[In this very good essay Thomas Dalton outlines the case for his forthcoming translation of Mein Kampf. He also gives a concise summary of Hitler’s position on the major topics of Racial Theory, Religion and Jews. Lastly, Hitler’s legacy is discussed.]
Rethinking Mein Kampf
A Most Consequential Work
Origins and Context
November Revolution, and a New Movement
Why a New Translation?
Some Contentious Topics
On the Jews
25 Points of the NSDAP Program
Version History & Notes
On 1 January 2016, Mein Kampf came out of copyright. It has now been 70 years since the author’s death, and by international copyright law, legal protection for the book has expired. Thus it is perhaps a good time to reconsider and reexamine this most notorious work—and perhaps to banish some of the many myths surrounding it to history.
In fact, we are long overdue for a revisionist treatment of this work. In my experience, very few people really understand what’s in it. The common man, even the well-educated one, likely knows little more than the title and the author. Revisionists who work on the Holocaust or either of the world wars often bypass the book completely, as if it had no relevance at all; most likely, they have never read it. Traditional journalists, academics, and alleged experts frequently display their ignorance by taking passages out of context, overlooking key facts, or simply failing to cite the author appropriately. More generally, the mainstream approach to Mein Kampf seems be rather similar to its tactics with regard to Holocaust revisionism: ignore, censor, or disparage. It is simply too problematic to discuss this work in a fashion that might lead readers to ask tough questions, or to seek out the book itself.
A large part of the reason for the book’s obscurity is the sorry state of its many English translations. These will be discussed and critiqued below. This is also one of the reasons that I am currently working on a new, parallel German-English translation—the first ever, in fact. I will attempt to remedy many of the shortcomings in current versions, and provide something of a revisionist perspective on the entire work. In the present essay, I examine the translations, discuss some main themes of the book, and argue for its relevance in the present day.
A Most Consequential Work
Mein Kampf is the autobiography and articulated worldview of one of the most consequential and visionary leaders in world history. It is also one of the most maligned and misrepresented texts of the 20th century. There have been so many obfuscations, deceptions, and outright falsehoods circulated about this work that one scarcely knows where to begin. Nonetheless, the time has come to set the story straight.
That Adolf Hitler would even have undertaken such a work is most fortunate. Being neither a formal academic nor a natural writer, and being fully preoccupied with pragmatic matters of party-building, he might never have begun such a major task—were it not for the luxury of a year-long jail term. In one of the many ironies of Hitler’s life, it took just such an adverse event to prompt him to dictate his party’s early history and his own life story. This would become Volume One of his two-part, 700-page magnum opus. It would have a dramatic effect on world history, and initiate a chain of events that has yet to fully play out. In this sense, Mein Kampf is as relevant today as when it was first written.
[Image] Display of Copies of Hitlers Mein Kampf – Documentation Center in Congress Hall – Nuremberg-Nurnberg – Germany
By Adam Jones, Ph.D.
Perhaps the place to begin is with the rationale for the book. Why did Hitler write it at all? Clearly it was not a requirement; many major politicians in history have come and gone without leaving a personal written record. Even his time in prison could have been spent communicating with party leaders, building support, soliciting allies, and so on. But he chose to spend much of his stay documenting the origins and growth of his new movement. And this was a boon to history as well as to understanding of the human spirit.