Hazem Saghieh

The Images of Nations and Communities in Hitler’s 'Struggle'

The saying about books that many cite and only few read is true for Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” (My Struggle).
The book saw the light of day in 1925, from the luxurious prison cell Hitler had been detained in for his failed Munich Putsch. There are many conflicting stories about it. Some claim that Hitler wrote it by hand, while others claim he dictated it to his fellow prisoners. It has also been claimed that the book had originally had a longer title before the publisher shortened it... Nonetheless, there is no dispute about whether the book is extremely repetitive and incoherent or the fact that the original version was brimming with spelling and grammatical errors (according to those who read it in German).
In any event, the book was not as popular as its author had expected it to be. That happened only after he ascended to power in 1933, when its purchase became obligatory for every home, school, and government institution, taking 12 million copies off the shelves and leaving Hitler with a considerable fortune.
Mein Kampf (700 pages long and also published in two volumes) presented a political program in an autobiography that was combined with a manifesto. The centrality of racial conflict towers over this program, which places the German Aryans waging a perpetual battle to preserve their purity at the top of the pyramid. In fact, “Mein Kampf” leads straight to the incinerators: true, there is no talk of gas chambers (which were later adopted as tools of extermination), but he put a positive spin on the idea of ​​using gas to poison 12 or 15 thousand of the Jews corrupting the nation. Indeed, if this had been done during the First World War, then the sacrifices of millions of Germans would not have gone in vain. The book also extensively theorizes a struggle to the death that the ethnically pure German nation must wage against the Jews.
The “Fuhrer” preached the need for everyone of German ethnicity, both inside and outside the country, to unite. He wanted them to be given more territory by establishing Lebensraum (“living space”) for them in Eastern Europe. This was the historical destiny of the Germans and necessary for safeguarding their interests and ensuring that they were taken care of.
Mein Kampf illustrates the hallmarks of a fascist regime: Democracy is no good; rather, it is a phony system vulnerable to foreign meddling. On these grounds, Hitler promised to destroy Germany’s corrupt parliamentary system, which brought opportunists to power, and to establish a “new order” through which authentic “national socialism” would allow Germans to take back their rightful place in the world and scrap the reparations imposed on them as a result of the First World War.
However, what image of nations and peoples is drawn by the “fuhrer”?
The word Jew appears 373 times in the book, around once every two pages. They are behind all the evils of the world. They were responsible for the defeat of Germany in 1918, and they led a global conspiracy to destroy it. In fact, they are the reason for all of the misfortunes that have befallen the Germans. Taking his anti-Semitic rhetoric to its peak, he argues that Jews never worked in agriculture or industry and that they are not a genuine, rural people but parasitical beings who live on the labor of others through finance and speculation. They are not Germans, and cannot be; they exploit the Germans like bloodsucking pests, feeding on society and proliferating like vermin.
Moreover, the Jew does not have the capacity to engage in creative activity. Instead, he steals the creative works of others, as demonstrated by the fact that Jewish music and architecture do nothing but lead Europe back to darkness.
While the book sketches the path Hitler took to anti-Semitism, especially in Vienna - where he met Jews for the first time - he does not conceal his hatred of the plurality of racial groups residing in the capital of the transnational and multiethnic Habsburg Empire. Mein Kampf is brimming with widespread fantastical falsehoods about Jewish plots to control the world that date back to the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” Judaism and Communism are the greatest evils of the world, and the current state of affairs in Germany was brought about by the Weimar Republic, its democracy, and the Socialists and Communists. However, they are all manifestations of Jewish actions.
France occupies over a third of the text. Hitler resents France for defeating Germany in the First World War, as well as the many wars in the past between the two countries. It is Germany’s “mortal enemy” and must be destroyed, especially since it stands for ethnic mixing and is a country open to Negroes whose state is run by Jews.
He also despised the Russians and Slavs, whom he claims have no capacity for state-building, arguing that all the successful aspects of Russia were the product of German, not Slavic, elements. Nevertheless, Communism had been destroying these achievements since taking power in 1917 and making its Jewish masters rulers of Russia. And while Hitler wanted to establish “Lebensraum” in the East and incited against the “dominance” of the Slavs over Austria, he opposed the Germanization of the Slavs there, as well as the Germanization of the Poles in Germany. Indeed, incorporating these degenerate races would ravage the dignity and nobility of the German nation, as “the cowardly Slav can have no honor.”
He also hurls insults at “Negros" who occupy prominent positions in Western countries, especially the US, claiming that granting “half-monkeys” positions of power is criminally insane. He takes his brutality to new heights in his discussion of people with special needs: anyone who is not physically and mentally strong and worthy of life should die without passing their disabilities down to their children. For individuals with disabilities that cannot be cured, the solution becomes their eradication through “corrective measures in the interest of the fittest.” Even if they manage to live, theirs is a “life unworthy of life” (this later became a Nazi slogan). Those who live must fight, and those who do not want to fight “have no right to exist in this world, where constant struggle is the law of life.”
Given that they are a burden on society, “relieving hospitals of this massive burden” would be “an immense service to society” and “save lots of money that could be used for more worthy ends.” As for the nationalist popular (volkisch) state, the state he promised to bring about, its greatest educational and corrective mission is getting rid of them; one day, this work will be seen as more consequential than any of the wars that had been won.
Ultimately, eliminating the weak and the ill is presented as far more humane than protecting them, as removing them provides the strong (i.e., the Germans) with the space and purity they need. The Nazis notoriously killed five thousand children and then expanded their project by ending the lives of a quarter of a million disabled individuals of all ages.
This, and much else like it, is enough reason to consider Mein Kampf a text of brutality and horror. It leaves readers holding it with one and pinching their noses shut with the other.