In his analysis of my conclusion Professor Evans writes (p. 64) that I dismissed "without further ado as entirely groundless" a report in a Jewish newspaper that Suddam Hussein’s Iraq had constructed gas chambers to exterminate middle eastern Jews. Gosh, was I wrong to dismiss this claim? There was absolutely no evidence then, and there has been no evidence since, to demonstrate the verity of the story. Can I conclude from Professor Evans's criticism that he believes the story that Suddam Hussein's Iraq had constructed these gas chambers? If so, he is entirely alone in the scholarly world!
Professor Evans then goes through my twelve concluding paragraphs on the gas chambers. He notes of my first three reasons for questioning mass homicidal gassings that they don't actually prove that the gassings didn't take place, but he doesn't challenge me on the correctness of my points or try to demonstrate that they do prove that gassings took place.
He dismisses my next point as "irrelevant", without establishing fair criteria for doing so and without even saying whether I was wrong. On page 65 he dismisses my fifth point by making mention of Hartheim Castle, which astounds me. I have never seen a single mainstream scholar argue that gassings at Hartheim and other euthanasia centres were part of Hitler's attempt to exterminate the European Jews. The barbaric T-4 euthanasia programme -- which I have never challenged and always considered shockingly vile -- has parallels with the Holocaust but was a separate programme with different motives and a different "pool" of victims.
He challenges my seventh reason without providing a shred of evidence to back up his claims. He does exactly the same with my eighth and ninth reasons. This is a pity; I would genuinely love to know what "other eyewitness testimony" he refers to. I know of none, but I'm certainly open to being wrong about this.
I would also genuinely like to know what his evidence is for my being wrong about the time it once took, and now takes, to cremate a human body. I am open to being corrected on this point, but I must note that at the time I wrote my thesis I did try to find out as much as possible about this macabre topic. I talked with cremation experts and even took the opportunity to watch a cremation (a shocking thing to watch, I can assure you). If I was wrong, then I do wish Professor Evans had provided some evidence instead of merely, and weakly, brushing off my argument as a "standard deniers' argument".
He is also entirely wrong about my eleventh point. I have written extensively about airpower, and have made much use of aerial photographs for my work on Stalingrad and the Caucasus campaign of 1942/1943. I have studied aerial photographs in the United States National Archives in Washington, in the United States Air Force Historical Research Agency (of which I am a Research Fellow) in Alabama and in the German Federal Military Archives in Freiburg, Germany. I am, I humbly submit, far more expert on the subject of wartime aerial photography than Professor Evans. I respectfully criticise as uninformed and totally wrong his statements that aerial photographs of Auschwitz were too high up to show detail, and that the photographic technology of the day was inadequate for showing detail from altitude. These are careless statements.
Lastly, Professor Evans describes my twelfth point without analysing it or pointing out why I got it wrong, if he believes I did. What am I to make of this? If I had been this uncritical in my thesis I would have been accused of "dishonesty", "bias", etc.
Let me be clear: I am not defending the conclusions I reached back in 1991 and 1992. I have already stated that, while I did my very best at the time, subsequent reading reveals to me that they contain errors. I regret them, of course, and the distress they have caused some persons. But I am not remotely satisfied that Professor Evans has demonstrated by argument and evidence that my conclusions were wrong.
Professor Evans insists (p. 69) that I have "continued to treat Holocaust deniers as serious scholars." As evidence he mentions an article I wrote that appeared in a German-language revisionist periodical, and an "endorsement" he claims I made of David Irving. Professor Evans should know better than to muck-rake like this.
First, I must point out that this allegation -- even if correct, and it is not! -- has nothing to do with my MA thesis or its award of a pass by the University of Canterbury, so it is therefore not remotely applicable. I am not a David Irving, and I am not on trial.
Second, and most important, Professor Evans is quite wrong! I do not have or want any involvement in the debate over the Holocaust, except in so far as I have now been pulled back into it, against my will, by the New Zealand Jewish Council.
Professor Evans can read German, so he knows full well that the article he referred to does not mention the Holocaust in even one single line. It is actually one of my better articles on Wehrmacht joint doctrine, a topic I'm considered an expert in (for instance, I have spoken at many international conferences on joint operations, my book is considered "definitive" by many reviewers, and I regularly peer review article submissions on this topic for many major military journals). Indeed, the article Professor Evans refers to is merely a German language translation of an article I published in the Volume 22, No. 4 issue of the prestigious international scholarly periodical The Journal of Strategic Studies. This was, it should be noted, my second article to appear in this leading journal. And this year another of my articles appeared in The Journal of Military History, without doubt the world's leading periodical in my field. They are merely the latest of many articles I have published in major respected journals. Not bad for someone with "abysmal" research skills. And, in any event, I did not at the time I was asked for translation rights know that the Vierteljahreshefte fuer Zeitgeschichte was anything but an ordinary journal.
It is also very misleading of Professor Evans to write that I have "continued to endorse David Irving". He knows full well that the only statement I have made on Mr Irving's scholarship related only to his Wehrmacht operational histories, not to his claims about the Holocaust. So why does Professor Evans not mention this? Why does he not say that my statement appeared on a Wehrmacht military analysis discussion site and that it contained not one single line in support of Holocaust revisionism but that it did contain strong criticism of Mr Irving's views on race, nationalism and politics, which, I noted, "offended me deeply".
Also, why does Professor Evans not mention the fact that, after I had studied the transcripts of the recent Lipstadt/Irving trial, I clarified my position further by posting -- on my own initiative -- the following statement on the Nizkor Holocaust education site:
I would like to correct some of the statements that Mr David Irving has made on his web site.
First, I have not "recanted" about the Holocaust because of pressure from Jewish groups or individuals. I have instead changed my mind about the conclusions I reached as a young MA student in the very early 1990s.
I'm baffled by the insistence of some people that I "must not" change my mind about the Holocaust debate. This attitude is unscholarly. Why can I not change my mind? Must my ideas be stuck in a 1991 rut?
I am obliged as a scholar to remain open to new evidence, to reflect on old evidence, to test arguments, and to abandon those that - to me - don't stack up. I have done this, and now know from reflection and further reading that my old MA thesis contains errors of fact and interpretation. I also know that those errors have caused pain to some people in the New Zealand Jewish community, especially to Holocaust survivors. So I have done what I sincerely believe is the right thing: admitted my mistakes and said I'm sorry.
My change of mind is genuine, and absolutely not the product of coercion by Jewish groups or individuals or anyone else (even though it's true I have experienced some resistance over the years). I have simply come to realise that I made mistakes and now want, on my own initiative, to say sorry so that my mistakes don't continue to cause distress.
The responsibility to do so wouldn't normally accompany recognition of errors in an unpublished masters thesis, but I am well aware that my old work dealt with an unusually sensitive and contentious topic.
I would also like to clarify one other issue:
In a letter to a Wehrmacht military history discussion group (which now appears on Mr Irving's web site) I once offered support for the quality of Mr Irving's MILITARY history scholarship, even though I simultaneously stated that I did not agree with his political and racial views.
My research in German primary MILITARY documents (conducted in several European archives) does indeed show me that Mr Irving did not falsify those sources or employ them according to an improper methodology. I have not seen any examples from the diaries of Jodl, Milch, Richthofen, etc, where he falsified evidence.
But I have now seen enough evidence from the trial transcripts to believe that Mr Irving has a problem with Jews and consequently employed improper methodology when dealing with certain documents relating to aspects of the Holocaust. I did not know this until the intense scrutiny of his books during the recent trial made it manifest.
I was also offended by some of his statements and actions, and consider the trial to be extremely informative. I learned many new things about Mr Irving.
I still consider much of Mr Irving's work on Wehrmacht operational history to be strong and useful (as even the judge observed), and he deserves credit for books like Trail of the Fox. But I accept the judge's verdict that Mr Irving's obvious difficulty with Jewish issues distorted the way he sees and presents the Holocaust.
Professor Evans must have known about this statement -- at least if I hold him to the rigorous standards he demanded of my old masterate. Indeed, I respectfully submit that his failure to mention my Nizkor statement -- if I apply his own criteria -- indicates the type of "crass double standard" he accused me of on page 16 of his report. And why does Professor Evans not point out something he must surely know (it has been widely reported): that I refused to appear as a witness for David Irving at the trial Professor Evans himself took part in. And why does Professor Evans not point out that I have never attended a single revisionist conference, even though such conferences are held annually. I have attended -- and convened -- numerous military and historical conferences around the world, but I have never been to, let alone spoken at, a single revisionist conference.
Please understand, members of the Working Party, that I am merely defending myself from unfair and misplaced accusations of dishonesty. I certainly do not want to be in an oppositional position against Professor Evans or the New Zealand Jewish Council. I dearly wish to find ways to reassure them that we needn't be in any conflict. I still hope that all will be well and that, with the help of the Working Party, mediation can occur. I am aware that XXXXXXXXXXXX of XXXXXXXXXX is still trying to dig up "dirt" on me (for instance, he's even trying to contact my former students to see what I have been teaching; a dreadfully poor thing for an academic of his standing to be doing), but I do not blame the Council for that man's nastiness and I once again hold out an olive branch. I am sincere in my desire for harmony.
If only they could see that I have in fact taken steps, whenever circumstances demanded, to affirm my good will and my opposition to the racism they rightly worry about. I'm actually surprised they don't see this, given my other Nizkor statement, posted a year or so ago. It reads:
I have NO connection to racist organisations or individuals.
Their efforts to present me as somehow being supportive of their activities really annoy me!
A statement by Dr Joel Hayward
In response to several ill-considered e-mails received since posting my homepage to the web I would like to state something that, as a scholar with no political or ideological axes to grind, I had considered obvious (and therefore unnecessary of mention):
My academic interest in Wehrmacht operational history and my decision to write a book on Adolf Hitler's effectiveness as a military commander do not stem from admiration for Hitler or from a desire to rehabilitate his reputation, much less to deny his cruelty to Jews and others. I am certainly pleased that the Allies soundly defeated his Third Reich.
I also wish to state that I am NOT affiliated or involved with individuals or organisations that seek to rehabilitate the Nazis and/or attack Jews and others. I deplore the views of those people.
I am aware that several of those people have used my name or reprinted articles from my homepage [such as the jointness article mentioned above] - or quoted from a thesis I once wrote on Holocaust historiography when I was a young Master's student with relatively little experience of the historian's craft - in apathetic attempt to add academic credibility to their anti-Semitic campaigns.
So let me say, once and for all, I do not deny the Holocaust! I do not adhere to conspiratorial views that Jews somehow "invented" the Holocaust in order to gain reparations and to finance the State of Israel. I consider those claims baseless and anti-Semitic.
To be more specific, I state emphatically my rock-solid belief, based on extensive archival research and a thorough reading of published sources, that European Jewry did indeed suffer a ghastly Holocaust. They suffered dreadfully during the 1930s and especially during WWII, when Germans and others maltreated, enslaved and murdered (including by gassing) great numbers (and I have no doubt that MILLIONS died). Hitler and his regime caused those deaths and therefore deserve our condemnation.
My own opinion about race and culture, for those who may be interested, is easy to express: I do not believe that race or culture determines moral attributes. I do not believe that ANY race or culture is better or worse than another. Moreover, I believe that we should treat racism like pornography. That is, we should take a zero-tolerance stance and demonstrate that we will NOT accept it in our communities.
In any event, I would like to reassure anyone who might express concerns my recent and current teaching and research activities -- even though the New Zealand Jewish Council has stated that it is only responding to the award of a first-class pass to my old MA thesis and that it strongly believes in freedom of academic investigation -- that I am not working, or intending to again, on topics of major interest to Jews in particular or of any contentious nature in general. I have learned a lot in the last few years, and in the last six months in particular.
This dreadful year, with all its painful distractions, has seen my research energy and output diminish frightfully. Yet I have much to do, and many ideas to get down on paper. I look forward to a productive future with this horrible affair behind me. In particular, I have been building a rich cache of primary material for a major article on Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson's ill-fated 1797 amphibious attack on Tenerife. This will, I hope, form a section of a larger project: a book on amphibious operations conducted by the Royal Navy during the reign of George III.
I have committed myself whole-heartedly to continuing my academic career as a researcher/writer/teacher in Napoleonic history, which has, I am constantly surprised and delighted to observe, many gaps waiting to be filled by historians. In particular, I intend to work most intensively on naval aspects of the Napoleonic Wars, which -- aside from the hagiography surrounding Lord Nelson's contribution to the development of seapower tactics and doctrine (and I confess to sharing some of the sentiments; I have a very large collection of original Nelsoniana) -- is covered in far less breadth and depth than the great land campaigns.
To this end, I have successfully applied to my HoD to teach a 300-level Napoleonic Wars course, which will compliment my 100-level introductory History of Warfare paper. I am currently looking forward to commencing this teaching in Semester 2 next year.
It should be noted that I do not teach modern German history anymore. I stopped teaching it three semesters ago, having lost interest and enthusiasm and having attained my research ambitions in that field. I have no intention of going back to it, and am wise enough to realise that it wouldn't be helpful to anyway.
The last issue I want to deal with is one that neither Professor Evans nor the New Zealand Jewish Council explicitly referred to: my connection to things Jewish. XXXXXXX XXXXXX recently emailed me -- unkindly and with some glee -- to inform me that his "investigation" into my whakapapa reveals little direct Jewish ancestry. He did not provide evidence of this. Yet, if this is true, I accept it with no difficulty. My interest in Jewish history exists not only because of a sense of lineage -- which I have always believed in good faith -- but also because of my admiration for the survival and strength of this hardy, but often hard-pressed, people. I am content to repeat what I stated in my initial submission of 12 July:
It's merely a personal matter of pride that I have some Jewish heritage, and I certainly have never maliciously or dishonestly presented myself or my parentage in order to gain advantage, participate in Jewish communal activities or be considered Jewish in order to bring credibility to my scholarship. As a scholar, my ethnicity and cultural interests are not important. They have certainly never governed my methodological approach.
Despite the difficulties of this dreadful year, I remain warmly disposed to Jewish history and culture and hope this warmth will help to convince my critics that, whatever mistakes they may see in my work, and however much they may mistrust me for them, my motives have never been negative.
I am grateful to the Working Party for this opportunity, once again, to present my position and express my feelings. I look forward to a time when I can, as well as the Jewish Council, move forward from these matters.
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
I make this private statement to the Working Party in good faith, believing its contents to be accurate. I also make this statement as a private individual, not in my capacity as a member of the Massey University staff. It is therefore not a public document.
Dr Joel Hayward