The Holocaust Historiography Project

From the Editor

Theodore J. O’Keefe

Hysteron proteron was the Alexandrian grammarians’ term for inverting a sequence of words or ideas by putting first what normally comes afterward, in time or in logic. In view of the dramatic events of IHR’s Ninth Conference, which came to a rousing and successful conclusion just days before this issue of The Journal went to press, it is fitting that these editorial remarks begin with mention of the final piece of this quarter’s JHR.

No IHR conference has been more imperiled, more frenetic, more intellectually productive, and more successful than the just concluded Ninth. The success was in very large measure the doing of IHR’s director, J. Marcellus, who, just as in previous conferences, handled the myriad of details, large and small, which go into arranging and conducting an international Revisionist historical conference. This February was different, however: at the last minute not one, but two hotels with which IHR had binding contracts broke their agreements at the last minute, threatening the immediate ruin of our conference, sowing confusion among our speakers and guests, and auguring ill for the fate of future conferences.

As you'll learn by reading his “Historical News and Comment” account of how IHR pulled off this most challenging of all conferences, Director Marcellus is a man of considerable sang-froid. Tom may never have been in the military, but, just as he did in the traumatic days and weeks following the July 4, 1984, terror arson, he exhibited not a few of the soldierly virtues. More than one general has had his horse shot out from under him on the field of battle; during this past conference J. Marcellus not only survived two such incidents, but rallied his troops and led them to glorious victory. You'll read his gripping story of the background to IHR’s historic (as well as historical) Ninth Conference here; the April IHR Newsletter will carry a longer, illustrated report of the affair.

Now to the rest of our Spring 1989 issue. The incomparable Robert Faurisson leads off with an updated version of his address to the IHR’s Eighth Conference. Focussing chiefly on developments in France and on the 1985 Zündel trial, Faurisson gives a sweeping overview of the rise and progress of Revisionism in his native land and at the first Toronto trial. His usual meticulous attention to scholarly detail and his measured judgments of men and events lend “My Life As a Revisionist (September 1983 to September 1987)” both immediate and enduring value (by the way, plans are now afoot for an updated, illustrated book containing the pick of Robert Faurisson’s revisionist writings in English).

Our next article, by the late William Hesseltine, first appeared in the May 9, 1945 issue of The Progressive, a left-of-center journal (still published today) which nevertheless, in the tradition of Wisconsin’s Progressive Senator Robert La Follette, expressed sympathy at the plight of the German people. In “Atrocities, Then and Now” Professor Hesseltine, an American historian with particular expertise in the history of Civil War prison camps, draws, with remarkable foresight and courage, a parallel between Union exploitation of the appalling conditions which prevailed in Confederate camps for Union prisoners at the end of the Civil War and the virtually identical use the American leaders and their allies made of similar scenes in the German camps in the spring of 1945. JHR readers should recall Editorial Advisor Mark Weber’s excellent piece on “The Civil War Concentration Camps,” which appeared in the Summer 1981 issue of The Journal of Historical Review [Vol. Two, no. 2].) Like Hesseltine, Dr. Clarence Lang writes of governmental cruelty and hypocrisy during wartime. In this case the cruelty and hypocrisy were Roosevelt’s and Churchill's, for these Allied leaders deliberately rejected every effort, subsequent to the highly successful Red Cross aid to Greece in 1942, to relieve the suffering of the civilian populace in the Axis-occupied countries during World War II. To do otherwise would have impeded their policy of total war: a war total not only in the ferocity with which America and Britain waged it, not only in the costly extravagance of their unconditional surrender demands, but in the calculating cruelty of their treatment of civilian populations and in the cynical exploitation of the results of this treatment by an unrelenting atrocity propaganda.

This issue of The Journal features two book reviews. The first is of Carlos Porter’s debunking of the Nuremberg “evidence” and “record” in his Made in Russia: The Holocaust. Then frequent JHR contributor John Ries reviews a book which examines the organizational and political prerequisites for National Socialism’s broad appeal in one middle-sized university town, Marburg on the Lahn.

In “Historical News and Comment” Robert Faurisson, author of IHR’s Is the Diary of Anne Frank Genuine?, gives us a look at four different samples of what is alleged to be the teenager’s handwriting. Seeing is believing.

Dr. Lang, a long-time Lutheran pastor, examines a German Jesuit’s study of the reaction of prominent Catholic churchmen to the alleged Holocaust” during the latter part of the war. Lang homes in on the seeming inconsistency between the hierarchy’s public condemnation of German euthanasia measures and its supposed silence in the face of what is claimed to have been a far more ambitious extermination program. Christian anti-semitism? Or healthy skepticism regarding elusive rumors and wild propaganda claims? Dr. Lang concludes with a report of a very instructive meeting with the late Ludwig Volk, S. J.

Geoff Muirden, a first-time contributor from Australia, voices some healthy Revisionist questions about the work of a leading historian of the French Revolution, the Englishwoman Nesta Webster (whose The French Revolution may be ordered from IHR). Without detracting from Mrs. Webster’s immense stature as a social historian, Muirden points to evidence tending to place limits on the explanatory power of what Establishment historians and their camp followers like to deride as “the conspiracy theory of history.” Journal readers may be mindful of the late David Hoggan’s defense of France’s still controversial revolution in the Spring 1985 JHR ("Plato’s Dialectic v. Hegel and Marx: An Evaluation of Five Revolutions"); here, as on many other historical issues, there is no Revisionist party line.” In this, the bicentennial year of the fall of the Bastille and the march on Versailles, The Journal of Historical Review eagerly awaits informed criticism of, or assent to, Mr. Muirden’s argument.