudly and constantly repeated, instead)...

And, finally, a short quotation from Mr. Justice Gray's sentence, whose opinion of Irving seems to be quite better that the one of those who use his judgment as if it were the Holy Bible:
Judgment by Mr. Justice Gray wrote:As a military historian, Irving has much to commend him. For his works of military history Irving has undertaken thorough and painstaking research into the archives. He has discovered and disclosed to historians and others many documents which, but for his efforts, might have remained unnoticed for years. It was plain from the way in which he conducted his case and dealt with a sustained and penetrating cross-examination that his knowledge of World War 2 is unparalleled. His mastery of the detail of the historical documents is remarkable. He is beyond question able and intelligent. He was invariably quick to spot the significance of documents which he had not previously seen. Moreover he writes his military history in a clear and vivid style. I accept the favourable assessment by Professor Watt and Sir John Keegan of the calibre of Irving's military history and reject as too sweeping the negative assessment of Evans. But the questions to which this action has given rise do not relate to the quality of Irving's military history but rather to the manner in which he has written about the attitude adopted by Hitler towards the Jews and in particular his responsibility for the fate which befell them under the Nazi regime.


That said, I want to clarify one thing: I don't think that Irving is the best historian around, nor that he is a great person (I find him rude and an too much interested in money), but I do think that his shortcomings are more than abundantly underlined and exagerated just for political reasons and that his opinion about the Holocaust is only a fraction of his work, and not even the largest or the most interesting. Moreover, I don't think that anybody has ever thought that Irving's books, none of which is devoted to the study of the genocides happened in WW2, are an important source for the study of the Holocaust, while I think that they are a valuable source for the study of strategic (not tactical, even though Rommel's bio reaches also this level; by the way, Desmond Young's bio of the same Fieldmarshal, with its fabrications and racist remarks about the Italians, hasn't caused any trouble to its author, who is somewhat forgotten but never vilified or used as a negative example) military and political/diplomatic history of WW2.

Guido

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Re: Books By David Irving?

Post by Qvist » 20 Mar 2009 20:39

while Mr. Justice Gray may have found prof. Evans' remarks important and enough to judge against Irving in the trial started, quite foolishly, by him, I have read Evans' report too and I don't share the judge's opinion, not to talk about the fact that Evans was also economically involved in the matter, something quite immoral, if not illegal, for an expert wittness in a tribunal. I, as everybody else, am entitled to judge with my own brain, without thinking that a tribunal can impose its opinion to everybody.


Certainly you are. But if you feel the judgment was wrong, I for one would like to see a critique of it?

About those that you call "normal shortcomings", I have quite a lower opinion of the average historian (there are dozens of historians fundamentally biased on a national or ideological way), even if a professional and academic one; by the way, Irving is often charged of having inflated the number of Dresden bombing victims: on the other hand, what about the scores of historians who have lazily quoted the 4 million deaths for Auschwitz?


It is a question of the nature and extent of the shortcomings. Much history is lazy, badly researched and unwarrantedly opinionated, but Irving's shortcomings is of a different order and magnitude - in essence and in scale. Firstly, direct falsification and manipulation of historical sources is an extraordinary occurrence, and is something the reputation of no historian survives. This is something radically different from lazy re-quoting of badly researched figures. Secondly, I quite frankly can't think of any historian I have ever read (save perhaps for some eastern bloc literature) that writes with such an extreme bias as Irving does.

As far as "fabrication" is concerned, I would like to see you point out which documents were fabricated by Irving. This is something well beyond the usual charges on him.


This was one of the points in the verdict, wasn't it?

The fact that Irving has disappeared from reviews since his defeat in the Lipstadt trial is just another example of pure and simple conformism: if you work in a University, the first thing you must know is what you can and cannot write. Just an example: a month ago I was talking with a professor about a theory put forward by an American professor who had won the Nobel prize in Economics. This theory, even though the Nobel laureate describes it as a mathematical law is, matemathically, wrong and illogical. Yet, nobody dares to criticize it in an article, because no journal would ever publish it. Peer review, in scientific journals, and the economic control of the publisher, in common newspapers (or do you think that publshers like to be object of boycott?), are a powerful tool for utter conformism.


Wood. Trees. The man was convicted for historical fraud, for crying out loud. This is not an example of peer review prejudice.

Your remark about Keegan is extremely surprising: it seems that even Keegan is worhtless when he reviews positively Irving (while I am pretty sure that if his opinion had been negative it would have been loudly and constantly repeated, instead)...


I believe I gave a perfectly rational reason for questioning Keegan's relevance in this regard (namely his demonstrable lack of familiarity with the kind of sources Irving is working with and hence of how he treats them), so unless you have some meaningful objection to that reason, maybe we could skip the pointless assumptions?

And, finally, a short quotation from Mr. Justice Gray's sentence, whose opinion of Irving seems to be quite better that the one of those who use his judgment as if it were the Holy Bible:


I agree with every word of it, except the sentence about a favorable general assessment of his military history. But none of that helps one bit as long as he falsifies sources - and as long as his other shortcomings are what they are. And give me a break, nobody is quoting the sentence as if it was the bible. If somebody would bother to come up with a reasonable critique of it, I'm listening. But so far all we have is crap about how it is all due to conformism and politics, which impresses me for one infinitely less than the fact that he has a court verdict against him for things that are inexcusable in any historian.

Code: Select all

 That said, I want to clarify one thing: I don't think that Irving is the best historian around, nor that he is a great person (I find him rude and an too much interested in money), but I do think that his shortcomings are more than abundantly underlined and exagerated just for political reasons and that his opinion about the Holocaust is only a fraction of his work, and not even the largest or the most interesting. Moreover, I don't think that anybody has ever thought that Irving's books, none of which is devoted to the study of the genocides happened in WW2, are an important source for the study of the Holocaust, while I think that they are a valuable source for the study of strategic (not tactical, even though Rommel's bio reaches also this level; by the way, Desmond Young's bio of the same Fieldmarshal, with its fabrications and racist remarks about the Italians, hasn't caused any trouble to its author, who is somewhat forgotten but never vilified or used as a negative example) military and political/diplomatic history of WW2.


Well, for my part I find Hitler's War essentially worthless, but to each his own.

cheers

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Re: Books By David Irving?

Post by Urmel » 20 Mar 2009 21:31

For anyone interested, a .rtf file of the judgement can be found here:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/irving/
Finding as to Irving’s motivation
13.163 Having reviewed what appear to me to be the relevant considerations, I return to the issue which I defined in paragraph 13.138 above. I find myself unable to accept Irving’s contention that his falsification of the historical record is the product of innocent error or misinterpretation or incompetence on his part. When account is taken of all the considerations set out in paragraphs 13.140 to 13.161 above, it appears to me that the correct and inevitable inference must be that for the most part the falsification of the historical record was deliberate and that Irving was motivated by a desire to present events in a manner consistent with his own ideological beliefs even if that involved distortion and manipulation of historical evidence.
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

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Re: Books By David Irving?

Post by Engländer » 20 Mar 2009 21:35

Kunikov wrote:Once more:

Is there a reason as to why you are now taking Irving at his word? Perhaps we'll have to wait until you have read a few more 'hundreds of books' before you can question his conclusions?


No REASON, just after reading so many books over the years, one is no different to the other, and I found it refreshing to read a work offering a different viewpoint.

Kunikov wrote:For the record: Irving lies, manipulates, and ignores facts that do not add up to his thesis/point of view. Why aren't you happy to question that aspect of his wonderful research?


When did I ever say I wasn't happy to question Irvings work? I will gladly read any rational argument against Irvings work with an open mind. There are some decent arguments put forward in this thread, however they are intermingled with some who just see red when someone puts the view that they think there are some valid points made through Irvings findings.

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Re: Books By David Irving?

Post by Kunikov » 20 Mar 2009 21:59

Engländer wrote:
Kunikov wrote:Once more:

Is there a reason as to why you are now taking Irving at his word? Perhaps we'll have to wait until you have read a few more 'hundreds of books' before you can question his conclusions?


No REASON, just after reading so many books over the years, one is no different to the other, and I found it refreshing to read a work offering a different viewpoint.


A work by an author who it has been proven in court manipulates information for his own prejudices. Ever stop to wonder how that 'refreshing...work' you're reading is in reality agenda driven and full of twisted facts?

Engländer wrote:
Kunikov wrote:For the record: Irving lies, manipulates, and ignores facts that do not add up to his thesis/point of view. Why aren't you happy to question that aspect of his wonderful research?


When did I ever say I wasn't happy to question Irvings work? I will gladly read any rational argument against Irvings work with an open mind. There are some decent arguments put forward in this thread, however they are intermingled with some who just see red when someone puts the view that they think there are some valid points made through Irvings findings.


When you spout off about "the British and International zioinist industriasts" it becomes difficult to accept your ravings for anything but. Lastly, "decent arguments"? The profession of an historian is largely based upon their reputation. The field of scholarly literature is hard enough to get into and once your reputation has been demolished, as Irving's has, I doubt he will ever be taken seriously again, or cited, by those who publish serious scholarly research. The reason I, and I will not speak for others, see 'red' is because I am disappointed in the fact that Irving has pretty much stolen people's hard earned money and given them tainted trash in return.
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Re: Books By David Irving?

Post by Engländer » 20 Mar 2009 22:02

Qvist wrote:You flatter yourself. The problem isn't that your statements are controversial, fails to fit with "the acceptable viewpoint" and denies the possibility of alternative truth. The problem is that they're bullshit.


Why?

Qvist wrote: You don't grasp the significance of German expansion east - or of allowing Europe to be reordered on the basis of blatant aggression - for the general position of the western powers. You subscribe to the delusional view that Eastern Europe and the Soviet union was somehow "germanic",


I never said that the Soviet Union was Germanic, stop misquoting me, it gives your argument no credibility. I said that there was no question of Hitler wanting to ocupy lands to the east as he stated that in Mein Kamf......I then went on to say that his claims to certain territories were right and proper, land taken from Germany after WW1. Two seperate issues, not one.

Qvist wrote:You're buying into the "zionists and Brits persecuting Germany" hullaballoo that was a mainstay of German propaganda then and now and that has never had any reality beyond that, as anyone with an ounce of sense knows.


What a ridiculus thing to say. The debate raged in the house of commons throughout the 1930's, with members of parliment such as Churchill constantly raising issues against Germany. THAT is reality.

Qvist wrote: You clearly haven't understood much about the realtion of sources to history, since you labor under the misconception that any historian's work can consist of "archival fact".


How is that a misconception? Using archival reference is no different to a court of law using evidence covered with a defendants fingerprints. One thing you don't seem to comprehend is Irving bases his work on either written evidence or eyewitness accounts. Now, if a court of law can prosecute someone based on the same criteria, then surely an author can write about his findings in a book using the same methods.

Qvist wrote:Possibly Irving raises issues worth discussing. You however don't.


Then don't, I haven't forced you to hammer away at your keyboard, anyone with an ounce of sense knows that.

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Re: Books By David Irving?

Post by Zebedee » 20 Mar 2009 22:03

Irving appealed to a rational and open mind when he moved for a libel trial against Lipstadt. This is what the rational and open mind decided:

http://www.hdot.org/trial/judgement/13.63

The nature of some of Irving's errors

13.143 As I have already indicated it is material to take account of the nature or quality of what Irving claims to have been mistakes or misapprehensions on his part. Certain of Irving's misrepresentations of the historical evidence might appear to be simple mistakes on his part, for instance the misreading of haben as Juden in Himmler's telephone log for 1 December 1941. But there are other occasions where Irving's treatment of the historical evidence is so perverse and egregious that it is difficult to accept that it is inadvertence on his part. Examples include Irving's rejection of the evidence for the existence of gas chambers at Auschwitz; his claim that Hitler lost interest in anti-semitism on coming to power; his account of Hitler's meeting with Horthy in April 1943; his wholesale dismissal of the testimony of Marie Vaillant-Couturier and his continued reliance on the forged Tagesbefehl No. 47 which purportedly gave the number of casualties in Dresden. I have referred in the course of this judgment to other instances where Irving's account flies in the face of the available evidence.

13.144 Mistakes and misconceptions such as these appear to me by their nature unlikely to have been innocent. They are more consistent with a willingness on Irving's part knowingly to misrepresent or manipulate or put a "spin" on the evidence so as to make it conform with his own preconceptions. In my judgment the nature of these misstatements and misjudgments by Irving is a further pointer towards the conclusion that he has deliberately skewed the evidence to bring it into line with his political beliefs.

....

13.151 The double standards which Irving adopts to some of the documents and to some of the witnesses appears to me to be further evidence that Irving is seeking to manipulate the evidence rather than approaching it as a dispassionate, if sometimes mistaken, historian

....

13.162 It is not difficult to discern a pattern to the activities and attitudes to which I have alluded in the preceding paragraph. Over the past fifteen years or so, Irving appears to have become more active politically than was previously the case. He speaks regularly at political or quasi-political meetings in Germany, the United States, Canada and the New World. The content of his speeches and interviews often displays a distinctly pro-Nazi and anti-Jewish bias. He makes surprising and often unfounded assertions about the Nazi regime which tend to exonerate the Nazis for the appalling atrocities which they inflicted on the Jews. He is content to mix with neo-fascists and appears to share many of their racist and anti-semitic prejudices. The picture of Irving which emerges from the evidence of his extra-curricular activities reveals him to be a right-wing pro-Nazi polemicist. In my view the Defendants have established that Irving has a political agenda. It is one which, it is legitimate to infer, disposes him, where he deems it necessary, to manipulate the historical record in order to make it conform with his political beliefs.


I enjoy reading books on Atlantis. However, I am fully aware that they are total bunkum. As long as the reader is well aware of the nature of Irving's work, the bias implicit within it, the distortion of the historical record and that you are unable to trust any single reference he makes, then Irving can be an entertaining author. Personally, I enjoyed his biography of Milch within those parameters.

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