Revisionist Viewpoints: Essays in a Dissident Historical Tradition

James J. Martin

From the publisher:

Several of the essays gathered together in this volume received worldwide circulation, despite having been published originally in journals of extremely limited circulation. They drew a wide variety of complimentary comments from figures of some importance. Characteristic of the European commentaries was that of Dr. Edmund Marhefka, one of the representatives of Germany at the Versailles Treaty proceedings following World War One. “The intrinsic and formidable style of Prof. James J. Martin interested me very much,” he reported to one correspondent. Confessing to be “fascinated by the sagacity and striking way of expression” employed, Dr. Marhefka remarked, “He has got the way to talk to statesmen and politicians of nowaday’s sort.” 

Though these essays are historical in nature, they concern matters of importance to the contemporary scene, and involve unresolved matters growing out of the great world conflict of 1939-1945, issues so complicated that they have not lent themselves to any substantial settlement and furthermore have tended to reappear in the new wars of the last quarter of a century. Contemporary concern over such matters as conscription, the morality of strategic bombing, the concept of “war crimes,” the interlocking relationships between politics, industry, finance and the military, the resurgence of talk about “Fascism,” the economics of war and the origins and consequences of the Cold War, as well as the significance of Revisionism as a school of historical interpretation, are all to be found under consideration here. The emphasis is upon the continuity of such phenomena since at least the preliminaries of World War Two, as a corrective to contemporary tendencies to find the modern versions of these subjects peculiar to the last few years.

It was in 1955 that Dr. Louis Morton, then Chief of the Pacific Section of the United States Army Office of Military History, declared insofar as it concerned the Second World War, that “Revisionism reached the status of a mature historical interpretation of events that no serious student of prewar policy could ignore,” as far back as 1948. A formidable library of works has accumulated since that time which has made Revisionism’s point so emphatically that one finds more and more of this view gaining ground even in official and essentially defensive narratives. This volume is another contribution in the Revisionist tradition, more oriented toward the subject of opinion and opinion-making rather than exploration of diplomatic papers, concerned with where populaces get their ideas, how such matters go into the fabrication of popular support for war and the policies which eventuate in wartime, and which often continue in force long after formal hostilities have ended.

Revisionist Viewpoints: Essays in a Dissident Historical Tradition by James J. Martin
Meet the Author
James J. Martin

James J. Martin (1916 –2004) was an American historian. He is best known for his work on the history of American individualist anarchism, Men Against the State, first published in 1953. Jeff Riggenbach writes about Martin in “The Story of American Revisionism.”

View James J. Martin bio and works

Ralph Myles, Colorado Springs, 1971