Mein Kampf – No more?

Well I think I have come to a decision. There will be no more posts about Mein Kampf, I do not want to read any-more of the book, and I don’t want to write any further posts on it. There are many reasons as to why I do not want to continue with this and here are some of them:

1. The whole book will take much took long, considering I am only just over a tenth of the way through over 7 posts, which means that there would be OVER 63 posts to go (probably more, as some of the posts contained things from a number of pages, so really it could be 100 more posts!) and this is something I don’t want to go on for that long, as I would like to get on to more interesting and exciting books, that people might actually be interested in.

2. The book is dull, boring and is hard to read. The sentences are long, the words are complex and many of the references are of things I have not heard of. This might not be a problem if it were ‘interesting’ and I was enjoying it more, but it makes it a real effort to read and write about it.

3. I have no motivation anymore. I thought it was a ‘good’ idea at the beginning, and for some reason I believed that I would be able to do a full chapter a day, and get it done by Easter, I think I was ‘possessed and crazy’ when I thought that, but there is no way this will be finished any time soon, even if I were able to spend 24 hours a day on it! (which would be akin to torture!) And after reading the introduction, I feel like I actually read the book, and talked about the ideas of the book enough. I am just not interested in finding out any more.

4. I have been doing EVERYTHING possible to avoid reading or posting about it for probably over a week. At first it was fine, I was interested, and some of the earlier pages were interesting, and were ‘easy to understand’. Now (as evident from my recent deviation from the book) I try to avoid the book as much as possible.

5. It’s not fun or exciting for me anymore. It might sound selfish, but the part of the reason of this site’s existence is about me and my thoughts on different books, and because it isn’t fun or interesting anymore, it feels like a chore. Which is not what I want this to be, it should be fun and rewarding, which everything else on the site has been!

6. I don’t think many people are interested in the book. Technically I don’t mind if nobody reads any of my posts, but this site is about creating a community, and sharing an experience of a good book, which is really hard to do with this book.

7. There are many more books that I want to blog about that are far more interesting, but this book would prevent that, even though I made the decision to read the book as a bit of a ‘filler’ between The Book Thief and what will happen next.

8. Do I really need any more reasons?

9. No? Good.

So this is the end of Mein Kampf and I can say that I am happy finishing the ‘journey’ but I can also say that I am glad that I decided to read some of it, and get a taste of what Hitler was thinking. I don’t think this book will ever be revisited, but I don’t think that I am missing out on too much if I end now. And this just allows us to return to fiction, and something that is infinitely more exciting, interesting, amazing and GOOD! I think there is something cathartic about moving on from this book, and being able to do something I am excited about! I feel that now would be a good time to announce what I plan on doing next, but I actually only have tomorrow and the day after’s post until I have to go on a two week hiatus, returning on the 22nd of April. I am actually going on holiday and then I am taking a few extra ‘days off’ to prepare for what I will be doing next, so I am ahead of my posting. So more on that tomorrow, and then on ‘Friday’ (timezones are weird) there will a round-up of a couple more books I have read recently! It actually feels good to be done with this book!

Mein Kampf – General Political Considerations Based on My Vienna Period (cont.)

General Political Considerations Based on My Vienna Period (cont.)

Let’s return to Mein Kampf and rejoin the tale of Hitler and hear about his crazed thoughts and racist ideas.

I think I just read an entire page, and it was ‘nothing’. There was nothing interesting, important and nothing made an impression, it was just words. I don’t even know why he included them. He just seems to be talking up some guy, a Dr. Lueger, even that wasn’t clear, and this could be from the translation or it might not. I think he might be talking about how ‘bad’ and ‘backwards’ Austria were, compared to Germany. He brings up Joseph II, who was the ‘Holy Roman Emperor’ back in the 16th century! I don’t even know if it is relevant, or if he was trying to show of his ‘historical prowess’.

He is trying to talk about Austria and how it cannot survive, and what it would have to do to survive. Possibly, maybe he is saying something else, but to be honest this section is really confusing and lacking substance. He mentions that Austria can only survive when it has good leaders, and some states can survive without good leaders for a while, but Austria is not one of these. He makes it sound like countries just disappear and new ones take their place overnight. Maybe I don’t know enough about history, or if recent times are just a little different and anomalous compared to the past, but countries don’t seem to ‘collapse’ or ‘disappear’. I know that when the USSR broke up, lots of ‘new’ countries popped up in Europe, but to me it doesn’t sound like countries can just collapse and to be overrun, I just don’t really see how that works. I don’t see that happening any time soon, unless mass debt kills Europe and makes a massive revolution, or if the US broke up somehow, but I can’t see it happening. This whole pointless section is just another way for him to attack the Habsurg Empire and democracy.

He then has the nerve to say ‘I shall not lose myself in details on this point, for that is not the function of this book. I shall only submit to a more thorough-going observation those events which are the ever-unchaning causes of the decline of nations and states, thus possessing significance for our time as well, and which ultimately contributed to securing the foundations of my own political thinking.’ He just spent 6 pages talking about it for no discernible reason! He just decided to include these words, so it looked like he had lots to say! Hopefully from those two sentences you get a slight picture of how dull, boring and hard to understand his writing is! Even if it isn’t in the original German, I don’t think it would be any better in the German, maybe I’m wrong. But this is why, it is hard to be motivated to read more of this book. Especially when the section is pointless, and provides nothing of substance or interest.

Again he talks about how stupid democracy is, and how that for Austria, it worked even worse because ‘it had not history’. Actually he talks about the building of parliament, itself, and how it was ‘generic’ because there was nothing the builder could put in as decoration, unless he borrowed from ‘antiquity’. Confusing! In fact, I’m going to leave it there, it is enough for today and I am seriously doubting I am going to finish this chapter, let alone the whole book! So let’s see how long this lasts…

Mein Kampf – General Political Considerations Based on My Vienna Period

General Political Considerations Based on My Vienna Period

It is actually a terrifying thought that I am only one tenth of the way through this book (the actual Mein Kampf) and this is only my 5th post on it (oh no, does that mean there are 45 to go?) but it feels like I’ve been reading this book forever and the introduction took a long time (It’s two weeks since I started with this book). It also doesn’t help that the book is mentally demanding to read and try to make sense of, and it takes a long time to process and to actually write something down for everyone to read, especially compared to the previous books I have done, with their short chapters (this chapter actually goes for 55 pages!). I almost don’t want to continue and seem to be doing everything else BUT read and write about a new section. The experience thus-far has been interesting and somewhat eye-opening, but the effort has been more than I imagined. However I am keen to continue (even though I have no hope of the book becoming any ‘better’ or ‘easier’ except maybe the two chapters that are only 9 pages in length! I cannot wait for those!) and will preserve for as long as I can, I may scrap this idea and just read the book giving my final overall thoughts, but for the next week I will continue (after that, I have an ‘announcement’ about that later, but that word makes it seem a lot more interesting and exciting than what it really is). Let’s see how many pages I can get through today!

Young politicians? Hitler thinks that only people older than 30 should be a politician. What do you personally think about that? I think, that there needs to be at least some ‘young’ people involved in politics otherwise all the older generations are essentially playing (and sometimes messing up) the future generations country and economy. You do need experience in a government, because there have to be some people knowing what they are doing (or looking like they know what they are doing). But ignoring the concerns of the youth by excluding them would be unwise. To be honest I think there need to be MORE younger politicians running for office, and let’s face it, they will only get in if the electorate think they will do a ‘good’ job (or if no one else is any better). And politicians are renowned for back-flipping and changing their views, so it doesn’t matter if they were young or old, the public almost expects them to do it. They are one of the least trusted people (because of their profession) in the community!

Just looking around on ‘youtube’ I found that the entire audio book can be watched (or should that be listened) to online, but it will only take nearly TWENTY HOURS (yes 20!). Looking at the audio books for ‘Harry Potter’ on the online Pottermore Shop (anyone on Pottermore for the beta?) the first two books combined probably are shorter in length but from 4 onwards, they exceed 20 hours, so maybe in comparison it isn’t that much. But it still is quite a lot, and to be honest listening to Mein Kampf in full could be a form of torture because it would go so slowly and would much not much sense that you would go insane. ‘Harry Potter’ at least is engaging, interesting and the time will fly listening to Stephen Fry read to you (that is if you buy a UK version!). I just want to know how someone thought that reading this book aloud would be a good idea, how does he even managed to say all of the sentences, and how long would it have taken to record all of it? Because some of the sentences, and words, would need to be practised a lot, so that it could sound like you weren’t struggling. I really hope that that man got paid a lot of money, because it would not be an easy job.

I wonder (it may become apparent later, but who knows) what Hitler’s involvement in the Nazi Party at the time of his writing this book, I’m sure it was mentioned in the introduction, but I forget. Because was he trying to be the leader of Germany at the time? Was he still trying to be the leader of the Nazi Party? And I wonder if he was older than his 30 year minimum age that he decided to place on politics? I wonder if he thought about the fact that he was coming up with ideas and ‘philosophy’ at an age where he believed was when people were not old enough to understand how the world works, and would become easily embarrassed at the fact that he will have to change his opinion when he gets to an age of ‘wisdom’. Don’t know if that makes sense, but, I hope you get the picture. I bet that is why he is so quick to tell us he didn’t always hate Jews, it was just a ‘phase’ when he was naive.

That’s all for today!

Mein Kampf – Years of Study and Suffering in Vienna (concluded)

 Years of Study and Suffering in Vienna (concluded)

‘By the turn of the century, the trade0union movement had ceased to serve its former function.’ Am I more confused about this sentence than I need to be? Is he referring to the turn into 1900 or was he actually meaning a ‘decade’ making it 1910, because why would he be going back in time, century just doesn’t quite sound right. I really wonder what it would be like to read this in German, I bet that it would make a lot more sense, and have a lot more power than a translation would because it would be his actual words. Pity I don’t know any German, and to understand a book, especially one so complex, I would need a really good grasp on German.

Trade unions do often ask and petition for something that isn’t viable and possible, whether it is quite higher wages or conditions that just wouldn’t be economically possible, but they do this because it gives them room to move because their main aim is often much lower, and they will accept a lower offer (just like a lawyer would). You don’t start by giving the exact figure you want and work your way down, you always start with something that probably won’t be possible, and try and find a middle group, because neither party would given in and reveal their lowest or highest point where they would accept. It does not mean that they are ‘terrorising the community’ or a being ‘destructive’ to the state, they are doing their job and raising the concerns of their area, which would otherwise be unheard.

Hitler seems quite ‘obsessed’ with understanding the Social Democrats, probably in an attempt to solidly know his enemy, and use his knowledge against them, but it sounds a bit ‘too far’. And he talks about how confusing and lacking of substance many of their documents and literature was, when his own literature (THIS BOOK) is rambling, confusing, ‘hodgepodge’ and ‘meaningless’. And again he talks that he was overcome by ‘fear’ because of all the ‘hate and egotism’ that was in the literature of the social democrats, when he is probably the biggest insight or hate and violence EVER and a massive egotist that whatever he was reading cannot compare to what he produced!

I really do not understand why Hitler hated the Jews so much, I might learn a bit about it right now, but even the idea just doesn’t make sense, when he isn’t being religious (well his main motivation isn’t one of religion, I think). I don’t see why he could even think that because someone was Jewish they weren’t German, or that they weren’t worthy of being German, to be honest if someone thinks like that (and was German) THEY aren’t worthy of being German! ‘Strange religion’? I didn’t think that it was ‘strange’ and if you really think about it all religions are ‘strange’ especially if you don’t understand them or aren’t used to them. Interestingly Hitler at first found the anti-Semitic views of the Viennese press to be ‘unworthy of the cultural tradition of a great nation’ which is probably the only thing in this book that that makes sense, though he might have some sort of way to twist this idea around into something that is plain lunacy. It is quite ironic that he wasn’t ‘in agreement with the sharp anti-Semitic tone’ from one of the newspapers, but these words did give him food for thought, which is probably where his own anti-Semitic thoughts began.

I’m interested that Hitler didn’t try to cover up the fact that he wasn’t always in favour of anti-Semitism, I would have thought that trying to show that he has always, and will always be anti-Semitic would be ‘better’, but the truth is nice. It still seems like for a long while he struggled with ‘the Jewish question’ and wasn’t attracted to anti-Semitism, which to be honest is quite interesting, and he even found some of the arguments made to be groundless and ridiculous. But he quickly found that Vienna was filled with Jews and he began to think that everyone was Jewish and that the city no longer looked ‘German’. But what is quite sad is that I have heard this type of talk in recent times, in relation to the ‘invasion of Muslims’. In Australia, there has been many times that we are being filled with ‘Asians and Arabs and Muslims and Africans’ that we are no longer ‘Australian’, and we are touted as being ‘multicultural’ and many of us are inclusive and welcoming, but there are always a few that just haven’t seemed to learn that being racist bigots is not right, and no longer has a place in the world. I wonder if one day people won’t care what others look like, where they come from and what religion they follow, because these things don’t matter.

What pushed Hitler towards anti-Semitism was the ‘Zionists’ who didn’t quite look German, and maintained their Jewish dress and practises. To be honest that is a very decisive issue. Should an immigrant be forced to ‘assimilate’ into their new country’s culture and community? Some did not really have a choice of where they ended up, like refugees, and of course you don’t want to force people to do anything. But also, the new citizens of a country cannot (and should not) isolate themselves and refuse to try to become a part of the community. Part of the problem is that many people don’t understand that this takes time, and isn’t an easy thing to do, and when people are being racist, it makes it even harder and many think that just because someone doesn’t forget their old customs and adopt all of ‘our’ customs they are being ‘isolative’. Some people just never learn and don’t understand that the differences between people make the world a better place, and that a culture isn’t fixed and new people allow that culture to grow and develop. I must say of course, that religion (all religions!) need to learn, or begin to understand, that they are not ‘right’ and that everyone else is ‘wrong’, the people who are extremists, are in my opinion, some of the worst people on this planet, because they refuse to think that things written thousands of years ago are somewhat barbaric in nature (I believe that people have moved on from stoning and mutilating people) and not all your moral values should be formed from one text, that was written in a very different time and era than the one we live in. But religion is such a controversial topic, that I shall move on.

So Hitler has now dramatically changed his idea of thinking, because of one simple chain of thoughts, and everything that he once admired and ‘loved’ has become ‘an abomination’ and something that should be hated. It is quite strange how a little ‘awakening’ can change someone drastically. Maybe some of his hate towards Jews was because he contracted syphilis from a Jewish prostitute, so he then wanted to get back at them all! He has the crazy (I literally think that this thought is crazy) thought that if one single Jew worked at a newspaper, the newspaper was no longer ‘national’ because Jews were not German. How in the world did he think that that was a sound and logical conclusion? I really don’t think that Hitler was in any way logical! And he begins to sound like an insane person, who is paranoid because now ‘EVERYONE is Jewish, and the Jewish are infiltrating everywhere and Germany is no longer safe’ when nothing has changed apart from Hitler.

He even thought that trying to talk to Jews about their doctrine and how ‘stupid’ it was would somehow change their attitudes. If there is one thing that should be obvious, is that talking to a religious person about how ‘bad and wrong’ their religion is, will get you NO WHERE, if someone is stuck in their views, you are wasting your time trying to ‘convert them’ because no matter what you say and how often you say it, they aren’t going to change their mind. And because he couldn’t get through to them, he began to hate them. Was Marxism at all related to Jewish people? It sounds as if Hitler thinks of them as the same, but what about in reality? So in the end of the chapter we are convinced that Hitler really does now (present tense in this situation may not be right, but I cannot be sure) hate Jews, and that we should never forget it. Now that second chapter is done, we can slave away at the third chapter, this is going to take a long time…

In other news, there have now been over 500 views to this site! Which is incredible and amazing, and there have been nearly 200 this month alone! I have been quite overwhelmed by this, so thankyou everyone! I hope you have enjoyed the experience thus far, and join me in the future!

Mein Kampf – Years of Suffering and Study in Vienna (cont.)

Years of Suffering and Study in Vienna (cont.)

In 1909 and 1910 Hitler worked as a ‘small draftsman and painter of watercolours’. With his new work he had more time to do things, like reading and studying. He was now interested with ‘everything to do with politics’, which to him was the ‘duty of every thinking man’ so it was not special. And somehow he thinks that people that read a lot, and that read every word and letter, can be ‘not well read’. Because they may know a lot, but they are ‘unable to organise and register the material they have taken in.’ What he thinks to be ‘good reading’ is to selectively choose out the ‘important’ bits and only remember those and nothing else (which removes all context) and I can easily see why he may have read a lot but he was quite ‘naive’ and ignorant about the world because he only took in what he thought was ‘relevant and important’ when this could have been quite different to the entire book. Because sometimes the book may start with one side of the argument and then change later on to discuss the other side, and he wouldn’t care about the other side (which the author may be supporting) and he loses all context, which is extremely important to understanding the view of the author and the content of the book. I do understand that books should be your opinion, but should help shape your world view, but these are two very different things.

If you are going to read, and then only remember things that support your current opinion and assist you in your side of the argument, you aren’t going to learn, you are going to continue to believe that you are right. If you just pick out certain ‘statistics’ or ‘ideas’ that support your argument, and you ignore the wider consensus and a larger number of ‘statistics’, ‘ideas’, and ‘arguments’ then you aren’t learning and improving. If I wanted to say that the sky was really green (an example, bear with it) and I found data to support my idea, even when there is many other pieces of data and evidence showing that it wasn’t, I would be wrong and ignoring the entire board of evidence, which is what selectively remembering ‘important’ sections of a book is all about.I don’t know if my rant made any sense, but hopefully you get the idea of the lunacy.

So even though Hitler despised democracy he praised it because it would ‘ultimately’ lead to the downfall of the Habsburg Empire, which is exactly what he wanted (It is strange and quite hard to believe that a young man, little more than a teenager, was having such political and philosophical thoughts and ideas, it is not impossible, but I really doubt that Hitler was thinking this much when he was just a young man despite what he claims). Hitler hates another group of people, Slavic people, is there a group of people Hitler doesn’t hate apart from his mystical, and far-fetched idea of Ayrans? He really thinks that he is an amazing specimen of a human, doesn’t he. Because now he suggests that he learnt things about philosophy and about the Social Democratic Party and their doctrine, in only a few months, which for others would take decades. He is literally delusional and deranged. He thinks that the Social Democratic Party (I cannot really comment on whether their ideas and beliefs were good or not because let’s be honest I don’t really care about a party and their beliefs 100 years ago) are a ‘pestilential whore, cloaking herself as social virtue and bortherly love, from which I hope humanity will rid this earth with the greatest dispatch, since otherwise the earth might well become rid of humanity’. A especially scathing review. Following by another lie about his first experience of the Social Democrats.

It is actually a strange thought to think of Hitler working as a painter or a labourer and actually sitting at a work site eating his lunch. But I wonder if the views of the ‘Social Democrats’ he portrays are what actually was thought at the time, some of it is difficult for me to understand in a modern era and some just sounds like utter garbage, but everyone is technically entitled to an opinion regardless of that opinion (whether people can or should act on that belief and opinion is another matter), so I think things have been ‘made up’ and exaggerated (not the first time, either). He then began to argue back to these people in a heated manner (which is probably not the best idea and won’t really change people’s mind if you yell at them and say that they are wrong) trying to ‘educate’ them. But these hardy men told him to leave or he would be thrown of the scaffolding (I wonder if he would have died if they did this, and what the bulk of the 20th century would have looked like without him). But being the obstinate man he was, he decided to take up the fight elsewhere and try again.

I must laugh at the irony that he thought the Social Democrats ‘lied with a virtuosity that would bend iron beams’ and ’employed every means of slander’ ‘in the name of this gospel for a new humanity’. Isn’t this exactly what he did? Is there not conclusive evidence in this very book, that he slandered nearly everyone and lied profusely because he wanted a ‘new humanity’. There is so much irony, it is doing my head it, did he not see how silly it was to actually put this in, because of exactly what he was doing. Or was it because he was ‘right’ that it was acceptable? He talks about the ‘insanity of the doctrine [of Social Democrats]’ but obviously does not realise that his doctrine is probably even more far-fetched and illogical and immoral. He really loves to use the word ‘bourgeois’, I wonder if people in those days actually used that word or whether he just used it to sound smart (and technically the translator ‘chose’ this word but it is Hitler’s book) the word simply means ‘the characteristic of the social middle class’. Sure it sounds more intellectual and sophisticated, but if no one knows what you are talking about it isn’t worth using.

Is he seriously suggesting that the Social Democrats blackmailed people to join their movement? It is quite shocking and appalling. But it is again ironic, that the Nazi Party are no better, and are in fact worse (I should said were worse, but you get the idea). If you weren’t a Nazi especially in WW2 you were ostracised and treated with suspicion, so you were often forced to join to save you and your family the trouble, even if you were against their ideas. But I guess it shows where Hitler got his ideas from (if this is true). It sounds as if from Hitler’s version of events that the Social Democrats rejected workplace reform on safety, child labour, pregnant women working and better workplace conditions, possibly because of some idea that ‘rich men’ were interfering and taking away their rights or something, but it is an odd ‘doctrine’ for a party and the public to endorse (that is if it is true). It sounds like they went from Social Democracy to Nazism, one evil to another.But the idea of trade unions, aren’t bad because these days (at least) they promote safe working environments and petition for the rights of their members on things like pay and conditions, sometimes they can be ruthless, annoying and cause a bit of chaos but they are fighting for the benefit of their members, so they aren’t ‘evil’.

I really wonder if the vocabulary that Hitler used in German was so ‘sophisticated and complex’ as it appears to be in English, or whether the translator has had to find words to suit German words which are common, but in English are advanced and frankly over-the-top. But maybe that was how people in the 1900’s really talked, and such words are just uncommon today. I am also confused by the random sections that are in italics I’m not actually sure why they are like that, or what they are representing, but maybe it is some sort of ‘key idea’. His sentences are REALLY long, and if I were to read them out aloud, I would run out of oxygen! I would like to see Hitler himself try and read his own sentences.

And this chapter is so long, I have to break it up into another section, it is over 40 pages long, and the pages have small margins, and because of the complexity of it, it takes a long time to dissect and understand the content. This might take longer than I intended.

Mein Kampf – Years of Suffering and Study in Vienna

Years of Suffering and Study in Vienna

Hitler is very inconsistent, and he leaves things out and then revisits them paragraphs later, in a random spot, he obviously has no notion of sticking on topic. But we are now, or so I believe, entering the famous entrance exam for a Vienna art school, which Hitler failed, because the board members were Jewish, and to some ‘that started it all’. Seriously he sounds like the biggest, most selfish, ass ever, ‘my ability had developed amazingly’. No one says that, when you have a ‘gift’ or are good at things, the last thing you should do is brag about it, you have to be humble, sure there is no reason to ‘deny’ your talent, but don’t get big headed about it. And now he is obsessed with architecture, I wonder if he ever thought about the countless buildings that were destroyed through his actions, did he think it a travesty that the amazing buildings were being destroyed, or did he give them no thought, like the lives of millions killed?  When he was denied entry, he demanded an explanation, and the ‘gentleman’ said that his drawings were ‘proof that he was unfit to paint and should pursue architecture’. I don’t think he took that very well. But he, is just aggravating, I don’t think I need to say any more about it.But he now decided that he will become an architect.

But his lack of high school education, made this difficult. Because you do need to be good at mathematics (I think…) to be a good architect, or at least you need a good understanding of it. But he was determined, nothing would stop him. And it sounds as if again there is inconsistencies with nearly everything, biggest liar going around! And he actually thanks ‘fate’ for sending him into poverty, so ‘he knew the people he would later fight’, I don’t really understand that at this point, and it probably won’t be mentioned again.

It was in his time in Vienna that he came to loathe Marxism and Jewry. To be honest I have no knowledge of what Marxism is. I know it’s some sort of political ideology, but what exactly it involves, I do not know. Again more lies, he says he was a labourer, but this is not reflected in the records (true the records don’t always record everything, but they are pretty detail and accurate). He talks about hunger ‘being his constant bodyguard’ and then words later he mentions going to the opera and buying books. To be honest, if I were hungry, I would find food instead of a book or a trip to the Opera (and I do love buying books, but this confuses me). Hitler is very contradictory, because he says one thing and then says something else, and leaves problems unanswered, and then answers later or assumes that he has mentioned it before. I wasn’t expecting a literary genius, but I still will critique.

He sounds very ‘posh’ for someone who was poor, in the fact that he ‘bags out’ the manual workers, who to him were the lowest of the lows in terms of social order, when he didn’t have a home himself. I don’t actually see why manual workers were at the bottom of the list, I don’t really know what jobs these were, but they still were jobs, they weren’t unemployed. And I have to laugh at the mention that he learnt ‘to know humanity, learning to distinguish between empty appearances or brutal externals and the inner being.’ Which is confounding because of his views on race and religion, which isolated people for being different, because your race or religion doesn’t classify the person you are.

Was Berlin a capital of Germany (or one of the states) in this time, and if so did Hitler like the place (seeing it is now the capital)? Because there is no mention of the town and Hitler really seems to ‘hate’ Vienna, so why live there? I also get the feeling that Hitler doesn’t like the rich, or women. I swear he didn’t like anyone! Sometimes it sounds as if he is making a reasonable argument (something that I may even slightly agree with) but then he goes of in a tangent or says something rude and heinous that I cannot agree with it any longer. I also do not know if it was set out the way it is in this edition, or if this is the choices of the translator and publisher, but it is not set out very well and in a logical manner, because there are little ‘breaks’ every now and again, and they seem to be in random places, sometimes inappropriate (in my opinion). I certainly have very few words of praise for this book, but I didn’t expect otherwise.

Apparently he could find work easily because ‘he was not a skilled craftsman’ which is paradoxic because if you were good at what you do, you should find work easily, but nothing makes real sense with him. The story he tries to create about unemployment is mediocre at best and confuses me more than if it were left out entirely, it serves no real purpose. But it just sounds as if Hitler hates another thing, cities because it ‘crushes men’ who were ‘sucked in’. This could be argued the case, but nearly anything could be argued. But he has an interesting point that when people earn money they quickly forget the tough times, and ignore budgeting so they can enjoy immediate rewards, making their long term survival and situation perpetually worse. And this ‘cycle’ is passed on to future generations, who then do the same thing, it is something that (for the time being) is not nonsensical and can be applied to abuse and poverty cycles as well to some degree, which remain ingrained for generations.

He really has periods where he makes some sense, then little sense, and then makes no sense at all (possibly even ‘negative sense’ because his words seem too backwards). I think it would be such a strange experience to talk to the man, or to even experience one of his speeches in the flesh, I’d probably explode with anger at some point and try to murder him, but it would still be an experience. Technically he has a point that Nature ‘flushes out the weak and leaves the strong’ and that doesn’t quite happen with humans any-more (especially today) so the weak continue to survive. I don’t condone (I always thought this word to be the opposite because it sounds like condone is a negative word, so saying ‘don’t condone’ sounds like you agree with it, but this isn’t the case) ‘killing the weak’ because you just can’t do that, no one has the power or right to choose who lives and who dies, I just wonder what the world would be like if Nature had its way and those who ‘it’ saw fit survived and those that didn’t were wiped out, and what the human species would look like. But moving on, because what Hitler and Nature or indeed I see as ‘weak’ are all very different.

Hitler, I must really disagree, because where someone lives, means NOTHING, and being a German, or an Australian, or an American (or from any other country around the world) it means NOTHING, it is irrelevant! It is just a label and a coincidence that you were born in a particular place and some guy said that it was this country because he said so. National pride is another thing, which is hard for me to explain, but is something that is useless. Which probably angers a lot of people, but I don’t hate my country, I don’t want to be ‘invaded’ but to me I live on this planet, like everyone else, and lines on a map mean very little to me (especially with the advent of the internet, which destroys the limitations of such borders). If you are proud of your country, good on you, you are entitled to do that, but I am entitled to not agree.

We are again subjected to another ‘metaphor/story/work of imagery’ to try and instil an idea. He makes an obvious point that children are impressionable and what their parents do and say make an impact on their personality and attitude towards life. It is ironic that he talks about this, and how such a child brought up in a bad environment will hate the state and religion, etc. and will become adults that are immoral and insolent and are ‘incredibly stupid’ when I can easily say that he as a man, was immoral (or possibly amoral but there is a big difference) and ‘incredibly stupid’ (maybe not that bad, but you cannot say he was intelligent because he held his own view of intelligence and education). And the fact that he says that such a boy will disregard authority (which includes government) is odd because he himself at a young age was ‘revolutionary’ and hated the government.

He brings up an important issue; privilege. It is something that I haven’t really been aware of in the past, but has been made clearer recently (and is something that is brought up frequently at Mark Reads – link in the sidebar). It is a complex issue, and I have learnt that being ‘privileged’ makes it impossible to comment on what it is like to be ‘unprivileged’ and that if you are ‘privileged’ you should leave it to the ‘unprivileged’ to comment on their lives and situation. Because what we think will ‘help’ them could really be the last thing they want you to do, I guess it goes beyond taking a walk in someone else’s shoes because that still leaves you in your frame of mind, but you have to consider that a different person in that situation probably doesn’t like ‘privileged’ people talking about the issue like they know what is going on and what needs to be done.

He makes an interesting final point (for this ends with a break) that he can ‘fight only for something that he loves, love only what he respects, and respect only what he at least knows.’ Which is quite true, but with everything philosophical it doesn’t apply to everything. This chapter is a tad long, so the rest will be completed tomorrow!

Mein Kampf – Volume One – A Reckoning – In the House of My Parents

Volume One – A Reckoning

In the House of My Parents

One sentence in, and I already find his style annoying. For example, “Today it seems to me providential (did the translator pick this word, or is this really the closest word in English?) that Fate should have chosen Braunau on the Inn as my birthplace”. And he already sounds extremely arrogant, like he was so amazing, which he probably thought, but you don’t translate that into your own writing. I don’t really understand much of German history, but it sounds like that before WW2 and possibly even before WW1, Germany had been divided into two, one being German-Austria, and the other possibly just Germany. And already he tells everyone that Germany must reunite as one, but not for economic reasons (because even if it were harmful, it must take place) but because ‘One blood demands one Reich’. Which is the strangest sentence ever.

And also already he suggests that they, once a single Germany and if the ‘daily bread’ was limited, would have a “moral right” to take over foreign soil. According to Hitler the town in which he was born, was important because 100 years ago, Johann Phillipp Palm was executed because he attacked Napoleon in a pamphlet (to be honest it is strange to think of pamphlets being available in 1806) and it was great blow to the ‘fatherland’. His heroism is increased because he refused to rat out his companions. After one page, it is already scathing and is not afraid to attack anyone and everyone. But I now, “understand” (in a very minor, and limited way) Germany’s hatred of France, that was mentioned in the introduction. Technically Hitler was not born in Germany, but Austria, he was just outside of the ‘Bavarian’ (German) borders.

Hitler doesn’t remember anything about his time, as a young child, because quickly his father had a job at the Austrian customs house, which meant that they moved a little further down the river, and into Germany. Not long after they moved to Linz, where they stayed as their father worked there until his retirement. Hitler tries to tell us that his father ran away at 13, but this is not the case, as he never ran away but became an apprentice shoemaker (Hitler is already trying to sell us lies, in an attempt to embellish himself). His father finished the apprenticeship but quite the trade for ‘something better’. So he turned to the public service, where he worked in until he was 59 (Hitler mentioned 56, the footnote says 59, which is who I would trust). Apparently he later moved back to his village once he had made a name for himself, but no one remembered him, and the village had changed.

According to Hitler (I refuse to accept that his version of events is the truth) it was this time, as a boy, that his ‘first ideals took shape in his breast’. What those ideas are, is yet to be made clear. It may be that his obsession to do something, and not just stay at home, is what he is talking about. He had no thoughts of what he would do later in life, but he now believes that his public speaking skills were already developing in the school yard, in the form of arguments, as he had become a ‘ring-leader’. He even received singing lessons, something I did not expect.  He had hopes to become a village priest, but that was quickly dashed, as he found various military books at home, and began to love them. He began to obsess about war, or anything to do with war, which is not surprising seeing the events that later occurred. He then began to think about whether there was a difference between men who fought at war, and those that didn’t. And in my opinion a person should never be ridiculed or thought as a coward because they didn’t want to go to war, it doesn’t mean that they don’t love their country and it doesn’t mean that they are wusses. I would never go to war, because I don’t “believe” in it, and I would never shoot and kill someone, that is just who I am. Everyone is different, and if you want to risk your life fighting a war, good on you, you are doing what you believe is right, but that doesn’t mean everyone who doesn’t is second-rate.

Hitler then went to high school. And once again Hitler lies, because his father died when he was 13, so Alois Hitler had no influence on where he went to High School, I wonder why Hitler decided to lie and manipulate the story, did he think he had to, or was this someone else’s work trying to make him sound even better. And wouldn’t having his father die when he was still a young man, make him ‘better’ and gain sympathy? Apparently Hitler did not want to be a civil servant, and yet his father wanted him to follow his path, but because Hitler was so obstinate that nothing his father said or did would change his mind. And his school work was ‘ridiculously easy’ which contradicts what was said in the introduction that he was not a stand-out student, so more embellishment is included.

Then at age 12, he decided that he would be an artist, because of his ‘talent for drawing’ (which school records do not show) which his father was astounded by. Hitler I think that people still today doubt your sanity and not just your father. And of course, his father opposed such a career, just as Hitler opposed being a public servant. To be honest, I hate (probably slightly too strong a word, but it is applicable) parents that want to meddle and influence what their child wants to do when they ‘grow up’. Especially when their children are against what they are trying to say, sure they should encourage their children to make appropriate decisions, but ultimately it is not their life contrary to what many believe, and it is a child who should decide the direction of their life, not the parent. Denying your child’s dream and ambition, does a lot of harm and I understand that parents do not want to set their child up to failure, but denying everything they want to do is close to child abuse (not at all the same, but it comes close). And (apparently, if this is true I can begin to feel for a young Hitler, who was denied his dream) his father forbade him of studying art any further (parents should probably learn that doing this, especially to a teenager, is usually counter-productive, they should know from their own experience and logic that we usually want the thing we can’t have). And because of his inability to study art, he declared that he would not study anything.

So in effect, because Hitler couldn’t study to be a painter because his father forbade it, Hitler refused to learn anything else, and so probably had large gaps in his education, and may be a reason as to why he was quite ignorant to factual history and philosophy, etc, because they were all ‘irrelevant’. This probably extends because, he then (possibly) decided that he didn’t need to ‘learn’ these things, but what he thought as fact, was close enough, having terrible consequences. And he was kicked out of his school, for his ‘laziness’ (thought Hitler doesn’t mention it) and history and geography (among mathematics and German) were his worst subjects, no surprises there, though he claims ‘he led the class’ (Hitler you should never lie, it doesn’t make you look better, and is easily found out). And also at this time, he claims that he became a nationalist and ‘learned to understand and grasp the meaning of history’. There was a Franco-German War? I did not know this, no wonder Germany hated France!

I actually wonder what Hitler would think of the events after World War Two, and what he would think of modern Germany? Of course we will never know, but I hope that if he somehow saw them, he would die because of how much he hated it. ‘Heil’ was a greeting in Germany when he was a child, I had just assumed that he created it as ‘Heil Hitler’, but obviously not, the things you learn. Was Hitler trying to include Austria into Germany, or the other way around, because it sounds like he wanted (or people wanted when he was young) for Austria to join with Germany (or that is what German-Austrian people wanted). I am slightly surprised (and I guess it shows my ignorance) at the level of depth and complexity and interconnectedness between all of Europe, from all the different empires and wars, and political unions, it just has so much history, and most of it I am completely unaware of, if this book only teaches me one thing, it probably will be that I know so little about history.

Surprisingly I kind of agree with Hitler that history shouldn’t be about learning dates and names, but it should be an understanding of the events, and why they took place, and how they took place. And we have evidence here of a lack of connectedness and ‘flow’ between paragraphs, because we are told of a school Realschule where he found a ‘good’ history teacher, but we are never told by Hitler that he moved there after being kicked out, so it is very inconsistent, something that I shouldn’t be surprised about. But the history teacher, sounds as if he was a great teacher, and actually made the kids interested, which is difficult but necessary in education. Whether he was teaching them unbiased, accurate information is another thing.

He then mentions Francis Ferdinand, who I have heard about, as being an enemy for Austrian-Germanism, which confuses me because I thought that his assassination set off Germany and demanded retribution and that was how the war started, but it appears not, history is very complex. But I believe that Hitler did not like Austria, and wanted Germany to just be German, and he thought of this when he was still a child (apparently). I cannot believe that he actually thought himself as a revolutionary, when he was still a boy, because he hated Austria, blah, blah, blah. And then he loved opera (don’t know how that fits in, but its in here). He also had a ‘painful process’ of adolescence, which confuses me (yet again) because I don’t know if he is referring to emotionally of physically (which is actually more confusing), but moving on. And then we somehow return to Hitler being 13 (before he was older) and this was when his father died, I can really see how un-chronological this is, and how seemingly random and unordered he was. But his father died of a stroke, and later Hitler developed a ‘serious lung ailment’ which means ‘he should never be sent into an office’ (which makes sense…). So then he was allowed to study to be an artist. His mother then died, and he had little money, so he ventured to Vienna (though he had already been there before his mother died) to ‘make something of himself’. But not, in any way, a civil servant, and that was the just the beginning.