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Mein Kampf, the philosophical autobiography of Hitler

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The first volume of Mein Kampf, the philosophical autobiography of Adolf Hitler, was published on July 18, 1925.

Mein Kampf was clearly a blueprint of Hitler’s agenda for Germany and the Third Reich and a clear indication of what Europe would go through from 1939 to 1945.

Mein Kampf is a book by Hitler, but he did not sit down and write it. It was during his prison stay in Landsberg in 1923-1924, he dictated it to Rudolf Hess, a fellow mate. Therefore reading it is almost like listening to Hitler talk. He and his companions were in prison for the infamous Beer Hall Putsch, where they had attempted to stage a coup and take control of the government in Bavaria. The coup failed, and Hitler was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment, which he served only for nine months.

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The first Volume of Mein Kampf is subtitled ‘A Reckoning’ and is a hundred page account of what according to Hitler were the problems troubling Germany, the French who were interested in crippling Germany, the influence of the minion races, especially the Jews and the need to expand into Russia. His repulsion towards the Jews and all those whom he considered inferior is very evident from these lines from Mein Kampf – “it (Nazi philosophy) by no means believes in an equality of races, but along with their difference it recognizes their higher or lesser value and feels itself obligated to promote the victory of the better and stronger, and demand the subordination of the inferior and weaker in accordance with the eternal will that dominates this universe.” He elaborated on the need for an authoritarian rule in Germany. “There must be no majority decisions, but only responsible persons. Surely every man will have advisers…. But the decision will be made by one man.”

Through this book, Hitler had already laid out his full political agenda almost fourteen years before the Second World War began.
The original title chosen by Hitler for the book was ‘Four and a Half Years of Struggle against Lies, Stupidity and Cowardice’. But his publisher shortened it to ‘Mein Kampf’, which means My Struggle or My Battle.

When it was first published, Mein Kampf didn’t have many takers. It sold very poorly in its first year. But when Hitler became the Chancellor of Germany, the sales rocketed. It was considered a matter of pride to own a copy, and even newlyweds were gifted one!

 

Text by Tasneem Dhinojwala

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