|We are a group of people in the
United Kingdom interested in an open-minded approach
to history, particularly the history of wars in the
twentieth century. We do not automatically believe
everything we are told in the media, but neither do we
indulge in knee-jerk rejection or rush headlong into
conspiratorial counter-theories. We are essentially
It is a commonplace that when nations go to war they tell lies and make every effort to portray the enemy in the worst possible light, if not as downright evil. Western forces are represented as defending democracy and freedom against tyranny and brutality. This is not necessarily reprehensible—propaganda is a normal part of waging war—and most independent observers suspend their judgement accordingly. They are aware that nations, and groups of nations, are driven by their own self-interest, or what they perceive that to be, while cloaking this in moral justifications. We have seen it in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kosovo, and earlier in Vietnam and the Cold War, even in the First World War. Indeed, it was in the First World War that the modern art of propaganda was first developed, not by the Germans, but by the British and Americans.
The one conflict in which no such ambiguity of interpretation is allowed to intrude is the Second World War. This was the Good War against Evil whose defeat justified the worst slaughter and upheaval of populations in history, as well as allying with the unquestionable tyranny of Stalinist Russia and handing half of Europe to it. Everything about this war is portrayed in black and white. Our questioning of this picture has been a gradual process. In the first stage we accepted the full scale of the Holocaust, but began to ask, since the war had not prevented it—had in fact probably provoked it—whether the war had in fact justified its human, economic and political cost. It was hard to think of any consequence of not fighting Germany that would have been worse than what actually happened. We claimed to have gone to war for Poland, yet we had done nothing to defend the Poles against Germany, and had not felt it necessary to declare war on their other invader, the Soviet Union. Indeed, we actually allied with Stalin and handed him the whole of Poland at the war's end. Even if war between Russia and Germany was inevitable, why was it in the interest of the Western Powers to become involved and to turn it into a World War?
For some of us, our first questioning of the Holocaust came from Norman Finkelstein's The Holocaust Industry. Though Finkelstein has never openly questioned the Holocaust story itself, he wrote a scathing exposure of how it has been exploited for political and financial gain. Around the same time, "Holocaust Denial" was in the news with the Irving-Lipstadt libel case and a few years later, Irving's imprisonment in Austria. We associated it with neo-Nazi politics of authority, racism and violence, but were nevertheless curious as to what possible justification there could be for denying "the most documented event in history", as the press never tired of describing it. We became a little curious as to why, if this were the case, the mainstream historians were so afraid of exposing the Denier arguments openly.
When we came to look at what these "Deniers" had to say we were surprised to find that 1) they did not question the deportations, camps and large-scale deaths, and 2) their numbers included many whose outlook was tolerant and pacifist. We realised we must go beyond ad hominem and look at the actual historical evidence. We found that there was very little beyond a small amount of eye-witness testimony (the least reliable form of evidence) to support the version treated as gospel in the mainstream media. We saw how the Psychological Warfare units had moved into the camps immediately on liberation and begun their campaign of propaganda. A scientist amongst us was impressed by the chemical evidence relating to the alleged Auschwitz gas chambers and suspicious of the way all discussion of this and of the legitimate use of Zyklon B was absent from any mainstream media.
Although it is often presented as such, this is not a left-right issue. A strong influence on some of us has been the exposure of Western imperialism and propaganda by left-wingers such as Noam Chomsky, John Pilger and others. We are not interested in ideologies, but in facts and evidence.