Book review of Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler.
Previously: Literally Marx
Instead of fading with the passage of time, fear of Nazis seems to be growing stronger. Mainstream media asserts that WWII is currently being re-fought by the Proud Boys and other multicultural larpers. Western governments, three-letter agencies and all the other elite bodies sing in unison: the Nazis are back and they’re on the brink of taking over! (Unless we suspend your Constitutional rights to fight them.)
With Islamist terror forgotten and Covid fading, they needed something new. Plus, a dualist religion like Woke needs its Devil and Trump is struggling to fill the role.
With this newfound fervour for discovering fascists under the bed, it’s timely to go back and read what Hitler was all about.
When I was a teenager, we once had a boys’ video night, drank some beers and watched Boogie Nights. Another friend asked of the film the next day, how was it? Three voices answered in unison: “Long.”
That’s my main reaction to Mein Kampf. Anyone who tells you he’s read the whole thing is lying. It’s impossible. Lol at those barely literate edgelords in high school who kept the paperback on their shelf and claimed it was their favourite book.
Mein Kampf begins with Adolf’s childhood, leading a rebellious gang of boys then defying his father’s expectation that he become a civil servant to pursue an artistic career. He later turns to architecture because his paintings come out like this:
It’s hard to know how much of this to believe. He falsely claims to have led the charge into WWI when in fact he didn’t reach the Front until later – an unnecessary falsehood given that he served honourably and was wounded several times. He was in a military hospital when he was shocked by the news of Germany’s surrender.
Adolf lives in poverty for years, hungry, taking odd jobs and becoming radicalized. Oddly he skips over most of the hunger and house-painting to focus on his political thought during this time.
An extremely long section of the book focuses on Adolf’s nationalism. The N-word is often misunderstood so here’s the original meaning: a state should be organized around a nation, with most members of the nation within it and few outside it, on their traditional land where they have lived since the mists of time.
Germans largely considered themselves separate groups for much of history, with plenty of linguistic and cultural diversity across regions, but Adolf chooses the truth-by-assertion approach rather than reasoning for his nationalist vision. This is the main style of argumentation throughout the book – which is oddly Oriental now that I think of it.
Pre-WWI, Germans were mostly divided between Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. At enormous length, Adolf condemns this arrangement, especially the alliance between the two which allowed the non-Germans in the Empire to get into any amount of trouble and drag Germany into it, while being unable and probably unwilling to defend Germany should the need arise. This is how WWI started: the Empire started stuff and the foolishly loyal Germans suffered for it. He also claims that the Empire was eliminating its German minority and favouring the Slavs despite this supposed alliance.
He says that England should be considered the only “possible ally in Europe”, having admired their warrior spirit in the trenches. Let us know how that goes. Later on, Italy gets a brief mention.
Adolf doesn’t say that Germany should never expand beyond its ancestral borders. Rather, he suggests that founding colonies should wait “until they shall have brought all their children together in the one State. When the territory of the Reich embraces all the Germans and finds itself unable to assure them a livelihood [due to lack of domestic farmland or resources from colonies abroad to support a rapidly growing population], only then can the moral right arise, from the need of the people to acquire foreign territory. The plough is then the sword; and the tears of war will produce the daily bread for generations to come.”
The world is not there to be possessed by the faint-hearted races.
Races which are culturally superior but less ruthless would be forced to restrict their increase . . . while less civilized races could increase indefinitely, owing to the vast territories at their disposal. In other words should that state of affairs continue, then the world will one day be possessed by that portion of mankind which is culturally inferior but more active and energetic.
He says that these colonies should be in Europe, not in Africa or elsewhere. He strongly hints about going east, mentioning the unfinished business with France but not giving the impression that it ought to be colonized. While he doesn’t say it explicitly, Adolf seems to think that the Germans, French and Anglos should share the Earth:
. . . finally the best portion of mankind will possess the earth and will be free to work in every domain all over the world and even reach spheres that lie outside the earth.
We all feel that in the distant future many may be faced with problems which can be solved only by a superior race of human beings, a race destined to become master of all the other peoples and which will have at its disposal the means and resources of the whole world.
There’s quite a lot about the corruption of this ‘blood treasure’ by Jews or negroes introduced by Jews for that purpose. Mixing between, say, German and French is not considered race mixing.
To strengthen this Greater German state, Adolf suggests a two-pronged approach: enhance feelings of social responsibility and combine this “with a ruthless determination to prune away all excrescences which are incapable of being improved.” These ‘excrescences’ ended up being the homeless, retarded, mentally ill, Gypsies, Jews, gays and malcontents, and ‘pruning’ them meant expelling, imprisoning or killing them, depending on the time and place.
Adolf connects this view to the new science of natural selection, saying that charitable relief is ‘ridiculous and useless’. Better for the weak to die than to hinder the health of the state by artificially being kept alive.
When the individual is no longer burdened with his own consciousness of blame in this regard, then and only then will he have that inner tranquility and outer force to cut off drastically and ruthlessly all the parasite growth and root out the weeds.
It’s hardly a popular view today, but the modern ease that allows all to survive has been dysgenic. Whether this will threaten the survival of wealthy states remains to be seen.
He notes that many Germans had grown weak, complacent and foolish, challenging his idea of a great and worthy people.
I feel ya, Dolfie – the same sentiment turns me against Australian nationalism, though perhaps they see me as the excrescence.
He says this of German workers protesting “on reasonable grounds”:
But what was impossible to understand was the boundless hatred they expressed against their own fellow citizens, how they disparaged their own nation, mocked at its greatness, reviled its history and dragged the names of its most illustrious men in the gutter. (. . .) It was against Nature.
Adolf finally decides that his people are being poisoned by the education system and the Social Democratic media. Instead, the masses need to be commanded by a strong leader, just as a woman is most content when she bows to a strong man.
To Adolf, men naturally submit to overwhelming power, so better a good power than a bad one. He sees the whole liberal process of choice as a farce, democracy as the fore-runner of Marxism, and Social Democrats as just another flavour of tyrant:
[Their] tactics consisted in opening, at a given signal, a veritable drum-fire of lies and calumnies against the man whom they believed to be the most redoubtable of their adversaries, until the nerves of the latter gave way and they sacrificed the man who was attacked, simply in the hope of being allowed to live in peace. But the hope proved always to be a foolish one, for they were never left in peace.
I remind readers that this was pre-Twitter.
He is equally contemptuous of the ‘bourgeois’ parties, who he thinks lost power to the Social Democrats by stubbornly refusing to improve workers’ conditions.
That’s the nationalism, natural selection and socialism explained, which leaves one more major plank of Nazi thought: the Jew Thing.
Adolf starts off as barely aware of Jews, and then not being bothered by large numbers of them in Vienna, seeing them as a harmless minority that ought to be left alone. By his account, his thinking changes slowly over time.
He blames them for “nine-tenths of all the smutty literature, artistic trip and theatrical banalities.” He calls Marxism “the Jewish doctrine”, one that goes against “the aristocratic principle of Nature” to the point that it threatens human existence.
He accuses Jews of monopolizing the Press to control the public mind and slander in unison anyone who challenges their agenda:
The scoundrel who defamed his contemporaries in this villainous way would crown himself with a halo of heroic probity fashioned of unctuous phraseology and twaddle about his ‘duties as a journalist’ . . .
Of what the Jews are:
Is not their very existence founded on one great lie, namely, that they are a religious community, whereas in reality they are a race?
No escape through conversion, then.
Adolf does not explain why the Jews are so genetically awful, nor does he seem curious about it. He’s not curious about anything, really. People firm in all their their beliefs are not inquisitive.
Adolf never quite comes out with the final solution, but hints at it. He says that during WWI “there was time enough at home at least to exterminate this vermin,” though he then ponders what the correct policy should have been:
Throw the ringleaders into jail, prosecute them and rid the nation of them? Uncompromising military measures should have been adopted to root out the evil.”
Adolf claims Jews lack idealism because they have no country:
For the territorial delimitation of a State always demands a certain idealism of spirit on the part of the race which forms that State and especially a proper acceptance of the idea of work.
I wonder what he would have made of Israelis.
Moving on, here is Adolf’s essential declaration of the need for totalitarian power and conquest:
. . . when confronted with the obstinate stupidity of his fellow citizens, should he then refrain from pushing forward the measures which he deems to be of vital necessity to the life of the nation?
The majority represents not only ignorance but also cowardice. And just as a hundred block-heads do not equal one man of wisdom, so a hundred poltroons are incapable of any political line of action that requires moral strength and fortitude . . .
All that we admire in the world to-day, its science, its art, its technical developments and discoveries, are the products of the creative activities of a few peoples . . . The maintenance of civilization is wholly dependent on such peoples. Should they perish, all that makes this earth beautiful will descend with them into the grave.
He doesn’t claim Aryans are necessarily smarter than everyone else, but rather that their superiority rests “on his willingness to devote all his faculties to the service of the community.”
There follows an account of his takeover of a small political party, creation of the Nazi flag, propaganda and regular meeting-hall fights with the Red Camp. At first the Communists have the upper hand but over time Nazi numbers grow and their own thugs become more organized, such that their rallies can withstand the onslaught of the original Antifa. As Orwell notes in his excellent review, it’s hard to resist feeling sympathy for Adolf’s David and Goliath struggle, even knowing what happened next – and Orwell was writing in 1940.
Mein Kampf contains an interesting discussion of propaganda: emotive speeches and the spirit of the crowd are better than pamphlets, red is the best colour to use (hence him stealing it from the commies), evenings are the best time for meetings as the will of the audience is fatigued and suggestible, simple messages cut through. The Treaty of Versailles was the most powerful propaganda tool in his kit.
Adolf rails against committees, insisting a single, competent man must be charge, without criticism or meddling. HIs preferred method of eradicating committees is to give them real work to do.
Towards the end of the book when most people have stopped reading, Adolf gets a little more specific about his intentions. After reiterating the moral need for higher races to conquer, he says:
We put an end to the perpetual Germanic march towards the South and West of Europe and turn our eyes towards the lands of the East . . . we must principally think of Russia and the border States subject to her.
He claims that the Russia was once great because of its German elite but would now be seized from “Jewish domination” and cease to exist. By 2025, he imagines the existence of a mega-state of 250 million Germans working and tilling the soil from (I infer) Alsace-Lorraine to Siberia.
There are currently 84 million Germans, not all of them ‘German’ by Adolf’s standards. In fact, a lot of things didn’t turn out as he planned. What he did get wrong, strategically, of those things mentioned in Mein Kampf?
– Invading Russia.
– Calculating that a united German will could defeat any rival, regardless of other considerations.
– Supposing the Anglos would come to accept him out of considerations of ethnic kinship or perceived self-interest.. He seems unaware that a move east would spark a second world war with the Western powers. In fact, it’s funny that it did and I’ll review Pat Buchanan’s book on the subject in the future.
I wonder what Adolf would think of the West today. We are in decline but not primarily because of impure blood. Most of our biggest lunatics, cucks, cowards and weaklings are 100% Aryan. In comparison, the Slavs and others are pretty based. Culture/environment is not everything, but it’s not nothing.
Our failings are not primarily the fault Jews or immigrants – it’s us. The poison isn’t in our blood (I think). It’s in our soul.
The rot set in after WWI, not WWII. That was when the West lost faith in the old, religious and aristocratic order and began groping for alternatives. If Adolf hadn’t grabbed control of that chaotic state, someone else would have – probably the equally ruthless Communists. Then there may have been a world war anyway.
Moderates don’t tend to violently seize power.
There are parallels between Weimar Germany and the present West – debauchery, transgender theory, child abuse, poverty – the bitter fruits of demoralization.
I always scoffed at footage of earnest Germans standing ramrod-straight at parades, hailing the boss as he goes by. It seemed like a larp even then. Didn’t they suspect that this might all turn out very, very badly?
In 2020, I gained a bit of insight.
I now understand a little of the sense of hopelessness and desperation Germans must have been feeling, and their relief when someone – anyone – restored order.
But the reader knows what happened next.
If one man is in charge, there’s no one to stop him dragging his nation into Hell.
This is why fellow Nazis tried to assassinate him. He restored the world, then he destroyed it again. There was no way to shunt him into glorious retirement in 1935.
It’s odd that Adolf is not more frequently compared to Napoleon. Both stabilized their nations following chaos, then lost themselves to power madness and endless war. Compare Bismarck, a man who knew when enough was enough.
It is insufficient to say, ‘Choose your ruler wisely’. You never know beforehand what power will do to him.
As for the current ‘literally Hitler’ paranoia on the left, it is hysterical. There is not a single figure on the right in any Western country who is even the Trump of establishment imagination, let alone the mustache man, and this will not change while welfare and retirement funds are intact. If those go, things may get spicy.
What is the lesson of Mein Kampf, taken together with history? Perhaps it is: extreme circumstances do not necessarily call for an extreme response. Or maybe it is that the world would be better if moderates were more robust in pursuing their modest agendas.
More darkly, sometimes you can be in the shit and there’s no good way out. Revolutions rarely turn out as hoped and Monday’s heroic saviour might bring the sky crashing down on Friday.
Sometimes the least bad option is to stoically sit out the madness, try to keep your head, and act such that you will not live to be ashamed.