Jump to content

The War Path: What to make of David Irving's assertion?


Recommended Posts

Just finished reading David Irving's 1978 The War Path: Hitler's Germany 1933-9

This book was published after his 1977 Hitler's War - in the USA published by The Viking Press, NY and by Hodder & Stoughton London elsewhere.

In the former book's "Author's Foreword," he noted thus, and I quote extensively for the sake of clarity ...

Those critics who took exception … in “Hitler’s War” of his [Hitler’s] attitude to the “Jewish question” … particularly in North America – will find his actions in the years before the war were wholly consistent with my central hypothesis: that Hitler grasped quite early on that anti-Semitism would be a powerful vote-catching force in Germany and that he had no compunction against riding that evil horse right up to the portals of the Chancellery in 1933; but that once inside and in power, he “dismounted” and paid only lip-service to that part of his creed. The Nazi gangsters under him continued to ride to hound … even when Hitler dictated differently, e.g. 9 November 1938*

* Sidenote:

[The anti-Jewish pogrom. Throughout Germany/Austria an orgy of burning and destruction, murder and rape took place on that day. The Fuhrer was at Prinz Regenten Platz at his apartment. At 1am the next morning one of Hitler’s adjutants came upstairs to tell him that the Hotel Vier Jahrezeiten had just telephoned asking the adjutants to retrieve their baggage, as the synagogue next door was on fire and the hotel might have to be evacuated. Julius Schaub – Hitler’s ADC – wrote a graphic account of this night of horror.

According to Irving, Hitler sent angrily for SS General Karl von Eberstein, the city’s police chief, and told him to restore order at once. At 2:56 am a telex was issued by Rudolf Hess’s staff as Deputy Fuhrer – repeated to all gauleiters as Party Ordinance #174 – forbidding all such demonstrations: ”On express orders issued at he highest level of all there is to be no arson or the like, whatever, under any circumstances, against Jewish businesses.”

The Gestapo followed suit - thus at 3:45am the Berlin Gestapo repeated this prohibition. But the damage had been done, and Ribbentrop left Hitler in no doubt of this. Hitler refused to discipline the instigator Goebbels, nor the Nazi Party members who had actually committed the outrages. Thus – just as on 30 June 1934 – Hitler post facto endorsed the excesses of his henchmen.]

Back to Mr. Irving’s Foreword and his assertion …

…he [Fuhrer] rarely intervened in the Nazi Party’s persecution of the Jews, one way or the other. Documents that actually link Hitler with the treatment of the Jews invariably take the form of embargoes. Thus we find a senior Reich law officer minuting in the winter of 1941-2:

“Reich Minister Lammers informed me that the Fuhrer has repeatedly pronounced that he wants the Jewish Question put off until after the war is over.”

Whatever way one looks at his [above] document … it is incompatible with the notion that Hitler wished, ordered or even knew of the liquidation programme that was in fact already under way. (The document, believed destroyed in 1946, has only recently surfaced in a Justice ministry file, R22/52, in the archives in Koblenz.)

And if Hitler was an incorrigible anti-Semite, what are we to make of the urgent edict issued by Rudolf Hess… during the infamous Night of the Broken Glass… Every other historian, even if he found this document (which is in the Berlin files), has shut his eyes to it and documents like it, and hoped that when he opened his eyes the horrid, inconvenient item would have somehow gone away.

And now the crux of his argument …

[Historians] have resorted to postulating the existence of Fuhrer orders even if there was not the slightest written evidence of their existence. John Toland… appealed emotionally in the magazine Der Spiegel for German historians to refute my statement that Hitler did not order the systematic liquidation of the European Jews, and was probably not even aware that it was going on…apart from [German historians] suggesting that “of course” the whole project was so secret that only oral orders were issued, so as to not implicate the Fuhrer.

But why should Hitler have become so circumspect in this instance, since in contrast he had shown no compunction about personally signing a blanket order for the liquidation on tens of thousands of fellow Germans (the Euthanasia Programme); and his comparable orders for the liquidation of enemy prisoners (the Commando Order), of Allied airmen (the Lynch Order) and Russian functionaries (the Commissar Order) are documented all the way from Fuhrer’s HQ’s right down the line to the executioners? Jews did not rank higher than any of these in popularity in Nazi Germany.

To buttress such hostile arguments, other writers have relied on weak and unprofessional evidence…. For example, they offered shrewd alternative translations of words in Hitler’s speeches – apparently the liquidation was too secret for him to sign an order, but not so secret the Hitler could not brag about it in his public speeches! – and seemingly damning quotations from documents that have, however, long been discarded by serious historians as fakes, like the Gerstein Report or the Bunker conversations.

..but explicit, written, wartime evidence, the kind of evidence that could hang a man, not one line has been produced.

Thus, to sum up, Mr. Irving states that though Hitler probably was an anti-Semite - as deduced from his many public recorded hate speeches against the Jews before WWII - there is no written wartime evidence (yet?) of any Jewish liquidation order. My questions is thus:

[1] Is this true? Is there no written wartime evidence - since this book was written in 1978 - of Hitler’s “edicts” ordering explicitly the destruction of the Jews?

[2] And if there is, is these “guilty evidence” sources fakes & discredited as Mr. Irving so sweepingly claims?

[3] Stating that Hitler did not know of the Jewish liquidation seems improbable and far-fetched IMHO, even if there was no written execution orders by him?

[ April 01, 2005, 02:20 AM: Message edited by: WineCape ]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is this a bizarre April Fool's post?

A quick forum search for "David Irving" is likely instantly to flood your computer with angry arguments and indignation.

Before all that begins--as it no doubt will momentarily--my brief study of the people called "holocaust deniers" left me with only two strong impressions.

First, these are second rate historians with some pretty convoluted motives. Questioning the victor's account of any war is worthwhile, and it's about time for that to happen with WWII, but these folks clearly have some personal investment in exonerating Hitler or others of some things.

Being second rate, the collect and muster evidence rather poorly BUT, the second thing that I noticed was the intellectual poverty of those who choose to respond. It's all "how dare you question something so obvious!" vitriol and very little presentation of evidence to render the received account obvious.

Personally I am waiting for a good historian in neither of the present vocal groups to tackle the issue without the frothy emotion or bizarre and inconsistent affection for the Third Reich.

In short, yes, the evidence for the received account looks pretty thin in some places, but it's a victor's account and that's hardly surprising. I don't know what the real story is, but I expect I will get to read it within my lifetime.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Having had the misfortune to hear Mr. Irving speak on his last lecture tour of downunder, more by mistake, than design, I came away rather uncertain whether he was just an old-time Nazi or a neo-Nazi. Either way, he presented a very fanciful account, as you've outlined that Hitler was supposedly the innocent dupe in the whole matter of the "Final Solution".

However, it is very obvious that while he was making an effort to sin by commission but rather by omission, as there is more than sufficient evidence to indicate that Hitler is implicated in the decision making of the Final Solution.

Irving was found to have falsified his claims about Auschwitze in the famous case he brought against Penguin and Deborah Lipstadt. I'd recommend doing a search on those names and read what the finding against him was.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The thing that I find so strange is why either an old time Nazi or a neo-Nazi would want to portray Hitler as an innocent dupe with regard to the Jews, but not with regard to the other items listed above (killing of prisoners, et cetera). If you're going to whitewash, why not be thorough? Or if you really are a neo-Nazi, why feel the need to whitewash? I don't understand the psychology behind Irving and company...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, let's just take this laugher for starters...

“Reich Minister Lammers informed me that the Fuhrer has repeatedly pronounced that he wants the Jewish Question put off until after the war is over.”

Whatever way one looks at his [above] document … it is incompatible with the notion that Hitler wished, ordered or even knew of the liquidation programme that was in fact already under way. (The document, believed destroyed in 1946, has only recently surfaced in a Justice ministry file, R22/52, in the archives in Koblenz.)

Why would you be repeatedly stating that you want it put off if you didn't know it was going on?

These things are so funny. Hitler was the kinda guy who would keep up on minutia like what gun was fitted to what tank. You really think he was going to miss a program the size of the Holocaust?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by SpitfireXI:

There are no signed orders, but the Wannsee conference notes make it very clear Hitler ordered the destruction of the Jewish race.

Irving's an idiot, however the Wannsee notes do not make that clear. I'm certain Hitler gave Heydrich his marching orders, but the notes are vary vague about what Hitler's orders actually were
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by The Leader:

snipped lies

feh, you are a liar and a poor one. You put in your profile that you live in Germany and everyone knows the Fuhrer lives in Buenos Aires. The warm weather and parties are more his speed after all those dreary Bavarian winters.

:mad: :mad: :mad:

[ April 01, 2005, 07:29 PM: Message edited by: mike_the_wino ]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Apologies for the wrong forum. I have moved the discussion to the General one. Been too long away from the forum (have set my browser homepage on CMAK's forum here and jast blasted away without thinking) and plainly forgot there is something like a General Forum. redface.gif

The discussion has moved there. No offence intended.

Sincerely,

Charl Theron

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 16 years later...
On 4/1/2005 at 3:19 PM, SpitfireXI said:

There are no signed orders, but the Wannsee conference notes make it very clear Hitler ordered the destruction of the Jewish race.

Hitler wasn't even present, and should Hitler knew 'everything' (as you stated), why didn't he know anything about the plans of Von Stauffenberg (20 July 1944) ?

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...