Published: 1994-07-01

This document is part of the Journal of Historical Review periodical.
Use this menu to find more documents that are part of this periodical.

Corrective Power

Richard Phillip's letter [in the May-June Journal, pp. 46-47] is an excellent illustration of the corrective power of historical revisionism. However, a few of his points require correction.

German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck tried to appease France over the issue of Alsace-Lorraine, and nearly succeeded in reaching a reconciliation.

It is not true that Germany "struck back so furiously 20 years later," that is, in 1940. British historian A. J. P. Taylor and American historian David Hoggan have each disposed of this widely-held myth. Under Hitler, Germany peacefully retrieved lost territories and lost populations, usually to the thunderous applause of the people involved. The hybrid Czecho-Slovak state dissolved in 1939 without resistance, and Poland was attacked by Germany later that year only after prolonged provocation. Hitler was never serious about invading Britain, and would have withdrawn from France in exchange for peace with Britain. German expansion into Eastern Europe threatened no one but the Soviets, who had expansionist plans of their own.

Aside from the knotty historical question of war guilt, everyone can easily grasp the basic validity of the revisionist maxim that no side in a military conflict (including Hitler) is ever entirely morally pure. Revisionism benefits everyone of good will who seeks truth.

W. R. W.
Walnut Creek, Calif.

Understanding for Baltic Peoples

I am skeptical whenever I read about another elderly naturalized American citizen who is accused of committing "Nazi war crimes." One recent case involves a 72-year-old Latvian immigrant in very poor health who had been living in western New York State. He is accused of having been a member of a Latvian police unit that supposedly killed Jews during the German wartime occupation of his country.

It isn't difficult to understand why people in the Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania hated and feared the Soviets. At the end of the Second World War the father of a friend of mine escaped from Estonia and emigrated to the United States. As my friend explained to me, shortly after the Soviet occupation of Estonia in 1940, the Soviet secret police, the NKVD, set up street barricades. The NKVD police stopped all men who appeared to be between the ages of about 20 and 55, and forced them to hold out both hands. Those who did not have callouses were considered to be elitists, and were immediately shot by the NKVD. My friend's father, at the risk of life, took a photo of one such shooting with a concealed camera. (Fortunately, he was a manual laborer.) Ironically, many of those who passed the "callous test" were later shipped to Siberian labor camps, in part because they were considered to be hard workers. Many others disappeared without a trace. Many NKVD officers were Jews.

One can hardly blame the many people in the Baltic states, White Russia (Belarus) and Ukraine who chose during the Second World War to fight alongside the Germans for the freedom and independence of their nations.


Subtle Impact

The work of revisionists appears to have made a subtle impact on Spielberg's Holocaust epic, "Schindler's List." Although it includes many rather ridiculous scenes, such as German officers who are almost constantly drunk while on duty, or lusting after Polish Jewish female laborers, I suspect that Spielberg, with an eye to the ages, has tried to make a film that will better stand up to the scrutiny of future generations. Consider the following:

  1. Execution gas chambers are first orally rumored, and then visually suggested by heavy fire and smoke from a chimney at Auschwitz, but the "Bath and Disinfection" chamber shown (and accurately depicted) is used only for showers. One Jewish woman suggests, quite logically, that rumors of "gassing" could not be true, because anyone so close to such an apparatus would not be permitted to survive to tell the story.
    Since rumors and suggestion are, in fact, the basis of the entire gas chamber extermination story, all this seems rather fair. Also, because the chimney shows heavy smoke, unlike a crematory chimney, they could be burning trash for all we know.
  2. An entire trainload of people arrives at Auschwitz, the inmates are well cared for, and then they safely leave the camp through the same gate on another train. What other Hollywood film has ever suggested that Auschwitz also functioned as a transit camp?
  3. Indiscriminate shootings of entire communities are not shown, only shootings of individuals, particularly as saboteurs.

J. S.
Silverado, Calif.

Verge of Victory

The May-June 1994 Journal was, as usual, fascinating. I read the entire thing in one sitting. I showed the article about the "60 Minutes" broadcast [devoted to Holocaust revisionism] to intellectuals I know who had been hoodwinked by the CBS presentation. After reading your article, each one changed his view.

Holocaust revisionism is on the verge of victory. Keep the JHR focused on this issue. I've won a renowned professor of history to our view on this.

P. G.
Lyndhurst, Ohio

Disappointment with Nolte Interview

Reading Dr. Warren's interview with Prof. Ernst Nolte, and Weber's review of Nolte's most recent book, Streitpunkte ("Points of Dispute"), in the January-February Journal was, unfortunately, a disappointment. Much of what Nolte says in this interview is nonsense, particularly his views about the Third Reich and National Socialism.

For decades now, Prof. Nolte has been one of the most prominent "re-educators" here in Germany. He is regarded as an expert on "fascism," whatever that means. (There was never any "fascism" in Germany.) In my view, he is a blatant opportunist who wishes at all costs to avoid giving any kind of offense.

Several years ago he initiated an exchange of letters with me that showed that he is not at all inclined to give validity to arguments against the Holocaust story, even if, at the same time, he gives the impression that he does not refuse to discuss this issue, and believes those who discuss it should not be punished. Consequently, I discontinued our exchange of letters as pointless. I cannot avoid the view that, in light of the increasingly obvious changes in how the Holocaust story is regarded, he is trying, to a certain degree, intellectually to "protect" himself.

After the "Leuchter Report" was made public, Nolte criticized it in an essay published in a German newspaper, without, of course, citing any effective arguments against it. Nolte concluded his essay by writing that he would not be convinced, even by a "better" forensic report, that Jews were not murdered in gas chambers. What a revealing statement by a man who calls himself a "scholar."

The so-called "historians' dispute" ("Historikerstreit") in Germany was a kind of "shadow boxing." Nolte sought to make more of a name for himself in this "dispute," and was entirely misunderstood by his adversaries. What the Germans did to the Jews, writes Nolte in Der europäische Bürgerkrieg ("The European Civil War"), was an act of "transcendental annihilation." This "attempted complete annihilation of a world-nation is quite significantly different than all [other] acts of genocide," Nolte contends, because it was not "merely" an act of "biological annihilation," but was a "decision against progress"!

In his book Der Nasenring ("The Nose Ring"), Swiss-born historian Armin Mohler aptly comments (pp. 210-211) that, far from "relativizing" German crimes, as his adversaries charge, Nolte actually provides the "most radical cementing known to us" of the notion of the "singularity of the German crime."

Incidentally, a very instructive critique by Manfred Köhler [aka Germar Rudolf; editor] of Nolte's Streitpunkte has just recently been published (in German) by Cromwell Press in England [27 Old Gloucester St., London WC1N 3XX].

(Dr.) Wilhelm Stäglich
Glücksburg, Germany

Veteran Recounts Mistreatment of Prisoners

I served in the US Army during World War II, and was wounded in Belgium. I spent a lot of time in Germany during and after the war.

Many people are reluctant to believe that the United States could have mistreated German prisoners in the way that James Bacque relates in his book, Other Losses. I can attest to the fact that the US Army did have those inhumane holding pens for German prisoners: I saw them! These were guarded, fenced-in areas with thousands of German Prisoners of War inside, and there were no interior buildings or shelters. The POWs looked very thin and drawn. This was months after the war was over. They should have been released when the war was over. Gruesome Harvest [also available from the IHR] is another book that accurately tells of the shameful treatment by the Allies of German civilians and prisoners of war. After the war the Germans had very little food. Old women and children would station themselves outside the [US military] mess halls with two buckets, one for food scraps that normally go into the garbage cans and the other for left over coffee from the GI canteen cups. No food scraps or coffee ever hit garbage cans. I would always go back for seconds so that I would have a full mess kit and canteen cup for them when I left the mess hall. I also gave them other food items and soap that I had, much of which was sent to me from home. I didn't get home until March of 1946, so I was witness to many things mentioned in these two truthful books. Even after all these years I am still bothered by the indiscriminate Allied bombing of German cities, killing thousands of civilians needlessly, and the Allied treatment of Germans after the war. This is a shameful period in our history. The Germans were good Christian people, and it is too bad that they weren't treated in a Christian manner by the victors.

Oscar E. Plummer
Clinton, Ill.

We welcome letters from readers. We reserve the right to edit for style and space.

Additional information about this document
Property Value
Author(s): Paul Grubach , Wilhelm Stäglich , et al. , Oscar E. Plummer
Title: Letters
Sources: The Journal of Historical Review, vol. 14, no. 4 (July/August 1994), pp. 47f.
Published: 1994-07-01
First posted on CODOH: Dec. 9, 2012, 6 p.m.
Last revision:
Appears In: