Today In History: Mein Kampf Published
Today in 1925, Volume 1 of Adolf Hitler’s autobiography Mein Kampf was first published. The book, which translates as “My Struggle,” details Hitler’s political philosophy and personal journey into bigotry. Volume 2 was published the following year.
Hitler first started writing Mein Kampf while he was in prison for leading an unsuccessful Putsch in Munich two years prior. The governor of Landsberg made a comment at the time that may illuminate Hitler’s true motivations for bringing the book to press.
“He hopes the book will run into many editions, thus enabling him to fulfill his financial obligations and to defray the expenses incurred at the time of his trial.”
Mein Kampf was, unfortunately, a great financial success. It remained a bestseller in Germany throughout the thirties.
When Hitler shot himself, Mein Kampf’s copyright passed to the state of Bavaria. Bavaria forbade any copies of the book to be published or sold in Germany. Bavaria’s copyright expired in 2016, and under great controversy, Mein Kampf was again made available within Germany. A copy had not been legally sold since 1945.
Mein Kampf is both a memoir and a work of political theory. In the book, Hitler outlines what he feels are the two greatest threats to world prosperity – Communism and Judaism. He lavishes condemnations upon the parliamentary democracy of the Weimar Republic. He also portrays Germany’s very vocal and prominent left wing as in the employ of hidden Jewish interests.
Later in life, Hitler distanced himself from Mein Kampf, derisively describing it as “fantasies behind bars.” Nevertheless, the book remained in high demand during his time as chancellor. By the time the War ended, about ten million copies had been sold in Germany.