Is David Irving a Historian?

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David Irving is known for his denial of the Holocaust as well as painstaking and accurate research of Nazi officers. David Irving is a respected, but flawed historian, in that he is lauded for his research, while criticized for his inaccuracies.

David Irving has experienced praise and support from renowned academics in the field of history. Irving’s work is “the best study we have of the German side of the second world war” (D.D. Guttenplan 1). Gordon Craig, a leading scholar of German history at Stanford University, praises Irving’s energy as a researcher. Irving is described as a relentless document researcher, as he spent years collecting and analyzing Nazi archives. Research and analysis are some of the key operations of historians. Military historian John Keegan says “Irving knows more than anyone alive about the German side of the second world war” (D.D. Guttenplan 1) and considers Irving’s work “indispensable” to anyone studying the war. Michael Geyer, a European history professor at the University of Chicago, argues that Irving is very successful in understanding the Nazi generals, but does not reconstruct what they did. Geyer explains that Irving’s history is flawed because he “shuts down sources that do not suit his point of view” (D.D. Guttenplan 2). This exemplifies the respect that Irving garners for his research while calling into question his completeness.

David Irving is criticized by fellow historians and academics over his contradictory stand on the Holocaust. David Cannadine, director of London’s Institute for Historical Research, points up Irving’s “double standard on evidence,” (D.D. Guttenplan 2), noting the differing demands of proof to convict Germans and to condemn the British. Non academic historians such as David Irving experience a freedom from academic review that can exempt them from the “rigors of expert review,” and sometimes the result can be inaccurate history.

David Irving and his views of the Holocaust shouldn’t be the...
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