David Irving is a brilliant and indefatigable researcher into the history of WWII.  He has mastered the surviving German archives as no other investigator has and he has had a knack for getting surviving German military and political figures to talk to him.  He probably knows more about the German war effort, and in greater detail, than any historian alive.

He also seems to have a screw loose — revealed in a vague sympathy with Naziism and a disposition to anti-Semitism, often conveyed more by innuendo than by direct expressions of opinion — and this wobbly screw drives people crazy, which is understandable.  It should certainly make us question his historical conclusions, if not his facts, which always seem to be in impeccable order.


Irving delights in pointing out that there is no documentary evidence that Hitler ordered or even knew about the Final Solution set in motion by his minions.  It violates common sense to think that Hitler didn’t order or approve the actions of his subordinates in a project of such scale, the surviving documentary record notwithstanding — so why does Irving make such a fuss over the missing “evidence”?  To suggest that Hitler wasn’t the monster every reasonable persons knows he was?  That seems to be his aim.

It’s this sort of thing that has branded Irving a scoundrel — but scoundrel or not, he must be read, read with a degree of skepticism, of course, but read.  You simply won’t find the information he has to offer anywhere else.


His massive biography of Joseph Goebbels, withdrawn from publication in the U. S. due to a campaign of invective against its author, is now back in print in England and can be had from Irving’s web site here.

I can understand not wanting to support Irving personally by buying his books.  On the other hand, if you want to know all that can be known about Goebbels’s life, you will need to place this volume on your reading list, if not on your open shelves.

6 thoughts on “GOEBBELS

    • It’s not considered good form to say anything positive about Irving but several responsible WWII historians have given him the qualified credit I give him here.

  1. How do you separate fiction from Irving’s version of reality in any of his works? The guy is a complete dick.

    • A dick, yes, but he gets his facts right, even if he presents them in the service of dubious conclusions. It’s not hard to separate the facts from the conclusions, especially since Irving conveys his most objectionable opinions in public speeches, not in the books themselves. The great historian John Keegan called Irving’s book “Hitler’s War” “the autobiography Hitler never wrote”. If Hitler had written an autobiography dealing with the war years, it would be read skeptically, to say the least, but it would be read — it would be an important document of WWII historiography.

    • It would be madness to take Irving’s books as the last word on anything connected with WWII — they have to be read in the context of work written by historians like Lipstadt who don’t have his unsavory biases. At the same time, his books have information that can’t be found anywhere else and so, sadly, remain useful.

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