Founded in 1978, the Institute for Historical Review is a not-for-profit research, educational and publishing center devoted to truth and accuracy in history. The IHR continues the tradition of historical revisionism pioneered by distinguished historians such as Harry Elmer Barnes, A. J. P. Taylor, Charles Tansill, Paul Rassinier and William H. Chamberlin.
The Institute's purpose is, in the words of Barnes, to “bring history into accord with the facts.” The IHR is at the center of a worldwide network of scholars and activists who are working — sometimes at great personal sacrifice — to separate historical fact from propaganda fiction by researching and publicizing suppressed facts about key chapters of history, especially twentieth century history, that have social-political relevance today.
The Institute's offices are located in Orange County, southern California. Its work is funded through sales of books and cassette tapes, subscriptions to its Journal of Historical Review, and donations from supporters around the world. In its day-to-day operations, the IHR employs its modest financial resources very cost-effectively. For every dollar it spends, the IHR's adversaries spend a hundred.
Legally, the Institute operates as an entity of the “Legion for the Survival of Freedom” (LSF), a non-profit corporation founded in 1952 and controlled by a board of directors.
With growing support from across the United States and many foreign countries, the IHR works to bring sanity to America's foreign policy, to liberate people from pseudo-religious intimidation, and for the First Amendment right of free speech. The IHR also works to tear down barriers to international peace and understanding by encouraging greater awareness of the root causes, nature and consequences of war. Nowhere is this work more important than here in the United States, where untold billions of dollars have been squandered in preparation for pointless wars and conflicts.
Bitter experience has taught us just how little we can trust politicians and governments, especially during wartime when official and semi-official propagandists are most busy deceiving the public. As American historian Harry Elmer Barnes put it: “Truth is always the first war casualty. The emotional disturbances and distortions in historical writing are greatest in wartime.”
Powerful interests — including politicians and the major media — distort the historical record for self-serving reasons. Textbooks, motion pictures and television routinely present history in a slanted and partisan way. As George Orwell aptly noted in his classic Nineteen Eighty-Four: “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”
As shrewd observers have long understood, history is written by the victors. This is particularly true with regard to the history of the Second World War. Routinely the origins and nature of that catastrophic conflict are deceitfully portrayed as a simplistic struggle between good and evil.
Americans have been misled into one costly, devastating, and needless war after another. During the Vietnam and 1991 Gulf Wars, for example, government officials and much of the media lied to and deceived the American people to justify needless slaughter and devastation.
In seeking to replace ideologically-driven and emotion-charged portrayals with truth and fact, the Institute promotes historical awareness, understanding and mutual respect among nations. Artificially maintaining the hatreds and passions of the past prevents genuine reconciliation and lasting peace. As Barnes emphasized, historical revisionism is the key to just and lasting peace.
An awareness of real history provides understanding about the great issues of the present and the future. The work of the IHR in “blasting the historical blackout” (Barnes) is all the more relevant in this final decade of the twentieth century, as the political-economic order imposed by the victorious powers of the Second World War breaks apart — and along with it a distorted and one-sided historical perspective.
In a world often saturated with historical lies and self-serving propaganda, the Institute for Historical Review stands as a precious beacon.
Defying powerful adversaries, the Institute's impact continues to grow. While media coverage of the IHR is often hostile, the Institute and its work have been receiving more widespread and respectful attention. The IHR is now grudgingly accepted as an established part of the American social-cultural landscape.
For example, millions of Americans were introduced to the Institute through the March 20, 1994, broadcast of CBS's “60 Minutes,” one of the country's most widely viewed television shows. The IHR Journal was also introduced, and the front cover of the Nov.-Dec. 1993 issue was shown on screen. The IHR has been cited in major newspapers and magazines, including Time, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times. Institute spokesmen have been heard and seen on numerous radio and television appearances.
Moreover, steadily growing numbers of scholars and educated lay persons — across the United States, throughout Europe, and in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East — support the work of the IHR.
Even though IHR books and IHR Journal articles have consistently dealt with a broad range of historical topics, certainly the best-known and most controversial aspect of the Institute's work has been its treatment of the Holocaust issue. For example, the Los Angeles Times (May 15, 1994) describes the IHR as a “revisionist think tank that critics call the 'spine of the international Holocaust denial movement'.”
Although the Institute does not “deny the Holocaust,” over the years it has published detailed books and numerous probing essays that call into question aspects of the orthodox Holocaust extermination story. IHR publications have devoted considerable attention to this issue because it plays such an enormously significant role in the cultural and political life of America and much of the world.
In their efforts to discredit and marginalize it, opponents routinely mischaracterize the Institute as a “Holocaust denial” organization. This smear is completely at variance with the facts.
If the revisionist view of the Holocaust were really as simplistic and indefensible as some insist, it would not have gained the support of university professors such as Arthur Butz and Robert Faurisson, historians such as David Irving and Harry Elmer Barnes, former concentration camp inmates such as Paul Rassinier, and American gas chamber specialist Fred Leuchter. These individuals did not decide publicly to reject the orthodox Holocaust story — thereby risking public censure, and worse — because they are fools, or because their motives are evil, but rather on the basis of a sincere and thoughtful evaluation of the evidence.
Occasionally the Institute is denounced as a racist or fascist “hate group.” This too is a baseless smear. Since its founding the IHR has steadfastly opposed bigotry of all kinds in its efforts to promote greater public understanding of history. It does not seek to whitewash any past regime or rehabilitate any ideology. The IHR is proud of the backing it has earned from people of the most diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.
Far from being a fomenter of hate, the Institute has been a target of hate groups. During the 1980s, the Jewish Defense League — identified by the FBI in 1985 as the second most active terrorist group in the United States — repeatedly assaulted Institute offices and staff members. Following numerous death threats by telephone and mail, extensive property damage, five relatively minor fire bombings, one drive-by shooting and two physical assaults, the Institute's office-warehouse was destroyed in an arson attack on July 4, 1984. Estimated property loss was more than $400,000, including tens of thousands of books, rare documents, irreplaceable files and expensive office equipment.
In addition, well-financed special interest groups seeking to curtail open discussion of vital historical issues have for years targeted the Institute, grossly misrepresenting its work and purpose. Prominent among these are the Simon Wiesenthal Center (Los Angeles) and the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith (New York) — stridently partisan organizations with well documented records as staunch apologists for narrow Zionist-Jewish interests.
Along with the Institute's growing impact has come, inevitably, ever more frantic attacks from intolerant enemies. As the IHR's influence grows, and as the great social-cultural struggle of the Western world intensifies, so also does the fury and desperation of its adversaries.
A major task of the Institute is the publication of solid works of history. It brings long-neglected revisionist classics back into print, and breaks fresh ground with professionally edited and attractively designed first editions of important new works.
Numerous college and university educators have assigned IHR books as required reading in their courses. Most IHR books can be found in major libraries around the world. One title alone has sold more than 50,000 copies. Several IHR titles have been published in foreign-language editions.
In addition to its own titles, the IHR distributes scores of worthwhile books issued by other publishers. More than a hundred solidly researched books and dozens of compelling audio and video tapes are listed in the IHR catalog.
The Institute's Journal of Historical Review, says bestselling British historian David Irving, “has an astounding record of fearlessly shattering the icons of those vested interests who hate and fear the truth. That is why I strongly endorse it, and suggest that every intelligent man and woman in America, Britain and the dominions subscribe.”
The Journal of Historical Review — the leading periodical of its kind in the world — appears six times yearly in an attractive, handsomely illustrated 48-page magazine format. (Until January 1993, it was published four times yearly in a smaller size format.) More than 60 issues have appeared since it first began publication in 1980.
In addition to individual scholars and discerning lay readers, libraries of leading university and academic centers around the world subscribe, including the libraries of Harvard University, Princeton University, Yale University, Penn State University, Howard University, and the Institute for Contemporary History in Munich.
More than 20 distinguished historians, educators and other scholars are members of the Journal's Editorial Advisory Committee. Journal contributors have included respected scholars from around the world.
Journal articles are frequently reprinted, translated and circulated in many foreign countries. Selected Journal articles (along with IHR leaflets and other IHR materials) are disseminated through the Internet to many tens of thousands around the world.
A Journal reader typically has a keen interest in understanding how and why the world has become what it is today. He is fed up with the recycled wartime propaganda that is passed off as “history.” He detests socially destructive lies and bigotry. He wants a sane and healthy future for himself, his family and his country, indeed for all humanity, and realizes that it can be achieved only through an understanding of history based on truth and reality.
Since 1979, the IHR has held twelve conferences, presenting speakers from Europe, Asia, and Australia, as well as the United States. IHR conference speakers have included:
IHR Conference addresses are recorded and made available on audio and video cassette.
Hundreds of thousands of leaflets from our popular introductory series have been sold and distributed. A speakers' bureau makes IHR speakers available for meetings. Depending on availability of financial resources, the IHR also helps fund primary scholarly research of critical historical issues.