Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler wrote Mein Kampf in two volumes. First one has the sub title “A Retrospect”, and the second one “The National Socialist Movement”. As you can imagine, in the first volume he talks about his childhood, his years in Vienna, Munich. It also talks about the First World War and how he began his political activities. The second volume is dedicated to the party, as the name suggests.
10 things I learned about Hitler, from reading Mein Kampf. I’ve decided to focus on the positives too, because these facts are the ones that are more intriguing. His antisemitism is obvious, very obvious. The way he talks about Jews is sometimes horrible, so I’m not going to mention that. It’s not like it was something new.
1. At 12, he wanted to be a painter. I think he was talented too. I looked online for paintings made by him and they are beautiful. It’s a shame he wasn’t admitted to the school of art, maybe that would have made him stay away from politics. He tried to enter the school of art, but failed twice, part because he didn’t graduated high school.
2. He loved history.
3. He was an avid reader, in his book mentioning that reading was the only thing that brought him joy. He would prefer to skip a meal so he could buy a new book.
4. His mother was Catholic, he was confirmed and, as a boy, he sang in the Church Choir. This leads to the next one…
5. He was Christian.
Apparently this is a controversial subject, with some historians saying he was not, that he was irreligious. This not only does not explain why he had a “Jewish problem”, instead of demonizing (pun intended) blacks or the French. He talks about faith in the book, it’s easy to see that he is a believer and a Christian as well. He even painted Madonna with child. I imagine is hard for a Christian to add Hitler in the Christian narrative, on top of the Inquisition, even though Christianity is hardly the only religion in the name of which million(s) of people died at a time (for example, the genocide of Catholic Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in the First World War, by Muslims).
Nevertheless, his religious beliefs are very clear in his book.
6. His remarks about the Parliament are really interesting. How can we expect someone without an economical background and formal education, understand and decide on complicated economic measures that will affect everybody in that country.
7. Propaganda. He explains what makes a good propaganda in his mind and I have to say it was fascinating. That is aimed at masses, that it needs constant repetition to imprint the ideas in people’s memory.
8. He was a great believer in physical activity. He believed that children should do more sports in school. He also believed that in school children are taught useless subjects in the hope that these will make them think better. For example, he said that as adults, people will not remember the foreign languages learned in school as most of them will not have the chance to practice it after finishing high-school. Another example is history, where a great weight is placed on remembering the years and not the story. He advocated for a more practical approach to teaching, aimed at developing skills.
9. Hitler designed the Nazi flag. He used the three old colours Germany had in the First World War: red, white, and black. He said he regarded them as sacred possessions. The flag was made public in 1920. The swastika, a religions icon, was very popular as it was something new. It symbolized their struggle for victory while being the sign for Anti-Semitism.
10. He knew the power of the films as a way to persuade the masses. In a short time, more people can understand the idea by looking at a film. It was also a way to show something new. He said that people don’t want to read something that goes against their beliefs, and this is why imagines can show people a different opinion fast.
Hitler was a man that influenced other men, he didn’t kill all those people by himself. This happened while other countries hoped he will just stop because they didn’t want to start another war. It didn’t work like that. I hope lessons will be learned from this, by all of us, and measures would be put in place if something similar would start in far away parts of the world, or even closer to home.
Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler
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My rating: 3/5 Stars. Considering what he says about Jews and black people, I should give it a star (as in I can’t give none), but, also considering its importance in World history, I should give it 5. I settled for the middle 3 stars.
Would I recommend it: Yes, to anybody interested in Politics, History, and Psychology. It’s a very important primary historical source.
Published by: New Age Books (the edition I read)
Year it was published: 2014
About the author: Adolf Hitler was born in April 1889. He was a soldier in the First World War, a political activist after the war. He was incarcerated because he attended a demonstration agaisnt the French invasion of the Ruhr in 1923. During his time in prison he started writing the book. After we got out of prison, he was very involved in the party, including giving speeches. He was banned for a while from giving speeches in 1925. In 1927 his ban was lifted by the Bavarian government if his first speech wasn’t in Munich. After 1928, when the Nazi party didn’t get a lot of seats in the general elections, his ban was lifted by the Prussian government too.
In 1930, the Nazi party got over 18% of the votes, becoming the second largest party in the Parliament, 107 seats. After two years, due to the dissolution of the Parliament, new election saw Hitler and the Nazi party winning 230 seats.
In 1933 Hitler was named Chancellor, after new elections after the Nazi party seized power. From that point, Hitler was Chancellor as democratic elections didn’t actually exist. He will remain in power until his death as elections were not held. He committed suicide in April 1945.
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