Historical error

Poor old David Starkey. Attributing a quotation to Goebbels, he has attracted a rash of letters in The Sunday Telegraph, castigating him both for his apparent criticism of the Sovereign (did Starkey really say, “I don’t think she’s at all comfortable with anybody intellectual. I think she’s got elements a bit like Goebbels in her attitude – you remember, he said: ‘Every time I hear the word culture I reach for my revolver’.”) and, worse for a historian, getting it wrong. It was said, apparently, either by Goering (I have always been told this) or by the German playwright Hanns Johst (who merely reached for the safety catch of his Browning). I have always rather liked the apparent retort, by whom I know not, “Everytime I hear the word gun, I reach for my culture”.

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