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Mein Kampf, in English: My Struggle, is a book by Adolf Hitler. It combines elements of autobiography with an exposition of Hitler's political ideology. Volume 1 of Mein Kampf was published in 1925 and Volume 2 in 1926.

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", often translated as "My Struggle", "My Challenge", "My Campaign", "My Fight", or "My Battle".

Hitler began the dictation of the book while imprisoned for what he considered to be "political crimes" after his failed revolution in Munichmarker in November 1923. Though Hitler received many visitors earlier on, 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 prison 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." Once released from prison on December 20, 1924, Hitler moved back to the picturesque mountainous climes of the Obersalzbergmarker.

While he 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 honor 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 (as pictured at the top of this article). The hardcover edition had a leather spine with cloth-covered boards. The cover and spine contained an image of three brown oak leaves.

Contents

The arrangement of chapters is as follows:

  • Introduction
  • Volume I: A Reckoning
    • Chapter 1: In the House of My Parents
    • Chapter 2: Years of Study and Suffering in Viennamarker
    • Chapter 3: General Political Considerations Based on My Viennamarker Period
    • Chapter 4: Munichmarker
    • 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 German National Socialist Workers' Party


  • Volume II: 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 Folkish State
    • Chapter 5: Philosophy and Organisation
    • 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 Organisation of SA Storm Troop
    • Chapter 10: Federalism as a Mask
    • Chapter 11: Propaganda and Organisation
    • 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


In Mein Kampf, Hitler uses the main thesis of "the Jewish peril," which speaks of an alleged Jewish conspiracy to gain world leadership. The narrative describes the process by which he became increasingly anti-Semitic and militaristic, especially during his years in Vienna. Yet, the deeper origins of his anti-semitism remain a mystery. 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. A little later and quite suddenly, it seems, he accepted the same anti-semitic views whole-heartedly, which became crucial in his program of national reconstruction. Becoming acquainted with Zionism, which he calls a "great movement," is what Hitler claims coalesced his view that one cannot be both a German and a Jew.

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 twin evils: Communism and Judaism. The new territory that Germany needed to obtain would properly nurture the "historic destiny" of the German people; this goal explains why Hitler invaded Europe, both East and West, before he launched his attack against Russia. Blaming Germany’s chief woes on the parliament of the Weimar Republicmarker, he announces that he wants to completely destroy the parliamentary system.

Mein Kampf has additionally been examined as a book on foreign policy. For example, Hitler predicts the stages of Germany’s political emergence on the world scene: in the first stage, Germany would, through a program of massive re-armament, overthrow the shackles of the Treaty of Versailles and form alliances with the British Empire and Fascist Italy. The second stage would feature wars against Francemarker and her allies in Eastern Europe by the combined forces of Germany, Britain and Italy. The third and final stage would be a war to destroy what Hitler saw as the "Judeo-Bolshevik" regime in the Soviet Unionmarker that would give Germany the necessary Lebensraum (literally "living space"). German historian Andreas Hillgruber labeled the plans contained in Mein Kampf as Hitler's "Stufenplan" ("stage-by-stage plan"). The term Stufenplan has been widely used by historians, though it must be noted that the term was Hillgruber's, not Hitler's.

English translation

Dugdale abridgment

The first English translation was an abridgment 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 abridgment in the United Kingdom, he offered it for free in April 1933. However, a local Nazi representative insisted that the translation be further abridged before publication, so it was held back from the public until October 13, 1933, although excerpts were allowed to run in The Times in late July.

In America, Houghton Mifflin secured the rights to the Dugdale abridgment on July 29, 1933. 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 U.S. edition, while the British version withheld his name. Both Dugdales were active in the Zionist movement; Blanche was the niece of Lord Balfour, and they wished to avoid publicity.

Murphy translation

One of the first complete English translations of Mein Kampf was by James Murphy in 1939. It is the only English translation approved by the Third Reich. 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.

Reynal and Hitchcock translation

Houghton and Mifflin licensed Reynal & Hitchcock the rights to publish a full unexpurgated translation in 1938. It was translated by a committee of men from the New School for Social Research and appeared on February 28, 1939.

Stackpole translation and 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, but 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 and controversy

Some historians have speculated that a wider readership prior to Hitler's rise to power, or at least prior to the outbreak of World War II, might have alerted the world to the dangers Hitler would pose to peace in Europe and to the Holocaust that he would pursue. An abridged English translation was produced before World War II. However, Houghton Mifflin removed some of the more anti-Semitic and militaristic statements. The publication of this version caused Alan Cranston, an American reporter for United Press International in Germany (and later a U.S. Senator from Californiamarker), 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 favor. However, 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 brought out 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 England by Hurst & Blackett in 1969 amid some controversy.

The two volumes of Mein Kampf are titled as follows:

Volume I: A Retrospect (contains 12 chapters)

Volume II: The Nationalist Socialist Movement (contains 15 chapters)

Excerpts

In addition to the above translations and abridgments, the following collections of excerpts were available in English before the start of the war.

Year Title Translator Publisher # of pages
1936 Central Germany, May 7, 1936 - Confidential- A Translation of Some of the More Important Passages of Hitler's Mein Kampf (1925 edition) British Embassy in Berlinmarker 11
Germany's Foreign Policy as Stated in Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler FOE pamphlet n.38 Duchess of Atholl Friends of Europe
1939 Mein Kampf: An Unexpurgated Digest B. D. Shaw Political Digest Press of New York City 31
1939 Mein Kampf: A New Unexpurgated Translation Condensed with Critical Comments and Explanatory Notes Notes by Sen. Alan Cranston Noram Publishing Co. of Greenwich, Conn. 32


Official Nazi Translation

A previously unknown English translation was discovered in 2008 which was produced by the official Nazi printing office, Franz Eher Verlag. The Nazi propaganda ministry hired James Murphy to create an English version of Mein Kampf they hoped to use to promote Nazi goals in English speaking countries. While Murphy was in Germany, he became less enchanted with Nazi ideology and made some statements the Propaganda Ministry disliked. As a result, they asked him to leave Germany immediately. He was not able to take any of his notes but later sent his wife back to obtain his partial translation. These notes were later used to create the Murphy translation. The Nazi government did not abandon their English translation efforts. They used their own people to finish the translation and it was published in very small numbers in Germany. At least one copy found its way to a British/American Prisoner of War camp. This version is filled with errors including punctuation and grammar mistakes. It is however an interesting effort because it was the only official English translation produced by the Nazi government and printed on Nazi printing presses. This translation has been re-published and is available as a new printed book.

Sales and royalties

Sales of Dugdale abridgment in the United Kingdom.

Year On Hand Editions Printed Sold Gross Royalties Commission Tax Net Royalties
1933 1–8 19,400 18,125
1934 1,275 9–10 3,500 4,695 £7.1.2 £15.4.4 £58.5.6/ RM 715
1935 79 11–12 3,500 2,989 £74.18.6 £14 £7.3 £52.15.1/RM653
1936 590 13–16 7,000 3,633 £243.14.1 £48.14.10 £36.17.5 £158.1.1/ RM1,941
1937 2,055 17–18 7,000 8,648 £173.4 £35.6 £23.3 £114.4 /RM1424
1938* 16,442 19–22 25,500 53,738 £1,037.23 £208 £193.91 £635.68 /RM 7410


  • In 1938, 8,000 copies were sold in the colonies.


Sales of the Houghton Mifflin Dugdale translation in America.

The first printing of the U.S. Dugdale edition, the October 1933 with 7,603 copies, of which 290 were given away as complimentary gifts.

6 mon. ending Edition Sold
Mar. 1934 1st 5,178
Sept. 1934 1st 457
Mar. 1935 1st 245
Sept. 1935 1st 362
Mar. 1936 1st 359
Sept. 1936 1st 575
Jan. 1937 1st 140


The royalty on the first printing in the US was 15% or $3,206.45 total. Curtis Brown, literary agent, took 20%, or $641.20 total, and the IRS took $384.75, leaving Eher Verlag $2,180.37 or RM 5668.

The January 1937 second printing was c. 4,000 copies.

6 mon. ending Edition Sold
March 1937 2nd 1170
Sept. 1937 2nd 1451
March 1938 2nd 876


There were three separate printings from August 1938 to March 1939, totaling 14,000; sales totals by March 31, 1939 were 10,345.

The Murphy and Houghton Mifflin translations were the only ones published by the authorized publishers while Hitler was still alive, and not at war with Britain and America.

There was some resistance from Eher Verlag to Hurst and Blackton's Murphy translation, as they had not been granted the rights to a full translation. However, they allowed it de facto permission by not lodging a formal protest, and on May 5, 1939, even inquired about royalties. The British publishers responded on the 12th that the information they requested was "not yet available" and the point would be moot within a few months, on September 3, 1939, when all royalties were halted due to the state of war existing between Britain and Germany.

Royalties were likewise held up in the United States due to the litigation between Houghton Mifflin and Stackpole. Because the matter was only settled in September 1941, only a few months before a state of war existed between Germany and the U.S., all Eher Verlag ever got was a $2,500 advance from Reynal and Hitchcock. It got none from the unauthorized Stackpole edition or the 1943 Manheim edition.

Popularity

Although Hitler originally wrote this book mostly for the followers of national socialism, it grew in popularity. From the royalties, Hitler was able to afford a Mercedes while still imprisoned. Moreover, he accumulated a tax debt of 405,500 Reichsmark (8 million USD today, or £4m UK Pounds Sterling) 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's rise to power, the book gained enormous popularity and for all intents and purposes became the Nazi Bible. (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 few intact copies of either — including no known translations from the original German for Feder's book — are currently known to exist.) Despite rumors to the contrary, new evidence suggests that it was actually in high demand in libraries and often reviewed and quoted in other publications. Hitler had made about 1.2 m 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 the end of the war, about 10 million copies of the book had been sold or distributed in Germany.

Criticism

Mein Kampf, due to its racist content and the historical effect of Nazism upon Europe during the Second World War and the Holocaust, is considered a highly controversial book. However, criticism has not come solely from direct opponents of Nazism. Italian Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, himself experienced in writing and editing for newspapers, was also critical of the book. Mussolini attempted to read the book, but was disappointed and claimed that Mein Kampf was "a boring tome that I have never been able to read" and remarked that Hitler's beliefs expressed in the book were "little more than commonplace clichés."

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

Current availability

At the time of his death, Hitler's official place of residence was in Munichmarker, which led to his entire estate, including all rights to Mein Kampf, changing to the ownership of the state of Bavariamarker. As per German copyright law, the entire text is scheduled to enter the public domain on December 31, 2015, just over 70 years after the author's death. The copyright has been relinquished for the English, Dutch and Swedish editions. Historian Werner Maser, in an interview with Bild am Sonntag has stated that Peter Raubal, son of Hitler's nephew, Leo Raubal, would have a strong legal case for winning the copyright from Bavaria if he pursued it. Peter Raubal, an Austrian engineer, has stated he wants no part of the rights to the book, even though it could be worth millions of euros.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 under anti-revisionist laws. In particular, the unmodified edition is not covered by §86 StGB that forbids dissemination of means of propaganda of unconstitutional organizations, 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 Germanymarker. Most German libraries carry heavily commented and excerpted versions of Mein Kampf. In 2008, Stephan Kramer, secretary-general of the German Central Council of Jews, 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:
  • Canadamarker (ISBN 0-395-07801-6) Though it is available in Canada, Heather A Riesman, owner of the Chapters/Indigo chain of bookstores (Canada's largest and only national book chain) has banned the book from being sold in her stores or ordered via the chain's website.
  • Francemarker Available and legal (but a front note is compulsory) Les nouvelles éditions latines
  • United Statesmarker: can be found at almost any community library and can be bought, sold and traded from many websites like Amazon.com and Borders Book Store. The U.S. government seized the copyright during the Second World War as part of the Trading with the Enemy Act and in 1979, Houghton Mifflin, the U.S. publisher of the book, bought the rights from the government. More than 15,000 copies are sold a year.
  • In Austriamarker, the possession and/or trading of Mein Kampf is illegal.
  • In People's Republic of Chinamarker, Mein Kampf is forbidden and only available in selected libraries for research purposes.
  • In Mexicomarker, its sale is prohibited by law, but can be encountered in some small book stores and among "pirate" book vendors in Mexico Citymarker and other cities.
  • In the Netherlandsmarker, selling the book, even in the case of an old copy, may be illegal as "promoting hatred," but possession and lending is not. The matter is generally handled as a matter of copyright infringement against the Dutch government, who owns the translation, though it refuses to allow any publishing. In 1997, the government explained to the parliament that selling a scientifically annotated version might escape prosecution. In 2015, the government's copyright on the Dutch translation becomes void.
  • When Mein Kampf was republished in Swedenmarker in 1992, the government of Bavaria tried to ban the book there. The case went to the Swedish Supreme Court, who ruled in 1998 that the copyright could not be owned by the modern state of Bavaria. Since the publishing house that published Mein Kampf in the 1930s had long gone out of business, Mein Kampf should be considered to be in a state of limbo, or even in the public domain. The case was won by the modern publisher, an outspoken anti-Nazi.
  • In the USSRmarker, the book was unavailable and de facto prohibited. In the Russian Federationmarker, Mein Kampf has been published at least three times since 1992; the Russian text is also available on a number of 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 web site.
  • In 1999, the Simon Wiesenthal Centermarker documented that major Internet booksellers like amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com sell Mein Kampf to Germany. After a public outcry, both companies agreed to stop those sales. The book is currently available through both companies. Public-domain copies of Mein Kampf are available at various Internet sites with links to banned books. Additionally, several Web sites provide the text of the book.


A Japanese version of in manga form is produced by East Press, as part of its Manga de Dokuha (Read it via manga) series. It has been dismissed by the Bavarian Finance Ministry as the wrong medium in which to tell the story.

The Sequel

After the party's poor showing in the 1928 elections, Hitler believed the reason for loss was that the public did not fully understand his ideas. He retired to Munich to dictate a sequel to Mein Kampf which focused on foreign policy, expanded on the ideas of Mein Kampf and suggested that around 1980, a final struggle would take place for world domination between the United Statesmarker and the combined forces of Greater Germany and the British Empire.

Only two copies of the 200-page manuscript were originally made, and only one of these has ever been made public. Kept strictly secret under Hitler's orders, the document was placed in a safe in an air raid shelter in 1935 where it remained until its discovery by an American officer in 1945. The authenticity of the book has been verified by Josef Berg (former employee of the Nazi publishing house Eher Verlag) and Telford Taylor (former Brigadier General U.S.A.R. and Chief Counsel at the Nuremberg war-crimes trials). The book was neither edited nor published during the Nazi Germany era and remains known as Zweites Buch (Second Book). The Zweites Buch was first discovered in the Nazi archives being held in the United States by the Jewish American historian Gerhard Weinberg in 1958. Unable to find an American publisher, Weinberg turned to his mentor, Hans Rothfels, and his associate, Martin Broszat, at the Institute of Contemporary History in Munichmarker, who published Zweites Buch in 1961. A pirated edition was published in English in New York, 1962. The first authoritative English edition was not published until 2003 (Hitler's Second Book: The Unpublished Sequel to Mein Kampf, ISBN 1-929631-16-2).

Globalists vs. continentists

One of the more important debates of the book concerns the battle between the Continentists, including Hugh Trevor-Roper and Eberhard Jäckel, who argue Hitler wished to conquer only Europe, and the Globalists, including Gerhard Weinberg, Milan Hauner, Gunter Moltmann, Meier Michaelis and Andreas Hillgruber, who maintain that Hitler wanted to conquer the entire world. The chief source of contention between the Continentists and Globalists is the Zweites Buch.

The Globalists argue that Hitler's statement that after Germany defeated the United States, then Germany would rule the entire world clearly proves his intentions were global in reach. The Continentists argue that because Hitler predicts the war between the United States and Germany as beginning sometime ca. 1980, the task of winning this war in the 1980s would presumably have fallen to one of Hitler’s successors, as Hitler would have been at least 90 years old. The Continentists believe that Hitler, for his own lifetime, would have been content with ruling merely Europe.

Intentionalists vs. functionalists

Mein Kampf has assumed a key place in the functionalism versus intentionalism debate. Intentionalists insist that the passage stating that if 12,000–15,000 Jews were gassed, then "the sacrifice of millions of soldiers would not have been in vain," proves quite clearly that Hitler had a master plan for the genocide of the Jewish people all along. Functionalists deny this assertion, noting that the passage does not call for the destruction of the entire Jewish people and note that although Mein Kampf is suffused with an extreme anti-Semitism, it is the only time in the entire book that Hitler ever explicitly refers to the murder of Jews. Given that Mein Kampf is 694 pages long, Functionalist historians have accused the Intentionalists of making too much out of one sentence.

Functionalist historians have argued that the memorandum written by Heinrich Himmler to Hitler on May 25, 1940, regarding the "Final Solution to the Jewish Question," whose proposals Hitler accepted, proves that there was no master plan for genocide which stemmed back to the 1920s. In the memorandum, Himmler rejects genocide under the grounds that one must reject "...the Bolshevik method of physical extermination of a people out of inner conviction as un-German and impossible." He goes on to argue that something similar to the "Madagascar Plan" be the preferred "territorial solution" to the "Jewish Question."

Additionally, Functionalist historians have noted that in Mein Kampf Hitler states the only anti-Semitic policies he will carry out are the 25 Point Platform of the Nazi Party (adopted in February 1920), which demands that only "Aryan" Germans be allowed to publish newspapers and own department stores, places a ban on Jewish immigration, expels all Ostjuden (Eastern Jews; i.e., Jews from Eastern Europe who had arrived in Germany since 1914) and strips all German Jews of their German citizenship. Although these demands do reflect a hateful anti-Semitism, they do not amount to a program for genocide, according to the Functionalist historians. Beyond that, some historians have claimed although Hitler was clearly obsessed with anti-Semitism, his degree of anti-Semitic hatred contained in Mein Kampf is no better or worse than that contained in the writings and speeches of earlier volkisch leaders such as Wilhelm Marr, Georg Ritter von Schönerer, Houston Stewart Chamberlain and Karl Lueger, all of whom routinely called Jews a "disease" and "vermin." Nevertheless, Hitler cites all of them as an inspiration in Mein Kampf.

Hitler and the "Sanctity of Life"

Mein Kampf was significant in 1925 because it was an open source for the presentation of Hitler's ideas about the state of the world. The book is significant in our time because a retrospective review of the text reveals the crystallization of Hitler's decision to completely exterminate the Jewish nation. While historians diverge on the exact date Hitler decided to exterminate the Jewish people, few place the decision before the mid 1930s. First published in 1925, Mein Kampf shows the ideas that crafted Hitler's historical grievances and ambitions for creating a new world order. Taken together with other sources, historians such as Professor Gunnar Heinsohn demonstrate that Hitler's plan for the Jews and Aryans alike was not confined to a racial conception but rather an ideological one. It was the propagation of "Jewish ideas" that Hitler targeted for extermination with relation to the destruction of their community and nation. Nearing the end of his reign, Hitler made such ideas clear in a correspondence with Martin Bormann on February 3, 1945:

“We use the term Jewish race merely for reasons of linguistic convenience, for in the real sense of the word, and from a genetic point of view, there is no Jewish race. [...] The Jewish race is above all a community of the spirit. Spiritual race is of a more solid and more durable kind than natural race.”


His hatred for the "community of the spirit" connected with his conceptualization of what the Jewish people really stood for. But even his image of the Aryan race did not involve some kind of immutable purity, arguing that many factors, from wars to international trade, had perverted the purity of races that once existed in the past. Hitler kept such ideas to private conversations and out of his public orations or texts, such as Mein Kampf, because he did not want to lose the support of certain racist groups. To Hitler, the problem in his time period lay in the ideas he attributed to the Jewish community. His correspondence with the future Nazi leader of Danzig, Hermann Rauschning, clearly shows the culpability of Jewish ideas in Hitler's historical framework.

According to Rausching's recollection of the meeting, Hitler referred to the Third Reich as a revolution of moral principles of man rather than "merely a political and social one." Indeed, the Third Reich fit neatly into Hitler's concept of history, which he divided into three periods. The first age, the age of antiquity, was a time where infanticide and complete destruction of the enemy were encouraged to keep a race pure and strong. The second, middle age, is the one Hitler wanted to dismantle through the moral revolution he spoke of. The middle age, or the age of intervening, as Hitler called it, was a Jewish invention that created the sanctity of life by way of the Tablets of Mount Sinai. The Ten Commandments, specifically the fifth one, Thou Shalt Not Kill, is the idea Hitler wanted to cleanse from the German consciousness through the coming of the third age or the Third Reich. On a factual level, the meeting between Rausching and Hitler is controversial. Rausching's recollection of Hitler's beliefs was based on his own interpretation of the meeting and not supported by stenographic notes, casting doubts on his version's validity. However, research by historians and Hitler's own words in different periods lend much legitimacy to Raucshing's claims.

Significantly, during the Eastern Campaigns and the intensification of Jewish extermination, Hitler stated that the Third Reich was writing a new kind of history. In labeling the Holocaust as a "uniquely unique" genocide, the historian Gunnar Heinsohn provides evidence of Hitler's ideas that clearly parallel his ambition to institute a new historical age based on antique values. During the war, Hitler remarked that peace could only be achieved by a return to the natural order where the strong dominate the weak: an order that was corrupted by the Jews. In other instances, Hitler justifies the destruction of entire cities because, in his view, it was necessary to "revert to antique principles." Hitler also looked to both Genghis Khan and Sparta to support his ideas of natural selection with the necessary historical backing. Thus, at a Nazi party convention in 1929 Hitler argued against the "Jewish train of thought:"

“The worst danger is that we are interrupting the natural selection process ourselves (by caring for the sick and the weak). ... The most far-sighted racial state in history, Sparta, systematically implemented these racial laws.”


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. However, 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. In the book he attributed the corruption of such a natural order to the equality of human beings created and spread by "the Jew." Heinson argues that such convictions, espoused in Mein Kampf, primarily attacked ideas rather than race. Thus, in one analogy, Heinson states that Hitler wanted to destroy "the hardware – Jewish men, women and children – to destroy the software – the Jewish code of ethics." Indeed, several years before the publication of Mein Kampf, Hitler stated that: “the influence of Judaism will never fade as long as its agent, the Jew, has not been removed from our midst.”

The implications of Heinson's article for Mein Kampf are important. The book, released before the start of World War II, foreshadowed much of the racial policy that would spread from the domestic front in German homes to the newly acquired territory of the Third Reich. However, as Heinson demonstrates, the wide range of people chosen for extermination does not only represent a racist ideology, but also a whole new conception of how the world – and history – should function. By ordering the total extermination of the Jewish people, Hitler was training a nation to more easily engage in future genocides and simultaneously attempting to remove the very code of ethics that made it difficult to conceptualize such large scale slaughter of innocent people.

References

A. Hitler. "Mein Kampf," Munich: Franz Eher Nachfolger, 1930

A. Hitler, "Außenpolitische Standorbestimmung nach der Reichtagswahl Juni-Juli 1928" (1929; first published as Hitlers Zweites Buch, 1961), in Hitler: Reden, Schriften, Anordnungen, Februar 1925 bis Januar 1933, Vol IIA, with an introduction by G. L. Weinberg; G. L. Weinberg, C. Hartmann and K. A. Lankheit, eds (Munich: K. G. Saur, 1995)

Christopher Browning, “Initiating the Final Solution: The Fateful Months of September-October 1941,” Miles Lerman Center for the Study of Jewish Resistance, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (Washington, DC: USHMM, 2003).

Gunnar Heinsohn, “What Makes the Holocaust a Uniquely Unique Genocide,” Journal of Genocide Research, vol. 2, no. 3 (2000): 411-430.

See also



References

  1. Mein Kampf ("My Struggle"), Jackie (originally 1925–1926), Reissue edition (September 15, 1998), Publisher: Mariner Books, Language: English, paperback, 720 pages, ISBN 0-395-92503-7
  2. Richard Cohen. "Guess Who's on the Backlist." New York Times. June 28. 1998. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/books/98/06/28/bookend/bookend.html on April 24, 2008.
  3. Mein Kampf – The Text, its Themes and Hitler’s Vision, History Today
  4. Mein Royalties Cabinet Magazine Online
  5. Hitler's Mein Kampf in Britain and America: A Publishing History 1930-39 ISBN 978-0521072670
  6. Hitler dodged taxes, expert finds BBC News
  7. Mythos Ladenhüter Spiegel Online
  8. Smith. 1983. Mussolini: A Biography. New York: Vintage Books. p172
  9. Winston Churchill: The Second World War. Volume 1, Houghton Mifflin Books 1986, S. 50. "Here was the new Koran of faith and war: turgid, verbose, shapeless, but pregnant with its message."
  10. "Hitler Relative Eschews Royalties", Reuters, May 25, 2004.
  11. Judgement of July 25, 1979 – 3 StR 182/79 (S); BGHSt 29, 73 ff.
  12. "Jewish Leader Urges Book Ban End", Dateline World Jewry, World Jewish Congress, July/August 2008
  13. "Unbanning Hitler", Julia Pascal; New Statesman, June 25, 2001.
  14. A well-known historiography web site shut down over publishing Hitler's book, Newsru.com, July 8, 2009
  15. Моя борьба, Adolf Hitler, annotated and hyper-linked ed. by Vyacheslav Rumyantsev, archived from the original February 12, 2008; an abridged version remained intact
  16. Christopher Browning, “Initiating the Final Solution: The Fateful Months of September-October 1941,” Miles Lerman Center for the Study of Jewish Resistance, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (Washington, DC: USHMM, 2003) pg. 12
  17. Gunnar Heinsohn, “What Makes the Holocaust a Uniquely Unique Genocide,” Journal of Genocide Research, vol. 2, no. 3 (2000): 413
  18. Ibid.
  19. Ibid., 412
  20. Ibid.
  21. Ibid.
  22. Ibid., 418
  23. Ibid., 419
  24. Ibid.
  25. Christopher Browning, “Initiating the Final Solution: The Fateful Months of September-October 1941,” Miles Lerman Center for the Study of Jewish Resistance, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (Washington, DC: USHMM, 2003)pg. 12
  26. Gunnar Heinsohn, “What Makes the Holocaust a Uniquely Unique Genocide,” Journal of Genocide Research, vol. 2, no. 3 (2000): pg. 411
  27. Ibid. 416
  28. Ibid. pg. 420
  29. Ibid., 416
  30. Ibid.
  31. A. Hitler. Mein Kampf (Munich: Franz Eher Nachfolger, 1930), pg 478
  32. Gunnar Heinsohn, “What Makes the Holocaust a Uniquely Unique Genocide,” Journal of Genocide Research, vol. 2, no. 3 (2000): pg. 426
  33. Ibid., 424
  34. Ibid., 426


Further reading

Hitler


Others
  • → All information about English language publication history taken from this book.


External links

Online versions of Mein Kampf

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