Reading Mein Kampf is a very strange experience. The book and its author are so infamous that I almost feel like I have to preface what I say with the obvious statement that I am not a Nazi. But then why would I want to read a book by one of the most evil men in history? Hitler was unlike anyone else. His vicious hatred and the horrific acts he committed are something that none of us can understand. So out of historical curiosity, I decided to try and get an insight into the mind of this dictator. How could he possibly justify his evil ideology?
I was curious to know how Hitler justified his hatred of the Jews. Did he claim to only dislike some Jews and not mind others? Did he try the old “I’m not racist but . . .” card? Did he gloss over it and highlight other issues more? Was anti-Semitism just a small part of his ideology? Does Mein Kampf contain hints towards the aggression Hitler would show to not only the Jews but the rest of Europe? What else apart from the Jews did Hitler discuss?
First of all, Mein Kampf is a terribly written book. It is incoherent and full of random ramblings. It’s over 600 pages long and in dire need of a good editor. But most of all, it’s boring. Even though this is the architect of history’s greatest genocide revealing the insides of his mind, it is so badly written, that I found myself losing interest. Hitler does an incredibly poor attempt at arguing his case (not as though you could put a good case for him) and seems to presume the reader already agrees with him. No real attempt is made to explain why the Jews or Marxism is bad or what is so special about Germany or the Aryan race (or what Aryan even means).
The first part in particular is so boring as to the extent of being pointless. This is the closest Hitler comes to explaining his personal history. Historians have gone through it and found that most of what he claims is false and he leaves out huge parts of his life. What stuck out most for me was how impersonal it was. Here is someone describing his life in cold impersonal tones as though he was describing a stranger. There isn’t a single hint of human warmth or anecdotes or even mention of friends or other people bar his parents.
The most common theme in the book is how much Hitler hates the Jews. Now that is hardly surprising, but what was surprising was how blatant Hitler was in his hatred. Literally every discussion ended with Hitler blaming the Jews. He almost always referred to Jews in the singular as though there was only one type and they all acted the same way. All the newspapers were run by the Jew from the editors to the journalists and especially the Social Democratic papers. The Jew was responsible for all immoral activities and decadent culture as well as prostitution and “white slavery”. All forms of bad art too was the fault of the Jew. The divide between Catholic and Protestants and between Bavaria and Prussia were stirred up by the Jew. Class warfare and the divide between workers and bosses was also an invention of the Jew. The Jew also ran the trade unions, Marxist parties and the Soviet Union. The divide between England and Germany was caused by the Jew. If someone so much as lost their keys, the Jew was probably behind it. Anti-Semitism isn’t just one of Hitler’s views; it’s his main one on which he bases the rest of his views.
Mein Kampf is therefore bursting with the worst possible form of insults and hatred for the Jews. They are frequently called vermin and parasites and never described in human terms. The Jews were
“a pestilence, a moral pestilence with which the public was being infected. It was worse than the Black Plague of long ago.”
“that bacillus which is the solvent of human society, the Jew”
“That parasitic nation which particularly at the present time, preys upon the honest portion of mankind; I mean the Jews.”
The Jew “is a real leech who clings to the body of his unfortunate victim and cannot be removed.”
“He will stop at nothing. Is utterly low-down conduct is so appalling that one really cannot be surprised if in the imagination of our people the Jew is pictured as the incarnation of Satan and the symbol of evil.”
“The Jew wriggles his way in among the body of nations and bores them hollow from the inside.”
Always sub human terms and no insult was too much. Hitler encouraged hatred of the Jews and expected people to go out of their way to antagonise the Jews.
“The man who is not opposed and vilified and slandered in the Jewish Press is not a staunch German and not a true National Socialist.”
“If a comrade of ours opens a Jewish newspaper in the morning and does not find himself vilified there, then he has spent yesterday to no account.”
All of Germany’s problems were caused by the betrayal of the Jews.
“The Jew trafficked in the freedom of the nation and sold our country to the masters of international high finance.”
Bizarrely enough, Hitler viewed the German majority as under attack from the Jews.
“The great leaders of Jewry are confident that the day is near at hand when the command given in the Old Testament will be carried out and the Jews will devour other nations of the Earth.”
Hitler dropped a few disturbing hints of what was to come when he warned of how the Jews could never change their ways but force would have to be used.
“In the same way the Jew will never spontaneously give up his march towards the goal of world dictatorship or repress his external urge. He can be thrown back on his road only by forces external to him, for his instinct towards world domination will die out only with him.”
There were some truly bizarre/disturbing/crazy passages when Hitler went full crazy in his paranoia and hatred of the Jews.
“The black haired Jewish youth lies in wait for hours on end, satanically glaring at and spying on the unsuspecting girl whom he plans to seduce, adulterating her blood and removing her from the bosom of her own people. The Jew uses every possible means to undermine the racial foundations of a subjugated people. In his systematic effort to ruin girls and women he strives to break down the last barriers of discrimination between him and other people. The Jews were responsible for bringing Negroes into the Rhineland, with the ultimate idea of bastardizing the white race which they hate and thus lowering its cultural and political level so that the Jew might dominate. For as long as a people remain really pure and are conscious of the treasure of their blood, they can never be overcome by the Jew. Never in this world can the Jew become the master of any people except a bastardized people.”
As someone who is learning Esperanto I found the following sentence very interesting. It turns out that while I thought I was learning a language to promote global communication, it turns out I was really just allowing myself to become the slave of the Jews. Who knew?
“But the moment that the world would become the slave of the Jew it would have to learn some other language (Esperanto, for example) so that by this means the Jew could dominate all the more easily.”
It is interesting that when Hitler condemns Marxism (which he frequently does) it is not for economic or political reasons, but rather because he views it as “The Jewish doctrine of Marxism”. The only problem he seems to have with Marxism is that it is dominated by Jews. He viewed Marxism as a doctrine invented by the Jews to allow them to dominate the world (that is actually what he believed). He went so far into paranoid conspiracy crazy world that he is beyond parody (then again it is Hitler so what do you expect?). To Hitler, Marxism aims for “the establishment of despotic rule in the hands of international Jewish finance.”
There is a daft idea common among religious people that Hitler was an Atheist. This is completely wrong and believed only by those who have read little history. Hitler mentions God on a regular basis throughout Mein Kampf and believed he was doing God’s work. At the beginning of the book, he plainly states
“And so I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator. In standing guard against the Jew I am defending the handiwork of the Lord.”
He believed that God had intended races to be pure and avoid intermarriage as doing so was an insult to God. However, Hitler was not your standard Christian; rather he viewed God as someone who thought the same as he did (as most people do). All compassionate elements of Christianity were removed as signs of weakness. He often speaks on the verge of Paganism with his description of Nature and Creator rather than the specifically Christian notion of God.
The Nazis are famous for their inventive use of propaganda and Hitler emphasises this point in the book. He also shows how little respect he has for ordinary people, viewing them as simpletons to be manipulated.
“The receptive powers of the masses are very restricted, and their understanding is feeble. On the other hand, they quickly forget. Such being the case, all effective propaganda must be confined to a few bare essentials and those must be expressed as far as possible in stereotyped formulas.”
Hitler was a racist. I don’t mean that solely as an insult but he literally believed the world was divided into different races with some superior and other inferior. He placed a high priority on keeping the German race “pure” of “contamination”.
“The German nation will never revive unless the racial problem is taken into account and dealt with. The racial problem furnishes the key, not only to the understanding of human history, but also to the understanding of every kind of human culture.”
Race was not just a theoretical view he had but he believed it was the practical cause of Germany’s problems. Worryingly, he said that
“The right to personal freedom comes second in importance to the duty of maintaining the race.”
“The Jew is destroying the racial base of our existence and thereby annihilating our people.”
Another passage to give you an idea of how insane Hitler was (I think direct quotes give a far better impression than any summary I could give).
“Look at the ravages from which our people are suffering daily as a result of being contaminated with Jewish blood. Bear in mind the fact that this poisonous contamination can be eliminated from the national body only after centuries, or perhaps never. Think further of how the process of racial decomposition is debasing and in some cases even destroying the fundamental Aryan qualities of our German people, so that our cultural creativeness as a nation is gradually becoming impotent and we are running the danger, at least in our great cities, of falling to the level where Southern Italy is today. This pestilential adulteration of the blood, of which hundreds of thousands of our people take no account, is being systematically practised by the Jew today. Systematically these Negroid parasites in our national body corrupt our innocent fair-haired girls and thus destroy something which can no longer be replaced in this world. “
Apart from the Jews, Hitler also really hated the French.
“The French people, who are becoming more and more obsessed by Negroid ideas, represent a threatening menace to the existence of the white race in Europe, because they are bound up with the Jewish campaign for world-domination. For the contamination caused by the influx of negroid blood on the Rhine, in the very heart of Europe, is in accord with the sadist and perverse lust for vengeance on the part of the hereditary enemy of our people, just as it suits the purpose of the cool calculating Jew who would use this means of introducing a process of bastardization in the very centre of the European Continent and, by infecting the white race with the blood of an inferior stock, would destroy the foundations of its independent existence. France’s activities in Europe today, spurred on by the French lust for vengeance and systematically directed by the Jew are a criminal attack against the life of the white race and will one day arouse against the French people a spirit of vengeance among a generation which will have recognized the original sin of mankind in this racial pollution.”
However, the most disturbing and horrifying quote comes right at the end of the book when Hitler gives a hint of the great evil he would soon commit.
“At the beginning of the War, or even during the War, if twelve or fifteen thousand of these Jews who were corrupting the nation had been forced to submit to poison gas, just as hundreds of thousands of our best German workers from every social stratum and from every trade and calling had to face it in the field, then the millions of sacrifices made at the front would not have been in vain. On the contrary if twelve thousand of these malefactors had been eliminated in proper time probably the lives of a million decent men, who would be of value to Germany in the future, might have been saved.”