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In the final example on photography in the Rug Elephant section, who made "base" use of the photographs? Who distorted their actual meaning and is keeping the "happy" pictures of liberated concentration camp survivors hidden from us? The implication is that there has been a secret plot to distort what happened during World War II, and somehow that plot has continued for more than half a century.
There is a deeply-rooted strain in many Holocaust denier websites of conspiracy theory. Dark forces, so mysterious that they are never documented or proven to exist, have manipulated the truth from the Second World War until now. The Allied forces, the Zionists, the American government, the mass media (which is supposedly controlled by Jewish interests) have all, or in various combinations, perpetrated the "myth" of the Holocaust. Either that has been done to benefit Israel or some world conspiracy related to the Jews, or the reasons or purpose are never explained. They certainly aren't documented for us. All the Nazi camp commandants and guards who offered confessions and testimony at the Nuremberg Trials were the victims of this conspiracy and agreed to falsehoods only after unrelenting torture (rug elephant). Through their websites, the deniers of the Holocaust tell us how heroically they struggle and at what great personal risk to reveal the truth in spite of the presence of . . .
t h e d a r k s i d e o f t h e f o r c e
Jump in, but remember your light saber. Here are some examples:
The Institute's purpose is, in the words of Barnes, to "bring history into accord with the facts." The IHR is at the center of a worldwide network of scholars and activists who are working -- sometimes at great personal sacrifice -- to separate historical fact from propaganda fiction by researching and publicizing suppressed facts about key chapters of history, especially twentieth century history, that have social-political relevance today.
. . . Powerful interests -- including politicians and the major media -- distort the historical record for self-serving reasons. Textbooks, motion pictures and television routinely present history in a slanted and partisan way. As George Orwell aptly noted in his classic Nineteen Eighty-Four: "Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past."
Like "sweeping the elephant under the rug," unsubstantiated conspiracy theories serve as an excellent means of whisking away contradictory evidence, while giving the Holocaust deniers a heroic stature. Brave fellows they are, struggling to unleash buried truth in the face of tremendous resistence and danger.
A conspiracy implies a secret arrangement to do something that is usually illegal or unethical. To prove the existence of a conspiracy, one would have to show evidence that a group of people conspired. They secretly planned and possibly got far enough to carry out their plans. To prove that a group of people planned a conspiracy, one would have to show evidence of communication and intentions. In the case of the Holocaust, a conspiracy to convine the world that it happened when it did not would require the cooperation and planning of countless people, who came from distant corners of the world and spoke different languages. It would have to include a number of governments. There should be a mountain of evidence that a conspiracy took place, but none is offered: no documents, no eyewitness accounts of secret planning and agreements to foster falsehood, no facts strung together to make a case.
Suggesting, unequivocally asserting, even shouting the totally implausible from the rooftops does not make it so. Turning history so completely on its head would require a very solid body of evidence. While we have not completely investigated all of the denier sites, the ones we have looked closely at that wander into conspiracy theory have had no evidence whatsoever and simply assume that saying it makes it so.
Here are two more examples:
It suffices for both of these problems ("genocide" and "gas chambers") to apply the customary methods of historical criticism, to see that one is confronted here by two myths that are inseparable. The criminal intentions that are attributed to Hitler have never been proven. As far as the weapon for this crime is concerned, no one has actually seen it. Here one is confronted by an extraordinarily successful war and hate propaganda campaign. History is full of frauds of this kind, beginning with their religious fables of sorcery and witchcraft. What distinguishes our times from earlier epochs is the frightening power of the media and the propaganda ad nauseam which is made for what must be called "the hoax of the twentieth century." Let him beware who, after 30 years, gets the idea to expose this hoax. He will learn depending upon the situation through imprisonment, fines, assaults and insults. His career can be shattered or endangered. He will be denounced as a Nazi. Either his thesis will be ignored, or else it will be distorted. No country will be more unrelentingly ruthless toward him than Germany. Today however, the silence is about to be broken about those men who have dared to write responsibly that Hitler's "gas chambers" (including those of Auschwitz and Majdanek) are only a historical lie. That is a great advance.
For Americans, what was "discovered" at the camps -- the dead and the diseased, the terrible stories of the inmates, all the props of torture and terror -- became the basis not simply of a transitory propaganda campaign but of the conviction that, yes, it was true: the Germans did exterminate six million Jews, most of them in lethal gas chambers.
Good grief! We're back to history full of "frauds . . . religious fables of sorcery and witchcraft," and the "hoax of the Holocaust." An "extraordinarily successful war and hate propaganda campaign" have been waged against the brave souls who seek to strip the lie of the Holocaust bare. They battle "the frightening power of the media and the propaganda ad nauseam." There are no footnotes for these assertions, no supporting evidence, no trail back to the stuff of facts. No tracing the chronology and foundation of a conspiracy. The Dark Powers stay shrouded. Since there is no sound or systematic evidence to present, the trick is to get rid of the contradictory evidence through powerful pleas to emotion rather than reason. This is not historical analysis or logical thinking, but rather a kind of dogma or preaching. History makes a case that it seeks to support and validate. This kind of writing is a succession of disconnected pronouncements that contain statements that run contrary to the evidence and are left floating in the air.
What is disconcerting is that it was this type of thinking about a massive conspiracy in Nazi Germany that helped underpin the disenfranchisement and ultimate destruction of the Jews. Analyzing some of these passages, it is difficult not to drift from thinking about History to psychology.