Holocaust Denial as an International Movement

ABC-CLIO
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The end of World War II saw an emergence of Holocaust dissention that began in Europe and has since developed into an international movement with adherents in almost every country in the world. At first, this denial was fueled by the desire to rehabilitate Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime in an effort to reestablish a neo-Nazi state. In the following years, coupled with the renewal of anti-Semitism, this dissent has been used as a means of denying the legitimacy of the state of Israel. Despite these motivations, the ultimate cause for concern is in the way this denial attracts its members by both challenging the existence of the Holocaust and the testimony of its witnesses. By tracing the history, causes, and spread of Holocaust denial, Atkins reveals the dangers this mindset poses to rational thinkers who become vulnerable to fringe ideas.

This book traces the state of the international Holocaust denial movement in the early 21st century, grounding contemporary thought in the history of the movement. Since Holocaust deniers have distorted the facts about this mass genocide, Atkins discusses just what is known about the Holocaust from historical research conducted since World War II. The role of negative racial genetics is explored in both Hitler's intellectual makeup and among the leaders of the German right wing, including historians' assessments of Hitler's anti-Semitism, motivations, and decision-making. Also provided is a roll call of Holocaust dissenters in countries such as the United States, Germany, France, Great Britain, Russia, and Italy, among many others. By analyzing the arguments of leaders within this expanding dissention movement, this book demonstrates how extremists build informational links that have wide-ranging effects.

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About the author

Stephen E. Atkins is curator for The Robert L. Dawson French Collection at the Cushing Library and Adjunct Professor of History at Texas A&M University. His numerous published works include Encyclopedia of Modern American Extremists and Extremist Groups (Oryx, 2002), Historical Encyclopedia of Atomic Energy (Greenwood, 2000), which was awarded Booklist Editors' Choice Award for 2000, and Terrorism: A Handbook (1992).

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Additional Information

Publisher
ABC-CLIO
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Published on
Dec 31, 2009
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Pages
320
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ISBN
9780313345388
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Europe / General
History / Holocaust
History / Military / World War II
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The denial of the Holocaust has no more credibility than the assertion that the earth is flat. Yet there are those who insist that the death of six million Jews in Nazi concentration camps is nothing but a hoax perpetrated by a powerful Zionist conspiracy. Sixty years ago, such notions were the province of pseudohistorians who argued that Hitler never meant to kill the Jews, and that only a few hundred thousand died in the camps from disease; they also argued that the Allied bombings of Dresden and other cities were worse than any Nazi offense, and that the Germans were the “true victims” of World War II.

For years, those who made such claims were dismissed as harmless cranks operating on the lunatic fringe. But as time goes on, they have begun to gain a hearing in respectable arenas, and now, in the first full-scale history of Holocaust denial, Deborah Lipstadt shows how—despite tens of thousands of living witnesses and vast amounts of documentary evidence—this irrational idea not only has continued to gain adherents but has become an international movement, with organized chapters, “independent” research centers, and official publications that promote a “revisionist” view of recent history.

Lipstadt shows how Holocaust denial thrives in the current atmosphere of value-relativism, and argues that this chilling attack on the factual record not only threatens Jews but undermines the very tenets of objective scholarship that support our faith in historical knowledge. Thus the movement has an unsuspected power to dramatically alter the way that truth and meaning are transmitted from one generation to another.
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