History in Dispute, Volume 11: The Holocaust, 1933-1945 By Tandy McConnell Publisher: St James Press Number Of Pages: 376 Publication Date: 2003-12-13 ISBN-10 / ASIN: 1558624554 ISBN-13 / EAN: 9781558624559
During the 1980s and 1990s, Holocaust studies gained unprecedented funding and attention from scholars, governments, and the media. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum opened a few blocks from the Washington Monument in 1993, the same year Steven Spielberg's film Schindler's List opened in theaters around the country. Both created an air-conditioned and carefully controlled Holocaust experience for millions of customers. Dachau and Auschwitz joined the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam as key points for "Holocaust Tourism," and critics feared that a virtual Holocaust industry was being created. At the same time, Internet websites, academic sounding journals, and talk-show regulars began to challenge the fundamental historicity of the Holocaust. While much Holocaust denial emanated from openly racist and neo-Nazi organizations, the Institute for Historical Review (IHR), established in 1978, strives to present itself as an academically respectable publisher of revisionist thought. While its literature insists that the IHR is not a Holocaust denial organization, that same literature consistently does precisely that. It argues, for example, that Zyklon-B was never used and would have been ineffective in killing people. In fact, many of the views argued here are unpopular and exceedingly controversial. However, such controversial views are based on alternative interpretations (one might even call these revisionist interpretations) of historical evidence. Holocaust denial, on the other hand, requires its adherents to ignore or dismiss overwhelming bodies of evidence. Granting legitimacy to a point of view so completely lacking in intellectual merit and historical honesty by treating it as equivalent to a dispute about, for example, the ideological origins of anti-Semitism, would itself be academically dishonest. Nevertheless, unpopular and controversial views are defended in this text, occasionally by writers and scholars who do not personally hold them but were committed to presenting them fairly, honestly, and persuasively. Many of these debates remain politically explosive. The role of the Holocaust in the foundation of the State of Israel, the liability of German corporations, and the role of the Vatican continue to excite vituperative debate among passionate believers. Yet, in all such cases the debate circles around the best way to interpret data.