The final section of the introduction deals with the ultimate question, “Why read Mein Kampf ?” We have already covered a great deal of historical context and covered the ideas and structure of the text, why should it be read? Sure Mein Kampf is not original. It is misleading if we consider what Hitler actually did later on in the war, because it gives us little or no indication of what he eventually did. War was banned in 1928, it was outlawed after the Great War, unless it was in the interest of ‘self-defence’. Hitler thrived on violence. The ending of this introduction is a little odd, and a bit ‘meaningless’, and I don’t really like it. But I think that it is suggested that Mein Kampf can be clearly seen as a warning to the rest of the world (at the time of publication) but the question is why did no one really take it seriously? And are there people in this world today that threaten peace? And how could we ever know, until it was too late.
The main reason I am reading Mein Kampf is a mixture of person interest and curiosity after hearing about it quite a lot in The Book Thief, it is an ‘influential’ book and is, regardless of what it is going to be like, a unique experience like no other I have had before. I have never really been interested in non-fiction books and biographies, so this is a step out of my comfort zone, but it is something that may not be enjoyable, but surely will be memorable and different. So now that the introduction is over (and credit to Professor Watt, who did a great job, and has ignited my curiosity for what is to follow, for writing the introduction in this edition of the book) it is time to step into the mind of probably the most infamous person of all time, what awaits us is the unknown, and what we will look like afterwards is anyone’s guess, and it all begins tomorrow!
Just in case anyone is actually interested in reading some of Hitler’s other speeches and the history of this book and other things, and doesn’t have the book (or this particular edition) I thought it would be nice to include the ‘further reading’ list which has been given to us. So here goes (as it is written in the book):
James J. Barnes and Patience P. Barnes, Hitler’s Mein Kampf in Britain and America. a Publishing History.
idem., James Vincent Murphy, Translator and Interpreter of Fascist Europe 1880-1946.
Norman H. Baynes, Hitler’s Speeches 1922-1939.
Alan Bullcok, Hitler: A Study in Tyranny.
D. Cameron Watt, How War Came.
idem., ‘Hitler’s Response to External Stimuli’, J. Contemporary History 9, 1974.
C. Caspar, ‘Mein Kamph: A Best Seller’, Jewish Historical Studies, Vol. XX, No. 1, 1955.
Martin van Creveld, Hitler’s Strategy 1940-1941. The Balkan Clue.
Joachim Fest, Hitler. A Biography.
DAniel Gasman, The Scientific Origins of National Socialism.
Oron Hale, ‘Adolf Hitler, Taxpayer’, American Historical Review, Vol. LX, No. 4, 1955.
Ernst Hanfstaengel, Hitler’s Missing Years.
Konrad Heiden, Der Fuehrer. Hitler’s Rise to Power.
John Hiden and John Farquarson, Explaining Hitler’s Germany. Historians and the Third Reich.
Hitler’s Secret Book, with an introduction by Telford Taylor.
Hitler’s Table talk, with an introductory essay, ‘The Mind of Adolf Hitler’, by H.R. Trevor-Roper.
Heinrich Hoffmann, Hitler Was My Friend.
William A. Jenks, Vienna and the Young Hitler.
Franz Jetzinger, Hitler’s Youth.
F. Sidney Jones, Hitler in Vienna.
Alfred Kelly, The Descent of Darwin. The Popularisation of Darwinism in Germany 1860-1914.
E Koehl, R.K.F.V.D. German Resettlement and Population Policy, 1939-1944.
F. Kubiczek, I Was Hitlers’ Friend.
Barbara Miller Lane and Leila J. Rupp (eds.), Nazi Ideology before 1933: A Documentation.
Walter Laqueur, Young Germany.
Kurt G. W. Luedecke, I Knew Hitler.
Walter Langer, The Mind of Adolf Hitler. The Secret Wartime Report.
Donald M. McKale, Hitler. The Survivor Myth.
Werner Maser, Hitler’s Letters and Notes.
George Mosse, The Crisis of German Ideology: Intellectual Origins of the Third Reich.
idem., The Nationalization of the Masses: Political Symbolism and Mass Movements in Germany.
Robert A. Pois, National Socialism and the Religion of Nature.
Herman Rauschning, Hitler Speaks.
Bradley F. Smith, Adolf Hiteler: His Family, Childhood and Youth
P.D. Stachura (ed.), Hitler’s Machtergreifung.
Fritz Stern, The Politics of Cultural Dispair.
J. P. Stern, Hitler: the Führer and the People
U.N.E.S.C.O., The Third Reich.
Peter Viereck, Metapolitics: The Roots of the Nazi Mind.
R.G.L. Waite, Adolf Hitler. The Psychopathic God.
S.J. Woolf (ed.), The Nature of Fascism.
Let me know if you have read any of these, and what you have thought or learnt from them, I doubt I would read more historical texts specifically based around Hitler and Germany, but it would be nice to share. See you tomorrow!