Talk:David Irving

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Good article David Irving has been listed as one of the Social sciences and society good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.

RFC: Description as Holocaust denier[edit]

Irving has claimed he is not a Holocaust denier, although the first sentence of the article describes him as one. Should it be changed to say that Irving has been described as a Holocaust denier instead of asserting that he is one? (talk) 01:11, 24 June 2014 (UTC)

I have stopped the RfC you started because we have talked about this exact thing many times. The consensus every time is that we discount Irving's own opinion, and instead we look to the mainstream scholarly opinion which happens to be contrary to Irving's wishes. Binksternet (talk) 01:19, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
Why do we get people popping up once a month or so with this request, and no other comments whatsoever on the article? Is this part of some kind of campaign? I agree with Binksternet BTW: this has been discussed lots of times, and the current wording reflects the consensus outcomes of those discussions on how Irving is described in reliable sources. Nick-D (talk) 08:26, 24 June 2014 (UTC)

"Why do we get people popping up once a month or so with this request". Its because new people like me read the article and it sticks out like a sore thumb as biased. A consensus amongst a self-selecting group who want to edit this article isn't much of an argument. You'd expect bias amongst a self-selecting group - and that's what you've got here. Something so disputed should be presented as that - a dispute with both views given. Not as a fact one way. Particularly with a living person as per wikipedia guidelines. A judge's legal opinion is just that - an opinion. Not a fact. Its the Wikipedia project itself which suffers. All the good work by other people is undermined by the agenda driven "consensus" who gravitate to articles like this. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:49, 4 September 2014 (UTC)

I agree. This article is biased. If it's going to describe Irving as a current "Holocaust denier", then it should quote Irving himself, who stated during his trial in Austria (as reported by the BBC [1] ): '"I said that then based on my knowledge at the time, but by 1991 when I came across the Eichmann papers, I wasn't saying that anymore and I wouldn't say that now," Irving told the court. "The Nazis did murder millions of Jews."' That doesn't sound like holocaust denial to me. The point about Irving which the article fails to note is that, as a historian, he is "document-driven". If he hasn't seen documentary evidence of something, he tends not to believe it. Exactly what the balance should be between documentary evidence and other evidence is a matter of judgement and opinion, but it should be clearly noted that when Irving sees new documentary evidence, he changes his opinion. That's rational and consistent with his whole approach to historical evidence.Sayitclearly (talk) 09:21, 17 November 2014 (UTC)


The article does in fact note that Irving rejects accusations of Holocaust denial. However, this is how he is commonly regarded. Given that Irving has been found to have deliberately and systematically misrepresented a range of documents over much of his career in order to further his Holocaust denial, your post suggests that you are not actually familiar with this topic. You may wish to read the expert reports and judgement of the Irving v. Lipstadt libel case, which are available here. Nick-D (talk) 09:40, 17 November 2014 (UTC)

I don't see why being a holocaust denier should be the very first descriptive line. Surely that should be that is a historian? I mean, this I understand the political and moral notions behind putting that first, but it's unfitting for a encyclopedia entry, it's more like something you'd get in a polemic article. This is not "a good article". The average well educated person may say so, but that's another matter.[[1]]

What he's best known for now is holocaust denial. He was formerly best known as an amateur historian. --jpgordon::==( o ) 18:19, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
Precisely. Irondome (talk) 18:42, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
  • It's fine the way it is, thanks. --John (talk) 19:40, 18 January 2015 (UTC)

Is Holocaust denier a profession? What an extremely biased article! I'm pretty sure it was written by a right wing person... Now seriously, if the argument is "he's known for being a Holocaust denier", then it's more politically neutral to say that he's a non-conformist historian. Sorry for not being able to use the right indentation, but I don't know wikipedia editing that well (doesn't make my point any less valid, though). (talk) 12:37, 24 January 2015 (UTC)

Do mainstream sources call him a "non-conformist historian"? --NeilN talk to me 18:19, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
I've never seen the phrase "non-conformist historian" before. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 03:10, 25 January 2015 (UTC)
It certainly wouldn't be a term used by mainstream writers - there's no expectation that historians will "conform" to anything (with the role of historians being to interpret evidence and test preconceived notions), though Holocaust deniers often claim that historians tow a common line due to some combination of cowardice and Jewishness. Nick-D (talk) 03:46, 25 January 2015 (UTC)

"Conformist historian" is a term I've only ever heard used by Irving himself. On the "holocaust denier" label it's footnoted as attributed to the book "Extreme Speech and Democracy" as

edited by Ivan Hare, James Weinstein. May I suggest the judgement given in Irving v. Penguin Books Limited, Deborah E. Lipstat [2000] EWHC QB 115 might make a more rock solid reference? 

13.167 "The answer to that question requires me to decide whether (I am paraphrasing section 5 of the Defamation Act 1952) the failure on the part of the Defendants to prove the truth of those charges materially injures the reputation of Irving, in view of the fact that the other defamatory charges made against him have been proved to be justified. The charges which I have found to be substantially true include the charges that Irving has for his own ideological reasons persistently and deliberately misrepresented and manipulated historical evidence; that for the same reasons he has portrayed Hitler in an unwarrantedly favourable light, principally in relation to his attitude towards and responsibility for the treatment of the Jews; that he is an active Holocaust denier; that he is anti-semitic and racist and that he associates with right wing extremists who promote neo-Nazism. In my judgment the charges against Irving which have been proved to be true are of sufficient gravity for it be clear that the failure to prove the truth of the matters set out in paragraph 13.165 above does not have any material effect on Irving's reputation." from Were this used then any complaint about it could simply be directed to the courts... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:07, 23 March 2015 (UTC)

18:23, 11 January 2015‎ Edit[edit]

I just changed a part of the first line of the article from "... Holocaust denier and author" to "...historian and author whose work has been discredited on account of his being a Holocaust denier."

I am not basing this edit on my personal opinions, but on Wikipedia policy regarding two central figures of Nazism. E.g. 1: Leni Riefenstahl, in her Wikipedia article(, is called "...a German film director, producer, screenwriter, editor, photographer, actress and dancer widely known for directing the Nazi propaganda film Triumph of the Will" rather than simply "... a Nazi propagandist most famous for directing the film Triumph of the Will." E.g. 2: Adolf Hitler himself is described in the first line of [1] as "... an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the Nazi Party", and not - much as I would like it - as "the cause behind the Second World War and the Holocaust perpetrated on the Jews", or something like that.

In this case, is it not fitting to mention that David Irving is a HISTORIAN whose work has been discredited on account of his Holocaust denial and Nazi sympathies, rather than referring to him as a "Holocaust denier" at the very beginning? The phrase "Holocaust denier" could be applied to anyone from a driver or gardener to the ruler of a nation; it is a judgment that offers no objective information about the person supposed to be the subject of the article. While it definitely takes precedence over any other contribution he might have, it seems to be Wikipedia's policy to mention nationality and occupation/vocation before political affiliations.

FormerIP, I hope you see the reason behind my edit. I repeat, it has NOTHING to do with opinion. If anything, I would like opinion to be less important in an encyclopedia. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:39, 11 January 2015 (UTC)


  1. ^ his Wiki
I'm inclined to agree. Using "holocaust denier" as it currently is in the article sounds rather unencyclopedic and clumsy and as if "holocaust denier" was a job. The IP's solution, which still makes clear he was discredited as a holocaust denier in the first sentence, is a more elegant solution. DeCausa (talk) 18:45, 11 January 2015 (UTC)
Thanks DeCausa! In addition, I'd like to quote the text at the top of the edit page, which says "Contentious material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced must be removed immediately from the article and its talk page, especially if potentially libellous." I believe that using "Holocaust denier" as the first words of an article is certainly libellous to the highest degree! So I'm reversing FormerIP's reversal of my last edit, and I hope the first line will stay relatively unbiased! (talk) 18:51, 11 January 2015 (UTC)
I don't see how having "holocaust denier" in the first sentence would be libelous whereas the having the phrase "on account of his holocaust denial" in the same sentence is just fine. Anyhow, the reason I think this is a controversial edit is not because of the positioning of "holocaust denier", but because of the use of "historian". There's previously been a consensus that this is a misdescription. Consensus can change, so there's no harm in a new discussion, but you need to do that before changing the article. Formerip (talk) 19:16, 11 January 2015 (UTC)
It has been proven in a court of law that DI is in fact a Holocaust denier, so the libel argument seems somewhat redundant. It was this devastating judgement, based on analysis of DIs methodology which destroyed his reputation as an historian. Based on a close reading of the L v I defence, it is arguable whether DI has ever been a true historian, in terms of his methodology and chronic misuse of sources in a wide variety of subjects. I am inclined to agree with User:FormerIP on this. Irondome (talk) 19:37, 11 January 2015 (UTC)
Oh IP 113, you've spoiled your case. It's not the least bit libellous to call him a holocaust denier. Also, I hadn't spotted your historian/writer switcheroo - which isn't on. However, I still think the essence of your proposal is an improvement but would word it: "an English author[2] who has written several books on the military and political history of World War II, with a focus on Nazi Germany but whose work has been discredited as a result of his being a Holocaust denier" DeCausa (talk) 20:24, 11 January 2015 (UTC).
Colleagues, I would suggest we leave the current wording as is. A couple of hours revisiting the history and thoughts of others on the subject of Mr. Irving as an historian (I had forgotten the memo from the Telegraph, advising journalists of the organ not to refer to Irving as an Historian. This was as early as 1969) has reinforced my belief that the lede description is intellectually, legally and ethically spot on. Revisiting Mr. Irving's past always depresses me and leaves me feeling oddly soiled. So a quick shower, a good ale and bed methinks. Cheers fellow eds! Irondome (talk) 02:22, 12 January 2015 (UTC)

He is NOT a Holocaust denier[edit]

He has stated so, publicly, repeatedly.

Irving went on record denying that he was a denier. So why can some folks not stick with the truth? -- (talk) 10:56, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

This makes this current article blatantly biased against Mr. Irving. It reads like tabloid junk and badly-veiled libel.

To raise academic questions concerning various details or aspects or scientific validation of the Holocaust story, is NOT Holocaust denial. It is exactly what legitimate academic researchers should be doing. (talk) 08:39, 22 March 2015 (UTC)

The article notes Irving's response. However, the overwhelming weight of opinion by experts and courts is that Irving is in fact a Holocaust denier. Please read the references. Nick-D (talk) 09:00, 22 March 2015 (UTC) in this interview he 'admits' 2 million Jews died by the NAZIs... so if "experts & courts" say that the sky is green & grass is blue :P Peace is contagious (talk) 13:32, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
That's what we do - we go by expert opinion as documented in reliable sources. And yes, claiming (only) two million died is a typical denier statement, just like someone who claims the distance from Ireland to Newfoundland is 100km can be called an "Atlantic denier". --Stephan Schulz (talk) 13:41, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
That is what dogmatic people do to maintain their fancyful world. Real people don't ´go by "expert" opinion´. -- (talk) 11:01, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
Your posting to the wrong website then, as this encyclopedia bases its articles on what we call reliable sources. Doug Weller (talk) 12:34, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

Lead sentence[edit]

I think that lead sentence should be "David Irving is an English historian and author famous for his Holocaust denial" or something. What I mean is that he should be mentioned first as a "historian" and then whatever, Holocaust denier or author or anything. I know that he has doubted many facts of Holocaust but that should not blind us to the fact that he has made many important contributions as a "historian" first of all. So, that should be mentioned in the lead sentence before any other label. Sohebbasharat (talk) 23:39, 3 May 2015 (UTC)

And before someone says that he is "best known" as that. To give you an example, Osama Bin Laden is surely best knows as a terrorist and one can provide 100s of references but it wouldn't be just to start his article as "OBL is a terrorist......". (You can take a look at that article). I agree that he is described as a "holocaust denier" by many people but only a person who knows very little about the Nazi history can say that he is not well known as a "historian". So, to be unbiased we should write " a historian," first and then whatever other labels people know him as. Its Wikipedia guys, it should be Unbiased, its not a forum to vilify someone even if he is a horrible person! Sohebbasharat (talk) 23:47, 3 May 2015 (UTC)

And also, in the Intro it should be mentioned that he himself denies that he is a "holocaust denier". At present, it seems (after reading the intro) that he is a self declared holocaust denier, which is not the case. Sohebbasharat (talk) 23:50, 3 May 2015 (UTC)

Read the article and links and check all the t/p threads. D.I is not a historian and he is a Holocaust denier. Grasp that simple reality. Irondome (talk) 01:07, 4 May 2015 (UTC)
Agreed: this has been discussed many times previously, and the consensus has been that modern reliable sources (and especially those written by historians and the like) generally do not call Irving a "historian". Nick-D (talk) 10:28, 4 May 2015 (UTC)
Our policy is NPOV—neutral point of view "representing fairly, proportionately, and, as far as possible, without bias, of the significant views that have been published by reliable sources". This means, in short, that if the reliable sources do not generally consider Irving a historian, neither should our article. —  Cliftonian (talk)  10:59, 4 May 2015 (UTC)
Are u really saying he was never a "historian"? Wow. Even in the "author" section of the article, it says that some publications call him a historian. I think I can provide some references for that too. I remember one of Hitchen's interview where he described Irving as one of the "necessary historians" of the third Reich. It won't be NPOV IMHO not to mention him as a historian. Just because he had a crazy bent or that he went off the track afterwards doesn't mean that he was never a historian. I am surprised someone would say that he has never been a historian. Sohebbasharat (talk) 17:21, 4 May 2015 (UTC)
Here are three links I found after a minute's search. He is described as "British historian", "historian and a Holocaust denier" and a "controversial historian". Historian being the common denominator. I think these three links are sufficient to describe him as an historian, or if you still don't think this to be an accurate description, "controversial historian" also seems alright. But the point is in the lead sentence "historian" should be mentioned to make it NPOV.Sohebbasharat (talk) 17:29, 4 May 2015 (UTC)
Please show me where I or anybody above said Irving "has never been" a historian. —  Cliftonian (talk)  17:39, 4 May 2015 (UTC)
And the most recent story in the Independent does not call him a historian.[2] Nor does [ this recent Guardian article. Dougweller (talk) 17:42, 4 May 2015 (UTC)
Sohebbasharat, the links you provided all feature the word "historian" as part of a throwaway journalistic descriptor. In the article we have detailed reasoning from eminent academics regarding what a historian is and whether Irving meets those criteria. To give these equal weight is fallacious. —  Cliftonian (talk)  17:52, 4 May 2015 (UTC)
I don't care what the most recent story does or does not call him. This is no wiki standard to shape the article on what one recent report says. And who are we to decide that they used "historian" as a throwaway word or really meant it. It doesn't seem a particularly strong argument to me. In fact, even in the Reception segment of the article it says, had "full respectability as a historian" and "dented his standing as a historian"; surely he must have been a historian for something to dent his authority as a historian! I really think we should write "historian" in the lead sentence, or as I said before, we can write "controversial historian" bcz that is what he is. It should be something on the lines of " an author, controversial historian, and a holocaust denier.." I am not sure why you would disagree with such a description. Please share your arguments against why at least "controversial historian" shouldn't be added in the lead. Thanx Sohebbasharat (talk) 20:39, 4 May 2015 (UTC)
See the archive box on the top of the page? There are actually two different places (don't need both, I'll fix that eventually) where you can search the archives. Look for the word "historian". You'll note that we've been having this discussion for as long as this article has existed. My own take is that he is a historian, and a really lousy one; consensus, however, is quite clear to be that "Historian" is some sort of mark of honor that is somehow tarnished by using it with Irving, and that this article should not refer to him as such, not in the lede. --jpgordon::==( o ) 22:10, 4 May 2015 (UTC)
As Jgordon notes, this has been discussed in depth previously, with the current wording reflecting the consensus of those discussions (which was based on an in-depth discussion of the wording different sources use). Experts who have investigated Irving's work (notably Richard J Evans, but also others) have found problems throughout his career, so the notion that he "went off the rails" or similar and ceased to be considered a historian is not accurate. As a result of this analysis he's now typically (though not always) described as a "writer" or similar. Nick-D (talk) 00:28, 5 May 2015 (UTC)
OK, thank you, i will get back after going through the previous discussions. Sohebbasharat (talk) 12:40, 6 May 2015 (UTC)

Holocaust denier?[edit]

The concept is non-analytic and hardly has content apart from saying what it is not. He is a historian first and foremost. By the way, the mentioned English court did also find in favour of the adequacy of calling him a historian. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:18, 14 May 2015 (UTC)

Given the frequency which this is raised (concerning someone who's now a fairly obscure figure), I can only imagine that there's a campaign going on. Nick-D (talk) 09:55, 14 May 2015 (UTC)
I've just added a hidden comment to the article concerning this [3] which will hopefully stop some of the doomed edits which are being made. Nick-D (talk) 10:00, 14 May 2015 (UTC)
Possibly a campaign. The IP certainly has now tried to call 3 holocaust deniers historians or in one case even a leading historian. Dougweller (talk) 10:41, 14 May 2015 (UTC)
I was thinking that there's an off-Wikipedia campaign about this somewhere with people advocating this change to the article. Nick-D (talk) 22:47, 14 May 2015 (UTC)

Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a propaganda outlet, thus, "historian" is correct. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:46, 6 June 2015 (UTC)

It's actually the other way around. I note that Schutzstaffel you deleted " the SS under Himmler's command was responsible for many crimes against humanity during World War II (1939–45)" claiming it was Allied propaganda.[4]. Your views are clear. Doug Weller (talk) 18:02, 6 June 2015 (UTC)

Edit War[edit]

Certain users are apparently intent in engaging in a so-called EDit War with regard to Irving's profession. These people are using Wikipedia as a propaganda outlet and not an encyclopedia. How very sad.

Sad, sad, little people. (talk) 18:27, 6 June 2015 (UTC)

Really? You changed the article four times in a row, violating WP:3RR despite the fact that your changes were reverted by four separate editors. Who is edit warring? You are. Binksternet (talk) 18:36, 6 June 2015 (UTC)