Mein Kampf - Editor's Introduction

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2012


'Mein Kampf' (English: 'My Struggle') is a book by Adolf Hitler.
Bernhard Stempfle
It combines elements of autobiography with an exposition of Hitler's political ideology.
Volume 1 of 'Mein Kampf' was published in 1925, and Volume 2 in 1926.
The book was edited by the former Hieronymite friar Bernhard Stempfle.
Festung Landsberg
Hitler began the dictation of the book while imprisoned for what he considered to be "political crimes", after his failed Putsch in Munich in November 1923.
Though Hitler received many visitors earlier on, he soon devoted himself entirely to the book.
As he continued, Hitler realized that it would have to be a two-volume work, with the first volume scheduled for release in early 1925.
The prison governor of Landsberg noted at the time that "Hitler hopes the book will run into many editions, thus enabling him to fulfil his financial obligations and to defray the expenses incurred at the time of his trial."


'Mein Kampf' was required reading in the schools of the Third Reich as well as in many other organizations.
Secondly, even if the book was not read, the speeches made by the leading figures in the Third Reich, and a host of other books and articles, reflect the contents of 'Mein Kampf' with great faithfulness.
Hitler never changed the world view he had laid down when he started on the road to power, and the culture of the Third Reich reflected his all-encompassing ideology.
'Mein Kampf' in fact would have been a successful book, even if it had never been read: its contents were spread throughout the nation by the whole Völkisch cultural drive.

Rudolf Hess
Hitler dictated the book to his deputy, Rudolf Hess, from July to December 1924, when they were in easy confinement in the Bavarian Landsberg fortress as a result of the unsuccessful Munich Putsch of November 8-9, 1923.

The book itself is somewhat 'ill-considered'.

At first Hitler wanted to write his autobiography, and Volume One purports to be such an autobiography.
Subsequently, he decided to combine the 'story of his life' with an account of the National Socialist world view, techniques of propaganda, foreign policy, geopolitics and party organization.

'Volume One' is somewhat ingenuous, but it must be remembered that Hitler was less concerned with recounting a factual 'life-story' than creating an acceptable 'public persona'.

It has often been pointed out that Chapter One - 'In The House Of My Parents' - presents itself very much in the form of a Grimm fairy tale.

Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
The Hakenkreuz at Lambach
'Kinder- und Hausmärchen' - (Children's and Household Tales) is a collection of German fairy tales first published in 1812 by the Grimm brothers, Jacob and Wilhelm. The collection is commonly known in the Anglosphere as Grimm's Fairy Tales (German: Grimms Märchen).

After describing his parents, Hitler moves on to his school days.
When he reaches the section where he is chorister, however, he makes no mention of the hakenkreuz at Lambach.
More significantly, he makes no mention of his younger brother, Edmund, (who was born 24 March 1894).

August (Gustl) Kubizek
Richard Wagner
Edmund died of measles on 2 February 1900, and his death had a devastating effect on Adolf Hitler - but no mention is made of this fact.
Equally Hitler omits any reference to his one, true friend, August (Gustl) Kubizek, whom he met in Linz 1904, and with whom he shared his intense love for the music of Richard Wagner.

August ("Gustl") Kubizek (3 August 1888, Linz – 23 October 1956, Eferding) was a close friend of Adolf Hitler when both were in their late teens. He later wrote 'Adolf Hitler - Mein Jugendfreun', describing their  their friendship.

Not only does he omit the meeting and friendship in Linz, but also the fact that they shared an apartment in Vienna until 1908.

Hitler goes on to describe, quite incorrectly, how he was reduced to penury during his time in Vienna, and omits any reference to being pursued by the Austrian authorities for avoiding military service.
He also, not surprisingly, makes no reference to his close friendship with many Jewish art dealers and businessmen during his time in Vienna.
Effectively, as a source of information about his early life, Hitler's 'Mein Kampf' is practically worthless.

There was at least one good reason for Hitler's change of mind with regard to 'Mein Kampf': by fusing his own personality with the party, the book would help him regain undisputed party leadership when he left prison.
The cry, so often heard in the Third Reich, that "Hitler is Germany, and Germany Hitler" had to be preceded by the cry that "Hitler is the party."
Though it took several years after he left Festung Landsberg to re-establish his ascendancy, there can be little doubt that 'Mein Kampf' helped him in this process, however, the book had more than a political purpose; it also represented some, (although not all) of his developing beliefs.
These beliefs were based upon the primacy of the world view in determining man's fate.
The power of an 'ideal' was all-important, and in one passage Hitler links this to the war experience.
Idealism is contrasted with materialism, symbolized by what he calls the teachings of Marxism, which have also infected the bourgeoisie.

Thule Gesellschaft
Dietrich Eckart
His own world view is essentially Völkish: based upon the racial principles which are fundamental to all of life.
This emphasis on race, and in particular anti-Semitism, is a direct result of his involvement with Dietrich Eckart, whom Hitler met in 1919.

Dietrich Eckart (23 March 1868 – 26 December 1923) was a German journalist and politician and, with Adolf Hitler, was one of the early key members of the NSDAP and a participant in the 1923 Munich Putsch. Eckart met Adolf Hitler when Hitler gave a speech before the DAP members in 1919. Eckart was involved with the Thule Society.  When Eckart met Hitler, Eckart was convinced that he had encountered the prophesied redeemer. Eckart exerted considerable influence on Hitler in the following years and is strongly believed to have helped establish the theories and beliefs of the NSDAP. Few other people had as much influence on Hitler in his lifetime.

Thus race is the foundation of all culture.

Arische Rasse
The state is only a means to the end of preserving the race, and we will find this concept of the state made law ten years later in the Third Reich.
Racial ideas are combined with a belief in an 'racial aristocracy', which rises from the mass of the population.
Hitler stressed the "great personalities" who made history - but always on the foundation of a common racism: personal ethics must be related to this basic factor of life.
All culture is the product of the Aryan: only he can produce true personalities.
As culture is the expression of an ideal, materialism can never produce culture.
Materialism has taken hold of the bourgeoisie through the influence of Marxism, an invention of the Jews.
They are the true adversary of the Germanic world view and must be dealt with ruthlessly.
Jews cannot produce culture, but they do serve a function: symbolizing all that is evil, they spur the Aryan on to struggle against them and thus to become ever more conscious of his own race.

Therefore Hitler, adopting a phrase of Goethe, calls Jews a power which wants evil but produces good.
The "revolution in world view" can succeed only if it becomes part of a mass movement.
Propaganda is designed to accomplish this, but it must be backed up by an effective party organization.
It is worth remembering that Hitler devotes half of 'Mein Kampf' to problems of political organization.
Because of his belief that an ideology is unimportant unless it is embodied in a mass movement, Hitler's concept of the masses is of the greatest importance.
He recognizes the imperative of giving status to the people, but this is secondary to the techniques necessary to "unlock their souls."
The masses are swayed by emotion and feeling: they are a part of primeval nature itself, which reflects not the rational handiwork of God but instead an irrational view of man and the world.

Blut und Boden
Hitler builds upon the romantic tradition.
Throughout National Socialist culture the parallel between man and nature will be drawn in this manner.
The masses of Aryans are as "genuine" in their basic emotions as Nature herself - 'Blut und Boden'.
The task of the leader is to awaken these emotions, to bring to the surface the belief in race and blood which provide the foundations.
From these presuppositions it follows that, as the people are a part of nature, their feelings are simple, direct, and partisan.

Hitler Youth
Simple and direct because Nature herself is held to be such, in contrast with the artificiality of a materialist civilization; partisan because, in the last resort, the voice of the race will be heard.
This view of the masses is allied with the culture necessary to activate them in the struggle.
Propaganda, as Hitler used the word and as the National Socialists put it into practice, is the infusion of cultural attitudes into the mass of Aryans.
The anti-intellectualism which resulted will run like a theme throughout this study.
Hitler's own view of the nature of education will provide the foundation for the attempt to capture youth.
He calls for general rather than specialized education, meaning that the teaching of the National Socialist world view must take precedence.
In Mein Kampf, Hitler used the main thesis of the 'Jewish Peril' which speaks of a Jewish conspiracy to gain world leadership.

Orthodox Jews in Vienna - 1900s
Karl Marx
The narrative describes the process by which he became increasingly anti-Semitic and militaristic, especially during his years in Vienna - this is not however based on fact.
When he first encountered the anti-semitic press, he says, he dismissed it as unworthy of serious consideration.
Later he accepted anti-Semitic views although he does not credit to the source  (which is, of course, Dietrich Eckart and the Thule Gesellschaft in 1919 in Munich),  which became crucial in his program of national reconstruction.
'Mein Kampf' has also been studied as a work on political theory.
For example, Hitler announces his hatred of what he believed to be the world's twin evils: Communism and Judaism.
The new territory that Germany needed to obtain would properly nurture the "historic destiny" of the German people; this goal, which Hitler referred to as Lebensraum (living space).
These theories derive from Professor Karl Haushofer.

Geopolitical World Map
Professor Karl Ernst Haushofer 
Karl Ernst Haushofer (August 27, 1869 – March 10, 1946) was a German general, geographer and geopolitician. Through his student Rudolf Hess, Haushofer's ideas influenced the development of Adolf Hitler's expansionist strategies. Haushofer developed his theory of Geopolitik from widely varied sources, including the writings of Oswald Spengler, Alexander Humboldt, Karl Ritter, Friedrich Ratzel, Rudolf Kjellén, and Halford J. Mackinder.
Geopolitik contributed to the foreign policy of the Third Reich, chiefly in the strategy and justifications for lebensraum.

In 'Mein Kampf' Hitler openly states that the future of Germany "has to lie in the acquisition of land in the East at the expense of Russia."
In his work, Hitler blamed Germany’s chief woes on the parliament of the Weimar Republic, the Jews, and Social Democrats, as well as Marxists.
He announced that he wanted to completely destroy the parliamentary system, believing it in principle to be corrupt, as those who reach power are inherent opportunists.

Globalists vs. Continentalists

Treaty of Versailles
Mein Kampf has additionally been examined as a book on foreign policy.
For example, Hitler predicts the stages of Germany’s political emergence on the world scene: in the first stage, Germany would, through a programme of massive re-armament, break the shackles of the Treaty of Versailles and form alliances with the British Empire and Fascist Italy.
The second stage would feature wars against France and her allies in Eastern Europe by the combined forces of Germany, Britain and Italy.
Hugh Trevor-Roper
The third and final stage would be a war to destroy what Hitler saw as the "Judeo-Bolshevik" regime in the Soviet Union that would give Germany the necessary "living space".
One of the more important debates surrounding the book concerns the battle between the Continentalists, including Hugh Trevor-Roper and Eberhard Jäckel, who argue Hitler wished to conquer only Europe, and the Globalists, including Gerhard Weinberg, Milan Hauner, Gunter Moltmann, Meier Michaelis and Andreas Hillgruber, who maintain that Hitler wanted to conquer the entire world.
The chief source of contention between the Continentists and Globalists is the 'Zweites Buch'.

'Mein Kampf' was significant in 1925 because it was an open source for the presentation of Hitler's ideas about the state of the world.
The racial laws to which Hitler referred resonate directly with his ideas in 'Mein Kampf'.
In his first edition of 'Mein Kampf', Hitler stated that the destruction of the weak and sick is far more humane than their protection. However, apart from his allusion to humane treatment, Hitler saw a purpose in destroying "the weak" in order to provide the proper space and purity for the strong.



I: Hitler was born at Braunau-on-the-Inn, in Austria on the German border. His favourite book was a history of the Franco-German War.
Hitler's father wanted him to become a Government official. But Hitler believed he had a talent for drawing.
Hitler led the class in geography and history and became an ardent 'German National'.
Hitler's father, then his beloved mother died, so he left for Vienna.

II: Hitler failed to enter the Academy of Fine Arts.
The iniquitous social conditions taught Hitler that fundamental changes in German economic and cultural life were needed.
Hitler worked as a labourer and studied music and architecture.
He saw the Social Democrats as unsound, insincere and dominated by Jews.
He also realised that should the Jew, with his Marxism, triumph then human life on this planet would cease.
In opposing the Jew Hitler believed he was doing God's will.

III: Hitler had admired Parliament, but realised that democracy produced filth and lies.
The aim of human existence is not the maintenance of a State, but the conservation of the race.

IV: Hitler came to Munich to study German art.
Germany's population is growing by 900,000 souls each year.
Hitler believed that Germany must obtain the support of England and expand German territory in Europe.
The State is not an economic institution.
The Jews form a State within the State.
Tolerant Aryans accept Judaism because they think it is a religion, but Mosaic Law is the doctrine of the preservation of the Jewish race.

V: The war of 1914 was inevitable.
Ideas or philosophies, whether true or not, cannot be broken by force, unless it is accompanied by a new Weltanschauung (world-view), or if one can ruthlessly exterminate their last upholders.

VI: Marxists were masters of propaganda.
Propaganda must appeal to the stupid masses, not for education but to create a conviction regarding the reality of a certain fact.
It must be confined to a few bare essentials, expressed in persistently repeated formulas.

VII: At Ypres the British attacked with gas, and Hitler was temporarily blinded.
Later, at Passewalk, he received a vision revealing to him that he was to save the Fatherland.

VIII: Back in Munich after the Armistice, Feder explained the dangerous link between stock-exchange capital and loan payments.
Hitler realised that the Aryan race has to fight for the maintenance of its racial stock, the freedom and independence of the Fatherland
IX: Hitler joined the 'The German Workers Party'.

X: Man must realize that a fundamental law of necessity reigns throughout all Nature and that his existence is subject to the law of eternal struggle and strife.
The government could not even fight against syphilis and prostitution.
German art and architecture have been debased and German religion disrespected.
Parliamentary democracy means half-measures.
All because Germany has ignored the racial problem.

XI: Racial mixing leads to failure in nature.
Where Aryans are pure, they lead all science and culture.
Pacifism may be possible after Germany rules the world.
Everything not of sound racial stock is chaff.
All history is a manifestation of the instinct of racial self-preservation, whether for weal or woe.
The Jews have no civilization, and preserve themselves only by leeching on others.
The Jew is the incarnation of Satan, and the symbol of evil.
Jews brought negroes to bastardize the white race.
Loss of racial purity degrades men for all time.

XII: Hitler became convinced that the masses must be nationalized, by ruthless and devoted insistence, destroying the enemy that opposes them.
The National Socialist movement must have one leader only.
The Party renamed itself 'The National Socialist German Workers Party' and, from a tiny beginning, soon had thousands of followers
 A fire was enkindled from whose glowing heat the sword would be fashioned which would restore freedom to the German Siegfried.



Although Hitler originally wrote this book mostly for the followers of National Socialism, it grew in popularity.
From the royalties, Hitler was able to afford a Mercedes automobile while still imprisoned. Moreover, he accumulated a tax debt of 405,500 Reichsmark (about US$ 8 million today, or €6 million) from the sale of about 240,000 copies by the time he became chancellor in 1933 (at which time his debt was waived).
After Hitler's rise to power, the book gained enormous popularity.

Alfred Rosenberg
Gottfried Feder
(Two other books written by party members, Gottfried Feder's 'Brechen der Zinsknechtschaft' (Breaking The Interest Slavery) and Alfred Rosenberg's 'Der Mythus des zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts' (The Myth of the Twentieth Century), have since lapsed into comparative literary obscurity, and few intact copies of either are currently known to exist - including no known translations of Feder's book from the original German.)
The book was in high demand in libraries and often reviewed and quoted in other publications.
Hitler had made about 1.2 million Reichsmarks from the income of his book in 1933, when the average annual income of a teacher was about 4,800 Mark.
During Hitler's years in power, the book was given free to every newly-wed couple and every soldier fighting at the front.
By the end of the war, about 10 million copies of the book had been sold or distributed in Germany.
The Bavarian government plans to publish a new English translation with commentary in 2015.

'Mein Kampf', (Arabic: كفاحي‎), has been translated into Arabic a number of times since the early 1930s.
'Mein Kampf' has been pointed to as an example of the influence of National Socialism for Arab nationalists.
Hitler's philosophy of National Socialism – of a state headed by a single, strong, charismatic leader was a model for the founders of the Arab nationalist movement.
Arabs favoured Germany over other European powers, because Germany was seen (undoubtedly wrongly) as having no direct colonial or territorial ambitions in the area.
This was an important point of sympathy.
They also saw German nationhood - which preceded German statehood - as a model for their own movement.
In October 1938, anti-Jewish treatises that included extracts from 'Mein Kampf' were disseminated at an Islamic parliamentarians' conference for the defense of Palestine in Cairo.

India: It has been a popular book, more out of curiosity to know more about the person who is so reviled in the West.
The figure of 100,000 copies should not be relied upon, as pirated books enjoy immense popularity and sales.

Sweden: it has been reprinted several times since 1945; in 1970, 1992, 2002 and 2010.
In 1992 the Government of Bavaria tried to stop the publication of the book, and the case went to the Supreme Court of Sweden which ruled in favour of the publisher, stating that the book is protected by copyright, but that the copyright holder is unidentified (and not the State of Bavaria) and that the original Swedish publisher from 1934 had gone out of business. It therefore refused the Government of Bavaria's claim.

Turkey: It was widely available and growing in popularity, even to the point where it became a best-seller  selling up to 100,000 copies in just two months in 2005. Analysts and commentators believe the popularity of the book to be related to a rise in nationalism, anti-US and anti-Semitic sentiment "because of what is happening in the Middle East, the Israeli-Palestinian problem and the war in Iraq".

Canada (ISBN 0-395-07801-6) Though it is available in Canada, Heather Reisman, owner of the Chapters/Indigo chain of bookshops (Canada's largest and only national book chain) has banned the book from being sold in her stores or ordered via the chain's website.

France Available and legal, but a front note is compulsory.

United States: can be found at almost any community library and can be bought, sold and traded in bookshops. The U.S. government seized the copyright during the Second World War under the Trading with the Enemy Act and in 1979, Houghton Mifflin, the U.S. publisher of the book, bought the rights from the government. More than 15,000 copies are sold a year.

In Austria, the possession is legal. Trading of Mein Kampf is legal, unless the "intent is to promote NS ideology".

The book was first published in Albania in 2012 with a cover note saying it served as a reminder of what extremism can do. Albanian authorities moved to recall the book, saying it breached copyright ownership by the German state of Bavaria. The matter is still in the courts as of April 2012.

In the People's Republic of China, Mein Kampf is forbidden, and only available in selected libraries for research purposes.

In Argentina its publication or import in significant numbers is illegal, as well as second-hand trade, since it falls under the article of the Penal Code regarding "anti-semitic and National-Socialist propaganda". Possession and lending are legal. In spite of the law, it is readily available in many book-stores  generally asking for it and sold 'under the counter'. These copies are smuggled from Chile, where its publication is not banned.

In the Netherlands, selling the book, even in the case of an old copy, may be illegal as "promoting hatred," but possession and lending is not. The matter is generally handled as a matter of copyright infringement against the Dutch government, which owns the translation, though it refuses to allow any publishing. In 1997, the government explained to the parliament that selling a scientifically annotated version might escape prosecution. In 2015, the government's copyright on the Dutch translation becomes void.

In the USSR, the book was published in a small number of copies for senior members of the Communist Party in Karl Radek's translation but was otherwise unavailable and de facto prohibited.

In the Russian Federation, Mein Kampf has been published at least three times since 1992; the Russian text is also available on a number of websites. In 2006 the Public Chamber of Russia proposed banning the book. In 2009 St. Petersburg's branch of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs requested to remove an annotated and hyper-linked Russian translation of the book from a historiography web site.
On March 26, 2010, it was announced that 'Mein Kampf' is outlawed on grounds of extremism promotion.

In Bolivia, the book sales rose in high numbers after the pass of the law against racism 2010 and the subsequent rumour that racist books would be banned.

In Poland, it has not been published until 1992, it has been then reprinted again in 1992, 1998. The Government of Bavaria tried to stop, and stopped, the publication of the book in year 2005, stating that the book is protected by copyright. Possession is legal. Trading is legal, but may be considered illegal in case when "intent is to promote NS ideology". It is widely available in larger libraries for research purposes.

Republication in Germany after 2015

On February 3, 2010, the Institute of Contemporary History (IfZ) in Munich announced plans to republish an annotated version of the text, for educational purposes in schools and universities, in 2015, when the copyright currently held by the Bavarian state government expires (2016).
This would then be the book's first publication in Germany since 1945.


After the party's poor showing in the 1928 elections, Hitler believed that the reason for his loss was the public's misunderstanding of his ideas. He then retired to Munich to dictate a sequel to Mein Kampf to expand on its ideas, with more focus on foreign policy.
Only two copies of the 200-page manuscript were originally made, and only one of these was ever made public.
The document was neither edited nor published during the Third Reich and remains known as 'Zweites Buch', or "Second Book".
To keep the document strictly secret, in 1935 Hitler ordered for it to be placed in a safe in an air raid shelter. It remained there until being discovered by an American officer in 1945.
The authenticity of the document found in 1945 has been verified by Josef Berg (former employee of the Nazi publishing house Eher Verlag) and Telford Taylor (former Brigadier General U.S.A.R. and Chief Counsel at the Nuremberg war-crimes trials).
In 1958, the 'Zweites Buch' was found in the archives of the United States by Jewish American historian Gerhard Weinberg.
Unable to find an American publisher, Weinberg turned to his mentor — Hans Rothfels at the Institute of Contemporary History in Munich, and his associate Martin Broszat — who published 'Zweites Buch' in 1961. The first authoritative English edition was not published until 2003

An Illustrated Mein Kampf

The concept of an illustrated 'Mein Kampf' came from the blog author finding an illustrated edition of 'Mein kampf' (in English) which had been published in the 1930s when a large segment of public opinion in England was highly favourable with regard to Adolf Hitler.

The quality of the illustrations in the 1930s edition were of variable quality, and only a few have been used in this blog.
Hitler made it clear in 'Mein Kampf', and in his 'Table-Talk' that he felt that the spoken word was a far more effective tool that the written word with regard to propagating political ideas.
Why then, did he write 'Mein Kampf' ?
The obvious reason was that during his incarceration in Landsberg he was unable to give public speeches,  but was still driven to disseminate his political philosophy.
The only method open to Hitler, in that situation, was to write, which he did - with a vengeance.
Hitler, however, was quite aware that he was an orator, and not an author - and this accounts for his poor style (a criticism much exaggerated by his detractors), in places.
It is noticeable, however, that once he manages to overcome his somewhat 'fairy tale' style in the opening chapters, and eventually embarks on his political philosophy, his style is far from amateur, and develops and matures in volume 2.
Pages of political philosophy can be rather difficult for the average reader, however, and the illustrations included in this version of 'Mein Kampf' are intended to give the reader an insight into the times and styles of the period of Hitler's childhood and youth.

Illustrated 'Mein Kampf'

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