Nazi Propaganda Minister, Dr Joseph Goebbels. David Irving went to Moscow in 1992. He was the first historian to use the entire long lost Goebbels diaries, 1923-1945.
Chronology of the Biggest Publishing Scandal of the Nineties
[THE SMALL PRINT: This is a copyright work. The manuscript is reproduced as part of the Focal Point Publications Website. While it can be downloaded for personal use, the manuscript may not be marketed or commercially traded. ©1998 David Irving.]
MARCH 22, 1995 Tom Dunne, senior editor at St Martins Press in New York, tells Mr Irving's U.S. literary agent that they are so impressed by his biography of Dr Joseph Goebbels that they will sign a contract for its publication.
The book has been seven years in the writing: in June 1992, four years into the project, with the draft MS already complete and on the point of delivery, Mr Irving has run into every author's bitter-sweet nightmare: a vast cache of new materials -- in this case, a colleague has discovered the diaries of the former Nazi minister microfilmed by the Nazis on primitive glass microfiches, twenty-five or forty pages to a plate, in the former Soviet archives in Moscow. Mr Irving counts 1,400 glass plates. The Red Army has seized them in Berlin, but the Russian archivists are unable to enlarge them, or even read the handwriting. Mr Irving is one of the three or four people in the world capable of reading the minister's strange handwriting. Those plates hold some 75,000 pages, or fifteen million words. The final biography runs to 200,000 words, which has not prevented critics from sneering, "Mr Irving has been selective in his choice of extracts from the diaries."
After that initial decision, it takes five months for SMP to draw up and sign the agreement. Mr Irving speaks with Dunne for the first time on Apr. 20, for twenty minutes: "He is very keen to buy US rights in Goebbels, which he has read and finds very authoritative," Mr Irving notes in his diary that same day.
Mr Irving tells Dunne that Focal Point will produce the British Commnonwealth edition, since beside the commercial advantage it results in a better product with more illustrations including many in colour. FP will produce a glossy dummy edition, with the entire picture section and several chapters, for SMP to market. SMP would then offset our edition, and pay an additional fee since FP would have the entire costs of typesetting, design, and manufacturing the photographic section.
With this letter on Apr. 21 last year Mr Irving sends to Dunne a copy of his flagship work Hitler's War, first published by The Viking Press in 1977 and repeatedly reissued since then.
May 24, 1995 At 9:30 a.m. there is the important phone call from Mr Irving's literary agent Ed Novak, who states after personally meeting with Tom Dunne that although SMP had yet to suggest any figures, "The bottom line is they're going to do it."
June 2, 1995 SMP make their formal offer; it is not high. It seems that Dr Ralf-Georg Reuth's ponderous German biography on Goebbels has soured the bookstores' enthusiasm for the man. The contract is not signed between SMP and Mr Irving's agent until July. The first payment under the contract is finally made in August 1995.
September 11, 1995 Tom Dunne's office notifies the author that they have launched his Goebbels biography at the first of many marketing meetings for the spring and summer of 1996. They now ask him to let them have a list of all his previous books and sales in the USA, and to change the title, Dr Goebbels. His Life and Death, to something punchier. He suggests The Trail of the Jackal (Mr Irving's Rommel biography had become a best seller under the title The Trail of the Fox).
After a few days, they selected from a short list of suggestions made by Mr Irving, Goebbels. Mastermind of the Third Reich.
October 13, 1995 SMP has routinely asked the author to tell them what is new in the book. He is on the road, completing a gruelling one-month, twenty-thousand mile road and air lecture tour of the USA. From Myrtle Creek, in Oregon, he sends them this description:
What is new: of course, I am the first and so far only historian to have had full use of the 75,000 page Goebbels Diaries that were discovered in the Moscow secret state archives in 1992. I am said to be one of only three historians capable of reading the handwriting. From these diaries we get new insight into the ruthless conduct and planning of Hitler's political conspiracies and military operations; we have fresh evidence about the role of Goebbels (and Albert Speer) in planning and inspiring the Final Solution. On a personal level we learn much about the tortured psyche of the Nazi propaganda minister, from the warped mind created by his physical deformities, through his abnormally late sexual development, to his family problems and romantic escapades with Germany's most beautiful film actresses [right: Lida Baarova]. The photographs, nearly all of which have never been published before, also deserve a mention.
October 26, 1995 SMP presses Mr Irving for data on the sales of all his previous books in the United States. In a four page letter he gives a complete breakdown of his publishing history, including well known works published over thirty years by
The Viking Press, Simon & Schuster, Avon Books, William Morrow, Macmillan, and Little, Brown.
January 25, 1996 SMP notifies David Irving that The Military Book Club, run by Doubledays, has bought Goebbels as a dual main selection (the club's editor, he is told, has called it "a strong work of history"). The money will in the first instance go to SMP. SMP's own publicity chief Joe Rinaldi also starts to crank up the publicity machine.
February 5, 1996 SMP's Neal Bascomb (of Tom Dunne's office) phones author Mr Irving in Key West to report, worried, that they are suddenly getting "hate mail" on the Internet about his being involved in "Holocaust controversies." Mr Irving replies that he has never written on the subject, and that SMP should duck such ugly matters if they can. Bascomb reveals that SMP are planning to publish in the first week of May, about two weeks behind the British publication date.
Knowing full well from ten years' experience fighting off these ugly enemies what is about to happen, Mr Irving sends to Bascomb this fax:
If you get hate mail attacking me, please ask the writer for permission to show me their letters, e-mails, etc, so that I can respond and if necessary protect myself with legal actions as I am doing in Britain and Canada (with libel actions against Deborah Lipstadt and others).
February 6, 1996 Mr Irving notes in his diary: "Ominous silence from St Martin's -- Hope nothing's going wrong there now, intimidated by the traditional enemy." These prove premature, but prophetic, words.
February 20, 1996 There is a morning phone call from Joe Rinaldi, SMP's pubicity chief, stating that Kirkus, the biggest publishing trade journal in New York, will be reviewing the book in the "next week or so," and wants to know if "I'm still with the IHR" -- the revisionist California-based Institute for Historical Review. Mr Irving replies that he is not a member or official of the IHR, but that he has spoken to functions of the IHR. He adds that of course others like Pulitzer-prize winner John Toland also address such audiences.
Seeing the methods being used by the enemy, he sends a fax to Tom Dunne at Saint Martin's Press:
Anticipating trouble Mr Irving asks SMP now to pay the $5,000 contractually agreed for permission to offset (photograph) the FPP production. (They never pay it.)
It is now known that by Feb. 10, and probably several days earlier, The Shallit Report, an odd and incoherent newsletter written by Jeffrey Shallit, professor of computer sciences at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, and published on the Internet by Ken McVay and The Nizkor Project (a Jewish-funded website which monitors the world of Holocaust revisionists) has printed a two-page fact sheet on author David Irving.
This quotes only Jewish sources (David Cesarani, Bernard Levin, Andrew Cohen) and contains such lies as "He calls himself a 'moderate fascist'", and
"In Nov. 1991 a reporter from The Independent showed that Mr Irving omitted crucial lines from a translation of Goebbels diaries -- lines that would have contradicted his theory that Hitler knew nothing about the extermination of the Jews."
All the allegations contained in the Shallit Report (subtitled "Lies of Our Times") are vicious and untrue; a copy reaches Mr Irving only months later, unfortunately, and he sends a seven page list of lies and corrections to the professor.
February 29, 1996 SMP seem to be undeterred by this campaign. They ask Mr Irving urgently to arrange for the printing film to reach them from the British printers. Doubleday proceeds with promoting their edition too, producing a lavish brochure by mid March.
Behind the scenes however the bigots and censors have begun their campaign, full blast. These are some of the tricks they employ:
Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel (left) and other Jewish authors instruct SMP that unless they cancel the book they will withdraw the puffs that they have provided for other SMP books. Wiesel wants, said Eric Breindl, quoting the author, "nothing to do with a firm that publishes Mr Irving."
According to Norman Oder, of Publisher's Weekly, writing an exclusive feature in the New York Jewish Week, as well as to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) newsletter Frontline, Wiesel refuses to "blurb" the Goebbels book. Mounting pressure, says Frontline, forces Thomas J McCormack, chairman of SMP, to "read the 640 page manuscript and to research David Irving's Home Page on the Internet."
[Facts: the book totals 770 pages David Irving had at that time no site on the Internet: it was launched in June 1998]
Best-selling Jewish author Jonathan Kellerman writes to Thomas Dunne a letter later quoted in Response, newsletter of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Los Angeles-based fundraising body, thus:
"David Irving's identity as a neo-Nazi and Holocaust denier is well known, and because of it he has been forced to self-publish in the U.K. Your attempt to elevate him to mainstream status in the U.S. is the single most repugnant act I've witnessed in over a decade of publishing. You should be ashamed of yourself. Don't send me anymore [sic] books for blurbs. Anything with the St. Martin's label on it will go straight in the trash."
Given that fate for any written response, SMP may well have not have bothered to point out to Kellerman that, quite apart from the other libels contained in his letter, Mr Irving was not forced to self-publish, but purchased the rights back from Macmillan Ltd on his own initiative in 1992; and that since he had a thirty-year record of publishing in New York's finest publishing houses, SMP had not "elevated him to mainstream status."
Breindl: "Private protests by influential figures within the [publishing] industry along with public declarations of opposition by legitimate Holocaust historians, seem further to have concentrated St Martin's attention."
March 18, 1996 United States newspapers publish an item based on a Jewish Telegraph Agency despatch, bold story about the Oklahoma bombing, with a picture of Mr Irving next to a picture of Timothy McVeigh. Great. Stating that he has been subpoenaed to provide information on his links to the Oklahoma tragedy, they cite the London-based Institute of Jewish Affairs as their source. Mr Irving sends this warning letter to the institute's director Antony Lerman by registered mail:
The statements made in the enclosed article are defamatory and untrue, in so far as they refer to me, and this letter gives due warning that any repetition of them within the jurisdiction of the British courts will be met with an immediate lawsuit by me.
March 21, 1996 A newspaper phones from Perth in West Australia, asking for comments about today's hearing of Mr Irving's case by the Full Federal Court in Perth. The author makes some general remarks about freedom of speech. The new immigration minister has told this journalist -- a coalition has defeated the Labour Government which issued the original ban on Mr Irving's entry at the behest of the Traditional Enemy -- that it would be inappropriate to comment on this case. Mr Irving says that he would appeal to Supreme Court and to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal if today goes against him. La lotta continua!
PW hands the story to Norman Oder to investigate, as he exclusively reports a week or two later in New York's Jewish Week (Apr. 12). "Fortunately," he describes, "our office had recently acquired access to the Internet. I typed in the name 'David Irving,' and soon found a mother lode of material."
First he stumbles across the huge file on David Irving dumped on the Net by The Nizkor Project, a Canadian based organisation co-ordinating Websites monitoring Holocaust denial. Some people have nothing better to do. There are excerpts from the book by Lucy Dawidowicz, condemning Mr Irving's best-selling biography Hitler's War (published by The Viking Press in 1977) To Oder's horror "there was even a whole set of pagings supporting Mr Irving, courtesy of the Committee for open Debate on the Holocaust."
Oder pours all these facts into an article for Publisher's Weekly, due for publication on Mar. 25.
March 21, 1996 Oder's editor faxes a copy of his article to the wire services, four days ahead of its publication.
Shortly after midnight, Reuters begins issuing around the world an advance preview of what Publishers Weekly intends to say about the book. "British historian David Irving, whom critics have accused of being a Nazi apologist," is about to get "blistering prepublication reviews" for the book, which PW itself in anonymous review is calling "repellent," and alleges there is "an agenda to Mr Irving's documentation." The PW reviewer alleges that in the book "Nazi brutality is almost always retaliation for the plots of international Jewry and the criminality of domestic Jews."
SMP's Tom Dunne tells Reuters he and his editors are mystified at such suggestions.
Mr Irving is back in London, awaiting delivery of the first two thousand copies of the book from the printers. That afternoon, Mar. 21, the journalists begin to phone, as the newswires hum with the Reuters and AP dispatches from New York. At 5 p.m. that evening a phone call from the London Daily Express tells him what the PW is saying.
"Sounds like a major mudslide is building," he predicts in his diary. "I'm going to have a fight on my hands."
Joe Rinaldi of St Martins Press phones him for half an hour, and Mr Irving gives him a list of professors and others who know him and will contradict the smear.
March 22, 1996 Thomas Dunne puts up a brave fight. He issues a press statement defending Mr Irving, listing the famous publishing houses which have published his books in the past, and the major newspapers which have reviewed them. "In the last few weeks, we have received several calls denouncing our publication of Mr Irving's latest volume, Goebbels, which, they maintained, is an apologia for Hitler's evil propaganda minister. [Note: At that time nobody has seen it outside our two publishing houses.]
"Since a number of the calls we have received have expressed fury that we would publish a book by 'a man like David Irving' and have questioned our moral right to do so, I can only say that Joseph Goebbels is doubtless laughing in hell. He after all was the man who loved nothing better than burning books, threatening publishers, suppressing ideas, and judging the merits based not on their content but by their author's racial, ethnic or political purity. That is indeed a sad irony."
It is also tough talk indeed to level at SMP's Jewish tormentors. Dunne in effect accuses Mr Irving's critics of using Nazi tactics to besmirch the author's reputation.
If PW's advance circulation of its review to the wireservices has been unorthodox, Kirkus Reviews now joins in, mailing out early copies of its April 1 review of the Goebbels biography (it calls the book "ponderous, tedious, and scurrilously misleading"), with a press release to newspapers.
"As a result," reports Norman Oder in Jewish Week, New York Times columnist Frank Rich whom he identifies as Jewish pricks up his ears; Oder and Sarah Gold, the non-fiction editor of Kirkus, talk off the record with Rich, and Gold supplies to him a copy of the manuscript (SMP having refused to do so).
March 25, 1996 Mr Irving's fax machine has by now churned out clipping from his agents all round the world, reporting the Reuters smear. It is impossible for him to counter all of them. He faxes to the Sydney Morning Herald in Australia:
Sir, -- Here we go round the Mulberry Bush again. My biography of the Nazi propaganda minister Goebbels, Mastermind of the Third Reich is not even out yet -- but New York Publishers Weekly is to publish an anonymous review denigrating it as "repellent" (closing words: "The real insidiousness of the biography is that its formidable documentation will gain it acceptance as history").
The first reviews are already appearing in the British, press, and they were brilliant. The rest of the world's press is reverberating to the smear campaign. Mr Irving is going down with pneumonia. And St Martins Press are going berserk.
This fax to their Mr Joe Rinaldi:
I have now seen further AP bulletins, as well as news stories printed by the Toronto Star, the Sydney Morning Herald, Die Welt, and other newspapers around the globe. I take it you have seen the story printed by Fred Kaplan in the Boston Globe on March 23. This states that Kirkus and the Library Journal will also carry blistering notices (how does Kaplan know?)
March 25, 1996 Publishers Weekly, in a major story, states: "Mr Irving, undaunted offers his own action report on the Net. In it, he describes himself as 'under world-wide attack by the traditional enemy of truth.'" (In fact Mr Irving had then no contact with the Internet, though supporters were at liberty to post extracts from this action report on it.). PW also quoted Tom Dunne as asking, "I'd like to know what people would have me do -- cancel the book? There's an irony here," he added, "pointing to the book's subject, Goebbels, who suppressed publications in Germany."
On days to come, Dunne will also draw attention to the book's opening sentence: "Writing this biography, I have lived in the evil shadow of Dr Joseph Goebbels for over seven years."
March 21, 1996 Ian Katz of The Guardian says there is an item on AP wires about a "review" of Goebbels and does he have any details. Later Rebecca English of the Daily Express phones, Reuters are carrying a story quoting an anonymous Publishers Weekly review in New York as calling Mr Irving's Goebbels biography (still unpublished) "repellent," and accusing it of following "an agenda".
Mr Irving does what he can to refute these descriptions. He says that if the review is anonymous this justifies Goebbels' own law which made it illegal to publish anonymous reviews; writers had to stand by what they had written. Sounds like a major mudslide is building.
Mr Irving phones his New York publisher, St Martins Press: yes, they say, they have been buried by phone calls from journalists quoting Reuter's advance summary of the Publishers Weekly report. Somebody faxes the PW dispatch through to Mr Irving.
Joe Rinaldi, publicity chief at St Martins Press, phones until 10:25 PM. Damage control. What ammunition can Mr Irving provide them with? Mr Irving gives a list of names of famous historians who will provide very different views on his reputation -- e.g. Charles Burdick, David Kahn, Robert Wolfe, Richard Hunt, etc.
March 23, 1996 Mr Irving wakes at 00:15 and finds a fax from Australia, with an article from the Sydney Morning Herald about the anonymous advance review in the New York Publisher's Weekly entitled: "Mr Irving 'accuses Jews of provoking brutality'"! Oy! These people get their stories around the world with the speed of a hurricane. How interesting it is to see them at work like this, while simultaneously proclaiming with hurt and injured eyes that there is no international network behind them.
More faxes from Germany: the Munich court has turned down lawyer Hajo Herrmann's appeal on Mr Irving's behalf against the order banning him from Germany. Freedom of speech! What step next? Today's Daily Telegraph also reports this in a small item. Windeseile!
Over the next weerk or two it emerges that several branches of the major British book chain Waterstones have developed a country-wide policy of refusing to stock David Irving's books, while deliberately continuing to stock books by people who libel him like Deborah Lipstadt and Gerald Gable. "We have a store policy of not stocking books by David Irving," says Miss Louie Smart of Waterstone's Earls Court Road.
March 24, 1996 Simultaneously the Traditional Enemy of Free Speech steps up his fight to suppress the book. The Toronto Star carries the ADL smear. From Los Angeles comes a computer print of the A.P.'s latest despatch, quoting ADL-chief Abraham Foxman, (left) that carapace of Jewish virtues. He has written, as the ADL newsletter Frontline later describes, a strongly worded letter to Roy Gainsburg, the president of St Martins Press:
"We were astonished to learn that an institution of your prominence and reputation will publish and promote as serious scholarship David Mr Irving's Goebbels: Mastermind of the Third Reich. We hope you will at least categorize the book as a work of fiction and not allow it to be passed off as a legitimate historical tract."
ADL noted: "No response was received."
Foxman has not read the book but demands its banning and forces Tom Dunne, Mr Irving's editor at St Martin's Press in New York, into contortions to defend their decision to print it. World-wide!
Significantly the British Sunday newspapers make no mention of the rumpus in the USA.
Bild am Sonntag carries a story about the banning of the unbelehrbare (incorrigible) David Irving from Germany.
March 25, 1996 Faxes arrive in London from Saint Martins Press, and the actual anonymous review from Publishers Weekly. Two pages of news about the controversy in Publishers Weekly (it even quotes action report on the "traditional enemy of the truth"!) as well as the review; Tom Dunne of St Martins Press seems to be hanging in there anyway.
Knowing whom he is up against, Mr Irving confides to his diary: "Fight might get ugly. I still think it is fifty-fifty that Saint Martins Press will cancel publication."
An overnight fax from Adelaide, Australia, suggests that the hearing on Mar. 21 in West Australia went badly. Mr Irving sends this fax to the Adelaide institute:
March 27, 1996 Daily Mail carries a review by British (and Jewish) author Tom Bower article. The article is vigorous, blustering, and libellous, but David Mr Irving decides not to act on it: he cannot take on wealthy newspapers too often in the courts.
April 1, 1996 Hajo Herrmann (left, as Luftwaffe pilot) reports that two days after the Munich judgment last week the Judge revoked his own judgement against Mr Irving, without giving any reasons! Unheard of. The judge may have been afraid of U.N. repercussions -- they are known to be preparing a complaint to Germany about their laws curtailing freedom of speech. David Irving is less optimistic; more likely the judgement as framed left loopholes for us to take such action. Vamos a ver.
April 3, 1996 Gloomy but objective fax from lawyer Ed Wall in Australia, summarising the hearing of March 21. The judges still have not issued their judgement.
"Even if it turns out to be gravely flawed," concedes the Jewish Internet newspaper Electronic Telegraph, "the book will be of interest to scholars because Mr Irving was the first author to gain access to 75,000 pages of Goebbels's diaries stored in Moscow."
On this same day ("the eve of Passover," as Norman Oder points out) the fight gets uglier. Frank Rich -- and they don't come much uglier than that -- writes a major Op-Ed piece in the New York Times attacking Mr Irving's (still unpublished and unseen) Goebbels biography: it is lethal, but punchy. Reflecting that "only Two Passovers ago American Jews were kvelling over the newly Oscar-anointed Steven Spielberg," and that this Passover the mantle had passed to Daniel Goldhagen for his book Hitler's Willing Executioners, Rich laments that in May, Mr David Irving's book will destroy all that
He rehashes all the lies that he claims to have found about the author on the Internet, adds more of his own for good measure, and quotes Deborah Lipstadt, the Emory University Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies as saying: "What David Irving and St Martin's is facilitating is not the destruction of live people but the destruction of people who already died. It's killing them a second time. It's killing history."
(In July 1996 Prof Lipstadt will receive a writ from author Mr Irving for her tract Denying the Holocaust, which she has foolishly started peddling within the jurisdiction of the British courts).
David Irving drafts this response to be published in the NYT (they do not print it):
Sir, -- While I refrained from responding to the unfriendly advance reviews which appeared in trade newspapers -- being attacked by a anonymous critic is not unlike being mugged by a masked man -- I do appreciate the concerns expressed by Frank Rich about my forthcoming book Goebbels. Mastermind of the Third Reich.
THEN THE skies begin to darken. Mr Irving is confined to bed in his London apartment, crippled with pneumonia and unable to speak except in short, gasping sentences.
At eight p.m. there is a long phone call from the New York Daily News, trying to do a hatchet job; they have got Mr Irving's number from his agent Ed Novak, say The Washington Post also ran a big piece attacking him today by one Marc Fisher.
Mr Irving ends this conversation by predicting that his Goebbels book will never see the light of day in the USA: the female reporter interrupts to say that St Martins Press are insisting that they will not buckle under to intimidation. But he corrects her: he knows who his opponents are -- though he steadfastly refuses to identify them to her -- and they would not have undertaken the risks they have if they were not already sure that they have won before starting this terror campaign against St Martins Press (SMP).
Around nine p.m. a call comes from The Washington Post, a female reporter. She asks for Mr Irving's response to the news that St Martins Press have pulled the book. She puts to him the items in the Marc Fisher article, all of which are untrue. Will he sue, she asks?
He writes in his diary: "The consequences may be financially serious, if St Martins refuses to make the final payment or the offsetting fee they were contracted to." This will proves prophetic.
He says politely to the Washington Post that he cannot comment until he has been told officially the book is cancelled, and until he knows precisely what pressures they came under, etc. He would expect another US publisher to step forward when they see the favourable British press which the book is bound to get.
The Marc Fisher article is libellous, and packed with lies. The Washington Post fails to print the reader's letter which Mr Irving faxes to them:
Sir, -- While there are many other totally fictitious "quotes" in his article which I could challenge, can I ask your writer Marc Fisher to provide the evidence for just one, namely that I "routinely refer to the Holocaust as a 'hoax'." Please give me credit for a degree of intelligence. "Routinely"? That should make it really easy to prove which of us might be lying.
He sends fax this letter to St Martins Press:
It is an unusual sensation to lie in bed with pneumonia, and be told by the New York gutter press on the phone that your publisher has "pulled" your book from production.
As he approaches the machine to fax it through at 11:19 p.m. it begins to whir and a fax comes in from Thomas J McCormack, Chairman and CEO of St Martins Press: "After much thought, we have made the decision not to publish your book Goebbels. The fact is that, at the time we acquired your book, we were without information essential to our decision." Neither in this fax, nor before, nor since, does SMP specify what the new information they have received is and invite Mr Irving's comment on it.
They are not cancelling the contract, this fax insists, merely not going to publish the book, which "entitles you to terminate the contract".
A few minutes later, at 6:21 p.m. in New York, 11:21 in London, McCormack issues his own three-page press release to the newswires (again without sending a copy to the author in London).
"I want to emphasize," states McCormack, "that we are not canceling under coercion -- publishers can often be at their best in resisting pressure -- nor was our decision prompted by mere embarrassment. We are canceling because we think many of the arguments put to us as objections to publication are valid and convincing, and because of discoveries we made on our own as we investigated the matter more deeply."
Describing how Dunne came to accept the book, McCormack states: "The book was long, detailed, and based on an immense coup of Mr Irving's -- exclusive first access to the never-published diaries that Goebbels kept. The diary material was by turns tedious, ludicrous and horrifying. And in the biography Mr Irving made it amply clear that he despised Goebbels."
But then: "Beginning two weeks ago people more informed than we started sending us new information about Mr Irving" "We condemned ad hominem arguments," continues McCormack, "but then had to ask ourselves: Could we honestly say we never rejected a propsoal because we didn't want to be associated with the author because of ugly, loony, or murderous things he said or did?"
The rest is History.
"The final decision about whether or not to go forward with Goebbels fell on my desk. Among many other things I did, I at last sat down to examine the page proof myself. I despised it intensively. There were several reasons for this, but one was sufficient for me: The subtext of Goebbels was in my judgment this: The Jews brought it on themselves. My feeling was that this is at base an effectively anti-Semitic book, an insidious piece of Goebbels-like propaganda that we should have nothing to do with."
"I wish we knew back in 1995 what we know now," McCormack adds add mysteriously. "I wish, once the new information began coming in, we were faster to push through to this decision." "I won't try to defend St Martin's against the criticism we have received, because the fact is I agree with much of it. We made a mistake. We now know it. We now should admit it -- and correct it. I am informing David Irving today of our decision. We will not publish his book. I should say that Tom Dunne agrees with this decision. The [Doubleday] Military Book Club also joins St Martin's: They are cancelling the book as an offering to their members."
In this extraordinary press release about David Irving, one of their own authors, rushed out to the media without consulting him or offering to him the slightest chance to defend himself, the cowardly chief of St Martins Press has chosen to grind his corporate stiletto-heel in the author's face as he himself picks up his skirts and flees.
Neither he nor SMP cares if they make the author's name and books unpublishable ever again in the United States -- or in the English-speaking world for that matter, because McCormack's news release is being flashed around the world hours before Mr Irving even hears about it.
In an odd postscript, reported in the New York Times on April 7, McCormack is quoted as saying : "My whole family is Jewish and there was anguish there." (His wife is of the Jewish faith).
April 5, 1996 Good Friday. Mr Irving sets out on his rounds of the clamouring bookstores in London, racked with pneumonia. Around 10 p.m. a wad of faxes comes through, including SMP's three-page statement on David Irving announcing the ending of the book, etc. In turning to flee the Wrath of the Traditional Enemy of the Truth, they have ground their heel well and truly in his face.
Nonetheless he considers it proper to draft this lengthy but considered letter, to St Martin's Press's CEO, Tom McCormack, regretting what has happened.:
Dear Tom, -- It is I suppose twenty years since you came to London and we had our first exchange of letters. Since then much water (and ink) has flowed, but I little anticipated then that I would have to face, at the summit of my career as an historian, an onslaught such as this.
A Mr Alexander Pericles Maillis phones from Nassau in the Bahamas. The news has been splashed everywhere -- except in the U.K., where presumably the Traditional Enemy of the Truth is not keen to give Mr Irving any publicity which might benefit him and disadvantage them.
April 14, 1996 The British press embargo on Goebbels reviews is lifted today. Mr Irving is up at 7:01 a.m., and borrows his neighbours' Sunday Times from downstairs. A triumph! The Sunday Times has a major review by Professor Norman Stone, without a sour word; the Sunday Telegraph also has a good review of the book by Professor Hugh Trevor-Roper who also criticises the Americans. Both reviews are big and prominent. Nothing could now be clearer than the divide between Jewish and non-Jewish reviewers and critics of the work. This increases the author's sense of outrage at the violence done to him in New York last week.
April 18, 1996 The Daily Telegraph features as the principal Reader's Letter, one from a Dr John Fox of south east London, editor of a leading Jewish historical journal:
In 1991, on behalf of a Jewish academic body, I was asked to exert direct pressure on Macmillan to stop its reported publication of the Goebbels biography by David Irving. I refused because this seemed an unethical and immoral attempt to deny him freedom of speech.
April 22, 1996 Professor Francis Loewenheim, at Rice University in Houston, tells the author he has read and discussed the Goebbels book with Professor Gordon Craig, the noted historian at Stanford; after seeing what Loewenheim has written for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Craig agrees the book should be published. John Walsh at The Independent phones Mr Irving, and mentions that the review by Professor Donald Watt (London School of Economics), which they're publishing next week, is highly favourable.
April 25, 1996 Steve Wasserman of Random House faxes to David Irving an article from yesterday's New York Post, which contains a leak. Somebody has revealed that Random House are interested in Goebbels. Mastermind of the Third Reich. Wasserman warns him not to be optimistic, advises that I should take up the feelers of other publishers.
A very generous letter arrives from Tom Dunne, Mr Irving's (former) editor at St Martin's Press. He calls Mr Irving's farewell letter to Tom McCormack "a model of dignity." And encloses a great review on the book, from the American Booklist.
April 28, 1996 The Observer has not printed Mr Irving's Reader's Letter replying to Gitta Sereny's lies. He has no recourse but to sue them for the very serious libels.
May 1, 1996 At the High Court at 11 a.m., to issue the Writ against The Observer's publishers and Gitta Sereny; Mr Irving serves it on both defendants by post during the afternoon.
May 4, 1996 Karl Ph. arrives; he says that Ewald Althans has been seen, he is out of jail: he has not served two years for his Thought Crime, then. No doubt released early as he was a German government agent.
May 10, 1996 In Glasgow: At Waterstones' the History buyer gets the store manager, who comes, and says looking very worried that "David Irving's books like Hitler's War etc haven't sold in the past." (Then why are Focal Point reprinting?!) It is a question of display. If the books are hidden away, they do not sell, that is clear!
Over at John Smith & Co., the company's manager Willie Anderson doesn't look the author in the eyes, but says, furtively, "We're not going to stock it. I'm not going to explain to you why, I don't have to explain why!"
Then on to Dillons: as the author leaves to get the Goebbels books they have ordered, he notices from the corner of his eye a group of unkempt young men and women beginning to form up outside the shop, and start pointing. It is all very like the Richoux riot of July 12, 1992.
The Mob has arrived, the usual spotty, unwashed, mean-faced, coarse-mouthed bunch of jostling, threatening lunatic left-wing screechers and thugs: the traditional enemies of the truth. Somehow they have found out that Mr Irving is visiting Dillons. Probably one of the staff has phoned for them.
Mr Irving walks out through them, before they gather their wits, and without letting on that he has spotted them he heads up Gordon Street, walking deliberately away from the truck, with its doors gaping open and boxes of his books inside. He pauses twice to look in shop windows -- the reflection shows that the ugly urchin throng quietly surging along the pavement on the far side of the road is growing in size, as they summon up reinforcements by hand-held telephones. Yes, they have all the modern accoutrements of street war: Who is paying for them? Who puts them up to this?
Things begin to look hazardous: Mr Irving has his order-book in his hands -- that will be the first thing to vanish in a mêlée. He ducks into the Central Station concourse, and walks into the Central Hotel foyer on the far side. Within seconds, the Mob's first scouts saunter into the foyer, to find where Mr Irving is: that accomplished, they post lookouts on all the exits and summon still more reinforcements. They still do not realise that he has rumbled them.
He hands in his order book at the reception desk and ask the girl to look he says: "About half an hour -- ," and, after she tucks away the precious book: " -- Now please call the police."
The Mob bursts in at this point, but before the violence begins one of the scouts whispers urgently: "He's already called the police." Furious at this news, an unappetising woman screams at the hotel staff that they ain't seen nothing yet, because the real force is still on its way.
It takes an hour for the uniformed police to restore order; the hotel staff are most co-operative. One secures the book truck. The deputy manager invites the author to coffee upstairs, at the hotel's expense.
From the motorway heading south back into England Mr Irving telephones the Scotland on Sunday reporter, and apologises for having had to mislead him for security reasons yesterday. He says: "Are you driving up to Aberdeen now then?" Mr Irving murmurs inconclusively -- and heads off due south to London.
May 10, 1996 Vanity Fair publishes a good article in its June 1996 issue, though Christopher Hitchens hedges his bets. A fax from Los Angeles informs Mr Irving that Hitchens was also glimpsed on television, on the PBS Channel, defending him stoutly against a journalist from the New York Post, Eric Breindl, a night or two before.
There are letters from lawyers acting for the Observer and Gitta Sereny, entering an appearance in Mr Irving's libel suit against them.
June 5, 1996 During the day Mr Irving receives by fax articles from New York Times (Tina Rosenberg) and Washington Post (Richard Cohen) about the banning of Goebbels. Both now murmur that in their view the book should not have been cancelled by St Martins Press. What hypocrisy. Tina Rosenberg accidentally says that the book is "a Rolls-Royce of a book, with costly color photos." Mr Irving decides to use that quotation in his next advertising campaign.
May 6, 1996 Time , the weekly magazine, publishes two reader's letters. The first is from a Mr Harry Conway, who claims to be an historian and writer, 'bitterly pained' to see Time devote an entire page to 'this shabby book'. (Focal Point know the name of every single person in the USA who has so far received this book: a Conway is not among them). The other, from a reader in Wisconsin, reads:
I am a Jew whose parents lost their families in the Holocaust. I grew up in Israel among Holocaust survivors. Since I was a child, I have read every book I could find on Nazi Germany. I have tried to understand why and how the Germans came to carry out their plan for exterminating the Jews. I have read all of Mr Irving's excellent books. He is no 'apologist for Adolf Hitler.' His words record the extermination of the Jews and provide evidence of Hitler's direct involvement. Mr Irving is not an anti-Semite, nor is he a supporter of Hitler or Nazi Germany. His books, more than any others I have read, help explain what happened in Germany. If we are to prevent future exterminations, we have to eradicate hate. The process must start with free speech and the ability to discuss openly all aspects of history and express all viewpoints. Mr Irving through his writing has made a large contribution toward preventing future Holocausts.
The letter is signed by one Josef Hose, of Madison, Wisconsin: Mr Irving does not know him. He will later write in his own international newsletter action report: "It is comforting to think of six million Time magazines around the world containing this prominently displayed letter, from a Jew, vindicating everything I have worked for as an historian."
April 26, 1996 SMP editor Tom Dunne, who behaves impeccably throughout, will write to Mr Irving privately, enclosing a glowing review of the book in the American trade journal Booklist (Sample: "With diligence and judiciousness, Mr Irving capably connects the curse of Goebbels' diabolical energy to the larger nervous system of the Nazi Party"). Dunne states that his last letter to McCormack was "a model of dignity."
"I hope you succeed in placing the book in the U.S." he adds.
PUBLISHER Tom McCormack never replies to the long letter written him by Mr Irving; the cowardly publishing chief is hiding in his skyscraper office.
June 17, 1996 Bill Glauber's article is published in the Baltimore Sun . It is the usual piece of craven journalistic hypocrisy, the vitriolic mindslop which intoxicates modern career journalists the moment they take out their pens. Glauber writes that "many of the British reviews were just as hostile as those in the United States"; what he does not say is that most of them, around 95% of them, were glowing with praise! The article concludes with the revelation that Mr Irving has a Roosevelt biography under contract to a major U.S. publisher.
June 22, 1996 The wheel continues to turn. His German Lawyer Schütz reports that Günter Deckert has been sentenced to 20 more months in jail for having organised Mr Irving's September 3, 1990 lecture in Weinheim in 1990. Deckert is now charged with Volksverhetzung, racial incitement -- on the basis that Mr Irving linked the payments to Israel with the Holocaust allegations. When it is pointed out that Mr Irving never made this link in his Weinheim speech, the prosecutor argues, "Yes, but he meant to." The defendant Deckert is accused of having known that Mr Irving meant to make this link (though he did not eventually do so.)
At midday on June 22 Mr Irving cycles over to the post office in Key West; in his P O Box is a letter from general counsel for the Hearst Corporation in New York. It comes from out of the blue. It cancels the contract between him and William Morrow Inc. for the book Roosevelt's War, and demands repayment of the advance ($30,000) "within two weeks."