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On 1 January 2016, Mein Kampf came out of copyright. It has now been 70 years since the author’s death, and by international copyright law, legal protection for the book has expired. Thus it is perhaps a good time to reconsider and reexamine this most notorious work—and perhaps to banish some of the many myths surrounding it to history.
In fact, we are long overdue for a revisionist treatment of this work. In my experience, very few people really understand what’s in it. The common man, even the well-educated one, likely knows little more than the title and the author. Revisionists who work on the Holocaust or either of the world wars often bypass the book completely, as if it had no relevance at all; most likely, they have never read it. Traditional journalists, academics, and alleged experts frequently display their ignorance by taking passages out of context, overlooking key facts, or simply failing to cite the author appropriately. More generally, the mainstream approach to Mein Kampf seems be rather similar to its tactics with regard to Holocaust revisionism: ignore, censor, or disparage. It is simply too problematic to discuss this work in a fashion that might lead readers to ask tough questions, or to seek out the book itself.
A large part of the reason for the book’s obscurity is the sorry state of its many English translations. These will be discussed and critiqued below. This is also one of the reasons that I am currently working on a new, parallel German-English translation—the first ever, in fact. I will attempt to remedy many of the shortcomings in current versions, and provide something of a revisionist perspective on the entire work. In the present essay, I examine the translations, discuss some main themes of the book, and argue for its relevance in the present day.
A Most Consequential Work
Mein Kampf is the autobiography and articulated worldview of one of the most consequential and visionary leaders in world history. It is also one of the most maligned and misrepresented texts of the 20th century. There have been so many obfuscations, deceptions, and outright falsehoods circulated about this work that one scarcely knows where to begin. Nonetheless, the time has come to set the story straight.
That Adolf Hitler would even have undertaken such a work is most fortunate. Being neither a formal academic nor a natural writer, and being fully preoccupied with pragmatic matters of party-building, he might never have begun such a major task—were it not for the luxury of a year-long jail term. In one of the many ironies of Hitler’s life, it took just such an adverse event to prompt him to dictate his party’s early history and his own life story. This would become Volume One of his two-part, 700-page magnum opus. It would have a dramatic effect on world history, and initiate a chain of events that has yet to fully play out. In this sense, Mein Kampf is as relevant today as when it was first written.
Display of Copies of Hitlers Mein Kampf - Documentation Center in Congress Hall - Nuremberg-Nurnberg - Germany
By Adam Jones, Ph.D. (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Perhaps the place to begin is with the rationale for the book. Why did Hitler write it at all? Clearly it was not a requirement; many major politicians in history have come and gone without leaving a personal written record. Even his time in prison could have been spent communicating with party leaders, building support, soliciting allies, and so on. But he chose to spend much of his stay documenting the origins and growth of his new movement. And this was a boon to history as well as to understanding of the human spirit.
The work at hand seems to have served at least four purposes for its author. First, it is autobiographical. This aspect consumes most of the first two chapters, and is repeatedly woven into the remainder of Volume One. For those curious about the first 35 years of Hitler’s life, this aspect is invaluable. It gives an accurate and relevant account of his upbringing, his education, and the early development of his worldview. Like any good autobiography, it provides an irreplaceable first-hand description of a life. But as well, it offers the usual temptation to cast events in a flattering light, to downplay shortcomings, or to bypass inconvenient episodes. On this count, Hitler fares well; he provides an honest and open life story, devoid of known fabrications or omissions—one that is essential for understanding his thinking and attitudes on social, economic, and political matters.
Second, Mein Kampf is a kind of history lesson on Europe around the turn of the 20th century. Hitler was a proximate observer—and often first-hand witness—to many of the major events of the time. He served in the trenches of World War One for more than four years, which was virtually the entire duration of the war. Serving on the ‘losing’ side, he naturally gives a different interpretation of events than is commonly portrayed by historians of the victorious nations. But this fact should be welcomed by any impartial observer, and in itself makes the book worth reading. With rare exceptions—such as Jünger’s Storm of Steel—no other non-fiction contemporary German source of this time is readily available in English. For those interested in the Great War and its immediate aftermath, this book is irreplaceable.
In its third aspect, the book serves to document the origins and basic features of Hitler’s worldview. This, unsurprisingly, is the most distorted part of the book, in standard Western versions. Here we find the insights and trigger events that led a young man without formal higher education to develop a strikingly visionary, expansive, and forward-looking ideology. Hitler’s primary concern, as we read, was the future and well-being of the German people—all Germans, regardless of the political unit in which they lived. The German people, or Volk, were, he believed, a single ethnicity with unique and singular self-interests. They were—indisputably—responsible for many of the greatest achievements in Western history. They were among the leading lights in music, literature, architecture, science, and technology. They were great warriors, and great nation-builders. They were, in large part, the driving force behind Western civilization itself. Hitler was justly proud of his heritage. Equally is he outraged at the indignities suffered by this great people in then-recent decades—culminating in the disastrous humiliation of World War I and the Treaty of Versailles. He seeks, above all, to remedy these injustices and restore the mantle of greatness to the German people. To do this, he needs to identify both their primary opponents and the defective political ideologies and structures that bind them. Then he undertakes to outline a new socio-political system that can carry them forward to a higher and rightful destiny.
Finally, in its fourth aspect, Mein Kampf is a kind of blueprint for action. It describes the evolution and aims of National Socialism and the NSDAP, or Nazi Party, in compelling detail. Hitler naturally wants his new movement to succeed in assuming power in Germany and in a future German Reich. But this is no theoretical analysis. Hitler is nothing if not pragmatic. He has concrete goals and specific means of achieving them. He has nothing but disdain for the geistige Waffen, the intellectual weapons, of the impotent intelligentsia. He demands results, and success.
Importantly, his analysis is, in large part, independent of context. It does not pertain only to Germans, or only to the circumstances of the mid-1920s. It is a broadly universal approach based on the conditions of the modern world, and on human nature. As such, Hitler’s analysis of action is relevant and useful for many people today—for all those who might strive for national greatness in body and spirit.
This complex textual structure of Mein Kampf explains some of the complaints of modern-day critics who decry Hitler’s lack of ‘coherence’ or ‘narrative flow.’ He has many objectives here, and in their implementation, many points overlap. Perhaps he should have written four books, not one. Perhaps. But Hitler was a doer, not a writer. We must accept this fact, take what we have, and do our best to understand it in an open and objective fashion. He was not striving for a best-selling novel. He wanted to document history and advance a movement, and to these ends he succeeded most admirably.
Origins and Context
Born on 20 April 1889 in present-day Austria, Hitler grew up as a citizen of the multi-ethnic state known as the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This disparate amalgamation was formed in 1867, with the union of the Austrian and Hungarian monarchies; thus does Hitler refer to the state as the “Dual Monarchy.” Throughout its 50-year history, it was always a loose conjunction of many ethnicities, and never a truly unified state. The ethnic Germans in it were a minority, and had to struggle to promote their own interests. This fact caused Hitler no end of distress; he explicitly felt more attachment to the broader German Volk than to the multi-ethnic state into which he was born.
As a youth, his interests tended toward the arts, painting, and history. This led to conflict with his obstinate father, who envisioned a safe, comfortable bureaucratic career for his son. But his father’s death on 3 January 1903, when Adolf was 13, allowed the young man to determine his own future. Two years later he moved to Vienna, scraping by with menial jobs to survive. In late 1907, his mother died. At the age of 18, he then applied to enter the Viennese Arts Academy in painting, but was diverted to architecture. He worked and studied for two more years, eventually becoming skilled enough to work full-time as a draftsman and painter of watercolors.
All the while, he studied the mass of humanity around him. He read the various writings and publications of the political parties. He observed the workings of the press. He watched how unions functioned. He sat in on Parliament. He followed events in neighboring Germany. And he became intrigued by the comings and goings of one particular minority in Vienna: the Jews.
Gradually he became convinced that the two dominant threats to German well-being were Marxism—a Jewish form of communism—and the international-capitalist Jews. The problems were compounded by the fundamentally inept workings of a representative democracy that tried to serve diverse ethnicities. In the end, the fine and noble concept of democracy became nothing other than a “Jewish democracy,” working for the best interests of Jews instead of Austrians or Germans.
Upon turning 23 in 1912, Hitler went to Munich. It was his first extended contact with German culture, and he found it invigorating. He lived there for two years, until the outbreak of World War I in July 1914. Thrilled at the opportunity to defend the German homeland, he enlisted, serving on the Western front in Belgium. After more than 2 years of service, he was slightly wounded in October 1916 and sent back to Germany, spending some time in a reserve battalion in Munich. Appalled at both the role of Jews there and the negative public attitude, he returned to the front in March 1917.
By this time, the war had been dragging on for some two and a half years. It had effectively become a stalemate. Even the looming entrance of the Americans into the war—President Wilson would call for war the next month, and US troops would soon follow—would have little near-term effect. As Hitler explains, however, the Germans actually had reasons for optimism by late 1917. The Central Powers (primarily Germany and Austria-Hungary) had inflicted a decisive defeat on Italy in the Battle of Caporetto, and the Russians had pulled out of the war after the Bolshevik Revolution, thus freeing up German troops for the Western front. Hitler recalls that his compatriots “looked forward with confidence” to the spring of 1918, when they anticipated final victory.
November Revolution, and a New Movement
But things would turn out differently. Germans’ dissatisfaction with the prolonged war effort was being fanned by Jewish activists calling for mass demonstrations, strikes, and even revolution against the Kaiser. In late January 1918 there was a large munitions strike. Various workers’ actions and riots followed for months afterward. The Western front held, but Germany was weakening internally.
In mid-October of 1918, the German front near Ypres, Belgium was hit with mustard gas. Hitler’s eyes were badly affected, and he was sent to a military hospital in Pasewalk, north of Berlin. In late October, a minor naval revolt in Kiel began to spread to the wider population. Two major Jewish-led parties, the Social Democrats (SPD) and the Independent Social Democratic Party (USPD), agitated for the Kaiser to abdicate—which he did, on November 9. Jewish activists in Berlin and Munich then declared independent “soviet” states; for a detailed discussion of these events, see Dalton (2014). Germany formally capitulated on November 11. After the dust had settled, a new ‘Weimar’ government was formed, one that was notably susceptible to Jewish influence.
Hearing about the revolution from his hospital bed, Hitler was devastated. All the effort and sacrifices made at the front had proven worthless. Jewish agitators in the homeland had succeeded in whipping up local dissatisfaction to the point that the Kaiser was driven from power. The revolutionaries then assumed power and immediately surrendered to the enemy. This was the infamous “stab in the back” that would haunt German nationalists for years to come. And it was the triggering event that caused Hitler to enter politics.
In September 1919, working for the government, he was assigned to follow and report on a little-known group called the Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, or German Workers’ Party (DAP). He ended up joining the group, and quickly assumed a leadership role. By early 1920, Hitler’s speeches were drawing hundreds or thousands of people. On February 24, he announced that the party would henceforth be known as the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, or NSDAP—‘Nazi,’ in the parlance of its detractors. It is with this “first great mass meeting” that Hitler closes Volume One of his book.
The new movement grew rapidly. Hitler formalized his leadership in July 1921. A series of stormy and occasionally violent public events occurred in the following months. In November 1922, ideological compatriot Mussolini took power in Italy, which served to bolster both National Socialist efforts domestically and their international reputation. It was on November 21 that the New York Times printed its first major article on Hitler: “New Popular Idol Rises in Bavaria.” Calling the National Socialists “violently anti-Semitic” and “reactionary” but “well disciplined,” the NYT viewed them as “potentially dangerous, though not for the immediate future.” Indeed—it would not be for another 10 years that they would assume power in Germany.
Soon thereafter, other events would favor the National Socialists. France had occupied the Ruhr Valley in January 1923, claiming a violation of Versailles; this was taken as a grave insult to German sovereignty. It was also at this time that the infamous German hyperinflation took hold, wiping out the savings of ordinary Germans and forcing them to haul around bushels of cash for even the smallest purchases. By the end of the year, Germany was in a full-blown financial crisis. This led Hitler and the NSDAP leadership to plan for a revolutionary take-over of Munich on 9 November 1923.
This attempted Putsch, or coup, would fail. In a brief shoot-out, 16 Nazis and four policemen were killed. Hitler and the other leaders were arrested within days, put on trial in February 1924, and sentenced to light prison terms. In all, Hitler spent some 13 months in confinement, obtaining release in December of that year. It was during this time that he dictated what would become Volume One of his book.
Hitler reportedly wanted to call his new book, “Four and a Half Years of Struggle against Lies, Stupidity, and Cowardice.” The publisher adroitly suggested a shorter title: “My Struggle,” or Mein Kampf. It would initially be published in July of 1925.
Hitler then began a second, shorter volume to complete his program. This appeared in December of 1926. The next year, the two volumes were slightly revised and combined into one work. This so-called ‘second edition’ of Mein Kampf was published when Hitler was 38 years old.
Adolf Hitler and Nazi Reich treasurer Franz Xaver Schwarz at the inauguration of the renovation of the Palais Barlow in Briennerstrasse the "Brown House," Munich 1930.
Bundesarchiv, Bild 119-0289 / Unknown / CC-BY-SA 3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0 de (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons
It will be useful to provide a very brief summary of the main themes of each of the 27 chapters.
- Chapter 1: Hitler’s early life. Relationship with parents. Early education. Interest in history and art. Budding nationalism. Covers birth in 1889 to mother’s death in late 1907, when Hitler was 18 years old.
- Chapter 2: Time alone in Vienna. Marxism and international Jewry as main threats. Assessment and critique of Viennese government. Life of the working class. Study of the Social Democratic party, and its Jewish influence. Role of unions. Burgeoning anti-Semitism. Study of the destructive role of Marxism.
- Chapter 3: General reflections on Austrian politics, and representative democracy. Failings of multi-ethnic states. Critique of Western democracy. Failings of ‘majority rule.’ Demise of the pan-German movement. Unfortunate conflict with the Catholic Church. Anti-Semitism and religion. Covers period up to age 23 (1912).
- Chapter 4: Moves to Munich. Critique of German alliances. Four possible paths of German policy. Population growth, and the need for land. Need for alliance with England. Initial discussion of the role of Aryans. Marxism as mortal foe. Covers up to mid-1914.
- Chapter 5: Outbreak of World War One. Hitler enlists, at age 25. “Baptism by fire.”
- Chapter 6: Role and need for propaganda. Effective use by England; failure by Germany.
- Chapter 7: Course of the Great War. Wounded in late 1916. Jews and negative attitudes rampant in Munich. Munitions strike in early 1918. Poisoned by mustard gas in October 1918, at age 29. November Revolution.
- Chapter 8: Postwar time in Munich. Need for a new party. Negative role of global capitalism.
- Chapter 9: Encounters German Workers’ Party (DAP). Early meetings. Joins DAP, as member #7, at age 30.
- Chapter 10: Analysis of the collapse of the German Empire in 1918. Dominance of international capitalism. Effect of the press on the masses. Jewish control of press. Combating the syphilis epidemic. Cultural decay in modern art. Ineffective parliament. The army as a source of discipline.
- Chapter 11: Detailed racial theory. Nature strives to improve species. Racial mixing between ‘higher’ and ‘lower’ types yields physical, moral, and cultural decay. Aryans as true founders of civilization. Aryan tendency for self-sacrifice. Aryan versus Jew. Jews as parasites. Fake Jewish ‘religion.’ Extended examination of “the way of Jewry”—historical, sociological, political. Marxist worldview. Jewish subversion of democracy. Ill effects of racial impurity.
- Chapter 12: Evolution of DAP. Extended discussion of the need to nationalize the masses. How to organize a party. Gaining publicity. Second major meeting in October 1919. Growing success. Rejection of ‘intellectual’ weapons. First true mass meeting in February 1920. Transition to NSDAP.
- Chapter 1: Corruption of democracy. Concept of ‘folkish.’ Transforming ideals into practice. Marxism pushes race equality. State must serve racial function: to promote the best.
- Chapter 2: Three conventional concepts of state. State as means to end: advancing human race. Must maintain racial integrity. Strong minorities end up ruling. Racial mixing leads to decay. State must promote healthy children. Basic eugenic theory. Folkish education, for physical, mental, and moral strength. Promote willpower, determination, responsibility. Meritocracy.
- Chapter 3: Citizenship based on race. Three classes: citizen, subject, foreigner.
- Chapter 4: Aristocratic principle. Value of the individual. Marxism promotes mass thinking. Government rule by the best individuals, not majority.
- Chapter 5: Need for an uncompromising worldview. Need for decisive leadership. 25-point NSDAP program is unshakable. Only NSDAP is truly folkish.
- Chapter 6: Resumes autobiography. NSDAP must dominate mass opinion. Must fight against common views. Brest-Litovsk and Versailles. Importance of spoken word. Marxism flourished with speeches. Need for mass meetings.
- Chapter 7: Lame bourgeois mass meetings. Need for publicity. Control of mass meetings. Violent protests. Party flag and symbol: swastika. First use in summer 1920. Party strength by early 1921. Mass meeting 3 Feb at Circus Krone. Attempted disruption.
- Chapter 8: Right of priority. Many folkish movements. Futility of compromise and coalition.
- Chapter 9: Three pillars of authority. In warfare, survival of the inferior. Deserters and Jewish revolutionaries in November 1918. Bourgeois capitulation. Need for a great ideal. Creation of the SA (storm troops). NSDAP is neither secret nor illegal. SA as trained fighters. March to Coburg in Oct 1922. French occupation of the Ruhr.
- Chapter 10: War industries in World War I. Bavaria versus Prussia as diversion. Kurt Eisner, Jewish revolutionary. Growth of anti-Semitism from 1918. Catholic versus Protestant as diversion. Federation versus unification. Opposition to Jewish Weimar.
- Chapter 11: Role of propaganda. Supporters and members. Need for restricted growth. Leadership principle versus majority rule. Acquisition of Völkischer Beobachter. Building the party. Dissolution on 9 Nov 1923.
- Chapter 12: Question of trade unions. Necessity of unions. NSDAP must form a union. Union in service to the people. Priority of worldview.
- Chapter 13: Foreign policy as means for promoting national interest. Unification of German people. England against Germany. France against England. Need for alliance with England and Italy. Jews seek world conquest, racial contamination. Question of South Tyrol. Jews oppose German-Italian alliance. Only fascist Italy is opposing Jews. Jews gain power in America.
- Chapter 14: Russia policy is foremost. Top priority: need for land, living space. Victory goes to the strong. No colonies, but only an expanded Reich. Look to the East. Russia is ruled by Jews, cannot be an ally. Only possible alliances: England and Italy.
- Chapter 15: German submission. Locarno Treaty as further submission. France seeks to dismember Germany. War with France is inevitable. France occupies Ruhr, opposes England. Must confront and destroy Marxism. Failure of Cuno’s passive resistance.
Even this concise summary demonstrates the controversial nature of the text.
Previous English Translations
For the first several years of its existence, there was no real need for English publishers to produce a translation of Mein Kampf. The Nazi movement was small, limited more or less to Bavaria. It had little prospect for growth or real power. There was simply not much interest in an obscure Bavarian politician.
All this changed when Hitler took power in 1933. Suddenly there was a need to understand this man who had risen to power at only 44 years of age. A British translator, Edgar Dugdale, undertook the initial effort to produce an English version. It was a highly abridged edition, covering only some 45 percent of the full text. It was published in England by Hurst & Blackett, and in the US by Houghton-Mifflin, in late 1933.
In 1936, the German government decided that they would sponsor their own, complete, English translation. They hired a British writer and journalist, James Murphy. There not yet having been a second world war, and the worst excesses of Nazism still in the future, Murphy was inclined to produce a favorable and sympathetic translation. Unfortunately, there was a falling out with National Socialist officials and Murphy was ‘fired’ sometime in 1938, his project incomplete. Through some obscure process, the Germans completed Murphy’s draft version on their own, and published it in the late 1930s. Today this is known as the Stalag edition, and is currently available in print in two forms: one by Ostara Publications, and one by Elite Minds (the “official Nazi English translation”). To call this version ‘unpolished’ is an understatement; more below.
By 1939, four new versions had appeared. After his dismissal, Murphy returned to England and revised and completed his translation, which was published by Hurst & Blackett in 1939. This is ‘the’ Murphy translation; it is widely available on the Internet, and through various reprints. Under the Hutchinson imprint, the Murphy translation was republished in 1969 with a lengthy and hostile introduction by British historian D. C. Watt.
Secondly, the British firm Reynal & Hitchcock enlisted a team of people, headed by Alvin Johnson, to do their own translation. It was notably hostile to the content of the book and the National Socialist movement generally.
Third, an American publisher, Stackpole and Sons, produced a version under the direction of a Jewish editor, William Soskin. They hired a Jewish socialist, Ludwig Lore, to write the preface. Unsurprisingly, this too was a hostile effort. Soskin was successfully sued by Houghton-Mifflin for copyright infringement, and production was halted after only a few months.
The final work of 1939 was a second abridgment, produced by American journalist—and future senator—Alan Cranston. Cranston was also sued; he too lost, but not before allegedly selling several hundred thousand copies.
Dissatisfied with the abridged Dugdale translation, Houghton-Mifflin embarked on a new, full translation, by Jewish-German writer Ralph Manheim. They also solicited a short introduction by a Jewish-German journalist, Konrad Heiden. As expected, it was another blatantly hostile production. The book appeared in 1943, and has been continuously in print since then. To the present day, the Manheim version functions as the ‘official’ translation of Mein Kampf; it is the one quoted by nearly all academics and journalists. The latest Houghton edition, issued in 1998, includes an introduction by notorious Jewish Zionist Abraham Foxman. Clearly, little has changed in the intervening years.
For several decades, these were the extant English translations. Then in 2009, a little-known writer, Michael Ford, published his own translation through Elite Minds. This edition has several shortcomings, as explained below.
Something of the flavor of these efforts can be seen in the very first words of the book. In my forthcoming translation, Chapter 1 is titled “In My Parents’ House.” (Original: Im Elternhaus.) The first sentence: “I consider it most fortunate today that destiny selected Braunau-on-the-Inn to be my birthplace” (Als glückliche Bestimmung gilt es mir heute, dass das Schicksal mir zum Geburtsort gerade Braunau am Inn zuwies.) The table below gives the chapter title and the first few words, in the various translations.
|Translation||Chapter 1||Initial words|
It stands me in good stead today that Fate…
Today I consider it my good fortune that Fate…
To-day I consider it a good omen that destiny…
In the Home of my Parents
It has turned out fortunate for me to-day that destiny…
In the House of my Parents
Today it seems to me providential that Fate…
Today I regard it as a happy change that Fate…
Today, I am pleased that Fate chose the city…
The variability of even this simple leading sentence is striking. One can imagine the issues involved with the many more-complicated thoughts that follow.
Why a New Translation?
As it happens, every one of the previous translations has major problems and disadvantages, for a modern English reader.
The two primary versions—Murphy and Manheim—are written in the style of early-20th-century British writers. They use a wide array of archaic ‘British-isms’ and British spellings that make reading awkward, particularly for Americans in the present day. Worse, they attempt to follow too closely Hitler’s original style. Like most Germans of the time, Hitler wrote long sentences, fashioned into long, complex paragraphs. Manheim follows this style scrupulously, to the detriment of the reader; Murphy at least occasionally breaks up long sentences into more readable segments.
Worst of all, both major translations are simply poor efforts. They do not read well. One repeatedly encounters passages that are awkward, incoherent, or incomprehensible. There is little of the fluidity and lyrical power of the German original. For his part, Murphy takes a considerable amount of ‘translator’s license,’ interjecting unwarranted terminology and wording, or simply leaving things out. Manheim is more literal, but in the end is scarcely more readable. The reader simply needs to scan a sampling of either text to understand the situation.
This is unfortunate, to say the least. It is almost as if the publishers intended, or at least preferred, that the translations be difficult to read. Certainly this limits the circulation of Hitler’s ideas, and makes it easier to dismiss them—a convenient situation for the many critics of the book’s import.
With the exception of Murphy, all of the standard editions betray their intentions with aggressive, hostile, and slanderous comments in their introductions. Consider this selection of remarks:
- Johnson: Hitler is “no artist in literary expression,” and “often indifferent to grammar and syntax.” The book is “a propagandistic essay by a violent partisan” that “warps historical truth” or “ignores it completely.” Hitler’s discussions on race can be safely dismissed, because “the greatest anthropologists of the 20th century are agreed that ‘race’ is a practically meaningless word.”
- Lore: “I cannot conceive of any book of which I more positively disapprove.” The book has an “atrocious style” and “countless contradictions.” In essence, the book is “an outpouring of willful perversion, clumsy forgery, vitriolic hatred, and violent denunciation.”
- Manheim: Hitler is a “paranoiac” who offers us “disjointed facts” and “largely unintelligible flights of Wagnerian fantasy.” He creates “a dream-world,” one “without color and movement.”
- Heiden: Mein Kampf was written “in white-hot hatred.” It is “ill-founded, undocumented, and badly written.” “The book may well be called a kind of satanic Bible.”
- Watt: The book is “lengthy, dull, bombastic, repetitious and extremely badly written.” “Most of its statements of fact…are demonstrably untrue.” It yields “an intolerably prolix German style and a total lack of any intellectual precision.” As a work of political philosophy, “it has no claims whatever to be taken seriously.” Hitler’s racial theory—a “mystical racist mumbo-jumbo of Aryanism”—is a “revolting mixture of pseudo-science and bogus historicism.” The work is self-consistent, but this only betrays “the terrible consistency of the insane.” In the end, Hitler is nothing more than a “master of the inept, the undigested, the half-baked and the untrue.”
- Foxman: Hitler’s “theories have long since been discredited.” The book is “a work of ugliness and depravity.” It is “unreliable as a source of historical data,” full of “lies, omissions, and half-truths.” The book’s “atrocious style, puerile digressions, and narcissistic self-absorption” are obvious. Its theories are “extremist, immoral, and seem to promise war.” Hitler’s “lunatic plan” is “absurd” and even “comical.” All in all, “a ridiculous tract.”
Any translator, editor, or publisher who would include such words can hardly be trusted to do an honest job. The intent to bias the reader is plain. Certainly there is no concern here for the author to obtain a fair and objective reading. In fact, precisely the opposite.
The recent Ford translation, while not overtly hostile, has several other major flaws. Ford has no discernible credentials, no publishing record, nor any documented history with such academic works. His ‘in text’ notes are awkward and distracting. The book includes many amateurish and cartoonish ‘photos.’ There is no index. And his so-called publishing house, Elite Minds, appears to be some kind of environmental group that focuses on the ecology of sharks, of all things. This is unfortunate; the last thing the public needs is another misleading, ill-conceived, and unqualified version of Mein Kampf.
The ‘Nazi’ or ‘Stalag’ edition of Murphy has its own problems. The version published by Elite Minds claims to be authentic, which means that they retained all the original flaws of grammar, punctuation, and spelling. The result is nearly unreadable. The edition published by Ostara fixes many of these problems, but still reads poorly. It does break up the long paragraphs, but to an extreme degree; one typically finds single-sentence paragraphs, as in a newspaper. This move destroys all flow and connection of ideas. And neither version has an index or explanatory footnotes.
My forthcoming translation addresses and resolves many of these unfortunate drawbacks. First, by including the full and original German text, in a parallel translation, the English wording can be easily verified. This technique has often been used with classic Greek and Latin authors, but never before with Mein Kampf. Section headings have been added, in text, in bold. The German original employed such headings, but only at the top of each page; the reader thus never knew where a new section actually began. These headings have been translated and inserted at the appropriate points, in my estimation, and directly in the text. My translation also has helpful and relevant footnotes, a useful index, and a bibliography of relevant secondary source material. Most important of all, though, is the fact that the English reads smoothly and naturally.
Some Contentious Topics
It goes without saying that this book is controversial. In fact, it may well be named as the single most controversial book in history. As such, the typical reader is more or less guaranteed to get a slanted and biased account of it. Of Hitler’s many controversial statements and topics, four subjects warrant a brief mention here: National Socialism, race theory, religion, and the Jews.
Of the many simplistic and overused hyperboles in modern usage, the use of ‘Nazi’ surely ranks among the worst. It’s a crude and almost comical synonym for evil, hateful, cruel, tyrannical, and so on. This is consistent with the general demonization of everything Hitler.
‘Nazi’ is, of course, an abbreviation for National Socialist (Nationalsozialist). It was prompted by an earlier term, ‘Sozi,’ which was short for Sozialdemokrat, referring to the Social Democrat party that had been in existence since the mid-1800s. Hitler and colleagues rarely used ‘Nazi,’ generally viewing it as derogatory—although Goebbels did write an essay and short book titled The Nazi-Sozi.
As an ideology, National Socialism is utterly misunderstood. In fact, surprisingly, many people around the world today implicitly endorse some form of it. Most European countries, and many others globally, are some form of socialist. Socialism—loosely defined as government control and oversight of at least certain key portions of the economic sector—stands in contrast to free-market capitalism, in which for-profit corporations control such things. Suffice it to say that socialism is a respected political and economic system around the globe.
Nationalism places high priority on the well-being of the nation-state and its traditional residents. It is inward-looking, rather than outward. It tends toward economic independence and autonomy rather than globalization and inter-connectedness. It typically supports and strengthens the dominant ethnicity and culture, and largely ignores that of minorities. This, too, is hardly unknown; there are strong nationalist movements in many countries around the world today.
As it happens, the United States is neither nationalist nor socialist. Thus, its media and its economic and political elite tend to dismiss or abuse both of these concepts. Americans are functionally brainwashed to believe that socialism is evil—witness the pejorative application of the label to President Obama in recent years—and that nationalism is the hallmark of crude and primitive autocrats, and racist as well. This fact is revealing; the American power elite wants no one to get the idea that anything like nationalism or socialism—or, God forbid, national socialism—should become a credible ideology.
Now, it is true that Hitler’s form of national socialism went further than these basic concepts. It explicitly targeted Marxists, Jews, and global capitalists as enemies of the German people. It also sought to replace representative democracy with a more efficient and accountable centralized governance. Hitler had rational arguments for all these issues, as he explains in his book.
In fact, the formal declaration of the National Socialist system—as stated in Hitler’s “25 Points”—is remarkably progressive and, dare we say, tame. They call for equal rights (Points 2 and 9). They give citizens the right to select the laws and governmental structure (6). They abolish war-profiteering (12). They call for corporate profit-sharing with employees (14). They support retirement pensions, a strong middle class, free higher education, public health, maternity welfare, and religious freedom, including explicit support for “a positive Christianity” (15, 16, 20, 21, 24).
On the ‘down’ side, only a relative few points appear threatening or aggressive. They grant citizenship only to ethnic Germans, explicitly denying it to Jews (4). They block further immigration, and compel recent immigrants to leave (8). They seek to prohibit all financial speculation in land (17). They call for a death penalty against “traitors, usurers, and profiteers” (18). They demand that the German-language press be controlled only by ethnic Germans—but they don’t restrict press in other languages (23). And they call for “a strong central authority in the State” (25).
As anti-Semitic as Hitler was, it is surprising how lightly the Jews get off. They are banned from citizenship, and therefore from any role in government or the press. Recent (since August 1914) Jewish immigrants, like all immigrants, must leave. And the National Socialist view of religious freedom “fights against the Jewish materialist spirit” (24). But no threats to imprison or kill Jews. Longtime Jewish residents can stay in the country. No confiscation of wealth, with the stated exceptions. And certainly nothing that sounds like a looming ‘Holocaust.’
In sum, Hitler’s National Socialism is essentially the product of German nationalism and progressive socialism, combined with a mild form of anti-Semitism. Hardly the embodiment of evil.
Mein Kampf contains numerous references to ‘blood’ (Blut) and ‘race’ (Rasse). This is always portrayed in the worst possible terms, as some kind of demonic, hate-filled, blind racism. But we must first realize that such talk was commonplace in the early 20th Century; Hitler’s terminology, though shocking today, was actually quite conventional at the time. Not being a scientist, and few having much understanding of genetics at the time, it is understandable that he would use such terms.
Therefore, a literal interpretation of such words is misleading. In modern terminology, Hitler’s ‘race’ is better viewed as ‘ethnicity.’ He was more an ethnicist than a racist. His call for justice for the “German race” is really on behalf of ethnic Germans—the Volk. Thus understood, his view is much less threatening than commonly portrayed. Yes, he viewed ethnic Germans as superior. Yes, he wanted the best for his people. Yes, he was not much interested in the welfare of minorities or other nationalities. This is hardly a sin. Many people around the world today fight for precisely such things, for their own ethnicities. And they are right to do so.
Even today, it is reasonable and appropriate to discuss issues of race. It is a relevant term in biological taxonomy, indicating the highest-level sub-grouping within the species Homo sapiens. By some accounts, there are three races: White/Caucasian, Black/Negroid, and Mongoloid/Asian. Within each race, we have the various ethnicities—of which there are some 5,000 worldwide.
By this measure, Hitler cared little about race. He made a few dismissive comments about Blacks, but nothing that wasn’t standard at the time. He actually admired certain people of the Asian race, especially the Japanese. But his primary concern was among the various White ethnicities. He sought a position of strength and influence for ethnic Germans; he sought alliances with ethnic Britons; and he sought to oppose ethnic Jews.
Then there is Hitler’s infamous talk of ‘Aryan.’ Apart from passing mention elsewhere in the book, it is discussed in detail only in Chapter 11 of Volume 1. While there is no talk of any ‘superman’—no reference to Nietzsche’s Übermensch, for example—it is clear that Hitler views the Aryan as the highest human type, the greatest ethnicity, mover and creator of civilization. Notably, he never defines Aryan. Rather, we learn only what the Aryan is not: he is not Black, not Oriental, and certainly not Jewish. The Jew is the anti-Aryan, his dark and corrupting opposite. The Aryan builds, the Jew destroys. The Aryan produces, the Jew consumes. The Aryan is idealistic, the Jew materialistic.
In the end, the Aryan is distinguished not by his superior intelligence, nor his great creativity, but mainly by his altruism: the Aryan is a self-sacrificing person, more willing than any others to work on behalf of society. Thus he builds civilization and culture, and spreads it to the world. Non-Aryans, to the extent that they have a culture, get it from the Aryans, even as they customize it to their own needs. But the original source and sustainer is the self-sacrificing Aryan.
The word ‘Aryan’ has an interesting origin, and it has nothing to do with the Germans. It comes from the Sanskrit arya, meaning ‘noble.’ It originally referred to the people and language that moved into India from the north around 1500 BC. In the Indian caste system, the Aryans became the Brahmans—the highest and noblest caste. It was they who cultivated the Sanskrit language, and ultimately developed Indian culture. And a final point of interest: Those immigrants from the north came from the region that is known today as the Iranian plateau. In fact, the word ‘Iran’ derives directly from ‘Aryan’; the Iranians were the original Aryans.
Not being a scholar of ancient history, and having no Internet at hand, Hitler knew little of all this. He simply picked up on prior German and European usage. In fact, talk of Aryans as a superior race predated Hitler by several decades. It was a main theme of Frenchman Arthur de Gobineau’s book Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races, of 1855. And it was prominent in Briton-turned-German author Houston Stewart Chamberlain’s book Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, published in 1899. By the time Hitler picked up on the term, it was old hat.
Among other calumnies, Hitler is often portrayed as a godless atheist, a devil worshipper, the antichrist, or some kind of maniacal pagan. In fact he was none of these.
Rather, Hitler was broadly supportive of Christianity. He called it “the Religion of Love,” and referred to Jesus, indirectly, as its “sublime founder.” He argued that the masses are not and cannot be philosophical; their ethics must come from traditional religious sources. And he believed in separation of church and state: “political parties have no right to meddle in religious questions.” He condemned the Jews because they mock religion, and portray ethics and morality as “antiquated sentiment.”
His view on God is quite intriguing. Frequently he refers to a kind of cosmic deity or divine power, but in a variety of unconventional terms. We find many references, for example, to Schicksal—fate or destiny. We read of the “Goddess of Destiny” (Schicksalgöttin). He writes of “Providence” (Vorsehung), “Doom” or “Fate” (Verhängnis), and “the Lord” (Herr). Elsewhere we find reference to “Chance” (Zufall) and “the eternal Creator” (ewige Schöpfer). Volume 1 closes with a reference to “the Goddess of Inexorable Vengeance” (die Göttin der unerbittlichen Rache). These are not mere metaphors. It seems to be a kind of recognition of higher powers in the cosmos, but not those of traditional religions.
In the end, Hitler was most offended by crude materialism: the quest for money and material power. This view has no concept of idealism, no notion of spirituality, no vision of higher powers in the universe. Materialism was the essence of both Marxism and capitalism—and both were embodied in the Jew. That’s why these things were, according to Hitler, the mortal enemy of anyone seeking higher aims in life.
Hitler himself was no fan of religious dogma, but seems to have envisioned a future that moved toward a new kind of spirituality, one aligned with the workings of nature. We may perhaps best view him as a ‘spiritual but not religious’ sort of person—a view that is notably widespread today.
On the Jews
If nothing else, Hitler is inevitably depicted as a confirmed anti-Semite and Jew-hater. We should be clear: this is absolutely true. There are many lies spread about Hitler, but this is not one of them. The key is understanding why he held this view.
In the second half of Chapter 2 (Volume 1), he describes in striking detail his gradual discovery of the role and effects of Jews in society. He recalls that, as a youth, he had only known one Jewish boy, but had no particular feelings toward him one way or the other. He hadn’t even heard them discussed much until his mid-teens, and then only in a vaguely negative political context. When he moved to Vienna at age 15, he encountered a city of 2 million that was 10 percent Jewish. At first, he barely noticed them. When he did, he viewed them as representatives of a rather strange religion, but since he was generally tolerant of religious diversity, he gave them little thought. He was put off by the “anti-Semitic” press. As he says, “on grounds of human tolerance, I opposed the idea that [the Jew] should be attacked because he had a different faith.”
But then Hitler began to pay attention to the mainstream press. They were informative and liberal, but yet often flamboyant and garish. They seemed anxious to curry favor with the corrupt monarchy. And they were uniformly critical of the German Kaiser and his people. He noticed that some of the anti-Semitic papers were actually more skeptical of Viennese authority, and more open-minded regarding the Germans. At the same time, he realized that the Jews were more numerous than he previously believed. In fact, certain districts of Vienna were 50 percent Jewish, or more. And they all seemed to endorse a strange ideology: Zionism.
Furthermore, they were visually and physically repellent. Their black caftans and braided hair locks looked comical. They had their own odd concept of ‘cleanliness’: “That they were not water-lovers was obvious upon first glance.” They smelled bad: “The odor of those people in caftans often made me sick to my stomach.” This was topped off by “the unkempt clothes and the generally ignoble appearance.” All in all, a sorry sight.
Worst of all, hidden away inside, was their “moral rot.” Jews seemed to be involved in all manner of shady, unethical, and illegal activities. Hitler began to study the situation in more detail. “The fact was that 90 percent of all the filthy literature, artistic trash, and theatrical idiocy had to be charged to the account of a people who formed scarcely one percent of the nation. This fact could not be denied.” Pornography, lewd art and theater, prostitution, human trafficking…all could be tied to the Jews.
The famed mainstream Viennese press, Hitler discovered, was almost completely a Jewish enterprise. Jewish writers repeatedly praised Jewish actors, authors, and businessmen. People, events, and policies favorable to Jews were lauded, and those that were disadvantageous were condemned. Even the dominant political party, the Social Democrats, was found to be led by Jews. Upon this realization, says Hitler, “the scales fell from my eyes.” The whole pattern came together: a Jewish press supporting a Jewish political system, even as other Jews profited from the moral corruption of the people. Profit and power at all cost; lies and deceit without compunction; and an utter lack of concern for fairness, democracy, human welfare or even human decency. “I gradually came to hate them,” he said.
Considered globally, the situation was even worse. Marxism—the product of a Jew, Karl Marx—was promulgated by Jews in Europe and around the world. It sought to dominate and control nature. It sought to level all social differences, thereby subverting the natural order in which the truly best people rightly flourish. In essence, it was a teaching and a means by which Jews could ruthlessly assume control of entire nations. Once that happened, thousands or even millions of natives would die. The 1917 Bolshevik Revolution in Russia was proof enough.
In other parts of Europe, the dominant ideology was capitalism. Here, money ruled. Here, the bankers and corporate moguls dictated even to kings. Markets must be opened, international trade promoted, and loans used to extract wealth from the masses. And when these titans of capital were investigated, they were found to be, more often than not, Jews.
For Hitler, these realizations were devastating. The recognition of the insidious role of the Jews was “the greatest inner revolution that I had yet experienced.” Indeed: “From being a soft-hearted cosmopolitan, I became an out-and-out anti-Semite.” No hidden views here.
Hitler’s conversion to anti-Semitism was remarkable. In contrast to the common view, it was neither arbitrary nor irrational. He was not a born Jew-hater. It was a step-by-step process, taken over a long period of time, and based on his data and observations about the real world. His was a “rational” anti-Semitism. As he saw it, any person of dignity and self-respect, anyone with a concern for human life, anyone committed to the integrity of the natural world, would of necessity be an anti-Semite. In their ruthless pursuit of their own self-interest, Jews, said Hitler, become the enemy of all mankind. Anyone not recognizing this fact—and acting accordingly—he thought a fool.
The modern person today winces at such talk. “A monster!” we say. “Hate speech!” “The devil!” And yet, these are not rational responses. The modern man is conditioned to say such things. We must be objective here. Hitler was not inventing facts. His observations were largely true, even if he had no access to formal data or statistics. Jews did dominate in Vienna, and even more so in Germany. Consider the following numbers, cited by Gordon (1984: 8-15):
The reader may be surprised to learn that Jews were never a large percentage of the total German population; at no time did they exceed 1.09 percent of the population during the years 1871 to 1933… [In spite of this, Jews] were overrepresented in business, commerce, and public and private service… Within the fields of business and commerce, Jews… represented 25 percent of all individuals employed in retail business and handled 25 percent of total sales…; they owned 41 percent of iron and scrap iron firms and 57 percent of other metal businesses.… Jews were [also] prominent in private banking under both Jewish and non-Jewish ownership or control. They were especially visible in private banking in Berlin, which in 1923 had 150 private (versus state) Jewish banks, as opposed to only 11 private non-Jewish banks.…
This trend held true in the academic and cultural spheres as well: “Jews were overrepresented among university professors and students between 1870 and 1933.… [A]lmost 19 percent of the instructors in Germany were of Jewish origin.… Jews were also highly active in the theater, the arts, film, and journalism. For example, in 1931, 50 percent of the 234 theater directors in Germany were Jewish, and in Berlin the number was 80 percent…” Hitler was not imaging things.
Furthermore, Jews did in fact curry favor with the monarchy when it was in their interest, but they were quick to revolt if that could yield a greater gain. Jewish Marxists had succeeded in Russia, and were prominent in the November Revolution in Germany, making them responsible, in part, for Germany’s defeat in World War I. Jews were eager to profit by any means possible: war, corruption, immorality, exploitation, deception. And many were Zionists: committed to creating a Jewish state in Palestine, and willing to do whatever it took to achieve this.
What to do? For Hitler, there was only one logical conclusion: Drive them out. This meant pushing them out of society, out of the economy, and restoring control of the media and government to non-Jews. It meant creating a Judenrein, or Jew-free, society, one that was free from internal and external manipulation by Jewish interests. This, in fact, was Hitler’s conclusion years before he began Mein Kampf. In late 1919, as he was just becoming acquainted with the DAP, he wrote a letter to one of his officers regarding how to respond to the Jewish question. This striking early letter concludes as follows:
Rational anti-Semitism…must lead to a systematic and legal struggle against, and eradication of, the privileges the Jews enjoy over the other foreigners living among us (Alien Laws). Its final objective, however, must be the total removal of all Jews (die Entfernung der Juden überhaupt) from our midst. Both objectives can only be achieved by a government of national strength, never by a government of national impotence. (in Maser 1974: 215)
His view did not change in Mein Kampf, nor evidently anytime later in his life. His solution was always the same: drive them out. Total removal. Ruthlessly if necessary, but out they must go.
Here is one striking point, however: With one minor exception, Hitler never called for killing the Jews. Though his terminology shifted over time, his words always referred to some form of removal: Jews should be “deported,” “expelled,” “rooted out.” Their role and their power in the German Reich must be “destroyed” or “liquidated.” But explicit words like ‘killing,’ ‘shooting,’ ‘murder,’ ‘gassing,’ virtually never appear in his speeches, writings, or even private conversations.
The one exception is at the very end of Mein Kampf. There were about 600,000 Jews in Germany at the start of World War I, a war that ended in the deaths of over 2 million Germans. Hitler argues that killing “12 or 15 thousand Hebrew corrupters” at the start of the war, by a poison gas such as fell on the German troops in the battlefield, would have spared a million lives and led to German victory. Not all the Jews, or even most of them; just one or two percent would have sufficed, to derail their pernicious aims. But this seems to be the last such reference by Hitler, in any documented writing or speech.
English sources always translate Hitler’s wording as wanting to “exterminate,” “destroy,” or “annihilate” the Jews; but this is another deception. None of his actual words demands mass killing—or even any killing at all. If the Jews have been driven out of Germany, they have indeed been ‘exterminated’ (lit. ‘driven beyond the border’). If their control over the economy has been terminated, their power has indeed been ‘annihilated,’ or ‘reduced to nothing.’ If Jewish society has been removed, it may rightly be said to have been ‘destroyed’ (lit. ‘un-built’ or ‘deconstructed’). Hitler’s tough talk was never any different than that of any world leader when confronting a mortal enemy. President Obama often speaks of “destroying” the “cancer” of the Islamic State, but no one accuses him of attempted genocide.
Thus we find no talk of mass murder (with the lone exception), extermination camps, genocide, or anything like this in Mein Kampf. Hitler’s opponents search in vain for signs of an impending ‘Holocaust’ in which the mass of German Jewry would be murdered. The reader is invited to do the same. It is simply not there—much to the chagrin of his critics.
From all this, it should be clear that Hitler had only one real enemy in the Jews. He was not some all-purpose hater of humanity. He disliked the French, respected the British and Americans, and sympathized with the Russians, but didn’t hate them. Even the “lesser” races were never a target of contempt, but rather, if anything, pity. Today we are under the impression that, in 1940, the entire world quivered at the thought of a Nazi takeover. But this was never more than trumped-up propaganda. Hitler wanted to be a world power—like all major nations—but never a world ruler.
In short, unless you were a Jew, you had nothing to fear. Whites had nothing to fear—unless they allowed themselves to be ruled by Jewish Marxists or Jewish capitalists. Hispanics, Blacks, and Orientals, though of lower status, had nothing to fear. France and England had nothing to fear—until they declared war on Germany. America never had anything to fear—until Roosevelt made the unwise decision to harass Germany and Japan into conflict. It was always and only the Jews who were his enemy.
From the Jewish perspective, of course, this is the ultimate evil: a man who seeks to destroy Jewish power, confiscate their obscene wealth, and create a Jew-free society. Should he succeed, and should his new society flourish, it would mean catastrophe for Jews worldwide. People everywhere might begin to perceive treachery in Jewish influence.
This is why Mein Kampf is so dangerous.
Hitler had a great and noble vision for his people. He desperately wanted Germany to assume its rightful place in the world, and to set an example for all those who aspired to something better than a crude material existence. By contrast, the social vision of virtually every other world leader of the 20th Century—or the 21st—pales.
Hitler had concrete goals in mind for his nation, and concrete plans to get there. He faced three fundamental challenges: (1) to restore the economy, (2) to achieve security and independence by becoming a world power, and (3) to create an idealistic, uplifting, and sustainable German society. He put his plan into action as soon as he came to power in 1933. And it worked. It worked so well that a beleaguered, beaten-down, hyper-inflated, emasculated German nation rose up to become a world power with astonishing speed. Consider: After just three years, Hitler’s Germany had conquered inflation, driven down unemployment, and put industry back to work—all in the midst of a global depression. After six years, it was a world power. After eight years, his nation was so powerful that it took the combined effort of virtually the entire rest of the world to defeat it.
The first two aspects of his plan were attained. But the rest of the world, driven in part by Jewish hatred, jealousy, and spite, could not bear this, and so they sought to crush him and his German nation—which they did. The real tragedy of Hitler’s story is that he never had time to tackle his third great challenge: to create a flourishing German society. Sadly, we will never know the long-term potential consequences of National Socialism, or whether a truly great society could have been constructed.
But what about the Holocaust? What about the death camps and gas chambers? Isn’t this the terrible, inevitable outcome of Hitler’s warped vision?
Here we have perhaps the greatest deception of all. In order to show the world the horrible outcome of a potent anti-Semitism, a tale of monumental human disaster had to be constructed, promoted, and sustained. The undeniable and tragic death of several hundred thousand Jews—which included many deaths by old age, disease, injury, suicide, and in combat situations—would have to become “6 million.” Tough talk against Jews, aimed at driving them out of Germany, would have to become “euphemisms for mass murder.” Rooms designed to disinfest clothing and bedding against disease-carrying lice would have to become “homicidal gas chambers.” Hundreds of thousands of Jewish bodies would have to be burned down to ash, and then made to completely vanish. Transit camps constructed to move Jews out of the Reich—Treblinka, Belzec, Sobibor—would have to become “extermination camps” designed for mass-murder; and with diesel-engine exhaust, no less. And a forced-labor camp in which thousands of Jews died from typhus—Auschwitz—would have to become “the greatest death camp of all time.”
Clearly there is much more to be said here. For those interested readers, sources such as Dalton (2014b, 2015) or Rudolf (2011) are recommended. Suffice it to say that the Holocaust, as commonly portrayed, is an unsubstantiated, unwarranted, and unjustified exaggeration of epic proportions. Nearly every aspect of the story crumbles as soon as it is put to the test. The alleged horror of the Holocaust becomes, in the end, a story of the dispossession and expulsion of one particular minority community that held disproportionate power in a nation that did not want them, and that bore disproportionate guilt for that nation’s misfortunes. That they themselves should have suffered as a result is unsurprising.
Mein Kampf is one man’s assessment of history and vision for the future. It is blunt; it is harsh; it is unapologetic. It does not comply with contemporary expectations of politeness, objectivity, and political correctness. It sounds offensive to sensitive modern ears. But the book is undeniably important. It is more consequential than perhaps any other political work in history. It deserves to be read. And each reader will then be free to determine its ultimate value and meaning for themselves.
- Barnes, J. 1980. Hitler’s Mein Kampf in Britain and America. Cambridge University Press.
- Dalton, T. 2014. “The Jewish Hand in the World Wars” (Part 2). Online: www.inconvenienthistory.com
- Dalton, T. 2014b. “The Great Holocaust Mystery.” Online: www.inconvenienthistory.com
- Dalton, T. 2015. Debating the Holocaust (2nd ed). Castle Hill.
- Gordon, S. 1984. Hitler, Germans, and the ‘Jewish Question.’ Princeton University Press.
- Hitler, A. 1927/1933. Mein Kampf (E. Dugdale, trans.) Houghton Mifflin.
- Hitler, A. 1927/1939. Mein Kampf (J. Murphy, trans.) Hurst & Blackett.
- Hitler, A. 1927/1939. Mein Kampf (A. Johnson et al, trans.) Reynal & Hitchcock.
- Hitler, A. 1927/1939. Mein Kampf (W. Soskin, trans.) Stackpole Sons.
- Hitler, A. 1927/1943. Mein Kampf (R. Manheim, trans.) Houghton Mifflin.
- Hitler, A. 1927/1999. Mein Kampf (R. Manheim, trans.; A. Foxman, intro.) Houghton Mifflin.
- Hitler, A. 2009. Mein Kampf (M. Ford, trans.) Elite Minds.
- Hitler, A. 2009. Mein Kampf Official Nazi English Translation. Elite Minds.
- Maser, W. 1974. Hitler’s Letters and Notes. Harper and Row.
- Rudolf, G. 2011. Lectures on the Holocaust (2nd ed). Barnes Review.
Additional information about this document
|Title:||Rethinking "Mein Kampf"|
|Sources:||Inconvenient History, 8(1) 2016|
|First posted on CODOH:||March 14, 2016, 8:38 p.m.|