American & French (post) War Crimes

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Charles Bunch
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Post by Charles Bunch » 02 Oct 2002 14:57

tonyh wrote:Like I said Charles, I'm just not interested in what you have to say. You offer nothing.

Tony
I suppose offering feelings without support is what you call offering something.

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Post by Charles Bunch » 02 Oct 2002 15:00

tonyh wrote:>>Well not really. Ambrose has been criticised primarily for quoting other writers without proper attribution<<

Well IIRC, Ambrose took large paragraphs of other authors work and placed it into his own main body of text with slight alterations. Its a little bit more than just misquoting somebody or not giving attribution.

Tony
No one said anything about misquoting, and what you describe is exactly non-attibution. If you knew something about the research process you would not be quite so surprised that it could happen. Non-attribution has nothing to do with mis-stating the facts of history, as Bacque has done even after being corrected by scholars who actually know what they're talking about.

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Roberto
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Post by Roberto » 02 Oct 2002 15:05

Scott Smith wrote:Ambrose can put that in his pipe and smoke it.
:)
Smith seems to have become increasingly embittered over the last two years:
Scott Smith wrote:Hi all,
I ran across this review of Other Losses and I thought it was interesting because of Ambrose's comments, which here seem pretty reasonable. He seems to distance himself a little from the typical we-wore-the-white-hats-so-whatever-we-did-to-them-was-okay argument.

Thanks,
Scott
************************************************************

Source: Time, Oct 2, 1989 v134 n14 p19(1).

Title: Ike's revenge? A new book alleges deliberate U.S. mistreatment of
POWs.

Full Text COPYRIGHT Time Inc. 1989

Along the Rhine in 1945, barbed-wire fences enclosed tightly packed masses of German prisoners of war. Without tents, they dug crude foxholes and hoarded scraps of cardboard against the bitter spring weather. Without food or water, some resorted to eating grass and drinking their urine. Many died of dysentery, pneumonia, exhaustion, brought on by the cruel neglect of their American captors.

So alleges Toronto author James Bacque in Other Losses (Stoddart Publishing), a controversial Canadian best seller that claims at least 960,000 German soldiers died in U.S. and French army camps in the final months of World War II and afterward. They were victims of deliberate neglect, says Bacque, because Supreme Allied Commander General Dwight D. Eisenhower withheld sustenance from a despised enemy.

The U.S. Army Center of Military History has issued a terse statement that it "does not accept" this interpretation, although historians at the center have read only excerpts. The Army has not commented.

Bacque, 60, whose past works have all been novels, points to a March 10, 1945, message from Eisenhower proposing that German prisoners be deemed "disarmed enemy forces" rather than prisoners of war, since providing the level of rations assured for POWs by the Geneva Convention "would prove far beyond the capacity of the Allies." Ike's request was granted, and adequate food, water and shelter were withheld from the prisoners. Alone among the Western Allies, the U.S. refused to permit Red Cross inspections of its 200 camps.

Bacque's recounting of those policy decisions may hold up to historical scrutiny better than his statistics. His evidence on the death toll in American camps comes from fragmentary, often contradictory Army records. Says historian Arthur L. Smith of California State University, Los Angeles, who has written about German soldiers in the postwar years: "How do you get rid of a million bodies?" Eisenhower biographer Stephen Ambrose also disagrees with Bacque on several key points. Nevertheless, he says, "we as Americans can't duck the fact that terrible things happened. And they happened at the end of a war we fought for decency and freedom, and they are not excusable."
From the thread

Other Losses
http://pub3.ezboard.com/fskalmanforumfr ... D=69.topic

of the old Ezboard forum (Smith’s post # 160)

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Post by Dan » 02 Oct 2002 15:19

Up, up, up, groping through the clouds for what seemed like an eternity. ... No amount of practice could have prepared them for what they encountered. B-24s, glittering like mica, were popping out of the clouds all over the sky.

Up, up, up he went, until he got above the clouds. No amount of practice could have prepared the pilot and crew for what they encountered -- B-24s, glittering like mica, were popping out of the clouds over here, over there, everywhere

I provide this just as an example of his plagiarization. We discussed this in detail on the old board. Ambrose wrote the second paragraph.

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Post by Charles Bunch » 02 Oct 2002 15:41

Dan wrote:
Up, up, up, groping through the clouds for what seemed like an eternity. ... No amount of practice could have prepared them for what they encountered. B-24s, glittering like mica, were popping out of the clouds all over the sky.

Up, up, up he went, until he got above the clouds. No amount of practice could have prepared the pilot and crew for what they encountered -- B-24s, glittering like mica, were popping out of the clouds over here, over there, everywhere

I provide this just as an example of his plagiarization. We discussed this in detail on the old board. Ambrose wrote the second paragraph.
Where's the evidence it's plagiarism?

Plagiarism is the deliberate lifting of others ideas without attribution. Was there attibution here?

Ambrose has commented on the rather inflamed charges made against him.

http://www.stephenambrose.com/

Statement on my writing methods:


Plagiarism is the worst sin an academic can commit. Now, after 50 years in the academy, reporters and some of my fellow teachers are accusing me of that.

For the past four months, diligent reporters have found some phrases, a few sentences and at least six times two entire sentences copied by me and footnoted to the source, but without putting quotation marks around the material.

The copied words they discovered amounted to about 10 pages out of a total work of some 15,000 pages in print. The investigative reporters found them by using my footnotes.

I admitted that I copied, and pointed out that all such material was footnoted, but without quotation marks. I will put the marks in for all future editions and have already done so in The Wild Blue.

The reporters then charged that this was a case of plagiarism and a pattern of my work, Some of the teachers said they would never allow a student to use such methods and would no longer be requiring their students to read my books.

The accusations were so widely printed that I must reply.

I do my writing at a computer, surrounded by my research; interview transcripts, documents of all kinds, books. I mix them to describe an incident. Usually I have five or more transcripts, plus copies of documents and books on the table. I take material from them all.

When I'm using the words of an interview -- which is what I rely on, mostly -- I always use quotation marks around the phrases or sentences. When I'm using information or description from books by scholars, I always cite the source.

But if I have already named a praised and quoted the author in my book, I don't name him or her again, and sometimes I have failed to put quotation marks around their words. I'm not trying to hide anything. Indeed, I want people to read their books.

But still, I'm charged with plagiarism. As an academic, I begin my defense with a definition. Professor William Decoo of Brigham Young University, Author of the just-published book Crisis on Campus: Confronting Academic Misconduct, (MIT Press), writes, "People use the word 'plagiarism' much too quickly, while a careful assessment should take into account: quality.

"Some vivid plagiarism cases involved only a few unattributed sentences, or one or two short paragraphs. The amount is insufficient to warrant a conclusion of plagiarism in relation to the total work. To what point and to what extent should sentences from a correctly cited source count as plagiarized? Also, if accusations are made against a background of media revelations, if the rest of the voluminous work of the accused respects the conventions of scholarly use, the ground seems too fragile to support an argument of plagiarism."

I always thought plagiarism meant using another peoples words and ideas, pretending they were your own and profiting from it. I do not do that, never have done that and never will.

I stand on the originality of my work. It is entirely my own, not taken from anyone else's work. I use the discoveries from my research into primary and secondary sources combined with my general knowledge of American history and produce a new story line, an approach to the subject that is my own.

When I'm writing at my best, I want to share my own discoveries with the reader. I want to take people to a new understanding of an event, an individual or a story. I want them to be as amazed as I am.

A friend once told me that I have an ability to give my readers a new set of eyeglasses to look at a story in a different and original way. When that happens, I succeed as a writer and a historian. Those glasses are gratefully built from many sources, but the prism is my own creation.

The people will judge. The reading public will decide whether my books are fraudulent and react accordingly.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The exaggerated and inaccurate claims made against Ambrose seem more to do with his contributions to bursting certain "revisionist" bubbles than with a concern for scholarly conduct.

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More on Ambrose and Bacque

Post by Adrian Weale » 02 Oct 2002 16:05

The real point is that Bacque's theory has been discredited by a body of scholarly work, whilst nobody has sought to claim that Ambrose's work is invalid because of poor attribution: just that he should have been more assiduous in his working practises. Really this parallels David Irving's farcical attempts to discredit Robert Jan van Pelt on the basis that he wasn't an architect, even though he held a university chair in a school of architecture. It's simply an irrelevant ad hominem smear.

AW

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Post by tonyh » 02 Oct 2002 16:32

>>Really this parallels David Irving's farcical attempts to discredit Robert Jan van Pelt on the basis that he wasn't an architect,<<

I don't remember Irving doing that. Can you show us where?

Tony

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Scott Smith
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Post by Scott Smith » 02 Oct 2002 16:50

Roberto wrote:
Scott wrote:Ambrose can put that in his pipe and smoke it.
Smith seems to have become increasingly embittered over the last two years:
Well, I do get annoyed when I see his pious mug on the History Channel or PBS anymore, which is often, and the plagiarism controversy has not endeared me to him either.
:)

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van Pelt

Post by Adrian Weale » 02 Oct 2002 16:52

Certainly. On 25 January 2000 Robert Jan van Pelt was called as an expert witness in the Irving vs Lipstadt libel trial. Irving opened his cross-examination of van Pelt by suggesting that he was not qualified as an architect and that he therefore could not properly be described as a 'Professor of Architecture'. Van Pelt properly responded that he taught in the school of architecture at the University of Waterloo at Toronto, but that he was a cultural historian and had never suggested that he was an architect. Irving seems to have felt that he scored some sort of victory in this bizarre sally because he has continued to suggest that van Pelt's evidence was flawed because he had misrepresented himself as an architect. This is of the same order of silliness as suggesting that we cannot trust Ambrose as a historian because he didn't use enough quotation marks.

AW

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Roberto
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Post by Roberto » 02 Oct 2002 17:17

Scott Smith wrote:
Roberto wrote:
Scott wrote:Ambrose can put that in his pipe and smoke it.
Smith seems to have become increasingly embittered over the last two years:
Well, I do get annoyed when I see his pious mug on the History Channel or PBS anymore, which is often, and the plagiarism controversy has not endeared me to him either.
:)
I guess that’s because he’s not one of Smith’s gurus.

If he were, not even demonstrable lies and falsehoods (such as using numerous pseudonyms to invoke fake “authorities”) would matter to Smith.

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Post by viriato » 02 Oct 2002 19:17

After reading a good amount of posts on this thead I am still puzzled by a couple of points that have been discussed:

1-According to Overmans 363000 German POW's died in captivity in the USSR. This number is not much different of the one advanced by Bacque based on Soviet archives - 450600. However it seems that a lot more soldiers, 700000 at least are still missing, presumably dead as POW's in the USSR. Now at least 700000 men is a lot of people to simply disappear. Where were they made POW's? Where were they left in captivity? Didn't their comrades that had the good fortune of returning to Germany knew nothing or told nothing about their destiny? And inside the USSR/subsequent states no one knew/knows nothing about their fate? Does 700000 or more people disappear without a trace?

Another point is that if these 700000+ died in fact than we have a death toll of at least 1150000 deaths of a total of 3 millions POW's amounting to a death rate of some 40% (minimum). 8O Really?

2-Overmans also stated that the French held 940000 Germans POW's, the British held 3640000 and the US further 3100000. Some people on this forum stated that in view of the number of prisioners held by the US forces, the americans were rightful to degrade their status from POW's as a way of levelling their suffering to the one of the general population. Charles Bunch wrote accordingly:
The decision was made to distribute scarce food on an equal basis, rather than favor the POWs at the expense of German civilians and millions of other displaced persons who needed care. Not wanting this technical, but obviously fair, violation of the Geneva Convention to be seen as an act of disrespect for the Convention, the status was changed. All of this was done openly.
I have also saw in other places another explanation, not unlikely this one, that the US had a lot of logistical difficulties. This was an impediment of distributing food and a further reason for the diminished rations. Which leads me to the following question:

The USA was at that time the primary food source of all the allies. Their extensive crops were being distributed to the USSR, the UK, France, etc. during the war and even afterwards. Why did than the US opt for the degrade of the status and the diminshing of their rations and the British didn't? After all the British were themselves being feed by the same US and they held an even higher number of POW's!

3-According to Maschke Commision 4500 POW's died while they were being held as POW's by US forces. 4500 is just 0.15 % of the alleged total of 3100000 POW's. We also know that the ages of these POW's ranged fom teenagers to people in their 50's and 60's. That death rate seem's to me quite unbelievable when we know that even in peace time and in the 21-30 range of ages the death rate is normaly above that mark.

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Roberto
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Post by Roberto » 02 Oct 2002 20:23

viriato wrote:After reading a good amount of posts on this thead I am still puzzled by a couple of points that have been discussed:

1-According to Overmans 363000 German POW's died in captivity in the USSR. This number is not much different of the one advanced by Bacque based on Soviet archives - 450600. However it seems that a lot more soldiers, 700000 at least are still missing, presumably dead as POW's in the USSR. Now at least 700000 men is a lot of people to simply disappear. Where were they made POW's? Where were they left in captivity? Didn't their comrades that had the good fortune of returning to Germany knew nothing or told nothing about their destiny? And inside the USSR/subsequent states no one knew/knows nothing about their fate? Does 700000 or more people disappear without a trace?
In the chaos of the final battles on the Eastern Front, hundreds of thousands of soldiers actually disappeared without a trace and it has not been possible to establish exactly when and how they died - only where they most probably lost their lives, and that with a fairly great degree of accuracy. One example you may read about is an uncle of mine, who fought in the 371st Infantry Division and disappeared somewhere in Czechoslovakia in April/May 1945. You may find a translation of the Red Cross report on his presumable fate under the following link:

http://www.geocities.com/orion47.geo/WE ... nkamp.html

According to the study Soviet Casualties and Combat Losses in the Twentieth Century by G.F. Krivosheev et al, the "German Information Service (the supplement to the law of the Federal Republic of Germany 'On the preservation of places of burial')" has so far traced 3,266,000 German soldiers buried in the Soviet Union and other East European countries, of whom the names of 2,395,000 have been established. If you read German, you may compare this information with the one on the web site of the Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge, the German state entity in charge or tracing and conserving places of burial of German soldiers killed in both world wars:

http://www.volksbund.de/kgs/
viriato wrote:Another point is that if these 700000+ died in fact than we have a death toll of at least 1150000 deaths of a total of 3 millions POW's amounting to a death rate of some 40% (minimum). 8O Really?
That's more or less the conclusion the Maschke Commission arrived at. The mortality of Soviet prisoners of war in German captivity was even higher:
[...]What happened to the Soviet prisoners of war in the years between 1941 and 1945 has been largely ignored. A total of approximately 5.7 million Red Army soldiers were taken prisoner between June 22, 1941, and the end of the war. In January 1945, there were some 930,000 Soviet POWs left in the prison camps of the Wehrmacht. About 1 million more had been released from captivity, most of them as so-called “Hilfswillige”, that is, helpers of the Wehrmacht. According to estimates from the German Army staff, another 500,000 of the prisoners either had escaped or were eventually liberated by the Red Army.
The remaining 3,300,000 or about 57 percent of the total number, had perished by 1945. To make these figures more meaningful, they should be compared with statistics on the British and American prisoners of war. Of the total of 231,000 such prisoners in German hands, 8,348 or 3.6 percent, died before the end of the war.The losses of the German prisoners of war at the hands of the Red Army by far exceeded those of the British and American soldiers.
Some 3,250,000 Wehrmacht soldiers were taken prisoner by the Red Army and about 1,200,000, or 36 percent, perished in Soviet camps. The number is huge if compared to Anglo-American losses, but still almost three times as many Soviet soldiers lost their lives in German captivity.[...]


Source of quote:

Christian Streit, "The Fate of Soviet Prisoners of War", published in: A Mosaic of Victims. Non-Jews Persecuted and Murdered by the Nazis. Edited by Michael Berenbaum. New York University Press, 1990.

Emphasis is mine.

Christian Streit, a West German scholar, is the author of Keine Kameraden: Die Wehrmacht und die sowjetischen Kriegsgefangenen 1941-1945, first edited in 1978 and still considered the standard work about this subject.
viriato wrote:2-Overmans also stated that the French held 940000 Germans POW's, the British held 3640000 and the US further 3100000. Some people on this forum stated that in view of the number of prisioners held by the US forces, the americans were rightful to degrade their status from POW's as a way of levelling their suffering to the one of the general population. Charles Bunch wrote accordingly:
The decision was made to distribute scarce food on an equal basis, rather than favor the POWs at the expense of German civilians and millions of other displaced persons who needed care. Not wanting this technical, but obviously fair, violation of the Geneva Convention to be seen as an act of disrespect for the Convention, the status was changed. All of this was done openly.
I have also saw in other places another explanation, not unlikely this one, that the US had a lot of logistical difficulties. This was an impediment of distributing food and a further reason for the diminished rations. Which leads me to the following question:

The USA was at that time the primary food source of all the allies. Their extensive crops were being distributed to the USSR, the UK, France, etc. during the war and even afterwards. Why did than the US opt for the degrade of the status and the diminshing of their rations and the British didn't? After all the British were themselves being feed by the same US and they held an even higher number of POW's!
Good question. The problem seems to have been getting food supplies to Europe and distributing them there fast enough to feed a civilian population that the occupiers considered to be threatened by famine.
The fact is that in 1945 there was a worldwide shortage of food and that the transportation system in Europe was largely destroyed. Already on 14 February Eisenhower had called the attention of the Allied governments to the fact that he feared a severe shortage of food throughout Europe at the war's end. He even feared that there would be famine - and he had no food reserves to feed the Germans, the "displaced persons" and the Allied civilian population. He "urgently" requested immediate food supplies from Great Britain - this at a time when in Great Britain food was still rationed.
I translated the above from an article by German historian Rolf Steininger in: Wolfgang Benz et al, Legenden, Lügen, Vorurteile, dtv Munich 1992, page 128.
viriato wrote:3-According to Maschke Commision 4500 POW's died while they were being held as POW's by US forces. 4500 is just 0.15 % of the alleged total of 3100000 POW's. We also know that the ages of these POW's ranged fom teenagers to people in their 50's and 60's. That death rate seem's to me quite unbelievable when we know that even in peace time and in the 21-30 range of ages the death rate is normaly above that mark.
Overmans' assessment (22,000 dead in American captivity) seems more plausible indeed. It is also possible that as many as 56,000 died:
Basque's statistics, arguments, and documentation were subjected to careful and detailed study by a conference of historians (including Germans) organized by Stephen Ambrose, the director of the Eisenhower Center at the University of New Orleans. Papers from the conference have been published6 and show that Basque misread, misinterpreted, or ignored the relevant documents and that his mortality statistics are simply impossible. However, the papers do show that some of the camps, particularly the transit camps that became known as the Rheinwiesenlager,7 were initially lethal, with thousands of German POWs dying, and that these deaths were the responsibility of the American government. While the final toll of the American transit camps was far from that alleged by Bacque, it still could have reached 56,000 dead (lines 232 and 233). Detailed statistical studies by the German Maschke Commission set up to determine the fate of German POWs arrived at a figure of 4,537 dead for the most deadly Rheinwiesenlager camps (line 229). Other estimates in this range are also available (lines 228, 230 to 231). As a result of all this, I ignore Bacque's estimates and consolidate the others as shown (line 237)


Source of quote:

http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/SOD.CHAP13.HTM

4,537 is the number of victims of the Rheinwiesenlager established in an investigation conducted by the surrounding German communities, which these communities reported to the Maschke Commission.

Dan
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Post by Dan » 02 Oct 2002 22:41

Up, up, up, groping through the clouds for what seemed like an eternity. ... No amount of practice could have prepared them for what they encountered. B-24s, glittering like mica, were popping out of the clouds all over the sky.
Up, up, up he went, until he got above the clouds. No amount of practice could have prepared the pilot and crew for what they encountered -- B-24s, glittering like mica, were popping out of the clouds over here, over there, everywhere
Plagiarism is the deliberate lifting of others ideas without attribution. Was there attibution here?
No, Charles, there was no attribution.



Ambrose says
For the past four months, diligent reporters have found some phrases, a few sentences and at least six times two entire sentences copied by me and footnoted to the source, but without putting quotation marks around the material.
This was a paragraph, and it was copied with a few minor word changes, which to my mind is even trickier than outright copying. This was you can say you didn't plagiarize.
The exaggerated and inaccurate claims made against Ambrose seem more to do with his contributions to bursting certain "revisionist" bubbles than with a concern for scholarly conduct.
I have never read anything by Ambrose, nor do I know what he has done for or against revisionism. I just posted an example of his copying ideas from other writers and claiming them for his own.

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Post by Charles Bunch » 03 Oct 2002 01:06

Dan wrote:
Up, up, up, groping through the clouds for what seemed like an eternity. ... No amount of practice could have prepared them for what they encountered. B-24s, glittering like mica, were popping out of the clouds all over the sky.
Up, up, up he went, until he got above the clouds. No amount of practice could have prepared the pilot and crew for what they encountered -- B-24s, glittering like mica, were popping out of the clouds over here, over there, everywhere
Plagiarism is the deliberate lifting of others ideas without attribution. Was there attibution here?
No, Charles, there was no attribution.
No footnote?

Why don't you provide the name of the book, and page number?
Ambrose says
For the past four months, diligent reporters have found some phrases, a few sentences and at least six times two entire sentences copied by me and footnoted to the source, but without putting quotation marks around the material.
This was a paragraph,
It's also a few sentences.
and it was copied with a few minor word changes, which to my mind is even trickier than outright copying. This was you can say you didn't plagiarize.
No, writing goes through edits to suit the desires of the writer. That would especially be the case when the author wasn't quoting exactly, thereby not strictly requiring quotation marks, as long as the the thoughts are attributed to the original thinker. That's why I asked you about a footnote. Ambrose is hardly at a loss for words or original expression.

But you have asserted that no attribution was made, which means you must have access to the actual book. So if you'll provide the name of the book and page number, we'll check it out.
The exaggerated and inaccurate claims made against Ambrose seem more to do with his contributions to bursting certain "revisionist" bubbles than with a concern for scholarly conduct.
I have never read anything by Ambrose, nor do I know what he has done for or against revisionism. I just posted an example of his copying ideas from other writers and claiming them for his own.
You've read his refutation of Bacque, as have other deniers. Using the ideas of others is common. Whether he attributed this example of not I'm looking forward to checking once you provide the cite.

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van Pelt

Post by James » 03 Oct 2002 01:19

I think Irving's effort to discredit van Pelt based on the latter not having a degree in architecture, however illogical, has been vigorously maintained by Irving due to a perceived parallel to the attacks on Leuchter's findings based on Leuchter's lack of an engineering degree (or at least the fact that he was not licensed as an engineer in the state of Massachussets). I think Irving believes that, with this attack on van Pelt, he wins either way: if formal degrees really matter, then van Pelt is impeached; if formal degrees do not matter, then Leuchter is rehabilitated. Moreover, if formal degrees do not matter, then Irving himself is enhanced, as he is sometimes criticized (IMHO, wrongfully) for his own lack of any advanced degree in history.

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