Pamphleteers

Published: 1995-01-01

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"Revising the Twentieth Century" by John Lukacs appeared in the September 1994 issue of American Heritage. It discusses four waves of revisionism occurring during the century, the most recent coming from the "so-called right" and beginning in the mid-1980s in Germany. The "main figures have been German professional historians who, while unwilling to whitewash Hitler and his regime (that has remained the work of self-appointed extreme pamphleteers [my emphasis] for decades now) ...

"These books are more scholarly in their equipment than are the productions of pamphleteers who, among other things, deny the existence of the Holocaust."

Over the past year I've noted that journalists have begun to refer to me as a "pamphleteer." I take it as a compliment. When Lukacs speaks of pamphleteers, he doesn't mean it to be a compliment (I'm not mentioned in the article, but I suppose with the Campus Project he has me in mind). With regard to Irving, while he's not an academic he's not an "amateur" or "fanatic" either. When all else fails, the academics fall back on credentialism.

Lukacs quotes a passage from Harry Elmer Barnes that sets me back a little. Barnes, writing after World War Two, observed that Adolf Hitler was a man "whose only fault was that he was too soft, generous and honorable."

Is that an accurate quote? Luckacs doesn't source it. I doubt Lukacs would make an error with respect to such a statement. Barnes is one of the founding fathers of American revisionism. He is praised and promoted by the majority of major revisionist figures. I don't want to make too much of a single phrase from a body of work spanning decades, but the remark disturbs me. Hitler too soft, generous and honorable? His only fault?


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Author(s): Bradley R. Smith
Title: Pamphleteers
Sources: Smith's Report, no. 19, January 1995, p. 5
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Published: 1995-01-01
First posted on CODOH: Sept. 12, 2015, 4:33 a.m.
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