Mein Kampf

Mein Kampf (“My Struggle”) is an autobiographical manifesto by National Socialist leader Adolf Hitler, in which he outlines his political ideology and future plans for Germany. Volume 1 of Mein Kampf was published in 1925 and Volume 2 in 1926. The book was edited by Hitler’s deputy Rudolf Hess.

Hitler began dictating the book to Hess while imprisoned for what he considered to be “political crimes” following his failed Putsch in Munich in November 1923.
Although Hitler received many visitors initially, he soon devoted himself entirely to the book. As he continued, Hitler realized that it would have to be a two-volume work, with the first volume scheduled for release in early 1925.
The governor of Landsberg noted at the time that “he [Hitler] hopes the book will run into many editions, thus enabling him to fulfill his financial obligations and to defray the expenses incurred at the time of his trial.”

Hitler originally wanted to call his forthcoming book Viereinhalb Jahre (des Kampfes) gegen Lüge, Dummheit und Feigheit, or Four and a Half Years (of Struggle) Against Lies, Stupidity and Cowardice. Max Amann, head of the Franz Eher Verlag and Hitler’s publisher, is said to have suggested the much shorter “Mein Kampf” or “My Struggle”.


 

Contents

The arrangement of chapters is as follows:
Volume One: A Reckoning Chapter 1: In the House of my Parents
Chapter 2: Years of Study and Suffering in Vienna
Chapter 3: General Political Considerations Based on my Vienna Period
Chapter 4: Munich
Chapter 5: The World War
Chapter 6: War Propaganda
Chapter 7: The Revolution
Chapter 8: The Beginning of my Political Activity
Chapter 9: The “German Workers’ Party”
Chapter 10: Causes of the Collapse
Chapter 11: Nation and Race
Chapter 12: The First Period of Development of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party

Volume Two: The National Socialist Movement Chapter 1: Philosophy and Party
Chapter 2: The State
Chapter 3: Subjects and Citizens
Chapter 4: Personality and the Conception of the Völkisch State
Chapter 5: Philosophy and Organization
Chapter 6: The Struggle of the Early Period – the Significance of the Spoken Word
Chapter 7: The Struggle with the Red Front
Chapter 8: The Strong Man Is Mightiest Alone
Chapter 9: Basic Ideas Regarding the Meaning and Organization of the Sturmabteilung
Chapter 10: Federalism as a Mask
Chapter 11: Propaganda and Organization
Chapter 12: The Trade-Union Question
Chapter 13: German Alliance Policy After the War
Chapter 14: Eastern Orientation or Eastern Policy
Chapter 15: The Right of Emergency Defense

Conclusion
Index


 

Analysis

In Mein Kampf, Hitler used the main thesis of “the Jewish peril”, which posits a Jewish conspiracy to gain world leadership.
The narrative describes the process by which he became increasingly antisemitic and militaristic, especially during his years in Vienna. He speaks of not having met a Jew until he arrived in Vienna, and that at first his attitude was liberal and tolerant. When he first encountered the anti-semitic press, he says, he dismissed it as unworthy of serious consideration. Later he accepted the same anti-semitic views, which became crucial in his program of national reconstruction of Germany.

Mein Kampf has also been studied as a work on political theory. For example, Hitler announces his hatred of what he believed to be the world’s two evils: Communism and Judaism.

During his work, Hitler blamed Germany’s chief woes on the parliament of the Weimar Republic, the Jews, and Social Democrats, as well as Marxists, though he believed that Marxists, Social Democrats, and the parliament were all working for Jewish interests.
He announced that he wanted to completely destroy the parliamentary system, believing it to be corrupt in principle, as those who reach power are inherent opportunists.

Antisemitism
First published in 1925, Mein Kampf shows the ideas that crafted Hitler’s personal grievances and ambitions for creating a New Order.
The racial laws to which Hitler referred resonate directly with his ideas in Mein Kampf. In his first edition of Mein Kampf, Hitler stated that the destruction of the weak and sick is far more humane than their protection.
Apart from his allusion to humane treatment, Hitler saw a purpose in destroying “the weak” in order to provide the proper space and purity for the “strong”.

Lebensraum
In the chapter “Eastern Orientation or Eastern Policy”, Hitler argued that the Germans needed Lebensraum in the East, a “historic destiny” that would properly nurture the German people.
Hitler believed that “the organization of a Russian state formation was not the result of the political abilities of the Slavs in Russia, but only a wonderful example of the state-forming efficacity of the German element in an inferior race.”

In Mein Kampf Hitler openly stated the future of Germany:

And so we National Socialists consciously draw a line beneath the foreign policy tendency of our pre-War period. We take up where we broke off six hundred years ago. We stop the endless German movement to the south and west, and turn our gaze toward the land in the east. At long last we break of the colonial and commercial policy of the pre-War period and shift to the soil policy of the future.

If we speak of soil in Europe today, we can primarily have in mind only Russia and her vassal border states.

Hitler’s later invasions of Czechoslovakia and Poland, and his launched attack against the Soviet Union can be directly resonate from his desire of Lebensraum in Mein Kampf.


 

Popularity

Although Hitler originally wrote this book mostly for the followers of National Socialism, it grew in popularity.
He accumulated a tax debt of 405,500 Reichsmark (very roughly in 2015 €1.4 million or US$ 1.5 million) from the sale of about 240,000 copies by the time he became chancellor in 1933 (at which time his debt was waived).

After Hitler rose to power, the book gained a large amount of popularity. (Two other books written by party members, Gottfried Feder’s Breaking The Interest Slavery and Alfred Rosenberg’s The Myth of the Twentieth Century, have since lapsed into comparative literary obscurity, and no translation of Feder’s book from the original German is known.)
The book was in high demand in libraries and often reviewed and quoted in other publications. Hitler had made about 1.2 million Reichsmarks from the income of his book in 1933, when the average annual income of a teacher was about 4,800 Mark.
During Hitler’s years in power, the book was given free to every newlywed couple and every soldier fighting at the front.
By 1939 the book had sold 5.2 million copies in 11 languages. By the end of the war, about 10 million copies of the book had been sold or distributed in Germany.

After becoming chancellor of Germany in 1933, Hitler began to distance himself from the book and dismissed it as “fantasies behind bars” that were little more than a series of articles for the Völkischer Beobachter and later told Hans Frank that “If I had had any idea in 1924 that I would have become Reich chancellor, I never would have written the book.”

There are currently six e-book versions of Mein Kampf available for sale. In 2014 two of these version reached the 12th and 15th spots on the iTunes Politics and Current Events section.
The same year a digital version of the book reached number one on the Amazon Propaganda and Political Psychology chart.


 

Contemporary Observations

Mein Kampf, in essence, lays out the ideological program Hitler established for the German revolution, by identifying the Jews and “Bolsheviks,” as racially and ideologically inferior and threatening, and “Aryans” and National Socialists as racially superior and politically progressive.
Hitler’s revolutionary goals included expulsion of the Jews from Greater Germany and the unification of German peoples into one Greater Germany. Hitler desired to restore German lands to their greatest historical extent, real or imagined.

Due to its racist content and the historical effect of Nazism upon Europe during World War II, it is considered a highly controversial book. Criticism has not come solely from opponents of Nazism.
Italian Fascist dictator and Nazi ally Benito Mussolini was also critical of the book, saying that it was “a boring tome that I have never been able to read” and remarked that Hitler’s beliefs, as expressed in the book, were “little more than commonplace clichés”.

One direct opponent of National Socialism, Konrad Heiden, observed that the content of Mein Kampf is essentially a political argument with other members of the Nazi Party who had appeared to be Hitler’s friends, but whom he was actually denouncing in the book’s content – sometimes by not even including references to them.

In The Second World War, Winston Churchill wrote that he felt that after Hitler’s ascension to power, no other book deserved more intensive scrutiny.

The American literary theorist and philosopher Kenneth Burke wrote a rhetorical analysis of the work, The Rhetoric of Hitler’s “Battle”, which revealed its underlying message of aggressive intent.


 

German publication history

While Hitler was in power (1933–1945), Mein Kampf came to be available in three common editions. The first, the Volksausgabe or People’s Edition, featured the original cover on the dust jacket and was navy blue underneath with a gold swastika eagle embossed on the cover.
The Hochzeitsausgabe, or Wedding Edition, in a slipcase with the seal of the province embossed in gold onto a parchment-like cover was given free to marrying couples.
In 1940, the Tornister-Ausgabe was released. This edition was a compact, but unabridged, version in a red cover and was released by the post office, available to be sent to loved ones fighting at the front. These three editions combined both volumes into the same book.

A special edition was published in 1939 in honour of Hitler’s 50th birthday. This edition was known as the Jubiläumsausgabe, or Anniversary Issue. It came in both dark blue and bright red boards with a gold sword on the cover. This work contained both volumes one and two. It was considered a deluxe version, relative to the smaller and more common Volksausgabe.

The book could also be purchased as a two-volume set during Hitler’s reign, and was available in soft cover and hardcover. The soft cover edition contained the original cover. The hardcover edition had a leather spine with cloth-covered boards. The cover and spine contained an image of three brown oak leaves.


 

English Translations

Dugdale Abridgement
The first English translation was an abridgement by Edgar Dugdale who started work on it in 1931, at the prompting of his wife, Blanche. When he learned that the London publishing firm of Hurst & Blackett had secured the rights to publish an abridgement in the United Kingdom, he offered it for free in April 1933.
However, a local Nazi Party representative insisted that the translation be further abridged before publication, so it was held back until 13 October 1933, although excerpts were allowed to run in The Times in late July. It was published by Hurst & Blackett as part of “The Paternoster Library”.

In America, Houghton Mifflin secured the rights to the Dugdale abridgement on 29 July 1933[citation needed].
The only differences between the American and British versions are that the title was translated My Struggle in the UK and My Battle in America; and that Dugdale is credited as translator in the US edition, while the British version withheld his name. Both Dugdale and his wife were active in the Zionist movement; Blanche was the niece of Lord Balfour, and they wished to avoid publicity.

Reynal and Hitchcock Translation
Houghton and Mifflin licensed Reynal & Hitchcock the rights to publish a full unexpurgated translation in 1938. The book was translated from the two volumes of the first German edition (1925 and 1927), with notations appended noting any changes made in later editions, which were deemed “not as extensive as popularly supposed.”
The translation, made by a committee from the New School for Social Research headed by Dr. Alvin Johnson, was said to have been made with a view to readability rather than in an effort to rigidly reproduce Hitler’s sometimes idiosyncratic German form.

The text was heavily annotated for an American audience with biographical and historical details derived largely from German sources.
As the translators deemed the book “a propagandistic essay of a violent partisan”, which “often warps historical truth and sometimes ignores it completely,” the tone of many of these annotations reflected a conscious attempt to provide “factual information that constitutes an extensive critique of the original.”
The book appeared for sale on 28 February 1939.

Murphy Translation
One of the first complete English translations of Mein Kampf was by James Murphy in 1939. It was the only English translation approved by the Third Reich. The version published by Hutchison & Co. in association with Hurst & Blackett, Ltd (London) in 1939 of the combined volumes I and II is profusely illustrated with many full page drawings and photographs.
The opening line, “It has turned out fortunate for me to-day that destiny appointed Braunau-on-the-Inn to be my birthplace,” is characteristic of Hitler’s sense of destiny that began to develop in the early 1920s.
Hurst & Blackett ceased publishing the Murphy translation in 1942 when the original plates were destroyed by German bombing, but it is still published and available in facsimile editions and also on the Internet.
An audio reading of volume one is also available online.

Stackpole Translation & Controversy
The small Pennsylvania firm of Stackpole and Sons released its own unexpurgated translation by William Soskin on the same day as Houghton Mifflin, amid much legal wrangling.
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Houghton Mifflin’s favour that June and ordered Stackpole to stop selling their version, litigation followed for a few more years until the case was finally resolved in September 1941.

Among other things, Stackpole argued that Hitler could not have legally transferred his right to a copyright in the United States to Eher Verlag in 1925, because he was not a citizen of any country.
Houghton Mifflin v. Stackpole was a minor landmark in American copyright law, definitively establishing that stateless persons have the same copyright status in the United States that any other foreigner would. In the three months that Stackpole’s version was available it sold 12,000 copies.

Cranston Translation & Controversy
Houghton Mifflin’s abridged English translation left out some of Hitler’s more anti-Semitic and militaristic statements. This motivated Alan Cranston, an American reporter for United Press International in Germany (and later a U.S. Senator from California), to publish his own abridged and annotated translation.
Cranston believed this version more accurately reflected the contents of the book and Hitler’s intentions.
In 1939, Cranston was sued by Hitler’s publisher for copyright infringement, and a Connecticut judge ruled in Hitler’s favour.
By the time the publication of Cranston’s version was stopped, 500,000 copies had already been sold.
Today, the profits and proceeds are given to various charities.

Manheim Translation
Houghton Mifflin published a translation by Ralph Manheim in 1943. They did this to avoid having to share their profits with Reynal & Hitchcock, and to increase sales by offering a more readable translation.
The Manheim translation was first published in the United Kingdom by Hurst & Blackett in 1969 amid some controversy.


 

Current Availability

At the time of his suicide, Hitler’s official place of residence was in Munich, which led to his entire estate, including all rights to Mein Kampf, changing to the ownership of the state of Bavaria.
As per German copyright law, the entire text is scheduled to enter the public domain on 1 January 2016, 70 years after the author’s death.
The government of Bavaria, in agreement with the federal government of Germany, refuses to allow any copying or printing of the book in Germany, and opposes it also in other countries but with less success.
Owning and buying the book is legal. Trading in old copies is legal as well, unless it is done in such a fashion as to “promote hatred or war”, which is generally illegal.
In particular, the unmodified edition is not covered by §86 StGB that forbids dissemination of means of propaganda of unconstitutional organisations, since it is a “pre-constitutional work” and as such cannot be opposed to the free and democratic basic order, according to a 1979 decision of the Federal Court of Justice of Germany.
Most German libraries carry heavily commented and excerpted versions of Mein Kampf.

In 2008, Stephan Kramer, secretary-general of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, not only recommended lifting the ban, but volunteered the help of his organization in editing and annotating the text, saying that it is time for the book to be made available to all online.

Restrictions on sale or special circumstances regarding the book in other countries:

Canada
Though Mein Kampf (ISBN 0-395-07801-6) is available in Canada, Heather Reisman, owner of the Chapters/Indigo chain of bookshops (Canada’s largest and only national book chain) has decided not to carry the book.

India
It has been a popular book in India since its first publication there in 1928. It has gone through hundreds of editions and sold over a hundred thousand copies.

Russia
In the Russian Federation, Mein Kampf has been published at least three times since 1992; the Russian text is also available on websites.
In 2006 the Public Chamber of Russia proposed banning the book. In 2009 St. Petersburg’s branch of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs requested to remove an annotated and hyper-linked Russian translation of the book from a historiography website.
On 13 April 2010, it was announced that Mein Kampf is outlawed on grounds of extremism promotion.

Sweden
It has been reprinted several times since 1945; in 1970, 1992, 2002 and 2010.
In 1992 the Government of Bavaria tried to stop the publication of the book, and the case went to the Supreme Court of Sweden which ruled in favour of the publisher, stating that the book is protected by copyright, but that the copyright holder is unidentified (and not the State of Bavaria) and that the original Swedish publisher from 1934 had gone out of business.
It therefore refused the Government of Bavaria’s claim. The only translation changes came in the 1970 edition, though they were only linguistic, based on a new Swedish standard.

Turkey
Mein Kampf was widely available and growing in popularity in Turkey, even to the point where it became a bestseller, selling up to 100,000 copies in just two months in 2005.
Analysts and commentators believe the popularity of the book to be related to a rise in nationalism, anti-U.S. and antisemitic sentiment “because of what is happening in the Middle East, the Israeli-Palestinian problem and the war in Iraq”.
Dogu Ergil, a political scientist at Ankara University, said both left-wingers, the far-right and Islamists, had found common ground—”not on a common agenda for the future, but on their anxieties, fears and hate”.

United States
In the United States the book can be found at almost any community library and can be bought, sold and traded in bookshops.
The U.S. government seized the copyright during the Second World War under the Trading with the Enemy Act and in 1979, Houghton Mifflin, the U.S. publisher of the book, bought the rights from the government pursuant to 28 C.F.R. 0.47.
More than 15,000 copies are sold a year.

Online Availability
In 1999, the Simon Wiesenthal Center documented that major Internet booksellers such as Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com sell Mein Kampf to Germany.
After a public outcry, both companies agreed to stop those sales to addresses in Germany.
The book is currently available through both companies online.
It is also available in various languages including German at the Internet Archive.

Republication in Germany after 2015
On 3 February 2010, the Institute of Contemporary History (IfZ) in Munich announced plans to republish an annotated version of the text, for educational purposes in schools and universities, in 2015, when the copyright currently held by the Bavarian state government expires (2016).
This would be the book’s first publication in Germany since 1945. A group of German historians argued that a republication was necessary to get an authoritative annotated edition by the time the copyright runs out, which will open the way for neo-Nazi groups to publish their own versions.
“Once Bavaria’s copyright expires, there is the danger of charlatans and neo-Nazis appropriating this infamous book for themselves,” Wolfgang Heubisch said.
The Bavarian government opposed the plan, citing respect for victims of the Holocaust. The Bavarian Finance Ministry said that permits for reprints would not be issued, at home or abroad.
This would also apply to a new annotated edition.
The republished book might be banned as Nazi propaganda. Even after expiration of the copyright, the Bavarian government emphasised that “the dissemination of Nazi ideologies will remain prohibited in Germany and is punishable under the penal code”.

On 12 December 2013 the Bavarian government cancelled its financial support for an annotated edition. The Institute of Contemporary History (IfZ) in Munich, which is preparing the translation, announced that it intended to proceed with publication.

The IfZs edition of “Mein Kampf” is scheduled for release in 2016.


 

Zweites Buch

There are a number of similarities and differences between Zweites Buch and Mein Kampf. As in Mein Kampf, Hitler declared that the Jews were his eternal and most dangerous opponents. As in Mein Kampf, Hitler outlined what the German historian Andreas Hillgruber has called his Stufenplan (“stage-by-stage plan”).
Hitler himself never used the term Stufenplan, which was coined by Hillgruber in his 1965 book Hitlers Strategie. Briefly, the Stufenplan called for three stages.
In the first stage, there would be a massive military build-up, the overthrow of the “shackles” of the Treaty of Versailles, and the forming of alliances with Fascist Italy and the British Empire.
The second stage would be a series of fast, “lightning wars” in conjunction with Italy and Britain against France and whichever of her allies in Eastern Europe—such as Czechoslovakia, Poland, Romania and Yugoslavia—chose to stand by her. The third stage would be a war to obliterate what Hitler considered to be the “Judeo-Bolshevik” regime in the Soviet Union.

In contrast to Mein Kampf, in Zweites Buch Hitler added a fourth stage to the Stufenplan. He insinuated that in the far future a struggle for world domination might take place between the United States and a European alliance comprising a “new association of nations, consisting of individual states with high national value”.

Zweites Buch also offers a different perspective on the U.S. than that outlined in Mein Kampf. In the latter, Hitler declared that Germany’s most dangerous opponent on the international scene was the Soviet Union; in Zweites Buch, Hitler declared that for immediate purposes, the Soviet Union was still the most dangerous opponent, but that in the long-term, the most dangerous potential opponent was the U.S.


 

Mein Kampf – Online Versions

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