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Mein Kampf

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Cover of French edition of Mein Kampf

Mein Kampf (My Struggle) was a book written by Adolf Hitler and Rudolf Heß. Rudolf Heß helped Hitler write the book, but he is not mentioned as an author. The book consists of two parts. The first part was written by Hitler while he was in jail in Landsberg am Lech. He was put in jail after a failed putsch, in 1926. He wrote the second part after his (early) release from jail. From 1926 to 1930, both volumes were sold separately, at the price of 12 Reichsmark each. In 1930, both volumes were published as one book.

There were several editions between 1925 and 1945. With each new edition, the text was revised as well. This was done to clarify those parts of the text that were unclear. Probably, Ghostwriters around Hitler did this work.

In the book, Hitler describes (talks about) his view of greater Germany. He also describes his future plan for Jews. When he came to power, in 1933, he realized (made happen) some of those plans. This resulted in a genocide known as The Holocaust. The book was given away for free at civil registry offices during the time when the Nazi government had power in Germany. The reason for giving the book away for free was because in part, the book was propaganda, and giving it away free was a way to recruit members.

After the Second World War, the book was made illegal to reprint or sell new copies in Germany and Austria. It is not illegal to own a book, and it is also not illegal to sell or buy such books second-hand.

The contents in short

  • Hilter wanted to unite Austria with Germany. (The annexation, or "Anschluß," took place in 1938. The sympathetic Austrian government asked Hitler to annex Austria to be part of the "Großdeutsche Reich" (The Greater German Reich).)
  • The definition of the antisemitic thoughts in the book. Special care is taken to put Marxism as something very bad. Since it was of Jewish origin it should be abolished.
  • At the same time the idea of a nationally oriented socialism (Nationalsozialismus, that's where the Allied word Nazi (National Sozialistishe) comes from as they did not call themselves Nazi's). A war should be a war of races, not one of the different classes in society against each other. With this, they wanted to get sympathies from German workers.
  • The political system of the Soviet Union they called Bolshevism. The Soviet Union should be split into parts. This should be done through what they call a war of the races (Rassenkrieg is the word used)
  • Winning that war would give the people (of "Aryan" blood) more space to live (Lebensraum), in the east. According to the book there is not enough space for the German People. (At the time the book was written Germany was the roughly the size of Texas).
  • Germany should not fight a war on two fronts. For this reason England would be a good strategic partner in a war to come. (Neither wish happened.)
  • Parliaments are a bad thing to have. So are Democracies. Both should be abolished in favor of a state where one leader could make the decisions. This would be more in the interest of the people, it was said.
  • All this is mixed together to form a programme of the NSDAP, as outlined in the second volume.
  • Plus a few autobiographic stories, and a history of the NSDAP, both till 1924.