Mein Kampf Published
When the first volume of the planned two-volume Mein Kampf was published, Adolf Hitler was still in prison for his role in the Munich Putsch of 1923. By the time he emerged from his incarceration his fame had been spread across all of Germany by the work, and his financial difficulties were at an end – he indeed purchased a Mercedes while still behind bars. As on-time tax returns and such matters were for mere mortals (a situation formalised when he became Chancellor and was declared tax exempt in 1934) he was able to enjoy all the more his significant income from the tome.
Part autobiography (emphasizing his inevitable role as man-of-destiny) and part political theory, it was also rabidly anti-Semitic, and gave the world had it bothered to notice forewarning of his intentions as regards conquest of Eastern Europe for the Lebensraum – living space – he believed Germany required and merited. Argument has raged between historians for decades about whether the book indicates Hitler’s intention to conquer the world or ‘just’ Europe, but that is truly academic – what is clear is that conquest and war were at the heart of his philosophy.
A further argument focuses on his intention as regards the Jewish people, though it fails to explain the basis of his fanatical hatred of them other than the idea Jews conspired to take control of the world: Hitler of course attempting the same thing in reality when he became Fuhrer.
Eugenics figured in his thinking too, his decision to kill the weak and sick rather than help them supposedly on humane grounds as well as for the good of the race.
Mein Kampf is generally translated as My Struggle, reflecting both the autobiographical element and Hitler’s self-obsession. The political theory aspect is linked to that by the author using the work to attack both his political enemies outside the Nazi movement and those within it.
Just as with Marx’s Das Kapital the book is almost impossible to read. Even Hitler’s great ally Mussolini said so in terms, and pointed out the clichéd nature of the writing. But between 1925 and 1933 it sold nearly a quarter of a million copies in Germany, something that should be remembered when claims are made that Hitler had little true support in Germany.