“Today historians are again labouring to rewrite and falsify history in order to justify new wars and discredit opposition to them. Their falsifications aim to “whitewash and legitimise the worst crimes of twentieth-century capitalist imperialism and, conversely, to criminalise and render morally illegitimate the entire struggle of the international socialist movement,”
David North The Russian Revolution and the Unfinished Twentieth Century.
When a state turns fascist, it doesn’t only mean that the forms and methods of government are changed in accordance with the patterns set by Mussolini – the changes in this sphere ultimately play a minor role – but it means, primarily and above all, that the workers’ organizations are annihilated; that the proletariat is reduced to an amorphous state; and that a system of administration is created which penetrates deeply into the masses and which serves to frustrate the independent crystallization of the proletariat. Therein precisely is the gist of fascism.
Leon Trotsky-What Next for the German Revolution? (1932)
Both Hitler and Mussolini have plagiarised and imitated practically everything from everyone. Mussolini stole from the Bolsheviks and Gabriele D’Annunzio and found inspiration in the camp of big business. Hitler imitated the Bolsheviks and Mussolini.
Stalin: An Appraisal of the Man and his Influence (1941), translated by Charles Malamuth, p. 412
“In order to carry out an aggressive foreign policy, history has to be rewritten, and the crimes of the Nazis have to be trivialised.”
Why Are They Back? is an essential read for anyone who wishes to understand the reasons behind the rise of Fascism in modern-day Germany. It is also unique in that it is the only recent book that understands and opposes Fascism from a classical Marxist perspective.
While maintaining a high academic standard, the book takes the form of a polemic and calls for action against the fascists as Vandreier says. “It is not written from the standpoint of a neutral observer, but as a contribution to the struggle against the return of militarism and fascism.” Not since Leon Trotsky’s writings on Fascism has such a book been needed.
It is hard to believe that after the shocking barbarity which included the mass extermination of 6 million Jews and others, the war of annihilation against the Soviet Union which claimed 27 million lives, that the fascists have once more not only taken to the streets but have won considerable seats in the German parliament.
The writer Christoph Vandreier belongs to the Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei (Socialist Equality Party) in Germany. He explains the origins of the book. “We had long been thinking about writing a book about the experiences of the last five years, in which the rise of the right wing, the return of fascism and war were ideologically and politically prepared,” After the neo-Nazi riots in Chemnitz, “we decided that this project was urgent and that the book had to be completed by the time of the Frankfurt Book Fair,”.
The neo-Nazi riots were a turning point and revealed that the fascists were back and that history had returned with a vengeance. Vandreier believes that the fascists can only raise their heads because of the political support and protection they receive from the political establishment and media.
The book is divided into eight chapters and they deal with the role of academics, the media, political parties, and the state apparatus which all have played a part in boosting the main fascist party in Germany the AfD.
There are many themes to the book; two most pronounced are the return of German militarism and the falsification of German history. Vandreier believes the two are inextricably linked.
At a recent meeting in London Vandreier gave an example of the attempt by a group of revisionist historians to overturn previous historical studies. One such attempt is to discredit the work of the historian Fritz Fischer. Fischer held the belief alongside many other historians that German capitalism prepared for the First World War long in advance. While not being blind to the fact that Germany was not alone in defending its imperialist interests, Fischer sought to examine German capitalism’s global expansion plans which brought about the 1st World War.
According to John C. G .Rohl “ this interpretation has recently been challenged by a wave of revisionism, exemplified by the astronomical success—especially in Germany, where it has sold many hundreds of thousands of copies—of the book The Sleepwalkers by our colleague Christopher Clark He and the other revisionists largely exonerate the Kaiser’s Germany from responsibility for the First World War. While claiming to argue that war broke out by accident, with no one government more at fault than any other, in practice Clark places the blame to a large extent on little Serbia, followed by Russia, France and Britain in that order, presenting Austria-Hungary as doing its genuine best to avoid war and simply omitting altogether the evidence of any German intention to bring the war about”.
The case of Jörg Baberowski
Vandreier believes that in order to justify new wars of conquest a campaign was launched by right-wing historians to falsify the historical record. One such historian is Jorg Baberowski.
Vandreier’s exposure to Jörg Baberowski’s falsification of history is one of the most important facets of the book. Quoted in the prominent German magazine Der Spiegel Baberowski has in the past said that “Hitler was no psychopath, and he was not vicious. He did not want people to talk about the extermination of the Jews at his table.” Vandreier said this is a lie and can be easily proved.
More importantly, though Vandreier points out in the book that there has not been a single professor or journalist who disagreed publicly with these offensive and lying remarks.
Vandreier believes “This deafening silence was a prerequisite for today’s extreme right to act so aggressively,” There is, of course, a connection between the falsification of history and the attack on the struggle for objective truth and there is no more wretched figure putting forward these falsifications than Baberowski.
The German Professor (1961) who was a student of Michel Foucault has been given ample space to expand on his falsifications by the book publishing world in his The Meaning of History he rants
“In reality, the historian has nothing to do with the past, but only with its interpretation. He cannot separate what he calls reality from the utterances of people who lived in the past. For there exists no reality apart from the consciousness that produces it. We must liberate ourselves from the conception that we can understand, through the reconstruction of events transmitted to us through documents, what the Russian Revolution really was. There is no reality without its representation. To be a historian means, to use the words of Roger Chartier, to examine the realm of representations”.
Unfortunately, this methodology is becoming the norm increasingly in academic writing. It denotes an anything-goes approach that does not require the historian to tell the truth. For that matter, it also means that reality does not exist outside the historian’s head. Therefore, the historical truth has no objective basis. Baberowski sees history only regarding his own subjectivity. Why bother with a history that tries to show the economic, political or social conditions at the time
It is evident from this statement that he believes that it is all right for a historian to falsify his or her work to serve the reader of history. This lying about history can bring about a fundamental and dangerous change in the way history is served to the public. The most extreme example of this false narratives is lying about the crimes of Nazi Germany. It is therefore not an accident that Baberowski is a leading figure in the attempt to rehabilitate Hitler.
The book is particularly keen on an essential chapter in not only the study of German history but the study of history around the world. The “historians’ debate” or Historikerstreit took place between 1986–89 and was an attempt by German historians to come to terms with the Nazi era.
According to the excellent Wikipedia article “the position taken by the right-wing intellectuals, led by Ernst Nolte, was that the Holocaust was not unique and therefore the Germans should not bear any special burden of guilt for the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question". Nolte argued that because there was no moral difference between the crimes of the Soviet Union and those of Nazi Germany—and, even more controversially, that because the Holocaust was something that the Germans were allegedly forced to do out of a fear of what the Soviet Union might do to them—that Germans should not feel any guilt over the Holocaust and should essentially forget about it. Likewise, the conservative historian Andreas Hillgruber asserted that there was no moral difference between Allied policies towards Germany in 1944–45 and the genocide waged against the Jews”.
It does not take a genius to see that what Nolte has written in the past and what Baberowski writes now are similar if not the same.
Nolte’s argument and I use the term advisably is best summed up in this despicable quote "It is a notable shortcoming of the literature about National Socialism that it does not know or does not want to admit to what degree all the deeds—with the sole exception of the technical process of gassing—that the National Socialists later committed had already been described in a voluminous literature of the early 1920s: mass deportations and shootings, torture, death camps, extermination of entire groups using strictly objective selection criteria, and public demands for the annihilation of millions of guiltless people who were thought to be "enemies".
It is probable that many of these reports were exaggerated. It is certain that the “White Terror” also committed terrible deeds, even though its program contained no analogy to the “extermination of the bourgeoisie”. Nonetheless, the following question must seem permissible, even unavoidable: Did the National Socialists or Hitler perhaps commit an “Asiatic” deed merely because they and their ilk considered themselves to be the potential victims of an “Asiatic” deed? Was not the 'Gulag Archipelago' more original than Auschwitz? Was the Bolshevik murder of an entire class not the logical and factual prius of the "racial murder" of National Socialism? Cannot Hitler's most secret deeds be explained by the fact that he had not forgotten the rat cage? Did Auschwitz in its root causes not originate in a past that would not pass?"
It is not in the bounds of possibility to review the entire debate in this article, anyone interested in this should at least study the Wikipedia pages on it. I will say that Nolte and the other right-wing historians were strongly opposed by historians around the world most notably by British historians such as Richard J. Evans, Writing in 1989, he said:
“Nolte's attempts to establish the comparability of Auschwitz rest in part upon an extension of the concept of "genocide" to actions which cannot plausibly justify being described in this way. However much one might wish to criticize the Allied strategic-bombing offensive against German cities; it cannot be termed genocidal because there was no intention to exterminate the entire German people. Dresden was bombed after Coventry, not the other way around, and it is implausible to suggest that the latter was a response to the former; on the contrary, there was indeed an element of retaliation and revenge in the strategic bombing offensive, which is precisely one of the grounds on which it has often been criticized.
There is no evidence to support Nolte's speculation that the ethnic Germans in Poland would have been entirely exterminated had the Nazis not completed their invasion quickly. Neither the Poles nor the Russians had any intention of exterminating the German people as a whole. At this point, it is useful to recall the conclusion of the German historian and Hitler specialist Eberhard Jäckel that "the Nazi murder of the Jews was unique because never before had a state decided and announced, on the authority of its responsible leader, that it intended to kill in its entirety, as far as possible, a particular group of human beings, including its old people, women, children and infants, and then put this decision into action with every possible instrument of power available to the state".
The attempts undertaken by Nolte, Hillgruber, Fest and other neoconservative historians to get around this fact are all ultimately unconvincing. It requires a considerable degree of myopia to regard the policies of the USA in Vietnam in the 1960s and early 1970s or the occupation of Afghanistan by the USSR in the 1980s as "genocide". However much one may deplore the conduct of the occupying armies, there is no evidence of any deliberate policy of exterminating the inhabitants of the countries in question. The terrible massacres of the Armenians by the Turks in 1915 were more deliberate, on a wider scale and concentrated into a far shorter time, then the destruction of human life in Vietnam and Afghanistan, and they were not carried out as part of a military campaign, although they did occur in wartime. However, these atrocities were committed as part of a brutal policy of expulsion and resettlement; they did not constitute an attempt to exterminate a whole people. Similar things may be said of the forcible removal of Greeks from Asia Minor during the 1920s, although this has not, in contrast to the events of 1915, generally been regarded as genocide
However, as Vandreier points out in the book unlike in the 1980s, during the “Historian’s dispute,” there were no protests from these historians against the relativization of the Nazis’ crimes”.
A significant reason for this silence is explained by Vandreier who cites the influence of postmodernist tendencies inside the universities. He quotes the Marxist writer David North who says “In this period of extreme social contradictions, the determination of historical truth has been vastly complicated by the emergence of retrograde and extremely dangerous tendencies in bourgeois intellectual life. Lying about history and politics did not begin in the twentieth century. But it is only in recent decades, with the emergence of post-modernism as the dominant tendency in the intellectual life of universities throughout the world, that there has been such a determined effort to justify intellectually, on the basis of philosophy, the obliteration of the distinction between truth and lies, and thereby legitimize the falsification of history. It is for this reason that The Russian Revolution and the Unfinished Twentieth Century deals at considerable length with post-modernist theory, whose origins and evolution are theoretically based on subjective idealist irrationalism, politically motivated by hostility to socialism, and socially rooted in the material interests of the ruling class and affluent sections of the middle class”.
It would not be an overstatement to say that the impact of this school of history has been as one writer put “nothing short of catastrophic.”
Alongside Leon Trotsky’s writings on Germany, Why Are They Back? by Christoph, Vandreier will be used by all anti-fascists wanting to struggle against Fascism all over the world. While in the last three decades we have seen the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the rise of fascists in Germany, massive growth of social inequality, Trump in the White House it can safely be assumed that this is not the end of history. On the contrary, history is back with a vengeance.
A word of caution, however, this is not like the 1930s when the fascists where a large force with state power and an army to back them up. The fascists today are not a mass movement. They are hated throughout the world.
As David North says “They will not conquer again, We can be certain of that. There is no way that the experiences of the 1930s will suddenly be erased from memory. Germany was traumatized by the events that happened in this country between 1933 and 1945. Baberowski and his clique at the university and the lackeys in the administration who support him may think that he can erase the crimes of the Nazis and everyone will forget what happened, but that is not possible. Almost overnight, to the extent people become aware, in this country, of the threat they face, we anticipate an enormous growth of social and political opposition. That will not be lacking. But what will be required is a very high level of political and historical awareness. German capitalism and the German ruling elites carry the ineradicable virus of fascism; not as individuals, but as representatives of a social system. This has been proven by history.”
The Book can be ordered @https://mehringbooks.co.uk/
 The Struggle Against Fascism in Germany (Merit S.) Paperback – 1 Jun 1971
Goodbye to all that (again)? The Fischer thesis, the new revisionism and the meaning of the First World War. www.chathamhouse.org/sites/default/files/field/field_publication_docs/INTA91_1_09_Roehl.pdf
 The Meaning of History-Jörg Baberowski
 Forever In The Shadow of Hitler? edited by Ernst Piper, Humanities Press, Atlantic Highlands, 1993
 1989. In Hitler's Shadow: West German Historians and the Attempt to Escape the Nazi Past, New York, NY: Pantheon.
 Socialism and historical truth-A lecture delivered at the Leipzig Book Fair-By David North
17 March 2015- https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/03/17/lect-m17.html
 Two hundred attend meeting on the struggle against fascism at Leipzig Book Fair-https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/03/26/leip-m26.html