Friday, February 24, 2006
Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf
An Analysis - Chapter 1
by Richard E. Noble
My first misconception with regards to Mein Kampf is that it was a book that was not widely read. Mein Kampf sold by the millions in Germany. It actually went on, in sales around the world, to make Adolf Hitler, its author, a millionaire. Adolf dictated the book to Rudolf Hess, his friend and follower, while in prison in the early 1920’s.
I am going to go over the book section by section in analysis. I have chosen this book, because without any doubt this has to be considered the most devastating book of this century. This man’s goal as I understand from my brief investigation into History was to conquer the whole world, and in that process liquidate whole nations and races of people in order to make room for the expansion of what he considered his own kind, or race.
The copy that I have of this book was printed in 1939, the original in 1925. In the introduction Adolf Hitler is credited with saying ... that it was only ‘eternal peace’ which destroyed peoples, and that neither the individual nor society could escape nature’s decree that the fittest alone survive ... It is my belief that unless this basic philosophy is defeated logically and reasonably, and overthrown in the minds of all mankind, civilization of the human beast will never be accomplished. The human race will remain in its present stagnated condition, until it eventually destroys itself, or reduces itself once again to the primitive.
It is my purpose in analyzing this book to discover where Adolf Hitler went wrong, and how so many people were able to give support and extend credibility (and money) to his philosophy. My inspiration for this work has been Jean Paul Sartre’s work on the life and writing of St. Genet. I hope this book will be as interesting, thoughtful and insightful. I can only do the best with what I have.
Before the book begins, there is a dedication to a number of men who were killed in an uprising or protest that was conducted on November 9, 1923. The list includes occupations of the deceased: bank employees, a hatter, a locksmith, a head waiter, businessmen, engineers, a councilor and a retired cavalry captain.
The first impression one gets here is that this is a book dedicated to the common man and written by a supporter of the common people. I also know that Adolf wrote this book while he was confined in a prison. I know from previous reading that the book was dictated to his secretary and confidant Rudolf Hess.
The book was written in 1923, so I know that World War 1 was over. I know that Adolf had been a soldier in World War 1. I know that he was exposed in that war to poison gas; he was temporarily blinded, and that he was a decorated war hero. This all leads me to the conclusion before I even start reading that this is not going to be a subjective book dealing with personal discovery. The author has already fought in a world conflict. He has since been arrested and incarcerated for an attempt to undermine his country’s present government or leadership. Before I even start, I am led to believe that I am going to be here exposed to a man who has his mind made up on things. He is more than likely going to tell me how he came to believe what he believes. Even though the writing is taking place in a prison cell, this is obviously not going to be an act of contrition.
In his preface he states that this book is not addressed to strangers but to the followers of his movement. In the preface he also states;
“...I know that one is able to win people far more by the spoken than by the written word, and that every great movement on this globe owes its rise to the great speakers and not to the great writers.”
I don’t know if this point of view can really be defended. For the most part all that remains of Adolf and his movement is this book. I have never heard any of his speeches, and my guess is that very few others in today’s world have either. And, as far as I know, every great movement can be traced back to someone’s writings. I would say that the written word far outstrips the spoken word, except, of course, to the illiterate. But even then every idea heard spoken anywhere by anyone can usually be traced back to someone else’s writings.
I start criticizing right here at the very beginning, because I feel throughout the book we will encounter Adolf making these blanket statements that don’t hold up under analysis. If one doesn’t counter this from the beginning, he will eventually be lulled to sleep by impressive rhetoric rather that truth, or fact, or logical thinking.
The first chapter is entitled ‘At Home’. In these first twenty five pages he tells about his mother and father.
His father was a stubborn man he states, and in the same sentence he acknowledges his own stubbornness;
“...My father did not give up his ‘never’, and I strengthened my ‘nevertheless’...”
And this debate with his father comes from a boy less than twelve, and is in relation to his future career. At twelve years of age little Adolf decided that he was going to become a painter, an artist.
His father thought this to be insanity. He wanted Adolf to become a government official - some sort of bureaucrat.. He says in this chapter that he respected his Father, but loved his Mother. By the age of thirteen his father had died, and his mother was not strong willed enough to keep him on the road to bureaucracy. He ended up in some kind of art school pursuing his dream. Not long thereafter, his mother also died. He is around eighteen at this time, and decides to pack up and head for Vienna. I perceive Vienna to be the Greenwich Village, New York City of the area. It seems that Adolf was running off to Bohemia, to pursue his future as a painter in Harvard Square or some such comparable place. But even here in a chapter supposedly dealing with his childhood relationships, we find a lacing of discordant political statements:
“I became a nationalist ... I learned to grasp and understand the meaning of History ... There are only three kinds of people in the world, the fighters, the lukewarm, and the traitors .The art of reading is to remember the important and forget the unimportant …”
The entire book is filled with these type blanket statements. One can only wonder as to the ‘real meaning of History’, or what would be considered important enough to remember, and unimportant enough to be forgot.
His division of people is reminiscent of Dante and his Inferno. The only good people are those that ‘act’, all others are doomed to Hell, or there a bouts. His division of people is curious. There are the fighters. These are obviously people who know the truth of their beliefs and are willing to defend them with overt action. There are those who don’t know what to believe and are therefore condemned to inaction. And lastly there are the traitors. These are obviously those who know what they believe, and are willing to defend it, but unfortunately what they believe is contrary to what Adolf believes; and since what Adolf believes is not only the truth but loyal and patriotic, those who disagree must be traitors. This makes it rather easy to pick and choose your friends, doesn’t it? It is also very easy to determine your enemies. They are those who disagree with you. If there were any truth or sensibility to this notion, I would have killed my wife years ago.
In any case, Adolf closes out this chapter with this statement:
“I, too, hoped to wrest from fate the success my Father had meet fifty years earlier; I, too, wanted to become something - but in no event an official ...“
Wanting to become ‘something’ or ‘somebody’ is, on the one hand, a sign of ambition and drive, but on the other hand it can also be a sign of inferiority. In other words, if you feel inside yourself that you are ‘somebody’, then why would you feel the need to become ‘somebody’? I have always felt that I am somebody, even if others don’t realize it, or the world doesn’t recognize the fact. And for the most part I have never allowed people to treat me otherwise. In any case, this statement by Adolf says to me that Adolf has feelings of inadequacy, and a desire to prove his worth to the world, or at least, to others. He has a social awareness, something to prove. I also realize that people who want to become ‘somebody’ often end up being successful in life, but many others who harbor these same feelings often end up in prison.
The next chapter is entitled ‘Years of study and suffering in Vienna.’ This chapter is very interesting. This chapter is the most compassionate in the book. In it he explains his feelings towards the poor and unemployed, and he also expresses some of his own inner feelings and emotions:
“...Vienna, the city that to so many represents the idea of harmless gaiety, the festive place for merry making, is to me only the living memory of the most miserable time of my life ... Hunger was then my faithful guard; he was the only friend who never left me, who shared everything with me honestly. Every book I bought aroused his sympathy; a visit to the opera made him my companion for days; it was a constant struggle with a pitiless friend. And yet during this time, I learned as I have never learned before. Apart from my interest in architecture, and my visits to the opera for which I had to stint myself, books were my only pleasure.”
This passage borders on the poetic. One could imagine Benjamin Franklin, Tom Paine or even Victor Hugo writing such a passage. But coming from a man who later in his life mercilessly starved millions of people to death, it becomes rather difficult to place any faith in its sincerity. Here we see a lover of the opera, books, and architecture - a man who even sacrificed food to enjoy these intellectual pleasures.
He claims to have learned just about everything that he knows in life from these learning experiences in Vienna. Here again he makes one of those blanket statements that appear so often throughout the text:
“...Today it is my firm belief that in general all creative ideas appear in youth ...“
I have heard others make this same statement many times, but I would doubt that it could be defended by any type of credible research.
In this chapter he analyzes the social class structure, in the most basic terms. Why does the bourgeoisie (middle class) hate the proletariat (working class)?
“... The reason for that which one could almost call hostility is the fact that a social class which has only recently worked its way up from the level of manual labor, fears to fall back into the old, but little esteemed class, or at least fears being counted in with that class … “
He calls the bourgeoisie, ‘upstarts’ who have lost their pity and their memory ...
Thousands of unemployed loitered about:
“ … The homeless sought shelter in the twilight and the mud of the canals ... I do not know which is worse: the ignoring of the social misery by the majority of the fortunate, or by those who have risen through their own efforts, as we see it daily, or the graciously patronizing attitudes of a certain part of the fashionable world (both in skirts and trousers) whose ‘sympathy for the people’ is at times as haughty as it is obtrusive and tactless. These people do more harm than their brains, lacking in all instinct, are capable of imagining … social work, should not deal out favors, but restore rights ... The uncertainty of earning my daily bread seemed to me to be the darkest side of my new life …”
Wow, with a speech like that, Adolf could run on the liberal end of any party in American politics today. Social Work should restore rights? What rights? Is eating a right to be guaranteed by the state? Is a job a right guaranteed by the state? Is survival a right? Is medical care a right? Is security in one’s old age a right? Is medical care for children a right? Is a home a right? Is education a right? Is freedom from hunger a right?
In our Declaration of Independence we say that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights and that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (later - property in place of happiness). This is a very vague statement when examined. You have the inalienable right to life, but nothing is mentioned about a ‘right’ to sustain that life, or that anything directed towards this end should be provided for you by the State in attaining this end. You have the ‘right’ to liberty. And this right to ‘liberty’ entitles you to do what? And you have the ‘right’ to pursue your own happiness. You can pursue it, but the state is offering you no guarantee that you will catch it, nor that you won’t be locked up in a prison if pursuing your brand of ‘happiness’ interferes with the pursuit of happiness of other citizens.
The Bill of Rights gets more specific, but even today seems to be forever debatable. So when you say that ‘social work’ should restore ‘rights’ to the people as opposed to dispensing charity, what have you said? And even more important, what do the people to whom you are speaking, infer from this language?
The first thing that everyone will assume is that you the speaker believe that they have some sort of rights, even if nobody knows what the hell they are. It does make one who is feeling helpless feel good to hear that somebody up there thinks that they have some rights. We know that Adolf believes that fate leaves things in the hands of the ‘fittest’. What ‘rights’ does such a philosophy leave to the ‘unfit’?
In these next few pages Adolf goes on to describe the perils of poverty and unemployment. He describes how unemployment leads to the dissolution of the family. How husband and wife are turned against one another. How the children raised in this atmosphere lose their respect for authority in general. How men often turn to alcohol and abuse. How proper management of the family income disintegrates - poverty, then setting the ground work for future failure. And finally, how the indifferent and well off ‘bourgeoisie’ are at a loss in understanding the obvious lack in patriotic, nationalistic spirit exhibited by this class of people. He closes this very credible analysis with a bang and a demand for creating sound social conditions:
“ …For only those who, through education and schooling, get to know the cultural and economic, and above all the political greatness of their own country, can and will be proud of being allowed to call themselves members of this nation ... Moreover, I can only fight for what I love, only love what I can respect, only respect what I know … “
There is a good deal of emotion in that last sentence, but is it true? Can one only fight for what one loves?
I have met many people who seem to simply love to fight. And from what we know of Adolf, he may very well be one of them. Often times, it seems to me that we end up fighting in self-defense, and not for a real love or understanding of anything. Moreover, if we look at a true history of Germany, or any nation for that matter, I think that any objective person will probably come up with as much to hate as there is to love in its background. The histories of any people or so called race on this planet will more than likely establish the same attitude of indifference, whether we examine Aborigines, Asians, Africans, Caucasians, or any mix there of. The human species has no quarter on righteousness as far as I can see. And it seems to me that the idea of fighting is much more involved in the notion of ‘hate’ than it is in the concept of love. To find the roots of ‘war’, I think it imperative to examine the nature of ‘Hate’. How we humans inherit it. How we learn it. And once we have it, what are proper and improper outlets for it.
It is also interesting to me that Adolf’s mother died on December 21, 1908. It was at this point that he packed up and headed for Vienna and the artist colony but:
“... In 1909-10 my own situation had changed somewhat, as I no longer had to earn my daily bread as an unskilled worker. I worked independently as a modest draftsman and painter of aquarelles … “
So, it seems that Adolf experienced ‘employment interruptions’ for a period of possibly six months to a year. Gosh, he certainly drew a whole slew of moral convictions from missing a few meals and being occasionally unemployed. Even though, during these ‘dire’ circumstances of his life he was still able to go to the theater, and the opera, and purchase books, and seemingly in great quantity. He must have, because it is during this period that he claims to have learned almost everything that he knows. And it seems that he learned the bulk of what he knows from reading books. Yet he doesn’t give other people that he has met much credit for their ability to learn from books:
“... I know people, who endlessly read ... Of course, they posses a wide ‘Knowledge’ but their intellect does not know how to distribute and register the material gathered …(And I agree whole heartedly, don’t you? I find this to be the case almost inevitably with almost “everybody else” whom I know.) ... They lack the ability to distinguish in a book that which is of value and that which is of no value ... Reading, furthermore is not a purpose in itself, but a means to an end. It should serve; first of all, to fill in the frame which is formed by the talents and abilities of the individual ... reading has to furnish the tools and building materials which the individual needs for his profession. Secondly, reading has to give a general picture of the world ... otherwise the result will be a terrible muddle of things learned, and this is not only of little value, but it also makes its unfortunate possessor presumptuous and vain. For now he thinks that he knows life and has knowledge; whereas in reality with each new contribution to his education he is more and more estranged from the world, until frequently he ends up in a sanatorium, or as a politician in parliament …”
Well well! What do we think of that? Adolf has a little sense of humor here. As I recall we will see not too much of Adolf humor in any of the pages to come - though it has been noted that in his speeches he often had the crowd roaring with laughter. He is said to have been very satirical and witty on political matters.
They say that in this life, we often spend a great deal of time criticizing others for our own defects. From what I can see in this last paragraph, old Adolf has hit his own nail right on the head.
From here on in this chapter, he continues to criticize what must obviously be one of his arch political rivals, the Socialist Democratic Party. The Social Democrats won the hearts of the working man because of the ‘stupidity’ of the bourgeoisie.
“… The bourgeoisie, in the most stupid, but also the most immoral manner turned against claims which were generally and humanly justified … They foolishly suppressed all attempts to improve working conditions, safety devices on machines, abolition of child labor, and protection of the woman at least during those months when she carries under her heart the future fellow citizen … “
In this chapter we also find this interesting statement:
“… The psyche of the great masses is not receptive to half measures or weakness ... Like a woman, whose psychic feeling is influenced less by abstract reasoning than by an undefinable, sentimental longing for complementary strength, who will submit to the strong man, rather than dominate the weakling, and inwardly they are far more satisfied by a doctrine which tolerates no rival than by the grant of liberal freedom; they often feel at a loss what to do with it, and even easily feel themselves deserted ...“
I think what he is really saying here is that the masses, like ‘woman’, really don’t like to be treated free and equal, but deep down inside would rather be slapped around a little bit. Sounds good to me, what do you girls out there think about that?
He then continues, and for a few pages sounds a lot like Jimmy Hoffa:
“ … It is nonsense and, furthermore, untrue that the union movement in itself is unpatriotic. Quite the contrary is true ... As long as there are amongst the employers people with little social understanding or even lacking a sense of justice and fairness, it is not only the right but the duty of their employees ... to protect the interest of all against the avarice and the unreasonableness of the individual ... The individual worker is never in a position to maintain his position against the power of big business …”
But, having said this we go on to what was really happening out there in the streets according to Adolf. The unions, under the leadership of the Social Democrats, were really trying to destroy the nation by ‘screwing’ their demands higher and higher, to the point of complete unreasonableness.
“… the free trade union ... was one of the most terrible instruments of intimidation against the security and the independence of the national economy, the solidity of the state and personal freedom ... It was the free trade union above all which turned the conception of democracy into a ridiculous and repellent phrase, which profaned liberty and ridiculed fraternity forever with the words, and if you will not join with us, we will crack your skull …”
From here on the rest of the chapter basically explains how Adolf, the idealist, is transformed into an anti-Semite. The first thing one notices is that Jewry enhances a lot of territory.
“... understanding Jewry alone is the key to the comprehension of the inner, the real intention of social democracy. He who knows this race will raise the veil of false conceptions and out of the mist and fog of empty social phrases there rises the grinning, ugly face of Marxism...”
We seem to have an amalgamation here; Jewry, Marxism, unionism, democracy, Social Democrat; all are one and a part of a conspiracy to undermine the German nation.
Adolf on democracy, or representative government:
“ … I was indignant at the fact that in a state where every half-wit not only claimed the right to criticize, but where in the Reichstag he was let loose on the nation as a ‘legislator’, the bearer of the imperial crown could be given ‘reprimands’ by the greatest babbling institution of all time ...”
Sounds to me like a bit of the pot calling the kettle black. Yet, this is a criticism of representative government that goes all the way back to Socrates and Plato, and can be heard on a daily basis here in the United States. Where Adolf differs from the American critic here is his humiliation on the part of the ‘imperial crown’. Interestingly enough, Adolf felt that it was fit for him, an average citizen to bad mouth the Congress, but not appropriate for the Congress to criticize the ‘imperial crown’.
He then gets into the press and goes on to include it in his list of Jewish synonyms. He goes on to link Jewry with prostitution, and white European slave traffic. He further isolates Jews as traitors by their quest for a homeland, the Zionist movement is anti-nationalistic. If the Jew truly felt himself to be a German, why would he be pushing for an independent Jewish state? At this point in the chapter he literally sees a Jew behind every bush. And in his closing paragraph he tells us exactly what the Jews are up to:
“… The Jewish doctrine of Marxism rejects the aristocratic principle in nature; instead of the eternal privilege of force and strength, it places the mass of numbers and its deadweight. Thus it denies the value of the individual in man, disputes the meaning of nationality and race, depriving mankind of the assumption for its existence and culture. As the basis of the universe it would lead up to the end of all order conceivable to man ... If with the help of the Marxist’s creed, the Jew conquers the nations of this world, his crown will become the funeral wreath of humanity ...”
My first question is what the hell is the ‘aristocratic principle of nature’? The eternal privilege of force and strength?? Adolf is obviously an elitist, who believes in the principle that ‘might makes right’. We see now that Adolf is not only a nationalist, who is loyal to the principle of monarchy, but also considers himself to be a member of the privileged class - that class who has the right to its position through the power of force and strength - which is the eternal principle and right of the dominator. But he denies the masses the right to use their power of ‘eternal number’ to counter the natural dominance of the superior, which seems to be the king and his court plus Adolf and his friends. I would say that this is traditional Conservatism.
We have taken a big jump here. Not long ago we were listening to Adolf - the union organizer, the defender of the people and the common man. Now, suddenly, we have Adolf the Knight of the royal court, defending his castle of Germany from the rabble rousers – the Loyalist.
His last sentence in this chapter is extraordinary:
“ … Therefore, I believe today that I am acting in the sense of the Almighty Creator: By warding off the Jews I am fighting for the Lord’s works …”
What a finale! Adolf, our Knight in shining armor, leading at the direction of the Almighty, a twentieth century crusade, for the reestablishment of the King and Crown. Wow! It is hard to imagine Adolf Hitler and God in the same room. But, when one looks at God as ‘The All-Mighty’ - the Creator and the Indiscriminant Destroyer of life - the One who has the ability to point the finger and cripple; the one who can kill a baby; implant its mother with a cancer; the One who determines who will be healthy, who will be sick, who will be slave, who will be a prince, who will be alive tomorrow and who will not - we can see Adolf in his All-mighty, proceeding bravely forward to do the work of an All-Mighty GOD.
[This is my first entry on this subject. This will be a continuing series on this blog. Click Search This Blog to find other entries.]