What about the facts?

April 18, 1997

A propos of Niall Ferguson's "what ifs?" expanded in Sian Griffiths' article, "The virtual past master" - if Germany wins the second world war, Michael Foot is elected in 1983 etc. "The Communist bloc, meanwhile, remains intact and rather gleeful." No. If Niall Ferguson recalls, Operation Barbarossa was about the defeat of the Soviet Union. Victory in this instance would have meant that there would be no Communist bloc, let alone a "gleeful" one.

Such cavalier and arrogant disregard for the basic facts of East European events is one of the tragedies of Western European historiography.

JUDITH BYRD Dollis Road, London N3

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