I’ve read it, it’s one of those historical interest things.
I think that it would be a great book to analyze in a college class because you could show just how much sense the stuff he said would make to people in the right conditions. I think denouncing Hitler and his writings as monstrous is far less useful than showing how people believed it and why they were wrong in doing so.
Some people feel like even giving his arguments that level of acceptance is flawed, though.
There was a section of it in a reader one of my political philosophy classes used. Though we weren’t required to read that section for class, I did so anyway. What can I say? Like any tract for a totalitarian political system, it is full of gigantic leaps in logic that ought to have set off red flags for anyone capable of grasping basic logic. The section I read began with declaring that all throughout history, all successful civilizations have carefully protected their racial purity, while all unsuccessful ones have failed to do so. At which point, one can only ask questions such as: what exactly is meant by racial purity? (He never says.) How exactly would failure to protect racial purity destroy a civilzation? And what about the many obvious counterexamples to his argument? Did the Greeks have perfect racial purity? The Romans?
As a whole, it’s most useful as a reminder that human beings do not have any built-in logical thinking apparatus. When people want to believe a certain worldview that justifies their actions, they will convince themselves that it is rational even if it clearly not.
I don’t know if it’s true, but I’ve heard part of the reason that Mein Kampf and other German texts have a reputation as being horribly written is that German, due to having three genders for thier nouns, are able to keep track of three different pronouns in their sentences. When translated into a language without gendered nouns (English) this makes the sentences seem meandering and unclear. Of course Hitler was not particularaly educated, so its far from unlikely that he wasn’t the best example of German writing available.
I went to an antiquarian book sale a few weekends ago and they had a '33 edition of Mein Kampf (in German) on sale there. I flipped through it and found that the publisher had used the most evil looking gothic font available for the text. It looked evil, even to someone that couldn’t read the text!!
My History professor, who took particular interest in Hitler’s rise to power, admitted freely that it was a very badly written book. However, he also was very clear about what its purpose was, how it succeeded, and why such a poor writer (heh, dictator, actually–most of it was recited) was able to take control of what became one of the world’s most powerful states (I don’t think that’s a controversial point, considering that it took the British Empire, the Soviet Union, the United States, and numerous smaller countries, to defeat it).
I believe there is an argument that by definition, it could not have been that badly written, for if it had shown that Hitler lacked the basically ability to write at some basic level of communication, it would have harmed his ability to rise to the position of head of state.
In other words, I have a hard time believing that in any country, if someone published a book that was written at a 5th grade level, it would not do huge amounts of damage to their political career. And bear in mind that the “Nazi’s kept people from talking smack about the book” doesn’t work here; the book was written well before he came to power and had control over the machinery of state and political repression.
I triede reading it years ago. To a native English speaker, most of it is incomprehensible, because it deals with themes from the German culture, with words that are not translateable.
Essentially, its a rant about how the germans have been screwed by inferior races…well, if they were so inferior, how did they get the better of the germans?
Most of the book was ghostwritten by Rudolf Hess, and I heard a story that the book made Hitler a multi-millionaire. It seems that the german (nazi) government would give a copy to every newly-marrier couplein Germany-and the german government paid for the books.
So Hitler profitted greatly from hisone and only literary work.
Do any of Hitler’s paintings survive?
I doubt the intention was to look “gothic” or “evil” since that was the printing style for German text up until the early 1940s. I have several Church hymnals, books of philosophy and poetry and a 19th Century dictionary that are all in that printing style.
The text (in English) can be found here for anyone who wants to try to read it. This site is called *The Hitler Museum *. They claim they are only providing the information to “allow for visitors to understand and examine historical documents and information for themselves.” (from their introduction).
I just came across this site while searching for the text and have not studied the site enough to know if this is the case. Nor do I know who did the translation.
Several editions were published in the US prior to the American entry in the war, including an unexpurgated and annotated edition by Houghton Mifflin in 1939 under the title Mein Kampf and a 1933 edition by the same publisher under the English title My Struggle. Earlier editions were published in London beginning in 1930 and were available for purchase in the US.
Shodan captures it pretty well: A tedious read, but one in which Hitler very clearly lays out his plans for a National Socialist future.
Yeah, the Hitler Channel had a program on it not too long ago (Amazon sells copies of the book) and it lays out in even more detail than Mein Kampf what Hitler was planning on doing, including attacking the US after he’d conquered Europe.