Lukacs on Barnes. SR readers on Lukacs

Published: 1995-03-01

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I reported in SR 19 that it was a little dismaying to discover that, according to historian John Lukacs, revisionist historian Harry Elmer Barnes wrote that Hitler's only fault was that he was “too soft, generous and honorable.” Several readers responded to put the lie to Lukacs.

“Re your inquiry on the Barnes 'quote.' It's from a pamphlet originally self-published by Barnes entitled Blasting the Historical Blackout—Professor A.J.P. Taylor's The Origins of the Second World War—Its Nature, Reliability, Shortcomings and Implications. Originally published by IHR under David McCalden as part of The Barnes Trilogy in 1979, you can find Barnes' quote on page 17: 'Defenders of Hitler, of whom I am not one, contend that he lost the War and his life by being too decent and honorable.'” (From WW, Indianapolis IN)

The quote you are looking for is on page 251 of Barnes Against the Blackout, where he writes: 'While the theory of Hitler's diabolism is generally accepted, there are very well informed persons who contend that he brought himself and Germany to ruin by being too soft, generous and honorable rather than too tough and ruthless.'“ (From S.N., Carlisle MA.)

It would seen that Lukacs is not shooting quite straight when he quotes Barnes. W.W. writes that he recalls Deborah Lipstadt misusing-using the Barnes quote in her Denying the Holocaust.

(S.N. asks) "What if Barnes actually were a sympathizer with Nazi Germany? There appears to be a train of thought that those who sympathize with a movement are guilty of every one of the movement's crimes. If you sympathize with 'democracy' are you personally guilty of supporting (for example) the atom bombing of Japanese civilians, the firebombing of German Civilians, the enslavement of Blacks, the genocide of the Indians, the starvation of German POWs, etc., etc.?”

Additional information about this document
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Author(s): Bradley R. Smith
Title: Lukacs on Barnes. SR readers on Lukacs
Sources: Smith's Report, no. 21, March 1995, p. 6.
Published: 1995-03-01
First posted on CODOH: Sept. 16, 2015, 1:25 p.m.
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