In Other Journals

The July-September 2001 issue of the French journal Vingtième Siècle includes a useful, if gingerly, refutation of a canard that has resurfaced long after it was hatched at Nuremberg: the claim that Himmler had stated that he planned to starve thirty million Slavs in connection with the Russian campaign. This accusation, part of the testimony of prosecution witness (and former SS general) Erich von dem Bach Zelewski, had been long forgotten, but has been recently revived by several German historians (surprising no one), including Christian Gerlach, Suzanne Heim, and Götz Aly. Jean Stengers, professor of history at the University of Brussels, easily shows that there is not even a whisper of truth to the claim. His treatment of comments by Rosenberg and Göring that have been adduced to bolster the spurious Himmler remarks shows that their words fall well short of expressing such a plan. Stengers, doubtless wary of Europe's Holocaust police, is extravagantly polite to Gerlach and company and takes many pains to underscore his allegiance to the alleged Jewish genocide. (Vingtième Siècle is published by Presses de Sciences PO, 44 rue du Four, 75006 Paris, France.)

John E. Moser, visiting assistant professor at the University of Georgia, offers a rare even-handed look at "The 1941 Senate Investigation of Hollywood" in the summer 2001 issue of The Historian (vol. 63, no. 4). Moser shows that the anti-interventionist senators, led by Burton K. Wheeler (D-Montana), who investigated an upsurge of anti-German propaganda films that began in 1940, were not motivated by crude anti-Semitism. In fact, examining the movie industry was well within the purview of Senator Wheeler's Interstate Commerce Committee, which had aggressively investigated other areas of big business in the 1920s and '30s, in line with the progressivism of Wheeler and his colleagues. Moser suggests that the committee, while it did not ignore the pervasive role of Jews in Hollywood, was not notably anti-Semitic. While the investigation, begun in September 1941, came to little, and America was moved stealthily and steadily into war, the records of its inquiry into anti-German and pro-British filmmaking doubtless merit study. (The Historian is published quarterly from 301 Morrill Hall, Michigan State University, Lansing, MI 48824-1036.)

The September 2001 issue of The Historical Journal contains an informative article on the vexed question of English and Irish fascism by John Newsinger of Bath Spa University College. Newsinger is at pains to stress the radical and anti-Jewish nature of Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists in the 1930s, rejecting Mosley biographer Robert Skidelsky's more temperate evaluation in his 1981Oswald Mosley). Considering whether Eoin O'Duffy's National Guard (or Blueshirts), were genuinely fascist, rather than authoritarian conservatives, he leans toward the former, which seems to strain the evidence. If fascists they were, Duffy and most of his followers surely inclined more to Francoism than the values of the Falange of José Antonio Primo de Rivera. Newsinger also takes a brief look at the role of the Blueshirts in the nationalist ranks during the Spanish Civil War, as well as a peek at the Irish Christian Front, which played a leading role prominent in Irish politics in the late 1930s, and in which Father Denis Fahey, author of The Rulers of Russia, was a leading activist. (The Historical Journal is published quarterly by Cambridge University.)

In the May 2001 issue of Irish Historical Studies, Andreas Roth examines the radio broadcasts that Irish poet and novelist (in English and Irish) Francis Stuart made from Berlin to his home country in 1942-44. Roth finds that Stuart, who lectured on Anglo-Irish literature at the University of Berlin while in Germany, advocated a united, neutral Ireland while attacking the tyranny of finance, but rarely touched on the Jewish question, and was in general successful in resisting German pressure to put a sharper edge to his broadcasts. The effect of his broadcasts on the Irish is not known, but cannot have been powerful. Unlike his one-time countryman William Joyce, Stuart was not punished after the war: his citizenship was incontestably Irish, and his country had been neutral. Stuart is still alive and his writings continue to draw interest; several years ago he made something of a stir when an Irish television documentary quoted him as saying that "the Jew was always the worm that got into the rose and sickened it." (Irish Historical Studies, Department of History, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland.)


From The Journal of Historical Review, September/December 2001 (Vol. 20, No. 5/6), page 9.