In his autobiography, Mein Kampf (My Struggle), Adolf Hitler manifests his thoughts and outlines his political ideology and future plans for Germany. The first volume of Mein Kampf was published in 1925 and the second volume in 1926 and both these volumes were edited by Hitler's deputy Rudolf Hess. Following his failed Putsch (revolt) in Munich in November 1923, Hitler was imprisoned and he considered his imprisonment a political crime. He made his mind to write a book and began dictating his thoughts to Hess. As he continued, Hitler realized that it would be a two-volume work, with the first volume scheduled for release in early 1925. The governor of Landsberg noted at that time that "he (Hitler) 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 has also been studied as a work on political theory. In Mein Kampf, Hitler announces his hatred of what he believed to be the world's two evils: Communism and Judaism. The new territory that Germany needed to obtain would properly nurture the "historic destiny" of the German people; this goal, which Hitler referred to as Lebensraum (living space), explains why Hitler aggressively expanded Germany eastward, specifically the invasions of Czechoslovakia and Poland, before he launched his attack against Russia. In Mein Kampf Hitler openly states that the future of Germany "has to lie in the acquisition of land in the East at the expense of Russia." Adolf Hitler (20 April 1889 – 30 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politician who was the leader of the Nazi Party (German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP); National Socialist German Workers Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945 and Führer (leader) of Nazi Germany from 1934 to 1945. As effective dictator of Nazi Germany, Hitler was at the centre of World War II in Europe, and the Holocaust. Hitler was a decorated veteran of World War I. He joined the precursor of the NSDAP, the German Workers' Party, in 1919 and became leader of the NSDAP in 1921. In 1923 he attempted a coup in Munich to seize power. The failed coup resulted in Hitler's imprisonment, during which time he wrote his autobiography and political manifesto Mein Kampf ("My Struggle"). After his release in 1924, Hitler gained popular support by attacking the Treaty of Versailles and promoting Pan-Germanism, anti-Semitism, and anti-communism with charismatic oratory and Nazi propaganda. Hitler frequently denounced international capitalism and communism as being part of a Jewish conspiracy. In 1933, following fresh elections won by his coalition, the Reichstag passed the Enabling Act. Hitler's aggressive foreign policy is considered to be the primary cause of the outbreak of World War II. He directed large-scale rearmament and on 1 September 1939 invaded Poland, resulting in British and French declarations of war on Germany. In June 1941, Hitler ordered an invasion of the Soviet Union. By the end of 1941 German forces and the European Axis powers occupied most of Europe and North Africa. In the final days of the war, during the Battle of Berlin in 1945, Hitler married his long-time lover, Eva Braun. On 30 April 1945, less than two days later, the two committed suicide to avoid capture by the Red Army, and their corpses were burned. Under Hitler's leadership, the Nazi regime was responsible for the genocide of at least 5.5 million Jews and millions of other victims. Nazi regime was also responsible for the killing of an estimated 19.3 million civilians and prisoners of war. In addition, 29 million soldiers and civilians died as a result of military action in the World War II. The number of civilians killed during the Second World War was unprecedented in the history of warfare.
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The angry ranting of an obscure, small-party politician, the first volume of Mein Kampf was virtually ignored when it was originally published in 1925. Likewise the second volume, which appeared in 1926. The book details Hitler's childhood, the "betrayal" of Germany in World War I, the desire for revenge against France, the need for lebensraum for the German people, and the means by which the National Socialist party can gain power. It also includes Hitler's racist agenda and his glorification of the "Aryan" race. The few outside the Nazi party who read it dismissed it as nonsense, not believing that anyone could--or would--carry out its radical, terrorist programs. As Hitler and the Nazis gained power, first party members and then the general public were pressured to buy the book. By the time Hitler became chancellor of the Third Reich in 1933, the book stood atop the German bestseller lists. Had the book been taken seriously when it was first published, perhaps the 20th century would have been very different.
Beyond the anger, hatred, bigotry, and self-aggrandizing, Mein Kampf is saddled with tortured prose, meandering narrative, and tangled metaphors (one person was described as "a thorn in the eyes of venal officials"). That said, it is an incredibly important book. It is foolish to think that the Holocaust could not happen again, especially if World War II and its horrors are forgotten. As an Amazon.com reader has pointed out, "If you want to learn about why the Holocaust happened, you can't avoid reading the words of the man who was most responsible for it happening." Mein Kampf, therefore, must be read as a reminder that evil can all too easily grow. --Sunny DelaneyAbout the Author:
Adolf Hitler (1889 – 30 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party (German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, abbreviated NSDAP), popularly known as the Nazi Party. He was the ruler of Germany from 1933 to 1945, serving as chancellor from 1933 to 1945 and as head of state (Führer und Reichskanzler) from 1934 to 1945.
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