Unless correspondents ask us not to, this Website will post selected letters that it receives and invite open debate.
George Swift of London urges Mr Irving to respond to a published attack by conformist historian Andrew Roberts, Saturday, December 28, 2002
Sneers at an ex-historian
I am surely not the only regular visitor to your website who is impatient for your comments on the cover article in the current edition of The Spectator (28 December) in which Andrew Roberts says the claim that Churchill was bought by the huge quantities of Jewish money he received before the war is made only by "ex-historians of the extremist kind, like David Irving".
I trust you will not allow seasonal bonhomie to cramp the style of your rejoinder to the impudent young puppy.
I think you will find the Roberts article most interesting as it seems to me it goes to the heart of the "real history" question.
In particular, you will note that the paragraph which describes you as an "ex-historian" also suggests that the charge Churchill was the "hired help" of the anti-Nazi lobby is based on the payment Sir henry Strakosch made to his stockbrokers. But, of course, the charge rests mainly on the payments from The Focus. Yet The Focus is mentioned nowhere in the article!
More generally, Roberts argues that, because Churchill was a Great Briton, he was above being influenced by the huge subsidies he trousered. But the idea that a great man on the winning side is not flawed like other human beings is exactly the sort of hero-worship rather than history that, for example, makes Macaulay's hagiography of William of Orange appear so ludicrously unhistorical today (except, of course, that Roberts can't write like TBM).
On the other hand, I have just reread your coverage of Strakosch and The Focus in "Churchill's War" and I can only say you are most restrained in letting the facts speak for themselves without heavy comments of your own.
Roberts also argues that today's media make too much of politicians' finances. But, to give just one example, the media have lamentably failed to persist in asking the right questions about Lord "Mr Cashpoint" Levy and the interconnections between his support for Israel, his vast fund-raising for the Labour Party and his appointment as Blair's "personal envoy to the Middle East" (not to mention the tasty fact -- recently reported by The Sunday Times -- that Levy happens to be a friend of the tax lawyer Martin Paisner who in turn happens to be one of the trustees of the Blairs' famous "blind trust").
So you can see why I look forward to reading your riposte to Roberts ... [see below]
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David Irving replies:
SORRY to say I did not yet see The Spectator article. Andrew Roberts is a conformist and his books are doomed to oblivion. He is also no gentleman. Example: As an aspiring young unpublished author, he borrowed from me my private microfilms of all the secret diaries of Lord Halifax, for his biography, and then ... thrice denied it! It is a privilege to be slagged off by this heir to the UK Kentucky Fried Chicken concession fortune.
The last time he tried, he said there was no proof Churchill had asked for the saturation bombing of Rome. I at once published on this website a facsimile of Churchill's secret August 1943 telegram which urged just that.
As for the question whether Churchill accepted funds from the Jews during his pre-war years in the wilderness, see the relevant pages from my chapter "The Hired Help" in "Churchill's War", vol. i: "Struggle for Power". The secretive vehicle through which the funds were channelled to Churchill from 1936 to 1939 was called The Focus. The files on that body in the Churchill archives were kept closed until very recently.
In 1938 Mr Churchill was on the point also of selling off his great Chartwell estate, having lost yet another fortune playing the markets in Wall Street; up stepped Sir Henry Strakosch, diamond and Gold merchant extraordinaire from South Africa, with a "loan" for £18,000, which debt Sir Henry kindly wiped off by leaving that amount to Churchill in his will (he died in 1943). These sums of money have to be multiplied by about one hundred to approach modern inflated currency values.