Irving v. Lipstadt


Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Transcripts, Day 7: Electronic Edition

Pages 41 - 45 of 199

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    I find in other areas where your particular
 1which I have brought me which is a second version of the
 2book in which I collaborated with Mr Irving back in the
 360s which is an edited version of possibly the only
 4surviving document of the German research office,
 5so-called, which was one of the agencies involved in
 6listening to telephone conversations, in decoding
 7diplomatic and other ciphers and so on. There were also
 8agencies -- there was one run by the Foreign Ministry and
 9there was one run by the German armed forces, but this was
10most ----
11 Q. [Mr Irving]     Pioneering?
12 A. [Professor Cameron Watt]     --- high level one and it was one which, although it had
13people, both of convinced Nazis and those who were
14unconvinced, on its ranks, it certainly enjoyed the
15highest reputation. The document itself is a lengthy
16summary of British policy in the year 1938, 1939.
17 MR IRVING:     Professor Watt, have you any comment on the way in
18which I handled the document?
19 A. [Professor Cameron Watt]     Yes, this is what I am about to come to. When
20I collaborated with Mr Irving on this ----
21 Q. [Mr Irving]     You wrote the introduction to the book.
22 A. [Professor Cameron Watt]     --- after my discovery of it, I only had one basic
23document on the subject of the [German] which was the
24evidence of a man who was then unnamed which was provided
25me by a German organization. Mr Irving's second version
26of this is, I think, a major contribution to our knowledge

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 1on the subject. He has worked very effectively. He has
 2interviewed large numbers of people. He has identified
 3the British and American reports on the organization. The
 4British ones, I may say, I am in the process of trying to
 5persuade the authorities to release because they are
 6available in America but not here.
 7     I find it -- invaluable is perhaps too strong a
 8word, but a very, very effective piece of historical
 9scholarship, and it is one which does not deal with the
10issues on which Mr Irving is complaining.
11 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Can I just ask this, as a military historian,
12and I underline the word "military", how do you rate
13Mr Irving?
14 A. [Professor Cameron Watt]     I think Mr Irving is not in the top class, but as a
15historian of Hitler's war seems to ----
16 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     That is what I meant.
17 A. [Professor Cameron Watt]     --- I think his is a view which, even if one disagrees
18with it, has to be taken seriously. He is, after all, the
19only man of standing, on the basis of his other research,
20who puts the case for Hitler forward and it seems to me
21that it is mistaken to dismiss it. It requires the most
22careful examination, though, I must say, I hope that I am
23never subjected to the kind of examination that
24Mr Irving's books have been suggested to by the Defence
25witnesses. I have a very strong feeling that there are
26other senior historical figures, including some to whom

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 1I owed a great deal of my own career, whose work would not
 2stand up, or not all of whose work would stand up, to this
 3kind of examination -----
 4 MR IRVING:     Would you like to mention some names?
 5 A. [Professor Cameron Watt]     --- and I think that would be a ----
 6 Q. [Mr Irving]     Selous ^^ Namier, perhaps, would you?
 7 A. [Professor Cameron Watt]     Well, Namier ^^ I would mention because it was the first
 8article I ever published -- the rash youth that I was, my
 9Lord -- was an attack upon him and I am told that it was
10passed around Baliol College in plain brown wrappers
11because it caused such a sensation.
12 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Professor Watt, when you said what you have
13just said about Hitler (sic) as a military historian, you
14are talking ----
15 MR IRVING:     Irving.
16 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     --- not really of what he has written about
17the Jewish problem; is that right?
18 A. [Professor Cameron Watt]     I am talking about his whole case for Hitler. I think it
19is difficult to divide this man's personality. I do not
20think he has solved what to me is the mystery which is the
21extraordinary third rate nature of Hitler's mind from
22personality and thoughts. How he could have managed to
23suck into his own private fantasy world the whole of
24Europe and the major powers and so on is one of the
25historical mysteries which I yet to see anyone tackle.
26I am waiting for the second volume of the latest

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 2 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     It is one of the few issues we do not have to
 3tackle here either, so...
 4 A. [Professor Cameron Watt]     But it is a case, I think, of whether one is arguing about
 5the key or the lock.
 6 MR IRVING:     Professor Watt, can I put this to you? I will read
 7it out as that is the simplest way of doing it. It is
 8attached to the back of the little sheaf of documents
 9I gave my Lord. (Document not provided) Professor Watt,
10it is the review in the Daily Telegraph. It is the only
11review I am going to put to you. "On June 16th 1977, when
12you were invited to review my book Hitler's War, which was
13the first edition, am only going to read one paragraph.
14Mr Irving's views on Hitler's position in relation to the
15massacre of European Jewry are well known. He believes
16the massacre was organized by Himmler and Heydrich without
17Hitler's knowledge, a belief he rests on the absence of
18any direct evidence of Hitler's knowledge and the
19existence of certain specific orders in specific cases
20that there was to be no liquidation. From these negatives
21he deduces the positive, backed by evidence from the
22survivors of Hitler's immediate entourage that the matter
23was never mentioned in their presence at all". This is
24yourself writing, Professor Watt?
25 A. [Professor Cameron Watt]     Yes.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]     "To this argument each historian would have apply his own

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 1judgment." You do not say straightaway what an absurd
 2idea, what a perverse kind of reading of the documents.
 3You carry on by saying, Professor Watt, "For myself
 4I found it initially not unpersuasive, having read the
 5book, until I reflected on the character of Himmler". At
 6that point I propose to stop. In other words, that was
 7your position at the time you had freshly read the book?
 8 MR RAMPTON:     May I interrupt? Could Mr Irving please complete
 9the paragraph?
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Yes, because I do not have that document in
11front of me.
12 MR IRVING:     "I found it unimaginable", yes, why not, "I found
13it unimaginable that he could proceed on so vast an
14enterprise without obtaining his master's approval". To
15put it the other way round, you imagined that he did
16obtain his master's approval, Professor Watt? Is that
17so? Is that what you are saying? You imagined that he
18must have obtained Hitler's approval?
19 A. [Professor Cameron Watt]     I assumed that, given his character, he would have at
20least thought he had Hitler's approval.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]     Yes.
22 A. [Professor Cameron Watt]     The difficulty in dealing with Hitler is that he himself
23defines secrecy in four different categories, the top one
24being ideas that I have not myself finally resolved, and
25the next one being ideas that I do not communicate to
26anybody. Then there is the James bond like category, for

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