So What's The Big Deal Over "Mein Kampf"?

It now is public domain and can be legally published in Germany. So what? It’s a 90 year old book, of interest (only) to historians. Most believe that Hitler wrote very little of it (Rudolph Hess probably wrote most of it. )
I tried to read it back when I was an undergraduate-I gave up-it is poorly written and incoherent… the only thing I remember of it was that Hitler blamed the Jews for syphilis (ironic, considering that an Jewish MD (Paul Ehrlich) invented the first medicine to treat it. Is the German government afraid that this foolish old book would inspire a new generation of Nazis? The book was always available from used bookstores in Germany.

I tried reading it once in college too, because I thought it might be somehow revelatory or something, but it just turned out to be really, really boring.

The biggest revelation from Mein Kampf is that Hitler just wasn’t very intelligent. Certainly not compared to Churchill, for example, who was a very readable author and noted as a wit in his own time.

Aside from not being very good, the book suffers from its hype. It isn’t this terrible grimoire of unfathomable evil, it’s the rantings of a frustrated revolutionary in a time and place full of them, someone who was monomaniacal and a good public speaker but not a good author. Even its content is superfluous to most people: We know what he intended to do because he got a chance to do it, and we know what the depths of his madness looked like because we saw it play out in reality. No work can live up to what really happened.

There is no magic. Not in books, not in people, not in events. A copy of a book is paper and ink and binding materials. Neither buying it nor burning it will change what happened one bit. Books don’t have a magical ability to force people, zombie-like, to reenact the crimes of the past, and it isn’t like Mein Kampf was ever totally banned in any event. It’s always been available. This reprinting is interesting from a historical perspective, but ultimately a minor footnote to the actual story of this work.

How many people identify as Christians, tell you that they believe the Bible is the holy word of God handed down to man, feel that it’s important to own a bible or more, but never actually read more than a handful of passages from it? The German government doesn’t want neo-nazis to have a ‘bible’ copy around in the same way they don’t want swastika flags or Hitler salutes - it’s not that the words are likely to directly influence anyone, it’s that it’s a potent symbol directly associated with a movement that is banned in the country. They’re fine with the annotated version which is useful for history and says bad things about Hitler so doesn’t work as a ‘bible’ for neo-nazis, but still won’t allow the basic text alone. I don’t personally agree with this, but I get the thinking behind it.

I don’t know how well-written the original is - I don’t speak German so have read a translation, which of course rewrites it. I remember it being very romantic in the literary sense, about great sweeping clashes of the races of men, great men rising to their destiny, and the rise and fall of empires. It reminded me a lot of Ayn Rand’s writing, though with a different philosophical base. The racial stuff is all pseudo-scientific nonsense from the early 20th century, and a lot of the historical info is bunk or taken out of context. I don’t see someone today actually reading it and deciding to hate Jews, but I can see how an anti-semite believing 1920s racial theories could see it as an inspirational work.

I found a real “nice” copy in a thrift store for a couple buck and figured “What the Fuck?”.

Utter crap, after about 5 pages, gave up. That Hitler, what a Nutter!*

*Pending copyright for “Understatement of the Century”

What, two centuries in a row?

Is that even legal?

More concerned, perhaps, at how it might start a new wave of suspicion abroad about Germany. It always has a neuralgic potential they’d rather just do without.

To the OP, it was Sahachirō Hata who discovered the first treatment, Paul Elirich was just the director of the lab which is why he was also credited.

The book is a piece of history and its not going to benefit anyone to deny that.

+1 - I made it 30 pages +/- in and forever said fuk it. Drivel.

Near as I can tell the book is - more than anything else - an embarrassing reminder to the German government (and people). I attempted to read it 20+ years ago but tossed it aside a few pages into it.

They didn’t want it to be a rallying point for German neo-Nazis. Despite all its flaws as a book, there are many who are willing to overlook them because of its message and who will use it both as a justification and a plan.

Nitpick: Hitler didn’t “write” the book so much as he dictated it. Hess was the typist who put it down on paper and probably rewrote a lot of it once Adolf got tired and went off to take a nap.

The publisher, whose name I don’t recall at the moment, had it heavily edited too, though it did little good. The only way I could ever get past the first few pages was by pretending I was listening to one of Hitler’s speeches, and even then it was boring.

Ayn Rand, with all of her preachy characters, is a very apt comparison.

They don’t have the first amendment so they can legally ban it. They feel shame for their history and what they as a country did to Jewish People and the world. If only for that reason they choose to keep it illegal.

I read it…the WHOOOOOOLE long, boring, twisted and awful thing…in college. As an American of German extraction who had family who fought on both sides of WWII, I was curious about this supposedly seminal document. And it was everything those posting before me have said - boring, illogical, no real structure, not much content - certainly not the compelling stuff one might have expected from the ‘evil genius’ of the Nazis.

It’s difficult to see how it might have ‘inspired’ nascent Nazis in the 1930s, and almost impossible to understand how it could do so today. There is no reason to suppress it that I can see. Bring it out into the light of day and expose it for the mess it is.

Unless of course someone decides to make a gritty reboot.

Am I the only one reading the thread title in the voice of Jerry Seinfeld?

I mean, what’s up with that?

Probably. The rest of us hear it in someone’s impression of Seinfeld.

Substitute “Muslims” for “Jews” and we might just have something marketable here.

There used to be kind of a tradition in American libraries to keep one copy of it. After all, if Mein Kampf isn’t banned, what other book possibly could be? Not sure if this is still the case, though, since they’ll ban damn near anything at this point.