Mein Kampf

and the National Socialist Ideology
Spring Semester 2013
Lecture: Thursday 3.30-4.20 (CPD-3.22)
Seminar (5 Feb-): Thursday 4.30–5.20 (RRT, 10/F, 1038)
Hitler and the National Socialist Ideology
Lecture 3:
Hitler’s books Mein Kampf
And Zweites Buch
7 February 2013
Ego Documents (1)
≠ Scientific diary = fact collection
≠ Administrative diary = list of correspondence
Private diary:
• Non-systematical & fragmentary entries
• Lack of composition
• Present tense
• Open-ended without guiding line
• Every-day life events, experiences, sentiments,
thoughts, reflections
• Monologue character
Ego Documents (2)
≠ Official letter, business letter, certificates
≠ Open letter, fictive letter
Private letter:
Autobiographical contents
Needs mutual trust & letter exchange
Mostly short-lived if not for documentation
Dialogue character as continuation or
preparation for conversation
Ego Documents (3)
• Comprehensive, retro perspective life story
• Individual character & its actions in centre
• Own life often interpreted as logical & completely
determined by neglecting interruptions
• Past tense & general positive view on own life
• Only suited for interesting personalities
• Danger of narcissism & ego-centrism & brighten-up
of own past
Ego Documents (4)
Focused on memorizing past times
Critical to persons & public affairs in past
Eye-witness position with individual
character not in center
• Less self-reflective but descriptive &
analytical to past events
• Often not comprehensive life story but only
parts of own life worth to present
Critically assessing ego documents (1)
• Highly valuable primary sources
• Providing atmosphere of past time
• Complementary to other ‘dryer’ sources
• Historical truth mostly compromised by
wishes, stereotypes, prejudices,
psychological problems, ego-centrism
Critically assessing ego documents (2)
• Authenticity: person’s own or other’s hand
• Time distance: short or long
• Motives: Education, justification, accusation,
entertainment, glorification, publication
• Life: counter-checking with dates & facts
• Social position: limited knowledge
• Character: well-known reputation
= Private diary mostly highly reliable
= Autobiography least reliable
Mein Kampf Sales
• Vol. 1: Eine Abrechnung A Reckoning (1925: 23,000 copies by
• Vol. 2: Die Nationalsozialistische Bewegung
The Nazi Movement (1926: 13,000 copies by 1929)
• One volume Volksausgabe People’s edition (1930:
80,000 copies by 1932; over 1,5 million at end of 1933)
= Total sales ca. 8-9 million until 1945
= Chinese version (1936), English (1939) + 15
other languages
Hitler’s Zweites Buch (Second Book)
• Discovered in 1958 & published in 1961 by
US historian G.L. Weinberg: English
translation Hitler’s Secret Book (1961)
► Shorter & more lucid statement of Hitler’s
views on foreign policy principles & p
Mein Kampf Structure
• Autobiographical sections (1889-1923/4)
• Reflections & comments on past & current
political circumstances in Germany
• Crude, turgid, disorganised structure
= Mixture of autobiography, philosophy book,
blueprint of Hitler’s program
Mein Kampf: Basic ideas
• Continuous contest between creative Aryans and
destructive Jews
• State responsible for preserving Aryan race
= Program for state of German people
• Step 1: Internal regeneration by education, social
discipline, authority, elimination of ‘enemies’
• Step 2: External policy to regain power position &
creating Lebensraum ‘Living Space’
Excerpt from Mein Kampf
• (…) the [völkisch] folkish state must not adjust its
entire educational work primarily to the inoculation
of mere knowledge, but to the breeding of
absolutely healthy bodies. The training of mental
abilities is only secondary. And here again, first
place must be taken by the development of
character, especially the promotion of will-power
and determination, combined with the training of
joy in responsibility, and only in last place comes
scientific schooling.
(Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, 1995, p. 371)
Mein Kampf: Summary
Introduces to Hitler’s minds & methods:
• Reveals Hitler’s Messiah (Saviour/Jesus) complex
• Reflects Hitler’s violence and non-civilised thinking
• Shows Hitler’s highly personal world view
= Hitler fighting his persecutors
= Hitler magnifying his person
= Hitler creating a dream-world with himself as most
important figure