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The Hitler Conspiracies – Professor Richard Evans, “Sir Richard”

Former Professor of History, University of Cambridge

Former  President, Cambridge's Wolfson College 

Former Provost of Gresham College, London


1993: Fellow of the British Academy (FBA)

1998 Honorary Fellow, Jesus College, Oxford

2000: Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature (FRSL)

2010 Founding Fellow, Learned Society of Wales (FLSW)

2012: Knighted for services to Scholarship in the 2012 Birthday Honours


Selected works

In Hitler's Shadow: West German Historians and the Attempt To Escape From The Nazi Past.

In Defence of History

Lying About Hitler: History, Holocaust, And The David Irving Trial,  

The Coming of the Third Reich, London

The Third Reich in Power, 1933–1939

The Third Reich at War: How the Nazis Led Germany from Conquest to Disaster

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Episode #1

Q: The Hitler Conspiracies – Professor Sir Richard Evans – Intro


  • Welsh, Raised in London

  • Intrigued as a child by bombed out sites

  • Studied history at Oxford

  • Academic interest in Germany / Nazi Era

  • Published trilogy on Nazi Germany

  • Dramatic rise of conspiracy theories

  • Grant for multidisciplinary team to study conspiracies

Episode #2

Q: What is the Protocols of the Elders of Zion?


  • Forgery of notes from World Zionist Congress 1897

  • Plot of Elders to take over the world

  • Published in 1902, hodgepodge of origins

  • Not clear who put it together

  • Trial 1930s Bern proving forgery

  • Used to justify pre-existing anti-Semitism

Episode #3

Q: Protocols of Elders of Zion – How Important for Nazis?


  • Even Goebbels wrote they were fake

  • Reprinted with commentaries

  • Nazis did not need Protocols

  • But support for racial anti-Semitism

Episode #4

Q: What is the “Stab in the Back”?


  • Phrase is from Wagner’s work

  • Germans thought they were winning the war

  • Defeat was a surprise

  • USA troops and tanks decisive

  • Generals blamed internal groups

  • Socialist, Communists, Democrats

  • Nazis picked up on the theory

  • But were cautious not to offend the middle class

Episode #5

Q:  Did German Generals promote the Stab in the Back?


  • Stab in Back used to justify war loss

  • No real evidence

  • Generals: it was a not our fault

  • Great opposition to the theory

  • Parliament debated the issue in 1920s

  • Military situation determined outcome

Episode #6

Q: “Stab in the Back” – Impact rise of Nazi Party?


  • Stab in the Back not focus of Nazis

  • Hitler attacks German Generals as War Criminals

  • Attacks reparations, limits on armaments

  • Not used much by Nazi Propaganda

  • But theory drives Nazi policy

  • Attempt to placate civilians / wives

Episode #7

Q: What was the Reichstag Fire?


  • Hitler appointed German chancellor January 30, 1933

  • Reichstag Fire February 27, 1933

  • Nazis blame Communists, Socialists

  • Enact laws against foes

  • Set up concentration camps

  • Pass Enabling Act March 23,1933

  • Dictatorial power

  • Communists clam fire was Nazi plot

  • Evidence points to one guilty person,  Marinus van der Lubbe

Episode #8

Q: Why do Reichstag Fire Conspiracies Persist?


  • Far Left persists in conspiracy

  • Even forged documents

  • Bizarre Theories – Van der Lubbe hypnotized

  • Events do happen by chance

  • Single person can be responsible for history

  • “Who Benefits” drives the conspiracies

Episode #9

Q: Did Rudolph Hess act alone?


  • Rudolph Hess, second to Hitler

  • Flew to Scotland May 10, 1941

  • Aimed to meet with Duke of Hamilton

  • Churchill totally discounts the event

  • Hitler shocked and depressed

  • Theory: must be master peace plan 

Episode #10

Q: Why do people believe Hitler survived war?


  • Hitler realized war is lost & decides on suicide

  • Commits suicide together with Eva Braun

  • Bodies burned in Reich’s Chancellery garden

  • No evidence to the contrary

  • Industry dedicated to this conspiracy

  • Many of these theorists are Hitler admirers

Episode #11

Q:  What do Conspiracy Theories have in Common?


  • Dismiss what they call “Official History”

  • Join dots in an illogical way

  • Ignore the main researched points

  • Employ a pseudo-logic

  • Posit that all history is planned in advance

  • Believe there is no chance

  • Stark world of good and evil

Episode #12

Q: Why are Conspiracy Theories Dangerous?


  • Conspiracy theories are dangerous

  • Pollute the Word of truth

  • Naïve refusal to believe in facts

  • Demonize people and events

  • Fake evidence & create forgeries

  • Witnessing decline in belief in truth

  • Wide problem of 21th Century

Episode #13

Q: What was the Holocaust Denial Trial?


  • Holocaust denier David Irving

  • Irving sues Deborah Lipstadt

  • London Trial, High Court 2000

  • Sir Richard serves as expert witness

  • Need to combat denial of Holocaust

  • Issue of Freedom of Speech

  • Major motion picture, Denial

  • Survivors and skin heads

Full Interview - Professor Sir Richard Evans

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