To understand the revisionist position with regard to the Holocaust, one needs to understand historical revisionism more generally.
The first revisionists were aptly named, as they sought to revise the harshest elements of the Treaty of Versailles (following World War One) and specifically the German sole war-guilt clause. Although it was understood that the principle objective of the earliest generation of revisionists was to establish historical facts about the origins and methods of World War One, it was also believed that with such understanding future wars could be prevented. The revisionists believed that the popular acceptance of the true causes of the horrible conflict that came to be known as ‘The Great War’ would generate a public reluctance to be lied into a subsequent conflict. The revisionist movement was, and is a peace movement.
By the 1930's the revisionists believed that they had won the intellectual war for historical accuracy. Such a judgment, proved to be premature however. Although many revisionists were drawn to and otherwise supported anti-interventionist groups in the years leading up to Pearl Harbor, the events of that day virtually eliminated any popular acceptance of revisionism.
Before the 1940’s would come to an end, revisionists began to challenge various aspects of the origins and conduct of the Allies in the second great conflict of a generation. Many authors wrote scholarly volumes that shattered popular myths of wartime developed propaganda.
By the 1950’s Harry Elmer Barnes, a revisionist of World War One came to be the epicenter of a new generation of revisionists who sought to get a proper understanding of the British role in the events of September 1939 and to establish whether Franklin Roosevelt lied in order to get the United States into the Second World War through the “back door” at Pearl Harbor. The revisionists were fearful of the treatment of enemy combatants in war crimes trials for the moral of the day appeared to be no greater than “might makes right” and that the great crime of any modern conflict was now to be on the losing side. The revisionists were also fearful of the new terrible weapons that were part of the world’s arsenals including the nuclear bomb. It was thought that a third world conflict would result in mutual annihilation of both sides.
Despite the depth of historical research and the number of volumes which were written in the 1950s, the revisionists of the Second World War found that popular acceptance of their theories was going to be far more difficult than in the years following World War One. In what Barnes would call the ‘historical blackout’ publishers would simply reject revisionist writings. The liberal and left-wing magazines which led the charge in the 1920’s wanted nothing to do with an accurate portrayal of the Fascist, Communist or National Socialist regimes.
Barnes developed the term “historical smotherout” to explain the technique and strategy to prevent revisionist writing from gaining mass acceptance. Identifying its origins at the Eichmann trial of 1961, Barnes described the smotherout strategy “the fundamental aim has now become to emphasize the allegation that Hitler and the national socialist leaders were such vile, debased, brutal, and bloodthirsty gangsters that Great Britain had an overwhelming moral obligation to plan a war to exterminate them, and the United States was compelled to enter this conflict to aid and abet this British crusade because of a moral imperative that could not be evaded to engage in a campaign of political, social, and cultural sanitation.”
Barnes argued that revisionist theories were smothered by a campaign of unceasing inflammatory exaggerations of Nazi savagery. In light of the incessant tales of the murder of six million Jews and the use of terrible weapons of mass destruction including gas chambers that killed by the thousands in a matter of minutes, some might even say seconds, the details of backroom politics and diplomatic failures were hardly the things that would fire the public’s imagination\.
Barnes recognized that revisionism faced its greatest challenge from the overwhelming smotherout of atrocity tales and what would eventually come to be known as the Holocaust story. The Holocaust story over the past 50 years has developed into mythical proportions and is defended by an entire industry that has developed around it as well as a legal system which persecutes those who question any aspect of what has come to be the “official” account.
Barnes properly identified the Holocaust story as the true barrier to the acceptance of revisionist arguments and thereby the true barrier to peace, security and prosperity among nations. The specter of the Holocaust is marched out to justify every modern military intervention. The media and the government depict our ‘enemies’ as modern day Hitlers intent on committing genocide and planning to use their secretive arsenals of weapons of mass destruction.
Cutting through the exaggerations, lies and propaganda of the Holocaust story has to be the starting ground for any contemporary revisionist. Despite persecution and insults, revisionists understand that the myths of the Holocaust have smothered out a proper and accurate understanding of the Second World War.
Far from attempting to rehabilitate any totalitarian regime, revisionists seek to emerge in a society that is freer than the one we live in today. Revisionists seek to reveal the facts in an effort to avoid foreign wars and interventionist crusades that leave tens of thousands or more dead.
With regard to the specific question, although the Nazis killed millions of people, the Allies too killed millions of people. Revisionists believe that the death toll of Jews largely resulted from conditions within the camps and mostly from the disease Typhus which the Nazis attempted to fight.
Had the Pacific War come to US soil, the American infrastructure been bombed, supply lines in the US broken, how would the Japanese housed in "relocation" camps have fared?
I believe that it is hateful and prejudiced to charge a people with a crime that they did not commit. The Germans did not attempt to kill all of the Jews of Europe. They did intend to deport them and did not believe that they could peacefully co-exist. The false charges including making Jews into bars of soap and killing them in large gas chambers are a false indictment of the German people.
Take one example — the concentration camp at Majdanek. It was alleged that the Germans killed two million Jews with gas chambers at this camp. Today, the director of the camp says that no more than 58,000 Jews died there mostly from disease.
That is a matter of setting the historical record correct. The German scientist and author Germar Rudolf published a book in which he determined that 40,000 Jews died at that camp. For this statement he served a 5 year prison sentence in Germany.
The Holocaust mythology renders it unnecessary for the Allies to consider their own atrocities. It is used to blur a proper understanding of the firebombings of Dresden and other German cities as well as the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Even the most horrific war crimes become justified in light of the Holocaust mythology.
Consider the treatment of the Palestinian people by the Israelis. This too is justified because of the stories of the Holocaust.
The Holocaust has become a barrier to peace and understanding as well as a justification for military interventionism around the world.
Only the freedom to explore this subject objectively can change the system of perpetual wars which have been established by the West's democracies.
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|Title:||Is it meaningful to question a state-sponsored extermination plan?|
|First posted on CODOH:||June 29, 1998, 7 p.m.|