November 4, 2002
FESTERING:Beevor under fire over last days of Reich (John Hooper, November 3, 2002, The Observer)
Antony Beevor's runaway bestseller Berlin: The Downfall 1945 has come under withering fire from Germany's leading expert on the last days of Hitler's Third Reich. [...]
Professor Joachim Fest, who has written a biography of Hitler and a history of the Third Reich, claimed that Beevor's book was peppered with factual inaccuracies and treated his compatriots unfairly. [...]
Fest picks out a string of relatively minor alleged factual errors before going on to accuse Beevor of mishandling source material. However, his contention is backed by an argument that will sound odd to British historians. He criticises Beevor's treatment of Hitler's architect, Albert Speer, on the grounds that he relies on the records of the Nuremburg trials rather than Speer's own memoirs.
The German historian's bitterest words are reserved for Beevor's treatment of the immediate aftermath of war. The British author notes that some Germans reacted to defeat by trying to provide a justification of the Nazis' view of the world.
So, let's see if we have this straight; Mr. Fest is saying that it's not fair to say that some Germans sought to justify Nazism, while at the same time he himself is suggesting that Albert Speer's notoriously self-serving memoirs are more reliable than the records from the one forum where men like Speer were subject to cross-examination?
Posted by Orrin Judd at November 4, 2002 10:28 PM