David Irving, Hitler and Holocaust Denial: Electronic Edition, by Richard J. Evans

Table of Contents
<< (ii) David Irving's argum...(vii) Conclusion >>

(iii) Inconsistencies and omission of references

1. The first inconsistency in Irving's account is obvious even without a deeper knowledge of the sources: while he claims in Hitler's War that Hitler disciplined an entire Nazi squad, in Göring Irving claims that Hitler only disciplined its leader. To clear up this inconsistency, we need to examine the testimony at the trial of Hitler in 1924 by the police officer whom Irving mentions . But Irving makes it difficult for his readers to investigate the matter further. Footnotes are properly used by responsible historians to guide the interested reader to the sources on which each claim or statement in the text is based. However, Irving frequently transgresses this basic convention of historical scholarship. Thus, in his Göring, he gives no clear reference for the incident involving Hitler at all, making it very difficult to find the original source. Irving fails to inform the reader what the name of the police officer was, and when he gave his testimony. He only tells the reader, that his narrative 'is knitted together from the eyewitness evidence at the trial'.5
 
2. Irving is not much more forthcoming about the exact details in his Pleadings to the court, either. He merely states that the 'source is the transcript of the police sergeant's evidence, on U.S. National Archives microfilm'.6 This makes it impossible for most readers to verify Irving's claims. The only way to examine Irving's account is to read through the entire record of the Hitler trial, searching for the original source of his depiction of the events in question. However, if one is willing to invest time and effort, the reference can eventually be located. The court record for the 4 March 1924 detail the testimony by a former police officer, Oberwachtmeister Hofmann:
Apart from this, I want to mention a previous incident because acts of violence which individuals have committed, have always been ascribed to him. I once went along to Hitler when I was still in the force and said to him: this and that have happened again. Some elements had attacked the Israelite delicatessen "That gives a bad impression of the party, and it's rather embarrassing for us in the police that such a thing should have to happen." By chance the leader of the group, a young, wartime army lieutenant, was there. Called on to speak, this man said: "I took off the party badge". Hitler said: "By doing this you admitted that you did not belong to the party at the moment when you committed that act. You are expelled with immediate effect from the party with your whole team and I will take care that you don't get admitted to any nationalist fighting squad again." Hitler always condemned these acts of violence and the individual excesses which occurred.7

Notes

4. Pleadings Bundle, IV, p. 14.
5. Irving, Göring, 518, footnote reference for p. 55.
6. Pleadings Bundle, IV, p. 14.
7. L. Gruchmann, R. Weber (eds.), Der Hitler-Prozeß 1924. Wortlaut der Hauptverhandlung vor dem Volksgericht München I, Vol. 2 (Munich, 1998), 545-546: 'Außerdem möchte ich einen Fall vorher erwähnen, weil auch immer die Gewalttätigkeiten, die von einzelnen begangen worden sind, ihm in die Schuhe geschoben worden sind. Ich bin einmal, da habe ich noch Dienst gemacht, zu Hitler gegangen und habe ihm gesagt: da ist wieder das und das vorgekommen. Es war der Überfall von einigen Elementen auf die israelitische Speiseanstalt erfolgt. "Daß macht einen schlechten Eindruck für die Partei, und für uns in der Polizei ist es recht peinlich, daß das gerade vorkommen muß". Zufällig ist der Führer der Gruppe dagewesen, em junger Kriegsleutnant. Zur Rede gestelit hat dieser gesagt: Ich habe das Parteizeichen abgelegt. Hitler sagte: "Damit haben sie bekannt, daß Sie sich nicht zur Partei gerechnet haben in dem Augenblick, wie Sie das gemacht haben. Mit Ihrer gesamten Mannschaft sind Sie sofort aus der Partei ausgeschlossen und ich werde Sorge tragen, daß Sie bei keiner nationalen Kampftruppe mehr unterkommen". Hitler hat diese Gewalttätigkeiten und diese einzelnen Ausschreitungen, die vorgekommen sind, ständig verurteilt'
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