On This Day

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Associated Press

On This Day: Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” Published

July 18, 2011 06:00 AM
by Denis Cummings
On July 18, 1925, the first volume of Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” was released in Germany.

“Die Abrechnung” Released

“Mein Kampf,” meaning “My Struggle,” detailed the life, ideology and aspirations of the future fuehrer of Nazi Germany.

The first volume, titled “Die Abrechnung” (“The Reckoning” or “The Revenge”), was dictated by Adolf Hitler to secretary Rudolph Hess in 1924, while Hitler was serving time in prison for leading a coup against the government. It was originally titled “Four Years of Struggle against Lies, Stupidity, and Cowardice,” but that was changed to “My Struggle” by the publisher.

Hitler believed in the superiority of the Aryan race, whose duty it was to dominate the lesser races of the world. At the bottom of the racial hierarchy were “gypsies” and Jews, who needed to be subjugated or exterminated to ensure the purity of the Aryans.

“Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord,” he said.

The book also detailed Hitler’s aspirations to build up Germany into an empire and destroy Marxism, a movement he believed was the work of the Jews. He proposed conquering the governments in Eastern Europe and Russia, and using the land, known as “Lebenstraum,” for German settlement.

The second volume, “Die Nationalsozialistische Bewegung” (“The National Socialist Movement”), was written after his release from prison December 1924 and published in December 1926. It described in detail his plans for taking control of Germany and creating the Third Reich.

“Mein Kampf” was long, rambling and full of confusing tangents; even Hitler’s most ardent followers found it difficult to read. It was “appropriately deemed turgid, repetitious, wandering, illogical, and, in the first edition at least, filled with grammatical errors—all reflecting a half-educated man,” writes Encyclopedia Britannica.

The book sold poorly until 1933, when Hitler became chancellor, and later “fuehrer,” of Germany, and Germans began to buy the book in support of their leader.

As fuehrer, Hitler acted upon many of the goals laid out in the book, conquering many countries and launching a campaign of genocide against Jews and other “lesser races.”

“Those revelations concerning the nature of his character and his blueprint for Germany's future served as a warning to the world,” says History Place. “A warning that was mostly ignored.”

Background: Inspiration for “Mein Kampf”

Adolf Hitler served in the German Army during World War I and was lying in a hospital bed as Germany surrendered. Embarrassed and devastated by the surrender, he blamed traitors in the government for giving up before the army had been beaten.

He joined the German Workers’ Party, rose to become its leader and renamed it the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) Party, also known as the Nazi Party. He set out to remove the government of the people he believed responsible for losing the war, targeting Jews and communists.

Many of the beliefs later espoused in “Mein Kampf” were seen in the 25 points, a document released by the Nazi Party in 1920. It called for the reunification of a Germany for Germans only; Jews and foreigners would not be granted the rights of citizens. It also included many socialist concepts in order to appeal to the German working class.
On Nov. 8, 1923, Hitler led some 3,000 SA troopers into a Munich beer hall and attempted a coup against the government. Declaring “the national revolution has begun,” Hitler forced Bavarian leader Gustav Ritter von Kahr at gunpoint to give his support. The following day, however, government troops attacked the Nazis on a march to the Munich War Ministry and put down the putsch.

He was arrested and put on trial. Hitler had been a relatively obscure leader, but the trial gave him a national platform to spread his ideology and he found a receptive audience in a country wracked by economic troubles and embarrassment following World War I. He was not only able to gain support among the people, but also the court and many high-ranking government officials.

He was found guilty, but given a lenient sentence of five years, with a chance for parole after six months. He was put in a private cell in Landsberg prison and given access to guests and his own private secretaries, Emil Maurice and Rudolph Hess. It was here that Hitler dictated to Hess what would become “Mein Kampf.”

Reference: “Mein Kampf” Text

The Hitler Historical Museum hosts the full text of “Mein Kampf.”

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