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David Irving, Hitler and Holocaust Denial: Electronic Edition, by Richard J. EvansTable of Contents
|2.2 Qualifications >||2.6 Conclusion >>|
2.1 Publishing career
2.1.1 Over the past thirty years or so, David Irving has published a substantial number of works on historical subjects, Some of them have gone through many reprints and a number of different editions. The great majority of them are about the Second World War, and in particular about Nazi Germany and its leaders.
2.1.2 By the time he was thirty, he had already begun researching and writing on twentieth-century history, publishing his first book, The Destruction of Dresden, in 1963. There followed The Mare's Nest, a study of German secret weapons in the Second World War, published in 1964, and a book about the German atomic bomb, The Virus House, in 1967. In the same year, Irving published two more books, The Destruction of Convoy PQ17, and Accident - The Death of General Sikorski. Despite their somewhat specialized titles, these books in many cases aroused widespread controversy and made Irving into a well-known figure. The Destruction of Dresden created a storm by alleging that the bombing of Dresden by Allied airplanes early in 1945 caused many more deaths than had previously been thought. The Destruction of Convoy PQ 17 aroused serious objections on the part of a British naval officer criticized by Irving in his book. Accident generated considerable outrage by its suggestion that the Polish exile leader in the Second World War, General Sikorski, had been assassinated on the orders of Winston Churchill. By the end of the 1960s Irving had already made a name for himself as an extremely controversial writer about the Second World War.
2.1.3 With the publication of his massive study of Hitler's War in 1977, Irving stirred up fresh debate. In this book, he argued that far from ordering it himself, Hitler had not known about the extermination of the Jews until late in 1943, and both before and after that had done his best to mitigate the worst antisemitic excesses of his subordinates. Irving heightened the controversy by publicly offering a financial reward to anyone who could come up with a document proving him wrong.
2.1.4 The furor completely overshadowed his publication of a biography of the German general Manfred Rommel in the same year, under the title The Trail of the Fox. The following year, Irving brought out a 'prequel' to his book on Hitler and the Second World War, entitled The War Path. In 1981 he published two more books, one, The War Between the Generals, devoted to exposing differences of opinion between the commanders of Hitler's army during the Second World War, the other, Uprising!, arguing, to quote Irving himself, 'that the Uprising of 1956 in Hungary was primarily an anti-Jewish uprising', because the Communist regime was run by Jews.1
2.1.5 The stream of books by Irving continued with Churchill's War in 1987, Rudolf Hess; The Missing Years published in the same year, a biography of Hermann Göring (in 1989), and most recently a book on Goebbels: Mastermind of the 'Third Reich' (1996). The same year, Irving also produced a book to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials, Nuremberg: The Last Battle (1996, based on an earlier work).
2.1.6 And while he has been producing new work, he has also been publishing revised and amended editions of some of his earlier books, most notably, 1991, Hitler's War, which also incorporated a new version of The War Path . In addition he has published a number of books in German which have not appeared in English, including a study of Allied bombing raids on German cities (Und Deutschlands Städte starben nicht, 1963) and a broader study of strategic bombing in the twentieth century (Von Guernica bis Vietnam, published in 1982). Finally, he has edited and translated several documents of the Second World War, including the diaries of Göring's deputy, Erhard Milch, under the title The Rise and Fall of the Luftwaffe (1973) and Adolf Hitler; The Medical Diaries (1983).
2.1.7 Irving is also a frequent writer of letters to newspapers and periodicals on historical subjects, mostly replying to criticisms of his own work. He has given many hundreds of speeches and lectures in many different countries; the overwhelming majority of them have been on aspects of the Second World War and Nazi Germany; a very large number of these have been recorded on videotape or audiocassette. He has also made his views clear in a variety of periodical publications he himself has put out or contributed to, and in recent years he has built up a substantial website on the Internet to disseminate his views, again principally on aspects of the area of history with which he has always concerned himself. This is constantly changing, but it includes lengthy documents and analyses produced or reproduced by Irving himself as well as by others whose views are congenial to him.
2.1.8 There is no difficulty, in other words, documenting Irving's views on Hitler and the Holocaust, and no problem in finding abundant source material on which to test Deborah Lipstadt's allegations about his methods, his standing in the profession, and the other points at issue in this case.
1. David Irving, 'On Contemporary History and Historiography. Remarks delivered at the 1983 International Revisionist Conference', The Journal of Historical Review, Vol. 5, No. s 2,3,4 (Winter, 1984), pp. 251-88, here p. 265.
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