Although it is thought of as having been 'written' by Hitler, Mein Kampf is not a book in the usual sense. Hitler never actually sat down and pecked
at a typewriter or wrote longhand, but instead dictated it to Rudolf Hess
while pacing around his prison cell in 1923-24 and later at an inn at Berchtesgaden.
Reading Mein Kampf is like listening to Hitler speak at length about
his youth, early days in the Nazi Party, future plans for Germany, and
ideas on politics and race.
The original title Hitler chose was "Four and a Half Years of Struggle
against Lies, Stupidity and Cowardice." His Nazi publisher knew better
and shortened it to "Mein Kampf," simply My Struggle, or My Battle.
In his book, Hitler divides humans into categories based on physical
appearance, establishing higher and lower orders, or types of humans. At
the top, according to Hitler, is the Germanic man with his fair skin, blond
hair and blue eyes. Hitler refers to this type of person as an Aryan. He
asserts that the Aryan is the supreme form of human, or master race.
And so it follows in Hitler's thinking, if there is a supreme form of
human, then there must be others less than supreme, the Untermenschen,
or racially inferior. Hitler assigns this position to Jews and the
Slavic peoples, notably the Czechs, Poles, and Russians.
In Mein Kampf, Hitler states: "...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."
Hitler then states the Aryan is also culturally superior.
"All the human culture, all the results of art, science, and technology
that we see before us today, are almost exclusively the creative product
of the Aryan..."
"Hence it is no accident that the first cultures arose in places
where the Aryan, in his encounters with lower peoples, subjugated them
and bent them to his will. They then became the first technical instrument
in the service of a developing culture."
Hitler goes on to say that subjugated peoples actually benefit by being
conquered because they come in contact with and learn from the superior
Aryans. However, he adds they benefit only as long as the Aryan remains the absolute
master and doesn't mingle or inter-marry with inferior conquered peoples.
But it is the Jews, Hitler says, who are engaged in a conspiracy to
keep this master race from assuming its rightful position as rulers of
the world, by tainting its racial and cultural purity and even inventing
forms of government in which the Aryan comes to believe in equality and
fails to recognize his racial superiority.
"The mightiest counterpart to the Aryan is represented by the Jew."
Hitler describes the struggle for world domination as an ongoing racial,
cultural, and political battle between Aryans and Jews. He outlines his
thoughts in detail, accusing the Jews of conducting an international conspiracy
to control world finances, controlling the press, inventing liberal democracy
as well as Marxism, promoting prostitution and vice, and using culture
to spread disharmony.
Throughout Mein Kampf, Hitler refers to Jews as parasites, liars, dirty,
crafty, sly, wily, clever, without any true culture, a sponger, a middleman,
a maggot, eternal blood suckers, repulsive, unscrupulous, monsters, foreign,
menace, bloodthirsty, avaricious, the destroyer of Aryan humanity, and
the mortal enemy of Aryan humanity...
"...for the higher he climbs, the more alluring his old goal that
was once promised him rises from the veil of the past, and with feverish
avidity his keenest minds see the dream of world domination tangibly approaching."
This conspiracy idea and the notion of 'competition' for world domination
between Jews and Aryans would become widespread beliefs in Nazi Germany
and would even be taught to school children.
This, combined with Hitler's racial attitude toward the Jews, would
be shared to varying degrees by millions of Germans and people from occupied
countries, so that they either remained silent or actively participated
in the Nazi effort to exterminate the entire Jewish population of Europe.
Mein Kampf also provides an explanation for the military conquests later
attempted by Hitler and the Germans. Hitler states that since the Aryans
are the master race, they are entitled simply by that fact to acquire more
land for themselves. This Lebensraum, or living space, will be acquired
by force, Hitler says, and includes the lands to the east of Germany, namely
Russia. That land would be used to cultivate food and to provide room for
the expanding Aryan population at the expense of the Slavic peoples, who
were to be removed, eliminated, or enslaved.
But in order to achieve this, Hitler states, Germany must first defeat
its old enemy France, to avenge the German defeat of World War I and
to secure the western border. Hitler bitterly recalls the end of the First
World War, saying the German Army was denied its chance for victory on the
battlefield by political treachery at home. In the second volume of Mein
Kampf he attaches most of the blame to Jewish conspirators in a highly
menacing and ever more threatening tone.
When Mein Kampf was first released in 1925 it sold poorly. People had
been hoping for a juicy autobiography or a behind-the-scenes story of the
Beer Hall Putsch. What they got were hundreds of pages of long, hard to
follow sentences and wandering paragraphs composed by a self-educated man.
However, after Hitler became Chancellor of Germany, millions of copies
were sold. It was considered proper to own a copy and to give one to newlyweds,
high school graduates, or to celebrate any similar occasion. But few Germans
ever read it cover to cover. Although it made him rich, Hitler would later
express regret that he produced Mein Kampf, considering the extent of its
Those revelations concerning the nature of his character and his blueprint
for Germany's future served as a warning to the world. A warning that was