After the Carnival Times controversy, David Irving went to West Germany where he worked as a steelworker in Thyssen AG and picked up the German language. Later, he shifted to Spain where he did clerical work at an air base.
In 1962, he wrote a series of 37 articles, ‘Und Deutschlands Städte starben nicht’ for German yellow press ‘Neue Illustrierte’. These articles explored the strategic bombing of enemy territories by the Allies during World War II.
The articles became the foundation for his first book, ‘The Destruction of Dresden’ (1963). Illustrated with vivid pictures and questioning the ethical justification of bombing German cities and civilians, the book became an international best-seller.
He continued writing on historical negationism. He wrote the next book titled ‘The Mare’s Nest’ on the German V-weapons campaign and the efforts of the Allies to counter it. Published in 1964, the book gained immense popularity.
In 1965, he translated the ‘Memoirs’ of Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel. In 1967, he published ‘Accident: The Death of General Sikorski’ in which he claimed that the Polish exiled leader General Sikorski was actually assassinated on the orders of Winston Churchill.
In 1967, he also published ‘The Virus House’ and ‘The Destruction of Convoy PQ-17’. The former is an explanation of the German nuclear energy project whereas in the latter he blamed British escort group Commander, Jack Broome, for the tragic losses of Convoy PQ 17.
Broome sued David Irving for libel and in February 1970 Broome won £40,000 in damages. Thereafter, the book was stopped from distribution. Meanwhile, David Irving concentrated on writing biographies and published ‘Breach of Security’ in 1968.
He visited Germany in 1969 trying to find out if the “official record of the Nuremberg Trials was falsified”. There he met Robert Kempner, one of the American prosecutors present at the Nuremberg trials, and made an impression of being “anti-American and anti-Jewish”.
In 1971, he translated the memoirs of General Reinhard Gehlen, and in 1973 published a biography of Field Marshal Milch titled ‘The Rise and Fall of the Luftwaffe’. In 1977, he published ‘Hitler's War’, the first of his two-volume biography of Adolf Hitler.
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Later in 1977, he published ‘The Trail of the Fox’, a biography of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel. In 1978, he published ‘The War Path’, the second volume of Hitler’s biography which described the happenings before the war. The book sold well inspite of being negated by traditional historians.
In the following decade, he researched and wrote unsuccessfully on subjects other than Nazi Germany. He started researching on Winston Churchill for his three-volume biography of the former Prime Minister.
In 1981, he published two books. The first was ‘The War between the Generals’, an account of the rumoured private lives and conflicts among Allied officers in 1944-45. The second book was about the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 titled ‘Uprising!’
In 1983, ‘Stern’, a German weekly news magazine purchased and published excerpts from 61 volumes of journals which were supposedly ‘Hitler's Diaries’. David Irving drew great attention from the press by declaring the diaries as forged.
Meanwhile, he had been working on the Churchill manuscript and finally published the book in 1987 as ‘Churchill's War, Volume I’. In 1989, he published the biography of Hermann Göring, one of the most powerful Nazi figures.
From 1988, he began to support Holocaust denial publicly; prior to that he had maintained a distance from Holocaust deniers as he wanted to establish his own political party called ‘Focus’. He planned to become the Prime Minister of the UK. However, his attempt was unsuccessful due to fiscal problems.
He began to associate himself with the Institute for Historical Review (IHR), giving lectures to groups like the far-right German Deutsche Volksunion (DVU). He began to assertively deny the extermination of Jews in the gas chambers by the Nazis.
In January 1988, David Irving travelled to Canada to help Ernst Zündel at his second trial for denying the Holocaust. Through the course of the trial he came in contact with other Holocaust deniers and was convinced that the Holocaust had never occurred.
After the trial, in 1989 he published ‘Auschwitz the End of the Line: The Leuchter Report’ in the United Kingdom with a foreword for the British edition. Consequently, both Leuchter and Irving were condemned by the House of Commons.
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Towards the end of the decade, he began to vehemently deny the gas chamber killings and called the Auschwitz gas chamber a “hoax”. After two such speeches given in Austria in 1989, the Austrian government banned him from entering the country. Other governments like Italy and Canada followed suit.
In January 1990, in a speech at Moers he claimed that only 30,000 people had died at Auschwitz from 1940–45, that too of natural causes. In April, he presented the same theory in Munich, eventually resulting in his conviction for Holocaust denial. He was fined DM 10,000 and banned from visiting Germany.
In 1993, he claimed that 100,000 Jews had died at Auschwitz from epidemics rather than gassing. He also claimed that Allied bombing was responsible for most of the Jewish deaths during World War II. In 1995, he said that at least four million Jews died in World War II due to poor hygienic conditions inside the concentration camps.
By 1995, he was wrapped up in controversies and failed to find a publisher for his biography of Joseph Goebbels titled ‘Goebbels: Mastermind of the Third Reich’. He was in deep financial crisis and needed to reinstate his fame as a historian. Finally, he self-published the book in 1996.
In September 1996, he filed a libel against American historian Deborah Lipstadt and British publisher Penguin Books for publishing Lipstadt's ‘Denying the Holocaust’ in Britain. In the book, Irving is called a Holocaust denier. He lost the case and was ordered to pay approximately £2 million in damages. In 2002, he was declared bankrupt.
In November 2005, the Austrian police arrested him based on the 1989 warrant. He pleaded guilty of denying the Holocaust and agreed that the Nazis did kill millions of Jews. He was sentenced to three years' imprisonment. In December 2006, he was released from prison and forever banned from Austria. After arriving in the UK, he reaffirmed his stand about the Holocaust.
In May 2007, he was debarred from attending the 52nd Warsaw International Book Fair in Poland. In October 2008, an invitation to speak at the 2009 Norwegian Festival of Literature was withdrawn amidst protests.
In 2009, he established a website selling Nazi memorabilia to earn money after going bankrupt in 2002. He continues to work as a freelance writer and lectures small audiences.