Historical revisionism is the great intellectual adventure of the end of the 20th century.
Despite its size, the present handbook offers only a glimpse of that adventure; and so it seems necessary here first to specify the precise historical problem upon which the Revisionists have concentrated their research, then how revisionism arose in the 1940s and how it developed in the years 1950 to 1978; and finally how it really took off in the years 1978 to 1979, to experience such an increase in the present day that nothing any longer seems likely to halt its onward march.
In the Nuremberg Trial (1945-46), Germany had been judged and condemned for “crimes against peace”, for “war crimes” and for “crimes against humanity”. The Revisionists have been led in a way by their successive discoveries concerning these three points to call for a revision of the Nuremberg Trial. Regarding the first two points, the Revisionists have been able to present their arguments without too much difficulty, and it is probable that no serious historian today would contend that anyone is in a position to lecture Germany concerning “crimes against peace” and “war crimes”: as a matter of fact, it has become evident that the Allies bear their share of responsibility in the starting of the war, and that they themselves committed innumerable “war crimes” (if that expression has any meaning, given that war itself may be held a crime). On the other hand, concerning the third point, that is with regard to “crimes against humanity”, they keep on dinning into our ears that Germany attained a peak of horror all her own with the ‘genocide’ of the Jews. It is on the study of this precise point that the Revisionists have specifically concentrated their efforts. And so, by degrees, historical revisionism has become what the Americans now call ‘Holocaust revisionism’.
According to the accusers, Germany was not content just to persecute the Jews, to deport them and put them into concentration camps or forced labor camps; those ‘crimes’ – as every historian knows – are unfortunately frequent in the history of mankind, and we have only to turn on our TV sets today to note that all kinds of human societies continue to suffer such ‘crimes’. Germany, her accusers still contend, went far beyond that. Taking a giant leap in horror, in 1941-1942 she allegedly decided on the total extermination of the European Jews, and in order to perpetrate this specific crime, supposedly devised and utilized a specific weapon: the homicidal gas chamber (or gas van). Making use of abominable chemical slaughterhouses, she allegedly began a collective assassination of industrial proportions. That crime (the genocide) and that weapon used in the crime (the homicidal gas chamber) are in that sense inseparable, and it is consequently impossible to maintain, as some do, “that whether or not there was a gas chamber makes no fundamental difference”. Germany thus presumably committed an intrinsically evil crime against the Jews. The Jews say further that the whole world knowingly allowed the Germans to perpetrate that crime. The paradoxical result of so enormous an accusation is that today in the dock of the accused, ‘criminals’ Hitler, Himmler, and Goering are joined by their ‘accomplices’, Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, Pope Pius XII, and the International Committee of the Red Cross, as well as the representatives of many other countries and organizations.