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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david//reviews/waite-hitlers-war

Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: [Repost] Real Historians on David Irving: Robert G. L. Waite

[Orignially posted by Rich Graves ,
as <>, October 21, 1996]

An oldie but goodie from way back in 1979, before Irving became actively 
involved in Holocaust denial.

Robert G.L. Waite. "Book Review -- *David Irving. The War Path: Hitler's 
Germany, 1933-1939*." *The American Historical Review*, Vol. 84, No. 4 
(Oct. 1979), pp. 1082-1083.

Robert Waite is a professor at Williams College.

"David Irving's Books on Hitler serve as vivid illustration of the 
truism that the predilections of the historian may determine the uses he 
makes of his evidence.... Convinced that previous writers have maligned 
and misunderstood the German dictator, he is determined to "de-demonize" 
Hitler by showing that he was neither a "madman" nor the "Devil 
incarnate." Actually, we are told, he was an average sort of person: "an 
ordinary, walking, talking, human weighing some 155 pounds" who would 
sometimes "wrinkle his forehead and put out his tongue."

"Irving has diligently sought new evidence to support his singular 
interpretation, and in truth he has found materials not previously known 
to Hitler scholars: Heinrich Himmler's personal telephone log, some 
private papers of Ernst von Weizacker, letters of Hitler's youthful 
admirer and later adjutant, Walther Hewel, and unpublished diaries of SS 
and Luftwaffe adjutants. The author assures us that the original 
manuscript of the book contained "1500 pages of source notes." 
Regrettably, owing to publication costs, he is able to show us only 
representative samples in endnotes that often invite the reader to go to 
Munich to consult the "Irving Collection" deposited in the Institut fur 
Aeitgeschichte. He must be given credit for ferreting out these sources. 
Less credit is due for the way he uses his own documents and dismisses 
evidence of proven validity that refutes his contentions....

"Given the author's predilections and his selective use of evidence, a 
new picture of the German dictator does indeed emerge. Irving's Hitler 
was a kindly man, "much given to unpublished acts of humanity."... 
Irving can find only one flaw in the "restorer" of Germany: he was 
gullible. Time after time this well-meaning man was duped and deceived: 
by Himmler, by Goebbels, by the Gestapo, by the army, by the SS. It is 
Irving's thesis that because Hitler was "deeply in thrall of his devious 
henchmen," major decisions in the Third Reich were not made by the 
Fuhrer at all.

"In the blood purge of 1934, for example, Hitler was "unwittingly duped 
by the Army and the SS."... A reader seeking evidence for these 
remarkable assertions is referred to "Julius Schaub's private papers" to 
be found in the *Sammlung Irving* (Schaub was the dull-witted sycophant 
who served as his Fuhrer's personal adjutant.)

"Similarly, Hitler was not responsible for the pogrom of November 9, 
1938, the infamous *Reichskristallnacht*. That was an "arbitrary act" of 
Goebbels, which hit Hitler "out of the blue."

  [Interestingly, in Irving's later book on Goebbels, Irving asserts
  that kristallnacht did not come "out of the blue," but was a
  response to Jewish provocations that should have been obvious to
  anyone. -rcg]

"...Indeed, Hitler actually gave an order in 1941 that there be "no 
liquidation" of the Jews. Yet, in spite of that order, his overzeaalous 
satraps "pulled the wool over Hitler's eyes" and carried out a genocide 
against his wishes. Since Irving sweeps aside all the solidly 
established testimony connecting Hitler directly to the Final Solution 
and rests his case upon a bit of his own evidence and since his use of 
that evidence nicely illustrates his methodology, it must be cited. It 
consists of a note that Himmler apparently jotted down after a 
conversation with Hitler, dated November 30, 1941. It reads in full, 
"Judentransport aus Berlin, Keine Liquidierung." In discussing this 
evidence, Irving does not quote the first line referring to a particular 
shipment of Jews. Instead, he flourishes the two words, "no 
liquidation," as if he were executing a *coup de maitre*. No less than 
six times he asserts that those two words substantiate his claim that 
Hitler gave blanket orders forbidding the genocide. His own evidence 
does not warrant that conclusion; a mountain of testimony refutes it. 
Irving's assertion that Hitler personally wished Polish priests and 
intellectuals no harm, that he merely wanted them "accommodated 
elsewhere," must be regarded as a very sick joke.

"...The subtitle of the book is not justified. One will find here no 
discussion of the social, cultural, or institutional history of Germany 
>from  1933 to 1939; little is added to our knowledge -- and nothing to 
our understanding -- of Hitler's foreign policy.

"It is unlikely that this book will enhance Irving's reputation among 
serious historians."

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