Mein Kampf

14th June, 2010


If there is one book everyone has heard of but few have read, that book is Mein Kampf. Since I have read it thoroughly, I figured you might be interested in an equally thorough review. My edition - the New Ford Translation, 2009 - amounts to 560 pages, so it is a pretty thick book. "Written" by Adolf Hitler in 1925 and 1927, during his prison time after the failed putsch of 1923, although Mein Kampf was changed throughout its printing history for a reason or another. I put "written" in quotation marks because Hitler did not actually write it: he dictated it. From his prison cell, he basically spoke and a secretary wrote down what he said. At first I was afraid the book would read too "spoken" but have no such fear, as Hitler himself said, a great speaker can write well too, and he certainly was a great speaker. Thus, Hitler's prose is very readable, smart, and overall very well-written, as you shall see from the bits I will quote.


But before I go on, I feel the need to state that I am not a Nazi, a racist, or an antisemite. I also feel sorry that I feel obliged to precise such a thing, but since I intend to speak the truth without attempting to be politically correct, I prefer to set the record straight right here. And by speaking the truth, I mean that I did find Mein Kampf to be highly interesting and a great read (and that I have no intention to portray Hitler or his book the way Nazis portrayed Jews, or the way people portray Nazis and Hitler nowadays; no biased distortion for me for anyone, Jews or Hitler. I never understood how people who criticised Nazis for what they did could use the same sort of opinion-based filter; just because it's Hitler doesn't mean you can behave like a Nazi.). That should not make you think I am a Nazi. Why did I read this book, then? Well, I am very interested in history, especially World War 2 and Nazism, and I also have an interest in the darker aspects of humanity, be it serial killers, Nazis, or dictators. That is not to say I am one of them, no more than a psychiatrist is a schizophrenic psychopath because he reads about them. If you shed light over darkness, it is no longer darkness.


Now that this is out of the way, let's get to the book itself. What is it? Mein Kampf is composed of two volumes: the first is a very political autobiography, the second is about the National Socialist movement ("National Socialist" is the real name of the party, it was shortened to the infamous "Nazi" which we all know). One very important thing you must know is that Adolf Hitler had not originally intended the book to be widely distributed to the masses; indeed, at the time of its writing, Mein Kampf was meant for party members, so they would have a deeper understanding of Hitler's political ideas and ideals. Why is this important? Because, as you will see if you ever read the book, Mein Kampf takes you behind the scene, and talks about the masses and propaganda (a word that has no negative connotation in Hitler's mouth, it does not mean lying; think of it as the marketing of political ideas, which is exactly what propaganda is in that context, not to be confused with what the word generally means in our age). You will be surprised to find Hitler talking about how propaganda should be operated in a book that everyone in Nazi Germany had on their bookshelves. This is because, as said above, the book was originally not meant for the masses, but the party. One could argue that explaining the trick to the masses one wants to "trick" is not a clever move. The point is that Hitler did not view propaganda as a way to lie to the people or to manipulate them, but as a way to efficiently communicate ideas and make an impression. I'll come back to that later.


Four and a Half Years of Fighting Against Lies, Stupidity, and Cowardice

This was supposed to be the title of Mein Kampf, until someone figured a shorter title would be better. This long title fits the first part of the book best, and that is the part I will discuss now. It is an autobiography, yes, but it is Hitler's autobiography, and that means most of it is political. All the events that Hitler relates are put in a political context, from his childhood education to the Great War, in which he fought like a true hero (I know it may not be very hip to say good things about Adolf, but as I warned you before, I will stick to the truth and nothing but the truth) as all historians agree, to the Communist Revolution.


So what is to say about Adolf's life? (I will refer to him as just "Adolf" for this part, in an effort to get you to think of him as a human being and not as the devil himself.) As you might know, Adolf was not actually German, but Austrian. This is even how he begins the book, by mentioning that he was born at the frontier between Germany and Austria, which he sees as a sign from Fate (Fate is very important to Adolf throughout the book). Before reading Mein Kampf, I did not know why an Austrian would be interested in Germany. Most of the time, documentaries and other texts seemed to suggest that this was just because Hitler was a trickster and he tricked Germany into following an Austrian. The truth is more complex, as it usually is. Like many Austrians of his time, Adolf viewed himself and his country as belonging to the German state, and that Austria was in fact only a province of Germany, and at one time, that's what Austria was (if I'm not mistaken). I will later discuss races, but for now, know that Hitler views a nation as being a group of people who speak the same language, belong to the same race, and share a common history. Thus, young Adolf and his classmates were very patriotic towards Germany and were often found to sing German hymns, expressing a common desire for Austrians to "come back to the Fatherland".


As a student, Adolf's favourite subjects were history and geography, in which he excelled. He could have been a good student, but upon a conflict with his father, who refused Adolf's plan of becoming an artist, he basically stopped being a good student, which he bitterly regretted later on, as he could not enter art school or architecture school because he didn't have the basic education diploma required. And while we're on this, no, the Holocaust is not the result of Adolf not getting into art school. I have heard that very often, but it is very clear to me that Hitler was no different before or after these rejections. Assuming that Hitler was merely some capricious little bitch who could not get over a school rejection and wanted the whole world to pay for this is nothing but the cheapest psychologisation.


Not getting into art school was not enough to stop Adolf from his goals. He wanted to be a painter, and left for Vienna to do just that. He spent four years there, living off small jobs and his art. Another fallacy I hear is that Hitler was a "failed artist" who sucked at painting and drawing. What I saw of him isn't bad at all, far better than most of his critics could produce. If you dropped me on the streets of Vienna with brushes and pencils, I doubt I could produce art good enough to sell and live off for four years, even with money from small jobs on the side.


The Vienna period is Adolf's worst period in life (except perhaps for that Berlin bunker). During those years, he lived in utter poverty, in the slums of Vienna. He lived with the poorest of the poor, and knew hunger. This is very important because I know very few world leaders who actually experienced this kind of poverty. I could not name a current world leader who starved in his youth. Because of this, Hitler (you'll notice I use "Hitler" when I mean the man from a point of view that covers his whole life, and just "Adolf" when I mean the young man up to that point in his life) knew what it was to be poor, living among the lowest of the low.


Adolf did two things during that time: painting and reading. Most of his time was devoted to making money (painting and working on construction sites and other jobs of that sort), and reading books. Hitler was very well-read: politics, history, philosophy, literature, etc. From Shakespeare to Schopenhauer, young Adolf was very passionate about books, so passionate that he would regularly prefer to spend money on them, or for a ticket to the opera, rather than on food. He'd starve for a day or two, or more, if that meant he could buy a great book or watch a great opera piece.


Politically, this is a great mix, I find, someone who both reads about politics and makes his own ideas, and who at the same time lives the worst kind of life you can live. Adolf understood the problems of the working class from the inside, the desperate worker who comes back home only to drink himself to oblivion, to forget how meager the food he puts on the table for his family is. All of this is something Hitler saw first hand, for years.


At that time, Hitler did not think of himself as a politician at all. He was an artist who considered himself an artist. Again, how many world leaders do you know who were artists before becoming world leaders? Bill Clinton's saxophone does not count. Working on construction sites, young Adolf met Communists and their political ideas, which he didn't much like. This is how he first started fighting in the political arena, by trying to convince fellow workers of the errors of their ways. Usually in vain, though.


The fascinating part of this period is to imagine that a virtual bum could one day become the Führer. I don't know of any greater social rise than this. From starving artist to dictator. I'm not suggesting you should dominate millions and exterminate other millions, but knowing that it is possible to become so mighty when you started as Hitler did, that's inspiring.


Then the Great War happened. Without this, Adolf might have remained a starving artist for the rest of his life. In his youth, Adolf read history books and was very fond of wars. He dreamed of fighting in such wars and becoming a glorious hero who fought for his people. When 1914 arrived and the Great War began, Adolf exulted. Until then, he had felt deeply sorry for living in his age, where no great wars were fought. He felt he was born a century too late, but now, in 1914, he thanked Fate for the Great War. Adolf managed to get hired in the German army and fought in the trenches. In Mein Kampf, Hitler says rather little about his period in the war, he does not brag at all, and could have, because he fought in a position where people usually don't live over three weeks. He survived the entire war. He was wounded at one point, and had to spend time in a hospital; but as soon as he recovered, he went back to the front! He was under no obligation to, yet came back to the trenches anyway, out of duty.


Then Germany lost the war, and that was Adolf's darkest day (yes, I said the Vienna period was his worst period, period, no Vienna day had been as dark as this day). Coming back home, Adolf was to find a new enemy, Communism.


Reading Mein Kampf, you get to understand that Hitler's primary enemy was Communism. Back then, Fascism and Communism were fighting in the streets, as in Italy, and people were seriously interested and involved in politics. That alone is worth the read, because nowadays, we have no faith in our politicians, and most people don't care very much for politics. But in the early 20th century, the conditions were much harsher, and not having food to eat made people care far more than we ever did about politics. Especially Germany after the defeat of 1918, crushed by the Treaty of Versailles which demanded insane reparations (Germany would have had to pay until 1988 to fulfill these demands), and France's armed invasion of the Ruhr Valley, which was a vital part of Germany's economy, as it was rich with industries and coal mines (according to the Treaty of Versailles, France was not allowed to attack Germany). At this point, the German people realised that the peace was merely disguised war. This gave the German people the fuel necessary to seriously care about politics; many joined Communism, so much so that a "worker" was automatically considered a "Marxist". There was no other alternative for the German worker.


If you have ever wondered why the Nazi party considered itself socialist, you will get your answer in a minute. Back from the war, Adolf was employed as a spy - although he doesn't say so explicitly in the book - and his duty was to check political groups, specifically those suspected of being Communist. This is how, I am told by historians, Adolf eventually came upon a small party called the German Workers' Party. Adolf's first impression was not good at all, but he did not think they were communists. The German Workers' Party had about a dozen members, no more, and they spent their time voting and writing letters, and then voting on how to write letters, and voting on whom to send said letters. The German Workers' Party eventually offered Hitler to join, which he pondered very seriously, and eventually accepted.


As you can see from the name of the party, the idea was to create a national party for the workers, something like an alternative to Communism, which was for workers also, but wholly lacked the patriotic aspect that the German Workers' Party wanted. The idea was that being a worker did not mean you could not be patriotic. This is how the German Workers' Party was born. It was eventually renamed the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, or NSDAP), which in turn came to be known as the Nazi Party. The "socialist" part of the name comes from there, it is only left wing in that it cares for the workers, not at all for political ideas.


From this period onwards, Hitler was fully devoted to politics. He discovered that he could "speak" and gave countless lectures for years, to greater and greater audiences. There are many accounts of important meetings in Mein Kampf, dealing with how Communists systematically tried to ruin any political meeting that wasn't on their side. The tactique was usually to disrupt the meeting so that the police would come and end the meeting. Hitler thought that it was unfair to punish the meeting because of the disruption by others; thus, instead of calling the police, Hitler created the SA, so they would take care of disrupters themselves, which Hitler also saw as a good way to communicate strength and confidence, as hiring the police to protect you and your party was an admission of weakness. The "Reds" still tried to sabotage Nazi meetings, but they usually left with "broken heads" as Hitler likes to say. Hitler believed that terrorism was not to be beaten by intellectual weapons, but by terrorism. Thus, if you tried to disrupt a Nazi meeting, a number of SA members would jump on you and lead you to the door in no uncertain way. Often, there were more Communists in Nazi meetings than Nazis; those meetings were held for the people, not for the party per se, to expose their views and gain support and members. Every party went to the other parties' meetings, to see what was said there, and sometimes to disrupt, heckle, argue, and etc. Hitler didn't systematically silence hecklers, but he prepared every objection a Communist could have to his lecture, and fought back right away at anything anyone might have to say. At other times, Communists didn't think words would work, so they'd count on force alone. Hitler mentions a time when, right in front of him, in the front row all around him (he was giving his speech from a table in the middle of a hall), Communists were ordering beer after beer just to collect glasses, which they gathered under the table. In case you wonder, that's ammunition. At someone's signal, you'd push the table on the side, as a shield, and you'd throw the glasses at people. You know what a glass of beer looks like. It has more argumentative punch than any sentence. That's why Hitler created the SA, to have argumentative force of his own.


Propaganda

Within the early German Workers' Party, Hitler's job was propaganda. His work was to do what graphic designers and marketing people do nowadays. Again, I stress the fact that "propaganda" does not mean "campaign of lies" in this context. Propaganda had been used before, specifically during the Great War, and Hitler learned from it. Germany's propaganda about the English soldiers pictured them as weaklings, in an effort to give confidence to German soldiers. That was a bad move, because when the German soldiers eventually met actual English soldiers, they realised they were no clowns or weaklings. The result was this: they felt their own country had lied to them, and the surprise of an enemy stronger than they had believed was bad news, a blow to the morale. Hitler thought that the enemy's propaganda about them was much more intelligent; German soldiers were compared to "Huns", to savage beasts and the likes, so that when the French soldier met German soldiers, he did not feel deceived. (Not to say that German soldiers were beasts, but in a war, nobody looks civilised.)


The German schools, press, and comic books gradually created an image of the Englishman and his Empire which was bound to lead to fatal self-deception. Everyone was gradually affected by this nonsense and the result was to underestimate our enemy; for that we paid dearly. The misrepresentation was so overwhelming that people firmly believed the Englishman was a businessman whose sharp negotiation skill was equaled only by his incredible personal weakness. Unfortunately, it did not occur to our dignified teachers and dispensers of wisdom that a world empire the size of England's could not be built by stealing and swindling. The few men who sounded a warning were ignored or met with a conspiracy of silence. I can still remember the astonishment on my comrades' faces when we clashed in person with the Tommies [English soldiers] in Flanders. After the first few days of battle, it began to dawn on everyone that these Scotsmen were not the men they had been led to believe and were not like the ones depicted in comic books and newspaper articles. That was when I first began to understand some of the most useful forms of propaganda. (p.145)


Yes, Hitler used the word "comrade", and in fact, the Nazi Party used it too, which annoyed the "Reds". The early Nazi Party also used the colour red for the same purpose, not just to annoy Communists, but because it also lured them into meetings, where many Communists changed their minds after hearing what the Nazis had to say. Red was also the only colour that personified what they stood for, but more later about the flag.


Hitler conceived of propaganda as a tool to be used exclusively on the masses. He thought that using propaganda, which was meant to be very simple, would not work on the intellectuals, that it would only make the party sound simple-minded. This is an area where Hitler had the advantage over all other politicians: he never had as a purpose to sound intelligent to intelligent people only. His purpose was to communicate ideas, and depending on the target, you could not deliver the same material the same way. You could not talk to a room of university professors the same way you talked to a room of factory workers. Hitler did not care for the high class's opinion or the media's, all of which always hated Nazis. He went for the masses. Propaganda was to stress a few points only, over and over. If 12 enemies could be turned into a single entity, all the better. A list of 45 groups of various nationalities that threaten your country is not as striking as "terrorists".


Efficient propaganda requires a fine psychologist, and that Hitler certainly was. The following fragment is an example of it:


At the bottom of their hearts, the great masses of a people are more likely to be misled by their emotions than to be consciously and deliberately bad. In the primitive simplicity of their minds, they will more easily fall victim to a large lie than a small lie, since they sometimes tell petty lies themselves, but would be ashamed to tell a lie that was too big. They would never consider telling a lie of such magnitude themselves, or knowing that it would require such impudence, they would not consider it possible for it to be told by others. (p.205)


Interestingly enough, you probably think this is Hitler's attitude towards his own propaganda and lies, but in fact, what he is talking about here is others' lies. That said, Goebbels said something similar, and that time it was about his own propaganda (Goebbels' mission in the Nazi party was the same as Hitler's in the German Workers' Party, propaganda). You might be shocked to see that Hitler seems to consider the masses like dumbasses, he doesn't exactly think they are idiots at all, nor does he think intelligence and education are always assets for all situations. To Hitler, it all depends on what you need to do. Pragmatism is Hitler's best friend. That is why he never underestimated force; as he says, you can be the most intelligent man and have excellent arguments, but if you're in a meeting with 20 SA idiots around you who will pound your face the moment you try to counter the speaker, you will not be efficient at all. Humans vary widely and wildly, and Hitler's belief was that any individual should do what he does best and seemed to have been made for. For instance, Hitler didn't think intellectuals' role was to fight in the Great War:


We must also keep in mind that any national defence built solely on intellectual ranks is a waste of an irreplaceable treasure. The young German intellectuals who joined the volunteer regiments and met their deaths in the fall of 1914 on the plains of Flanders were missed deeply later. They were the dearest treasure the nation had and their loss was never made good during the war. (p.285)


In other words, people should do what they do best: intellectuals should study and write books, soldiers should fight. This isn't condescending to either in my opinion, and Hitler's, it's just that you need everyone to build something as complex as a nation, or world. And while I'm at it, Hitler had a strong dislike of the condescending attitude people had of physical labour. In Hitler's mind, as in Martin Luther King's with his "street sweeper", every job is important and deserves respect. Without farmers, we'd have nothing to eat; without masons, we'd have no houses; without street sweepers, we'd have streets filled with junk. You probably agree with Hitler on this one. This does not make you a Nazi, rest assured. As I said earlier, I am not a Nazi for having read Mein Kampf, and you are bound to agree with a number of things Hitler believed, none of which bind you to become a racist or antisemite. And if you wonder why I haven't addressed these two issues yet, it is because neither is the bulk of the book. There is racism, which I will address later on, and there definitely is antisemitism, but they deserve their own sub-chapters; just know that when it comes to racism, contrary to popular belief, Hitler was more into loving his own race than hating others'.


Hitler's Core Beliefs

Before moving on to racism and antisemitism, it is required to understand Hitler's world-view. If you don't understand his world-view, you can only motivate Hitler's racism with fear, hate, and the likes, none of which are the real fuel of Hitler's racism and antisemitism. People usually say fear and hate and ignorance are what motivates ideas they don't share, but that rarely is accurate. The atheist sometimes believes fear of death is what motivates the Christian (regardless of the fact that eternity in Hell being tortured sounds more frightening to me than nothingness), the antiracist almost always believes that the racist is simply scared of other races, and the term "homophobe" incarnates that principle too. A "homophobe", etymologically, is someone who fears homosexuality or homosexuals; but the way we use the word is not to mean that, we mean "people who hate homosexuals". You could be scared of homosexuality without hating it, just as you can hate it without fearing it. But I digress. The point being, fear, hate, ignorance, are actually not the sources of Nazism. One influential source of Nazism is actually Charles Darwin.


Hitler was a strong believer in natural selection, Darwin's concept, and his entire world-view is influenced by it. Hitler believed in struggle ("mein kampf" means "my struggle", by the way) and to him, everything is a fight. I can't quite disagree with him on that. If you don't know what natural selection is, it is basically the idea that the strong lives on and the weak dies. It is also referred to as the "survival of the fittest" and Darwin's understanding of evolution.


There is no doubt that the world will some day be the scene of huge battles for the existence of mankind. In the end, the craving for self-preservation alone will triumph. That stupid and cowardly group of humanity that thinks they know more than everyone else will find their humanitarianism melts like snow in the March sun when they face destruction. In eternal battle, mankind can find greatness; in eternal peace, it will find destruction. (p.138)


So yeah, Hitler is no pacifist. And to some extent he is right: the only reason why we have peace in Europe is because these nations are powerful; without the nuclear bomb, I doubt everyone would remain within their borders. There was never peace in Europe for any lengthy period of time before the bomb. And even afterwards in countries who didn't have the bomb. But I digress again. I think Hitler sees peace as just war at rest. To him, there is no real peace until someone has won. Once Nazi Germany has conquered the world, then there is peace, but before that there is not. I once argued with someone who told me with utmost certainty that Germany never had any desire to conquer the world, just parts of Poland and Russia (also knowns as the Lebensraum doctrine, gaining land for the huge German population; Lebensraum literally means "living-room", but not that kind of living-room), that person was wrong. Given Hitler's belief in struggle, there was never any reason to stop at Poland and Russia if more could be had. Germany's population would grow, and eventually they'd need more room, and more room, until the whole world is theirs. If Nazis had found life on other planets, they would have conquered them too.


The fact is that whenever some other group can attack you, they usually do. Even pacifism had to use force to impose itself. If you want to lead your country, and do pacifism, you'll still have to fight for power, and once in power, you'll impose your views on everyone; it doesn't matter that your views are friendly and pacifist, you still had to participate to the exact same struggle everyone else fights in. This is why Hitler considers reason without force useless (and force without reason stupid).


But back to Darwin. Natural selection is the concept that species fight for survival, that the fittest survive and the weakest die. This way, all species are "naturally" honed, sifted, and made better and better. Hitler applies that thought to everything. This is why he is a capitalist although he never actually uses the word; he believes in natural selection the same way capitalists believe in free economy. Let animals in the jungle fight, come back later, and what you find are those who survived and therefore are most apt to exist. The aristocratic principle of Nature is something Hitler looks at with respect; to him, this is how anyone or anything evolves. Every nation who today can be a peace-maker can do so because, in the past, it was a brutal nation. Nations who have always been pacifist and unwilling to conquer other lands don't have this ability. Switzerland is such an example. Switzerland only has a defencive army, and never had any intention to invade anyone else (although cantons were at war some time ago), and as a result, Switzerland is small. Nobody cares what Switzerland has to say beyond common courtesy. The sad reality is that might is right.


This, then, is Hitler's world-view. A world of struggling. And from that, we can tackle racism and antisemitism.


Racism

If you expect to find Hitler dissing every non-Aryan race on the surface of the globe, you will be sorely disappointed. Hitler did not seem to hate other races (apart from Jews) as much as he looked down on them. Hitler believed that the "Aryan" man was the best human on the earth. What is an Aryan? The word is actually a sibling of the word "Iran", and the idea is that the Aryan people is some primeval civilisation, some Indo-European group, who invented everything. The idea, to Hitler, is that only Aryans could create civilisation. He sorts humanity into three groups: those who can create civilisation, those who can maintain it, and those who can neither create nor maintain it. In the first group he places the Aryan, in the second he places the Asian, and in the third pretty much everybody else. I guess Slavic people would be placed in the second group, but I'm not sure; Hitler gives no specific chart of who goes where in his classification.


Problems arise right there. The idea that only "Aryans" created civilisation has to face many a counter and I doubt it can win. If Asian races can only maintain civilisation but not create it, then how do you explain Japan (among others)? What about Incas, Aztecs, Mayas? Well, I think Hitler does have an explanation. Non-Aryan races mingled with Aryans in some very early days of humanity, and got good genes from them. Or something like that.


That is a rather shaky explanation, and it seems to come after the theory rather before; in other words, that's a hole one fills from deduction rather than being a theory resulting from this idea. So, in Nazi theory, some humans struggled excellently throughout the immemorial ages of prehistory, honed by natural selection. This honing process eventually resulted in the Aryan man, which would soon conquer the world (Romans, British, almost Germans, Americans). One must keep in mind the context of the times; for instance, people thought that language was intrinsically bound to race, that an African could never speak French like the French do, and vice versa. Nowadays we know otherwise, but back then, people did not meet other races as much as happens today; that's also why propaganda was able to depict neighbouring countries as this or that, which could not be done today with the extensive media we have.


Mixing races was, to Hitler, literally a sin. He considers it the undoing of natural selection, the wasting of thousands upon thousands of years' work on the part of Nature. As in many other instances, Hitler limits natural selection to just what he likes, but you don't give orders to natural selection, so humans do mix. Nazis held a strong connection between what you are and who you are, by which I mean, your body is a tell-tale sign of your personality. Nazis did not believe that you could be a non-Aryan and be more intelligent than an Aryan, and if you seemed to be, it was only because you were good at appearances. It's all about bodies for Nazis: the first Aryans were pure, honed by natural selection, but contaminated by lesser races. Hitler explains that former civilisations which disappeared probably disappeared because they mixed their blood. For instance, some civilisation (of Aryan descent, naturally) built pyramids, using slaves from a lesser race, but committed the sin of mixing, later on, with said lesser race. What happens, says Hitler, is that the lesser race becomes better through that mixing, but the master race becomes worse, and eventually cannot hold its nation together and everything collapses. I guess that is how Hitler would explain Mayas and Egyptians.


This allows me to tackle another issue I have heard often. "Hitler wasn't even a blue-eyed blond!" I am impressed by your sharp sense of observation. But you're right, he wasn't. From that fact, many assume that Hitler was such a dumbass that he didn't even realise that he didn't fit his own racial theory. You'd be wrong to assume this. In Nazi theory, the German people was not pure anymore, but had been contaminated, notably by the Jews and other lesser races of Europe (naturally, when I say things like "lesser races" and such, I use the Nazi theory and mean that from that theory's point of view, not my own). That is why being blue-eyed and blond wasn't required to be a Nazi. Eugenics was all about "curing" the population from that lesser race pollution, to restore Aryanism and get back on track towards even more honing and natural selection. (On the more occult side of things, some Nazis thought perhaps the later Aryan man would develop super-powers and become semi-gods; that might sound funny, but if you take telepathic people - and we know there's something to it if the CIA and the KGB spent millions on it for years - you could most likely end up with better and better telepaths; same for other undeveloped skills humans have; and I guess that's how evolution works, getting new skills, growing them from a little skill to a stronger skill, etc. None of that semi-god stuff is found in Mein Kampf, though.)


One more word about mixing. Hitler thought of mixing as an inherently wrong thing to do, from a natural standpoint. His example for this is how we mix asses (donkeys) with horses to make mules, who are sterile because of the mixing. This made Hitler think that mixing necessarily disadvantaged the mixed offspring by comparison to the "purer" parents, the donkey and the horse. In this example, Nature does not permit mixing, because the mule is sterile, and cannot reproduce. That is why Hitler thought mixing was a sin against Nature, and even God. The only problem with this theory is that it doesn't make sense. Indeed, a donkey and a horse are from two different species, not races. We commonly use the term "human race", but we're wrong, it's "human species" on the biological hierarchy. Horses are a species, and as such, it includes many races. Humans are a species, and as such, it includes many races, all of which can mix, just like for other species. Mixed humans are not sterile, thus not penalised by Nature for mixing, unlike the mule.


Antisemitism

Whereas there isn't a whole lot about racism, there is a tad more about Jews in the book, but probably not as much as the average person would expect. At first, there is nothing about Jews in Mein Kampf, and the first mention of Jews finds Hitler defending them! Well, not quite. Read this:


The city of Linz only had a few Jews. In the course of centuries, they had become outwardly Europeanised and looked human. In fact, I even thought they were Germans. I did not realise the nonsense behind this notion because I believed their only distinguishing mark was a strange religion. Persecution for their religion and hostile comments against them often brought my objection in return. I had no idea that organised hostility against the Jews even existed. [...] The tone of the anti-Semitic press in Vienna seemed unworthy of the cultural tradition of a great people. (p.80)


I always giggle when Hitler is surprised that Jews "looked human". This passage is interesting in that it shows the kind of context people lived in. Antisemitic press? Can you imagine that today? No. By law such a press cannot exist. We live in different times, and for younger generations, mine included, we have no idea how things were before WW2. The world was antisemitic all the way up to World War 2, it's very important to keep this in mind. Jews have been kicked around for over 2000 years, and until 1948, did not have a country of their own. Enslaved by Egyptians, persecuted by Romans, driven away, and even nationally expulsed! In 1492, Spain decided that all Jews should be kicked off the country - this is known as the Spanish Expulsion, and it is an impressive example of the degree of antisemitism Europe lived in. Hitler did not invent antisemitism, he came last in a long tradition.


As we saw, Hitler, at first, did not think much of Jews except that he found it unfair how they were treated for their religion. He didn't think they were a different race and considered them Germans like any other Germans. Then it changed. One thing that undoubtedly impacted Hitler was The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a book that basically outlines the Jews' plan to conquer the world. That book is considered to be a forgery today and was already denounced as such in Hitler's time, but since it was Jews who claimed it was fake, Hitler thought it was the best proof that it was genuine. This is typical conspiracy theory rhetorics, and the Jews were definitely Hitler's very own personal conspiracy theory. When Hitler's buttered bread fell on the buttered side, it was the Jews. You know, gravity, Einstein and stuff.


In Mein Kampf, Hitler devotes a whole part to the Jews' history, divided by letters of the alphabet. In this, he explains how the Jews, or "the Jew", decided to infiltrate other nations and be a parasite to them. Infiltrating nations was a way to create a supranational state, a state within the state, and that way to gain control of every nation they lived in. It obviously didn't work in Spain but I guess that's because the Spaniards had enough Aryan blood left in them. (In case you wonder, or don't notice, I am using polyphony; what's that? It's the art of using more than one voice in a sentence; I speak with a Nazi mouth without actually being a Nazi, I speak for Nazis, see? That's what they would say. There is polyphony in the following sentence: "I'm an idiot but I can find better solutions than you?" that example is typically a response to someone else calling that person an idiot, and the person, in this response, refers to that with "I'm an idiot", in which the person does not actually agree with it or take responsibility for it, because it's not that person's thought. Enough linguistics for now.) Thus, Hitler viewed "the Jew" as a sneaky tribe trying to conquer the world. He thinks Jews mixed with Aryans to lessen their Aryanism but kept themselves pure of Aryan blood. The idea is that while the Aryan is beautiful, strong, mighty, the Jew is a cunning swindler whose wits for theft and conning are sharper than the Aryan's.


This sets the floor for the next topic, Communism.


Communism as "the Jew's" Weapon of World Domination

Because of Communism's antinational policies (favouring a social class within a nation rather than the whole nation), Nazis thought that Communism was a Jewish trick to weaken nations and bring them all down into a one-government world, a New World Order if you want. Karl Marx was Jewish, which didn't help any. In fact, it is my belief that Hitler hated Communism infinitely more than Jews, but because he thought Communism was Jewish, his hatred of Communism was one with his hatred of the Jews. In other words, if Communism had not been tied to Jews, I am not sure Hitler would have become antisemitic. Keep in mind that the Nazi Party was an answer to the Communist Revolution in Germany, not an answer to Jews. Jews were only perceived as enemies because of Communism and the defeat of 1918, for which they were considered responsible.


While Hitler has a worse reputation than Stalin, and Fascism a worse reputation than Communism, one must not forget that over 100 million people were murdered (I consider starving a people murder too) in various Communist regimes; I guess you look better when you exterminate your own people. Was Fascism better than Communism? The only reason we doubt this is because of the Holocaust, remove that and there's no question (well, not exactly...). This is a good moment to say that Mein Kampf does not contain anything about the infamous Final Solution. Hitler does not suggest that Jews should all die or that other races should be exterminated (although it is suggested that lesser races fare better as slaves, and from other sources, I know that the Nazi plan for said lesser races was indeed to use them as slaves). The book was written in 1925, the Party was not small at that time, but not powerful as it would become. I'll come back to this later on.


Communism was hated by Nazis because it was perceived as a world menace, with "the Jew" as the puppeteer, which threatened to behead every national state, using the working class, so that all countries would be on their knees before the Marxist movement; and when there are no countries left to fight back, that's when you got a New World Order led by "the Jew", in secret, making workers believe they are in control when they are only used against their own countries and against themselves. That is what Nazis thought of Communism, roughly.


Moreover, Hitler thought the Jews were a materialist race, with no spirituality, no art, and no culture. Marx's materialism did not help change Hitler's mind with his (Marx's) world-view. For Marx, it's all about the money and class struggle, all spirituality is opium and you'd be a dumbass to fight for ideals when you can fight for food. (Polyphony, see?) Communism has always been violently opposed to spirituality (I know you'd be less upset if I used the word "religion", but spirituality covers more adequately the ground that Communism, as a materialist doctrine, hates), whereas Nazism was not against religions. Hitler often refers to God in Mein Kampf, although that wouldn't be the sort of Christianity most Christians believe in. If you're interested in this, look up "positive Christianity", which is how historians call Nazi Christianity, and I guess is what the KKK believes in too. When it comes to religion, Hitler specifically keeps it out of the discussion in Mein Kampf, merely saying that Catholic or Protestant, the Nazi movement has no business having an opinion on it (in Europe, Christians are usually either Catholic or Protestant, unlike America where you have Catholics and about fifty billion Protestant movements).


If Hitler lived today, he would probably feel very concerned about globalisation, which would look to him as dangerous as Communism (perhaps, that's a wild guess on my part only). The world does not bend the knee to Communism, but it sure as Hell bends its knee to money. Not ideals, not nations, but money.


More and more, the individual nations began to resemble businesses that mutually undercut one another, stole customers and orders, and tried to outwit each other in every way, while making protests as loud as they were harmless. This development not only seemed to progress, but it was generally hoped it would some day transform the world into one huge department store where the reception area would for all time display statues of the most skillful manipulators and most harmless executives. (p.153)


Doesn't that sound like our world? One huge department store? It is just that. I'll develop on that in the next part.


Nations and Nationalism

It has become trendy to scorn patriotism. Even intelligent people like Bill Hicks or Oliver Stone hate patriotism (well, hated, in the case of Hicks). They, like most antipatriotists, think that patriotism is about believing your country is the best because you were born in it. I hold that belief to be quite ridiculous and far off the mark. To me, patriotism is being supportive of the nation in which you live. It doesn't matter where you live, you should support that system and respect the people who worked, fought, and died so this nation could live. I don't see patriotism as against other nations, I believe in healthy competition, and patriots are usually the ones who respect other countries most because it means something to them to belong to a country, and the notion of nation is not a joke to them. Also, I don't think one can truly help the world if one can't help his country first; skipping the nation rung on the ladder of the universe may not be a clever move. A nation can do more for another nation than the single individual ever could.


Hitler was extremely patriotic, as all Nazis were. At the end of Word War 2, Hitler was penniless (and mostly dead), which goes to show how devoted he was to his cause (whereas that fatass G�ring enriched himself all the time, by stealing precious paintings from vanquished countries, among other war crimes). Hitler did not do what he did for himself or for his ego. He did believe a nation needed a charismatic leader, a face, someone who would incarnate the nation as a single individual, and he believed power should be as concentrated as possible, ultimately in one single man, because Hitler believed in individuals and not parliaments (more on this later). It was not ego that made him become the F�hrer. Reading Mein Kampf, you realise this is no egomaniac. An egotist would have described his war time in details and at length, Hitler doesn't even mention the medals he won there or what an extraordinary soldier he had been (again, all historians agree, Hitler was truly a heroic fighter, and one of the few world leaders who actually knew in his flesh what he sent his own soldiers to).


Back to countries. What about countries? Hitler did not believe in small countries. A small country, to him, is an invitation to invasion. It'd be easier to invade Switzerland than it would be to invade the United States of America, if only because of the difference in size. Invading America would require a prodigious amount of military units, whereas invading Switzerland and its little land would not be very difficult. That is one reason why Hitler wanted to gain land in the East (the Lebensraum doctrine).


Nationalism, in the Nazi mind, was a better ideal than money. "Just as economics became the ruling mistress of the state, money became the God all had to serve and before whom all had to bow down. More and more, the Gods of Heaven were put on the shelf as antiquated and worn out." (p.207) This is another reason why Nazis hated Communism. Ultimately, Communism has no higher ideals than money, and as Hitler says on a page I can't find anymore, people die for ideals, not money. Money is pretty useless once you're dead, but many would die to protect their friends, family, or country, or even world if we were at war with aliens.


Another thing about Hitler's vision of what a nation should be is that a country should be able to feed itself, that is, to be truly independent. By extension, this means a nation should produce itself everything it uses. If you removed everything that wasn't made in your own nation from your house, I surmise you would not be left with much. While immigration of people constantly raises discussions, immigration of goods is common place and undiscussed. That's obvious to us all nowadays, but it is only that way because our leaders decided it to be that way. If nations tried to be more independent, companies would not relocate, jobs would not go abroad. All you need to do is forbid goods that were produced in one country to be sold in another. That way the exploitation of third world countries for their cheap work force would not happen, and the swindling of customers in the countries where these products are sold would not happen either. None of this is to be read in Mein Kampf, though, but I felt like sharing. Can your country feed itself? Mine cannot, and does not. In fact, I don't know of any country that does. Why is this important to Hitler? Precisely because once you make your nation dependent on others, you're tied in your decisions. Look at the US and the impressive amount of money they owe to China. Imagine China is involved in a conflict, what are the US going to do about it when they owe China so much? The entire world has a problem complaining about China because most of the stuff they buy was made in China. No China, no cheap products. And since money rules the earth, countries would rather stay in good terms with China. All nations are currently so entangled in deals with every other nation in the world that none of them can make a single decision without considering these deals. We have become this "one huge department store" Hitler was afraid the world was becoming. As nations, we can no longer survive without each other, and while that sounds like a good thing, it isn't. This way, we'll stand or fall together. Possibly this could make for a more peaceful world, but that's only at the price of being weak nations. It's also at the expense of many countries; only corporations actually gain from this situation: they get cheap work force frome some countries, and they get to sell their products at expensive prices in other countries. It's a total deal for them, but a complete swindle for people in the countries that produce the goods, and people in the countries that buy the goods. If your economy survives only because China is there to support it, I would consider that a great national shame. In other words, there is no success in being functional if that is done at the price of being China's little bitch. Without a national vision, without wanting to make your nation strong and independent, it is bound to follow the way of money and cheap deals, and that is the way of most nations right now. That is why our leaders don't mind corporations exploiting the difference between countries to make the most from this gap.


The Individual as the Basis of Everything

Nazis were violently opposed to parliamentarism. Parliamentarism is basically democracy, in which the majority wins. Hitler had more faith in the individual than any given group, "Never forget that a majority cannot replace a man. [...] A hundred cowards do not make a hero any more than a hundred fools make a wise man." (p.101). In his Vienna days, Hitler attended political meetings often, the official government's meetings, and it was there that he realised how foolish parliamentarism seemed to be.


Hitler thought that parliamentarism encouraged cowardice and attracted unqualified politicians. To paraphrase him, politicians in parliaments spent more time convincing others to vote their idea than they worked on said ideas; the point was to share the guilt in case of an error. If 500 men voted a law, and that law was catastrophic, then 500 men are responsible, which means that nobody was responsible and nobody would have to pay, because nobody will go after the 500 individual men. Hitler wanted absolute power for the leader, accompanied by absolute responsibility. This would make would-be politicians who were not brave think twice before taking on such responsibility. Thus, the Nazi Party was organised with leadership and responsibility: every leader on every level had absolute power over those below, but also absolute responsibility towards those above. If you make a mistake, it is yours and yours alone, since you had full power and nobody else had it but you. Ironically, the early Nazi Party functioned like a parliament; members voted, and everyone had a say on everyone else's work, even if it was not their domain at all. Hitler, in charge of propaganda, did not much appreciate that an accountant thought he had anything to say about his propaganda work, just as Hitler didn't think he himself had anything to say about the accountant's job, considering he knew nothing about accounting. Because of that, Hitler soon stopped going to these meetings, and once he gained more power within the party, he cancelled them altogether.


In this, we find the Führer concept, the leader concept, centered on the individual. The individual is of utmost importance to Nazis. It is in the individual that humanity finds its greatness; it is always the individual who makes great discoveries, who writes great books, who thinks great thoughts. For this reason, the Nazi Party thought it would be better for a nation to be led by experts, rather than by majority. Even modern democracies agree with this principle, even if only tacitly. Take America. It's called a democracy, but what it really is is a republic. A democratic republic, yes, but still a republic. If I am not mistaken, a republic is a nation where people vote for a select group of politicians who then are supposed to vote in the name of the people who elected them. That is why in America, you vote for people and never vote for anything else. In Switzerland, for instance, people vote on actual laws and have the possibility to propose new laws themselves, through petitions. That is called direct democracy. To be honest, it is perhaps better for experts to vote on subjects they know and understand more deeply than the rest of the population would. That said, it is one tricky topic, as giving up your political power to others may not always benefit you, or others.


Just as Hitler believed in natural selection and survival of the fittest, he also believed in enabling geniuses to strive in positions where they can do their best, and not just geniuses, really everyone. The natural leader should be a leader, the natural intellectual should be one, the natural soldier should be one, so on and so forth. Hitler is fond of saying that human law is above state law, which is another way to say that the ways of Nature are above everything, which is another way to say that might is right. Indeed, by force you can take over a government and change its laws.


Signs of the Holocaust?

If you had read Mein Kampf in 1925, you could not have foretold of the Shoah. Reading it in 2010, you cannot really make the connection obvious either. That said, I found two passages which could be interpreted as announcers of the Holocaust, but the first would be quite a stretch, and the second is most likely just a confusion of reference.


Yes, Hitler shows no love for Jews in his book - or "the Jew", since they're all the same (polyphony!). Hitler often refers to Jews as "the international Jew". But from Hitler's dislike of Jews to the physical extermination of them is one enormous step nobody in 1925 would have thought of taking. The Holocaust is one of the very few first in history; no nation before Germany had a plan to exterminate a group of humans for the sole sake of its destruction. That said, the German people did not know about the death camps until after the war, and the Nazis did all they could to keep it a secret (except for diary entries talking about it, records of how many people went to which death camp, zyklon B invoices, and the rest). if Hitler had the Holocaust in mind at the time of writing Mein Kampf, he did not share it. Likely, the Nazis did not originally intend to physically exterminate Jews, as is shown by their first decision to "merely" drive them away from Germany, as Spain did in 1492. Jews were to be used as free work force - also known as slavery - in camps. Nazis even considered gathering all of them on the island of Madagascar. (None of this stuff comes from Mein Kampf, I just reminisce from history class.) Hitler did not believe Jews actually wanted to have a country; he did not believe Zionists meant it. Hitler thought "the international Jew" wanted to remain a parasite in as many countries as he could be in. I guess he would be surprised to know that Jews have their own country now, and even more surprised to know that it's mostly thanks to himself. Physical extermination, I think, became the plan once Germany realised it was not going to win the war, and that its Jewish slaves would be freed. At that point, the Final Solution appeared. I haven't done any research on this point for the purpose of this chapter, so don't quote me on that, I could be wrong.


The first passage that could lead one to think Hitler had the Holocaust in mind is the following:


Wavering judgement is the enemy that will halt our advance when we need to use the most brutal weapon against a criminal group that is hostile to the state. This uncertainty results from a feeling of personal guilt and responsibility for the tragic decline of society. Uncertainty cripples any serious and firm resolve and results in opinions swaying from one side to the other, leaving any decision that is made weak and half done, even when it comes to the most essential measures of self-preservation. Only when there comes an age not haunted by the shadow of its own guilt will there be both the inward calm and the outer strength, which can brutally and ruthlessly prune the dead limbs and uproot the weeds in our society's garden. (p.65)


That passage is not part of a chapter about Jews, but humanity in general, species, etc. Given the context in which I expose it, you might feel far more convinced that it is indeed foreshadowing the Holocaust than you would if you had read it in the context it has inside the book. Pruning dead limbs and uprooting weeds is a metaphor that nobody would have thought meant gassing humans and burning them. I still think it's a stretch to assume this metaphor meant that, and I don't think anybody imagined this would ever mean that in 1925. In retrospect, the Holocaust does find its origin in the same thought that produced the above passage, but in "prospect", one couldn't have foretold of the Holocaust, I don't think. When it comes to eugenics, I don't think one could have foretold of the assassination of mentally handicapped Germans either from that passage, especially not given what Hitler says later on about how Germans with some hereditary flaws are noble and praise-worthy when they abstain from having children so that their flaws do not get passed to the next generation. Hitler never mentions actually exterminating handicapped people, which Nazis did once in power. But yes, the idea that one must get rid of "guilt" and do seemingly cruel things is what comes out of this passage and others in Mein Kampf. The idea is that the sacrifices of today will benefit countless generations in the future - sacrifices are always easier when they are done by others. In short, it may not be pleasant to kill mentally handicapped people (not to mention the unpleasantness of being one and being gassed to death), but in the long run, people will benefit from it, or so goes the theory. Keep in mind that many things that we don't consider physical were assumed to be very physical in the Nazi mind, such as propencity to crime, to alcoholism, and the likes. By eliminating alcoholics, in theory, you'd eventually end up with an alcoholic-free society. That's probably a faulty theory; on the other hand, eliminating Jews was sure to make a Jew-free society.


The other passage occurs near the end of book. I will show it to you, and then I will clear up something about it which you will probably misunderstand, or not, I don't know you after all:


If at the beginning and during the war [WW1] twelve or fifteen thousand of these Hebrew corrupters of the people would have been put under poisonous gas, like hundreds of thousands of our very best German workers of all classes on the battlefield had to endure, then the sacrifice of millions at the front would not have been in vain. (p.550)


Well, actually, Hitler clears it up himself and I forgot he had. Reading this with knowledge of the Holocaust is indeed striking. The "poisonous gas" mentioned by Hitler is a reference to the sorts of gas used during World War I, like mustard gas and the likes; that is what he refers to, and I don't think he already thought of using gas to kill Jews. That is a mere coincidence, although a scary one. (Nazis did not start killing Jews with gas, at first they used bullets, until it got too costly, at which point someone, not even Hitler, figured they could use exhaust gas from trucks; special trucks were designed for this, and eventually the concept was developed into gas chambers, and exhaust was replaced with zyklon B, a gas formerly used to kill rats, I think.) So yes, I do think it was merely a coincidence, albeit a chilling one.


The Body

Hitler had very original views about the body for the time; for instance, he thought physical education was sorely underused in schools and universities. He didn't think anyone should stop practicing sports, and that a sound mind could only live in a sound body. Hitler would have made children spend 50% of their school time doing sports, rather than learn by heart stuff they would forget shortly. Specifically, Hitler favoured boxing and ju-jitsu. I'm not kidding. Boxing was considered by Hitler the best school for character. I don't disagree. I think it would be empowering to everyone to know what sort of person they are in a fight. To experience your own strength is a good thing, and to experience your weakness is good too, you get to know your abilities and limits, and experiencing getting your ass kicked makes you less afraid of getting your ass kicked.


On top of that, Hitler was against long sleeves and pants in the Summer. Presumably, short-sleeves and shorts were considered indecent at the time, revealing too much flesh. Hitler was in favour of less clothing and more ease in one's Summer clothes. Nazis were no prudes when it came to the body; maybe you saw Leni Riefenstahl's movies, if you did, you know what I'm talking about. Nazis had a Grecian approach to the body, basically; not ashamed of it, proud to be hot (unless you're fatass Göring).


Hitler was also in favour of lowering the age of marriage (which was over 20 back then), so that young Germans would not discover the mysteries of love with a big city whore (this is an actual quote, as verbatim as I can remember).


Art

As an artist, Hitler looked down on modern art like Cubism, Dadaism, Futurism, and the likes. These movements were perceived by him to be more destructive than anything, and made a mockery of fine arts. Moreover, all these movements were political. Dadaism was violently opposed to nationalism and other traditional values such as family and religion. Surrealism was Communist (Dalì got banned from the group because he painted Lenin, I think, and André Breton fired him, even though Breton had always said Surrealism was all about being as free as an artist as a dreamer was free to dream, no matter what the dream was about, it wasn't the dreamer's fault, but obviously you weren't allowed to dream of Lenin). But let's see what Hitler had to say about the subject.


The more vile and contemptible the products an age and its men are, the more they despise and disparage the achievements of past greats. These people would prefer to destroy mankind's memory of these past works so they could eliminate any chance that their own filthy spatters might be compared to true greats. Only by removing this standard for comparison can they make their own trash appear to be "art".

The more despicable and wretched a new movement is, the more it will try to extinguish every last trace of the past. Any truly innovative movement that is for the benefit of mankind will stand indisturbed beside the achievements of past generations. The existence of the monuments of great works of the past will enhance and encourage the acceptance of the modern productions if they are worthy. In fact, comparison with the greats may even show for the first time the full value of these new products. True quality works have no reason to fear that they will fade when compared to works of the past.

A new work contributes to the general fund of human culture by preserving the memory of earlier achievements, and only through that history can its own value be fully recognised. This history assures the full understanding of the new advance by its audience. He who has nothing of value to give the world and tries to pass of Heaven knows what as art will hate all existing contributions which have value and will seek to oppose or even destroy them.

[...]

A truly productive movement will always begin to build on the spot where the last good foundation stopped. (p.228)


Flags

Germany did not always have the flag it has today - the black, red, and gold flag, layered horizontally. The German Empire (1871 to 1918) had a different flag. It was black, white, and red, layered horizontally. When Hitler wanted to create a new flag for the movement (and nation), he decided to use the colours of the imperial flag, black, white, and red. Hitler despised the Weimar Republic and its flag (which is the flag Germany uses today, although that flag was already in use before the imperial Germany).


Talking about the new flag, Hitler mentions that most of the members' propositions for a new flag included the swastika, but he does not explain why that is. Why would most of them come up with the swastika? There is no explanation of how and why it was chosen in Mein Kampf; suddenly, swastikas. I assume it must have been used or at least talked of before Hitler chose to incorporate it in his new flag. Either way, the Nazi flag was designed by Hitler himself:


[A]fter countless attempts, I had finally drawn the final form. It was a flag with a red background, and a white disk with a swastika in the middle. After many experiments, I also established a balance between the size of the flag and the size of the white disk as well as the shape and thickness of the swastika lines. (p.408)


The Nazi embodied the party's program: the red stands for the socialist ideas of the movement, the white stands for nationalism, and the black swastika stands for the Aryan's mission in the race struggle.


Conclusion?

My first conclusion is that this chapter is far too long. I seem to have underestimated what I could say about Mein Kampf. The point is that book is very rich and dense with subjects and things you could discuss forever. I did not even touch upon all I wanted to talk about. My purpose was to produce some sort of an introduction to the book to those who were curious but had no desire to take the time to read it, or hadn't thought of looking it up. Do I recommend it? If you are a history buff, definitely. Even if you are mostly into politics, this is a good book. You may not agree with it, but that's not a bad thing at all: disagreeing will strengthen your own positions, and that's not a bad thing. Hitler embraced opposition by seeing it as a test and a means to become better and more efficient, just like natural selection. In his mind, a political movement deserved to die if it could not win, that is partly why he was never scared of failure. If he failed, he deserved to. He thought the same of Germany in its final Nazi days: if the German nation could not win this war, it deserved to die altogether (polyphony!). If Hitler lived today, he would probably say that Japan should invade everyone else with mechas and become the master race. Maybe you will find this unlikely, but I think if Hitler lived today, he would not be a racist; with what we know, biologically and historically, he could not hold these beliefs anymore, and Hitler was no stupid man. Perhaps I am wrong.


Does reading Mein Kampf turn you into a Nazi? No. I don't feel one bit more Nazi than I was before. And I don't regret reading the book; it gave me a deeper understanding of Nazism and Hitler from the inside, from the very source, and that is precious knowledge. I can no longer watch documentaries and look at Hitler like he is some sort of superhuman evil entity - he has become more familiar to me because I have read his very words for countless hours across 560 pages. I know how he speaks, how he thinks. Is all mystery cleared up? No. Far from that, but Adolf Hitler is no complete stranger to me anymore.


Mein Kampf has no arguments in favour of racism or antisemitism. It doesn't even try to prove Aryan superiority beyond a very subjective interpretation of world history backed up by nothing. Same with antisemitism, you won't find any convincing argument that there is some international Jewish conspiracy, for Hitler gives none. Because of these reasons, you cannot possibly turn into a racist or antisemite for reading Mein Kampf, there is nothing in there to convince you. The only argument for Aryanism is basically a statement on the states of nations at the time of Hitler: Europe and North America are developed, Africa is not, therefore the white man is superior. That's about it. And also, if Asian countries do well, it's because they have some white blood in them (polyphony!). Nothing very convincing or very true. Nazis believed that Aryans originated in the East, perhaps even in Tibet (hence Himmler's passion for Tibet and the many expeditions there, which Hitler found ridiculous and a waste of money).


The most famous aspects of Mein Kampf are also the least interesting in the book. The racism and antisemitism were not especially interesting or elaborate (even with a Nazi version of Jewish history). Far more interesting is the rise of Adolf Hitler from being a poor starving painter to absolute dictator. It's also fascinating to discover that period of time (meaning 1918 to 1925, before Nazis were in power) from the mouth of someone who was there and was very involved in the historical and political meaning of everything. These were troubled times, the great defeat of Germany in 1918 and the impossible conditions its victors demanded from it; all of this contributed to the rise of Nazism. It gave people the anger and fuel required to launch into the Nazi project. That and Communism. Nazism would never work today for several reasons: the masses don't care enough about politics (democratic countries rarely have more than half the population care enough to actually vote, absentees are legion), the current paradigm regarding races and war would never allow such a party to gain any massive support. Back then, racism and antisemitism were not uncommon at all, but today, any political movement which would incorporate either of these would be instantly discredited. Even parties who are merely accused of either get discredited in the eyes of many, even if there is no sound basis for this slander. Neo-Nazis are a marginal movement, and they have zero influence on any political system. No Neo-Nazi group is registered as an actual political party, and last I checked, none of them has any seats anywhere. For these reasons, I'm not very concerned about a return of Nazism.


I shall now conclude this chapter with a series of random quotes, taken from the book, that I had no time or space to discuss, but thought you might like to read.


Every negative event in the world can be turned into a positive one. Every defeat may father a later victory. Every lost war may be the cause of a later resurgence. Every distress may inspire a new surge in man's willpower. A new spiritual rebirth may spring from every oppression [...]. (p.280) [Intellectual honesty forces me to admit that Adolf ruins this awesome quote by adding the words "but this can only occur as long as the racial blood is kept pure". These are the words I hid in my "[...]".


[The individual] can accomplish great goals only by taking one step at a time. He must concentrate all his efforts on the accomplishment of a certain limited task, and he must not waiver to another task or weaken his resolve until it has been achieved, and only then can the next stage be attacked. (p.219)


Nature does not focus on preserving what exists; nature concentrates on breeding a new generation to perpetuate the species. (p.64-65)


[A]ll humans values are based on personal values. (p.299)


As a matter of principle, the [Nazi] movement must train its members to regard struggle as something that they are actually striving for and not as something to casually engage in out of necessity. They must not fear the hostility their enemy directs towards them, but must regard it as the justification for their own right right to exist. They must not try to avoid the hatred of the enemies to our nationality and our philosophy, but they should embrace that hatred. (p.299)


This gentleman [Harrer, chairman of the Nazi party at one time], otherwise a good gentleman beyond any doubt, was convinced that I might be able to do a lot of things, but speaking was not one of them. Afterwards, he was still of the same opinion. (p.302)


Terrorism is not overcome by intellect, but by terrorism. (p.304)


It is safe to say that man lives to serve higher ideals, but that these higher ideals also are the essentials for his existence as a man. The circle is complete. (p.319)


In the first place, children's brains should not be burdened with things they will not need or with things that they will forget. Almost ninety-five percent of what they are taught is forgotten. (p.349)


The thought is positively insufferable that hundreds of thousands of absolutely untalented persons are thought worthy of higher education every year, while other hundreds of thousands who are highly gifted go without any advanved education at all. The loss the nation suffers because of this discrepancy is immeasurable. The wealth of important inventions created during the last few decades has shown an extraordinary increase, particularly in North America, because many more talented people from the lower classes have a chance at higher education there than they have in Europe. (p.359)


The greatest inventions, the greatest discoveries, the most revolutionary scientific work, and the most splendid monuments of human civilisation were not given to the world out of a compulsion for money. On the contrary, their creation frequently represented a rejection of the earthly pleasures of wealth. (p.363)


Many men in history have been stoned for actions that future generations fell to their knees and thanked them for carrying through. (p.385)


I must measure a statesman's speeches to his people by the effect they have on his people and not by the impression they make on a university professor. (p.393)


If reason remains silent, then violence has the last word. (p.404)


[A]ll the wisdom in the world would fail if it is not backed up by strength to protect and defend it. [...] [E]very greet deed of peace requires the protection and assistance of strength. (p.404)


Every national body can be divided into three classes. First, there is the best of mankind who are good because they possess strong civil virtues and are especially distinguished by courage and take pleasure in self-sacrifice. Second, and at the other extreme, are the worst scum of mankind who are bad in the sense that they exist to indulge in every selfish impulse and vice. Between the two extremes lies a third class. This is the large, most broad group that exhibits neither a gleaming heroism nor a mean criminal temper. (p.424)


As history has frequently shown, the most important thinkers have died as the result of a blow by the most insignificant slave. (p.437)


We frequently see that men who at first appear insignificant turn out to be born leaders. (p.470)


The National-Socialist State does not recognise any "social classes" and seeks a class-free society. [...] The National-Socialist employee must understand that the prosperity of the national economic structure means his own material prosperity. The National-Socialist employer must understand that the happiness and the contentment of his employees form the foundation for the development of his own economic strength. (p.486)


It is not the task of diplomacy to see that a nation dies heroically, but to make certain it survives using any practical means available. Every road that leads toward that goal of survival is valid, and failure to follow that path is a criminal neglect of duty. (p.498)


[T]he first, essential principle to all success: whatever you do, do it thoroughly. (p.514)


A healthy relationship only exists when the nutritional needs of a nation are met through its own territory and soil. (p.520)


Everywhere, we can see how one being fed upon another and the death of the weaker means life for the stronger. (p.547)


We do not learn history in order to know what has happened in the past, but we learn history so that it may be our guide for the future. (p.352)


©Nicolas