THE HOLOCAUST AND THE HISTORIANS, by Lucy S. Dawidowicz, Harvard University Press, 187pp, $15.00, ISBN 0-674-40566-8.
"What, in sanctifying the Holocaust, do Jews not want to know about that grim era?" (Quoted from "The Holocaust, and the Myth of the Past as History," The Journal of Historical Review,. Winter, 1980, Dr. Howard F. Stein)
Mrs. Lucy S. Dawidowicz' The Holocaust and the Historians is remarkable more for what it does not say than for the actual content of this meager book. In a recent review in the The New York Times, John Leonard charaterized Mrs. Dawidowicz' work "confused." Confused it is- and evasive.
Except for a brief footnote on Arthur R. Butz's The Hoax of the Twentieth Century, which Mrs. Dawidowicz calls an "overtly anti-Semitic work," there is no mention of the significant writings of Faurisson, Rassinier and Felderer. Instead, Mrs. Dawidowicz refers readers to her tacky Commentary article, "Lies About the Holocaust," again smearing Revisionist historians as "neo-Nazi. "
In spite of the fact that we are almost literally bombarded night and day, week after week in the newspapers and mass media with various aspects of the Holocaust myth, Mrs. Dawidowicz is fearful that the history of the alleged six million murdered Jews will be obliterated from the face of the earth. And in order to sanctify this supposed unique aspect of suffering, Mrs. Dawidowicz makes a supreme effort to downplay the horrors of Hiroshima, Dresden and Vietnam. It is as. if to say "Our suffering has more meaning than yours," as Dr. Howard F. Stein states in his courageous Journal of Historical Review article cited above.
Mrs. Dawidowicz uses the opportunity given her in this book to jump on the "anti-Hannah Arendt" bandwagon. Hannah Arendt, probably the most brilliant of Jewish essayists, had the effrontery to infuriate the Jewish establishment by her critical comments on the role of the Judenräte and such people as the Rothschilds in the undoing of their people. The Ghetto bureaucrats and "court bankers," according to Hannah Arendt, profited from the governments, misguided the Jewish masses and were the actual agents of anti-Semitism!
The student wishing to find some information on the origins of the wars of this century will find this book of little value. Indeed the destruction of the culture of Ashkenazic Jewry was a great tragedy, but one can find few clues as to how this might have been averted in Mrs. Dawidowicz' work.
What is missing in The Holocaust and the Historians are the First and Second acts. The barrage of anti-German propaganda in the thirties and the battle for a negotiated peace in 1944 are two subjects that would bear further investigation by our historians. A negotiated peace in 1944 would surely have saved many Jewish (and other) lives! Reading history through the Third act is well for Mrs. Dawidowicz but it obviously will not do for those of us who wish to avoid future wars and future "holocausts."
Mrs. Dawidowicz makes much of the writings of Fritz Fisher in an effort to bolster her theory of the "continuity" of German history and the idea of "Germany As the Aggressor Throughout the Ages." It is remarkable that such nonsense can still be taken seriously. Fischer's thesis has been demolished elsewhere but the corpse of "unique German culpability" still has not been interred.
In criticizing Mrs. Dawidowicz' latest work this reviewer would like to point out a defect of both Revisionist and anti-Revisionist writing. To a point we should attempt to make a more accurate location of who the "good-guys" and "bad-guys" were in, the historical process. But most Revisionists and anti-Revisionists understand nothing whatever what the forces are which cause different people or "historical personages" to act the way they do. Only a few think in this frame of reference. Proudhon once said, "Not to the man, legislator, or prince do we look for the meaning of his acts, but to the acts themselves," implying that the actors in any historical event did not understand what motivated them, except from an extremely shortrange view. They had little or no comprehension whatever of the larger evolutionary course of events. In this respect more intense study by Revisionists of the American and European individualist anarchists (or libertarian socialists) and the writings of some of the psychohistorians-Howard F. Stein, Henry Ebel, George Kren, and David R. Beisel would be very useful in addition to the writings of Lawrence Dennis and C.H. Douglas.
The Holocaust and the Historians however has some "tidbits" which unintentially substantiate Revisionist interpretations. In a revealing footnote Mrs. Dawidowicz states:
"Many thousands of oral histories by survivors recounting their experiences exist in libraries and archives around the world. Their quality and usefulness vary significantly according to the informant's memory, grasp of events, insights, and of course accuracy. Also important in determining the quality of the account is the interviewer's ability to pursue lines of inquiry that elicit information that has been subconsciously or deliberately suppressed or that supplements an already accumulated body of information on a given subject or place. The longer the time elapsed, the less likely that the informant has retained freshness of recollection or can offer new information. The transcribed testimonies I have examined have been full of errors in dates, names of participants, and places, and there are evident misunderstandings of the events themselves. To the unwary researcher, some of the accounts can be more hazard than help."
It is encouraging to know that at long last many intellectuals of Jewish origin (such as John-Gabriel Cohn Bendit, Claude Karnooh, Jacob Assous) are beginning to recognize the real nature of the Holocaust- "that Nazism is indeed the bogeyman used by the liberal democracies to obtain the submission of their populations."
Mrs. Dawidowicz' book comes after a year of unremitting at tack and smear of The Institute for Historical Review, Liberty Lobby, The Spotlight, beginning with Mrs. Dawidowicz' own article in Commentary, continuing with Paul Berman's vicious diatribe in Village Voice (N.Y.), and articles in Los Angeles Magazine and New Republic (Mark Hosenball). These hatchet jobs completely fail to come to grips with the substance of the Revisionist argument. The alleged "racism," "anti-Semitism" of all "Willis Carto-associated" publications and organizations is repeatedly used to stifle all Revisionist argument, and indeed an attempt is being made now to smear the Serge Thion-libertarian socialist group in France with the same "anti-Semitic" brush. It may very well be that general acceptance of Revisionist interpretations will have to wait until the year 2050. If so, the lessons will be very costly. The prime noodles of civilization created the appropriate conditions for Lenin, Mussolini and Hitler and later, a veritable mass of petty dictators (of both Fascist and Socialist Communist variety) in the 1946-1981 period.
While America grovels under the yoke of Volcker and the infamous Federal Reserve System, a vast military-industrial complex, organized crime, cowardly and venal politicians, and the disintegration of safety and public order in our cities we are still preoccupied with the fantasies of "internationalism," notwithstanding the complete and utter failure of liberal-conservative policy since 1917, a policy in which a small., entrenched financial elite has made tremendous gains at the expense of the many. Mrs. Dawidowicz' latest opus is just one more "brief for the Establishment."
- Bezalel Chaim [p. 85-88]
BY BLOOD AND FIRE, by Thurston Clarke, G.P.Putnam's Sons, Ilb, $12.95.
In these days of erotic fiction and strange "documentaries" on the market, it is rewarding to read an excellent non-fiction book on a little known subject that hasn't been widely documented.
By Blood and Fire is virtually a scenario of one of the most contemptible acts of unmitigated murder by terrorism of the Twentieth Century; the deliberate bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, 22 July 1946.
Author Thurston Clarke, who's other literary credits are The Last Caravan and Dirty Money, has done a masterful job in research of a painful subject that places the blame for this horrible terrorist attack on the present Prime Minster of Israel, Menahem Begin.
At just past noon on 22 July 1946, six members of Begin's Irgun zvai leumi crept into the basement entrance of the King David Hotel, placed seven steel milk churns filled with gelignite and TNT in the popular Regency Bar and blew up the entire south wing of the hotel, killing 91 British civil servants, Arabs and Jews and wounding 46.
The reasoning behind such an act is as strange as the acts of terrorism committed by Jews and Arabs in Palestine today. What these murders accomplish seems to be a mute question. Any mention of this bombing attack to Prime Minister Begin today brings on stoney silence accompanied by a statement, "they were given a warning beforehand."
Much of the value of this book lies in the chronology; the time table of events by these "soldiers" of the terrorist Irgun, and goes into detail how Begin, the commander-in-chief of the Irgun, disregarded the pleas of the Haganah and the powerful "X Committee" and even Dr. Chaim Weizmann the chief Zionist of the entire Israeli movement, not to engage in an act of terrorism against the British "caretakers" of Palestine.
The six story King David Hotel in Jerusalem was one of the most popular meeting places in the city. The British administrative offices were in the south wing of the hotel and those employed were innocent British civil servants including 17 Jews, all of whom were murdered in the tremendous blast.
It is difficult to understand the rationale of such an act, except to remember that the Arabs outnumbered the Jews over the years and it is still an enigma as to "whom does Palestine belong to?"
Because of all the Arab and Jewish unrest in 1939 when thousands of Jews "emigrated" to Israel, the caretaker Government of Great Britain issued a White Paper stating that "no more than 75,000 Jews would be allowed to immigrate into Palestine in the coming 5 years." This declaration was as unpopular to the resident Arabs as the invading Jews, and brought about terrorism towards the British from Jew and Arab alike.
Following Hitler's passage of the law allowing German nationals to repurchase their commercial and residential property at the same price they were forced to sell to wealthy Jews after World War I, the German Jews were stripped of their financial power and left Germany in droves to immigrate into Palestine against the wishes of the British Government.
Thurston Clarke walks a tightrope depicting the objectives of both Arabs and Jews as well as British interests. He takes no sides and makes use of documented evidence and eye witness accounts of the bombing.
Excellent photographs, maps and diagrams are included in the book, available in selected bookstores and in many public libraries.
- W.R. Silberstein [p. 88f.]
CZECHOSLOVAKIA'S ROLE IN SOVIET STRATEGY, by Josef Kalvoda, University Press of America, Pb, 382pp, $9.75.
The author, a professional historian, was born in Czechoslovakia in 1923, left the CSR in 1948, has been living in the USA since 1951 and presently teaches at St. Joseph's College in West Hartford, Conn.
Prof. Kalvoda has given us a meticulous and scholarly account of the Soviet takeover of Czechoslovakia. Kalvoda plowed through piles of notes, documents and books mainly of Czech, but also of Russian, Austrian and German origin. The 82 pages of bibliography are extremely valuable.
The author begins in 1914, when Czech and Slovak contingents of the Austrian army at the Russian front shot their Austrian officers and defected to the Russian enemy. In the same year, Thomas G. Masaryk, later president of Czechoslovakia, made his first contact with British authorities, seeking support in his drive for Czech independence. The British Government prefered an independent Czech state to one attached to the Russian empire. Three years later, the British sent Masaryk to Russia to organize a Czech Legion there from 250,000 Czech and Slovak defectors in that country. Masaryk immediately asserted himself as Commander-in-Chief of a 50,000 man legion which he put under French command, a purely theoretical arrangement, since the Legion never arrived on the Western front.
The history of this Czech Legion is described in detail. One is astonished to learn, that in May 1918, Leon Trotzky, following higher orders, tried to incorporate these Czecho-Slovaks into the Red army and assorted labor groups. Some American and British leaders wished that these men could have helped them in their effort to defeat the Bolsheviks, but Masaryk held stubbornly to his policy of neutrality towards the Bolsheviks and even suggested that the Allies recognize the Red regime. Thus, Masaryk was one of the first politicians to bolster Bolshevism.
Eduard Benesh, portrayed by Kalvoda as a liar, cheater, and weak character, was another self-appointed politician who played a leading role in bringing the CSR into the Bolshevik fold: a "quartermaster of Communism in Central Europe." Or as chancellor Smutny called him: "The greatest Machiavelli of our time." (It is known, for example, that Benesh during the negotiations for the 1919 Treaty of St. Germain presented a forged map, which minimized the German population to be incorporated into the new CSR from 3.5 Million inhabitants to 1.2 Million.)
Benesh was cold-shouldered by the other Czech exiles, but with Russian help, managed to assert himself as their leader and while in Washington in May 1943, he assured F.D. Roosevelt of Soviet harmlessness and trustworthyness. When planning for the postwar Czechoslovakia, Benesh, in agreement with British and American authorities, originally intended to make concessions in favor of Germany. It was Stalin, who, in Dec. 1943, told him that he wanted Germany completely weakened and suggested that Sudeten Germans (as well as Hungarians) be evicted from the CSR. As Benesh put it later: "The transfer of the German property will be the beginning of a great social transformation."
Kalvoda's descriptions and analysis are excellent. He shows that Benesh was the main grave-digger of an independent Czechoslovakia. Yet, in his final conclusion he fails to emphasize the full implications which the expulsion of 3.5 Million Sudenten Germans had on the country: namely the permanent protection by "Big Brother" against any possible "justice seeking" by Sudeten Germans that might occur in the future.
Furthermore, I cannot agree with Kalvoda's assertions that Czechslovakia between 1918-38 had a "strong democratic tradition." Aside from the fact that the Sudeten German, Hungarian, Polish, and Ukrainian minorities were completely outmaneuvered in the Czech parliament, incidents like the machine-gunning of peaceful demonstrators in Troppau and Kaaden on 4 March 1919, which left 54 dead and 107 wounded, were a far cry from "democratic traditions!"
- W.K.F. Schuldes [p. 89f.]
DEFEAT IN THE EAST: Russia Conquers - January to May 1945, by Juergen Thorwald, edited and translated by Fred Wieck, Bantam Books, Pb, 292pp with maps and drawings, $2.50, ISBN 0-553-13469-8.
Most of the actual fighting during the Second World War took place on the Eastern Front between the Soviet Union and Germany and her allies. The last stages of the war in the East are vividly described by the German jounalist and historian, Juergen Thorwald. In Defeat in the East, Thorwald traces the military debacle of the Third Reich and shows what happened to the civilian population wherever the Red Army conquered.
The author participated in the rescue of refugees in eastern Germany and interviewed civilian and military survivors of the final collapse. On the basis of his own experience and interviews, as well as documentation available in the immediate post-war period, Thorwald was able to reconstruct a story that is still little known in the West. The book at hand is a translation based on a two-volume German work of more than seven hundred and fifty pages. It first appeared in an English language edition in 1951, under the title Flight in Winter, published by Pantheon Books, and has recently been reprinted as one of the titles in the popular Bantam War Books Series.
At the beginning of June 1944, Axis troops still controlled much Russian territory. Later that month, two hundred twenty-five Soviet infantry and armored divisions smashed through German Army Group Center, comprised of forty understrength divisions. On 23 August 1944, Romania left the Axis and the Red Army drove on into Hungary. People of German descent caught in the Russian steamroller were tortured, murdered, or deported. Refugees streamed into Austria.
By late fall, General Heinz Guderian, Chief of the German Army General Staff, managed to scrape together fourteen divisions of reserves for deployment against the Russians. They were instead frittered away in Hitler's fruitless December offensive in the Ardennes. When the new Russian drive commenced during the second week of January 1945, the German front lines disintegrated.
In almost every German settlement, village, or town where the Red Army advanced, the Russian troops engaged in an orgy of rape, murder, looting, and deportation. Women over seventy and girls under twelve were gang-raped, drafted for forced labor, and the healthier ones frequently rounded up, packed into cattlecars and transported to Russia. For over three years, the Communist propagandist Ilya Ehrenburg had promised Red Army troops the German women as their booty. Soviet officers often read to their soldiers Ehrenburg's enjoinder to: "Kill, Red Army men, Kill! No fascist is innocent, be he alive, be he as yet unborn. Kill!" As one eyewitness to the events reported, "It seemed as though the devil himself had come to Silesia. The 'Mongol barbarism of the Asiatic plains' had come not in a propaganda phrase but in the flesh. From January into April there raged a seemingly planless regime of looting, rape, and murder. Every German was fair game, all German property booty."
But the wholesale acts of atrocity committed against the German civilian populations of Eastern Europe were not planless. Instead, they were part of a preconceived plan designed to drive out all Germans and annex areas to the Soviet Union and pro-Soviet Poland. When the British and Americans bombed the defenseless Saxon capital of Dresden on 13-14 February 1945, killing thousands of the civilians who had sought refuge there, it appeared to be a further implementation of an Allied plan. During the December Ardennes offensive, the Germans captured enemy documents concerning Operation "Eclipse," codename of the notorious design inspired by U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau, which called for the destruction of the German nation following the allied victory.
Although the Soviets and their Western Allies had complete control of the air and held vast superiority in ground forces, the Germans tenaciously fought on. Boys of twelve and over from the Hitler Youth were given hasty lessons in the use of rifles, machineguns, or Panzerfausts; (a bazooka-like anti-tank weapon), and sent to the shrinking front lines, often joining the elderly men of the Volksturm (People's Militia). German military commanders continued to offer resistance in the East wherever such action served to cover the escape of the refugees. As they retreated, the Germans tried, with varying success, to surrender to British and American forces.
Thorwald discusses efforts by members of Hitler's entourage to negotiate with the West in order to end the fighting against the Anglo-Americans and concentrate their remaining resources on resisting the Russians. Following Hitler's suicide, his successor, Admiral Karl Doenitz, -issued a proclamation which summarized his goal, "My first task is to save the German people from destruction by the Bolshevist enemy. Fighting continues only to serve this one purpose. Only so far as this purpose is being opposed by the Americans and the English, only so far will we have to defend ourselves against them also."
Doenitz; attempted to bring about a partial surrender on the Western Front, but the Allied Supreme Commander, General Eisenhower, demanded unconditional surrender to all the Allies simultaneously. Having no alternative, the Doenitz government capitulated in early May.
For many in Eastern Europe, VE Day did not end their suffering. The author recounts the fate of the Germans living in Czechoslovakia who were tortured and often murdered until the last of them fled the country. Germans were not the only ones victimized: Russian POWs, some of them members of General Vlassov's Army and Committee for the Liberation of the Peoples of Russia, were arrested as henchmen of Hitler and turned over to the Soviets.
Juergen Thorwald has drawn attention to a topic that has been Played down in the post-war years. Defeat in the East should be read in company with Alfred de Zayas' Nemesis at Potsdam and Nikolai Tolstov's The Secret Betrayal (available from the IHR at $9.00 and $16.00 respectively, reviewed in JHR #4, Winter 1980), which describe in detail the post-war torments suffered by Germans and Russians at the hands of the victors. Anyone perusing these important volumes will no longer be convinced the Nazis had a monopoly on "war crimes."
Reviewing this period of history, Harry Elmer Barnes observed that, "Even if one were to accept the most extreme and exaggerated indictment of Hitler and the national socialists for their activities after 1939 made by anybody fit to remain outside a mental hospital, it is almost alarmingly easy to demonstrate that the atrocities of the Allies in the same period were more numerous as to victims and were carried out for the most part by methods more brutal and painful than alleged extermination in gas ovens."
- Charles Lutton [p. 91ff.]
DOENITZ AT NUMREMBERG: A RE-APPRAISAL, edited by H.K. Thompson, Jr. and Henry Strutz, preface by Justice William L. Hart, Amber Publishing (available from the IHR), Hb, 230pp heavily illustrated $11.00, ISBN 0-916788-01-6.
This exceptionally comprehensive book was dedicated to Admiral Karl Doenitz, "a naval officer of unexcelled ability and unequalled courage who, in his nation's darkest hour, offered his person and sacrificed his future to save the lives of many thousands of people."
The editors, in their introduction, talk about the purpose of the book being "a sampling of up-dated qualified opinion on the Nuremberg and related 'war crimes trials' of Axis personnel conducted by the Allies after WW II, with emphasis on the trial of Doenitz."
Dan V. Gallery, Rear Admiral, U.S.N (Ret.), in his prologue, refers to the International Military Tribunal (IMT) as "a kangaroo court … with men whose hands were bloody sitting on the judges seats."
In this book are excerpts from pp215-219 of Profiles of Courage by Pres. John F. Kennedy who lauds the October, 1946 position taken by Senator Robert A. Taft of Ohio, who was disturbed by the war crimes trials of Axis leaders. Kennedy asserts "the Nuremberg trials were at no time before the Congress for consideration … not an issue in the campaign … but Bob Taft spoke out. Quotes Taft: 'About this whole judgement there is the spirit of vengeance, and vengeance is seldom justice. In these trials we have accepted the Russian idea of the purpose of trials - government policy and not justice - with little relation to Anglo-Saxon heritage. By clothing policy in the forms of legal procedure, we may discredit the whole idea of justice in Europe for years to come . . . ' Kennedy reasserts what the Ohio Senator insisted: Nuremberg 'was a blot on American Constitutional history and a serious departure from our Anglo-Saxon heritage of fair and equal treatment …'"
The book itself comprises 194 pages, with signed statements from approximately 380 world leaders, spokesmen, and people of prominence-many of them military- condemning the trials as a "travesty of justice", "violation of international law," "hypocritical," "unjust", "unfair", "contemptible", "a step backward in international law" according to judge Learned Hand.
Distinguished contributors include: Vice Adm. W.L. Ainsworth, Rear Admirals C. Alexandris and J.E. Arnold; Hon. J.H. Ball; Prof. H.E. Barnes; Hon. S. Draden and U.L. Burdick; Taylor Caldwell, W.H. Chamberlin; Lady E.M. Chetwynd; Prof. Kenneth Colgrove; P.A. del Valle, Lt. Gen; Justice William 0. Douglas; T.S. Eliot, Brig. Gen. B. Fellers; J.H. Gipson of Caxton Printers; Prof. W.E. Hocking; Adm. H.E. Kimmel; Hon. W. Langer and J.B. Lee; Adolph Menjou; Vice Adm. A.E. Montgomery; Flt. Adm. C.W. Nimitz; Adm. Sir H.A. Packer; Adm. J.W. Reeves; Brig. Gen. A. Skeen; Lt. Gen. G.E. Stratemeyer; Prof. C.C. Tansill; Hon. F.J.P. Veale; Rear Adm. J. Wainwright; Gen. A.C. Wedemeyer; Hon. Burton K. Wheeler-among many other distinguished contributors.
This is a truly intriguing and revealing work which sets the record straight on some of the most bizarre judicial proceedings of the Twentieth Century. What is most painfully evident from this distinguished volume is not only that Doenitz and many, many others committed no crimes, but those who passed verdicts on them at Nuremberg did. This is a book not only for students of military and naval history, but for all who are interested in seeking justice and an understanding of how it can be dangerously perverted to serve the interests of the savagely vengeful.
- T.D. Hendry [p. 93f.]
NOT TO THE SWIFT: THE OLD ISOLATIONISTS IN THE COLD WAR ERA, by Justus D. Doenecke, Bucknell University Press, Hardback, $17.50, ISBN 0-8387-1940-6.
Justus D. Doenecke's book is a veritable gold-mine of information for the serious scholar of Revisionist historiography. Although lacking the minute detail of a similar work, James J. Martin's American Liberalism and World Politics, it nevertheless will prove a fruitful source for future scholars delving into the immediate post-World War II period.
The views of Lawrence Dennis, Harry Elmer Barnes, John T. Flynn, Charles Callan Tansill, Charles A. Lindbergh, Norman Thomas, Frank Chodorov, Henry Regnery, William Henry Chamberlin, Frank Hanighen, and several dozen others are examined as to their attitude toward world events in the 1945-1960 period.
Although obviously sympathetic to the views of say, Lawrence Dennis-since Doenecke is an 'academic' historian (of the "He said it; not I" school- lip-service must be paid to anti-McCarthyism and there is a rather gratuitous anti-McCarthyism thrown in. McCarthy's escapades were after all, small time "stuff" compared to the exploits of Roosevelt and his "liberal" entourage.
In his acknowledgments Dr. Doenecke neatly juggles the names of James J. Martin and Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., two very disparate figures, but the Professor perhaps should be forgiven his tightrope-walking. He has produced an eminently readable account of some of the most interesting American historians and publicists of the last fifty years.
- Bezalel Chaim [p. 95]
Source: Reprinted from The Journal of Historical Review, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 85-95.
Published with permission of and courtesy to the Institute for Historical Review (IHR).
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