April 2005

Irving, Weber Speak on Hitler’s Place In History

News from the Institute for Historical Review

British historian David Irving and IHR director Mark Weber tackled the emotion-laden topic of Hitler’s place in history at an IHR meeting on Sunday evening, April 17, 2005. Some 70 men and women packed a hotel meeting room in Orange County, southern California, for the standing-room-only event.

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Weber, who has written extensively on twentieth-century European history, and is a court-recognized expert on Germany’s wartime “Final Solution” policy, spoke first. He began his 45-minute address, entitled “Is an Objective View of Hitler Possible?,” by mentioning John F. Kennedy’s visit to defeated and war-ravaged Germany in the summer of 1945.

After a stop at Hitler’s mountain retreat in the Bavarian alps, the 28-year-old Kennedy wrote in his diary that the German leader “had in him the stuff of which legends are made,” and predicted that “within a few years Hitler will emerge from the hatred that surrounds him now as one of the most significant figures who ever lived.”

Kennedy was both right and wrong, said Weber. While hatred against Hitler has endured for much more than “a few years,” he was indeed a personality of legendary stature. Worldwide fascination with Hitler shows no sign of diminishing, said Weber, who noted the seemingly endless stream of books, articles, television broadcasts and motion pictures devoted to this extraordinary man.

In 1977, Weber went on, Patrick Buchanan wrote a column about Hitler based on John Toland’s biography, Adolf Hitler. Although Buchanan condemned Hitler, he did note that the German leader had been a courageous soldier during the First World War, and was a skilled political organizer and a powerful public speaker. Ever since, Buchanan has been harshly criticized by Jewish groups for “praising” Hitler. In our society, Weber stressed, even factually true statements about Hitler — such as those made by Buchanan — bring swift and harsh condemnation.

A balanced or objective portrayal of Hitler is nearly impossible. In today’s America, the portrayal of Hitler and his regime is grotesquely unbalanced, not only in the mass media, but even in supposedly authoritative history books and reference works. For example, he noted, American dictionaries routinely refer to Hitler as a “Nazi dictator,” while describing Stalin merely as a Soviet “political leader” or “premier.” While it is certainly true that Hitler wielded dictatorial power, said Weber, especially during the war years, the “dictator” epithet suggests that he ruled without popular support.

Nearly four years after Hitler had come to power, David Lloyd George — Britain’s prime minister during World War I — made an extensive tour of Germany. In an article published in a leading London newspaper in late 1936, the British statesman recounted what he had seen and experienced. His description, said Weber, is difficult to reconcile with the image to which most Americans are accustomed.

“Whatever one may think of his [Hitler’s] methods,” wrote Lloyd George, “and they are certainly not those of a parliamentary country, there can be no doubt that he has achieved a marvelous transformation in the spirit of the people, in their attitude towards each other, and in their social and economic outlook.

“He rightly claimed at Nuremberg that in four years his movement had made a new Germany. It is not the Germany of the first decade that followed the war — broken, dejected and bowed down with a sense of apprehension and impotence. It is now full of hope and confidence, and of a renewed sense of determination to lead its own life without interference from any influence outside its own frontiers.

“There is for the first time since the war a general sense of security. The people are more cheerful. There is a greater sense of general gaiety of spirit throughout the land. It is a happier Germany. I saw it everywhere, and Englishmen I met during my trip and who knew Germany well were very impressed with the change.

“One man has accomplished this miracle. He is a born leader of men. A magnetic and dynamic personality with a single-minded purpose, a resolute will and a dauntless heart. He is not merely in name but in fact the national Leader. He has made them safe against potential enemies by whom they were surrounded. He is also securing them against the constant dread of starvation which is one of the most poignant memories of the last years of the [First World] War and the first years of the Peace.

“As to his popularity, especially among the youth of Germany, there can be no manner of doubt. The old trust him; the young idolise him. It is not the admiration accorded to a popular leader. It is the worship of a national hero who has saved his country from utter despondence and degradation. To those who have actually seen and sensed the way Hitler reigns over the heart and mind of Germany, this description may appear extravagant. All the same it is the bare truth.”

In today’s America, said Weber, outright lies about Hitler and Third Reich Germany are widespread and unchallenged. One of the most often repeated of these is that Hitler tried to “conquer the world.” In fact, said Weber, Hitler put great effort into cultivating friendship with other countries, above all with Britain. At the same time that he was earnestly striving to avoid clashes with the United States, President Roosevelt was doing everything in his power to push the US into war against Germany, including broadcasting fantastic lies about Hitler and his supposed ambition to take over the world. Weber cited President Roosevelt’s radio address of October 27, 1941, in which he claimed that Hitler threatened the nominally neutral United States, was plotting to take over all of South America, and was determined to abolish all existing world religions, including Christianity, and replace them with “an international Nazi church.”

To support their distorted portrayals of Hitler and the Third Reich, prominent historians rely upon and cite fraudulent source materials. A good example, said Weber, is the supposed memoir of Hermann Rauschning, an official in the German city-state of Danzig who broke with the National Socialist movement in 1934-35, and then moved to France and later to the United States. In his book, published in the US under the title The Voice of Destruction, he presents page after page of what are purported to be Hitler's most intimate views and secret plans for the future, allegedly based on many private conversations between 1932 and 1934.

In fact, Weber said, Rauschning never had even a single private talk with Hitler. All the same, lurid but fake quotes attributed to him by Rauschning have found their way into numerous history books.

Weber held up copies of a few of the many books that rely on Rauschning’s fraudulent “revelations,” including The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, by William L. Shirer, Hitler: A Study in Tyranny, by Alan Bullock, and Hitler, by Joachim Fest.

While it’s true that winners write history, that alone does not entirely explain why Hitler and the Third Reich continue to be portrayed in such a distorted and prejudiced way in our society. This widespread and enduring bias with regard to Hitler and his regime, concluded Weber, is a reflection of the Jewish-Zionist grip on American cultural and political life.

Irving on 'Faking’ History

Weber introduced David Irving by noting that even his adversaries concede that his knowledge of Hitler and wartime Germany is unrivaled. The British historian is the author of numerous books on this era, many of them best-sellers, including his monumental work, Hitler’s War. Before and after his 45-minute address, entitled “The Faking of Adolf Hitler for History,” Irving autographed copies of his books.

Among the many fraudulent historical documents that have been cited over the years by “conformist” historians of the Third Reich era, Irving said, have been the fake wartime diaries of Gerhard Engel, Hitler’s army adjutant, and of Felix Kersten, masseur and confidant of Himmler. Similarly unreliable is the diary of Mussolini’s foreign minister Galeazzo Ciano, which American officials doctored after the war. Completely fake are Hitler’s supposed “table talk” remarks from February and April 1945. Irving related that the Swiss lawyer Francois Genoud, now dead, admitted privately that he had fabricated them.

Irving related that many valuable documents and research materials seized during the course of his drawn-out legal battle with Jewish academic Deborah Lipstadt have been destroyed or “lost.”

He spoke contemptuously of the “historian incest” of his establishment rivals, many of whom write new books about Hitler based on earlier and equally derivative works by others who share similar prejudices. Irving, by contrast, is known for his reliance on original documents dug out of major archives, as well as diaries and letters obtained through great effort from private individuals.