The ‘Struggle,’ Continued

With lots of talk about ‘bread and freedom’ and the perfidious Jew, the Nazi leader’s successor volume to Mein Kampf is faithful to his original work



Tibor Krausz

The Jerusalem Report, Feb 9, 2004


A mere glance at the title and the uninitiated may begin to wonder: Could Hitler really have authored a second book? Mein Kampf was so thoroughly faithful to the man that surely a sequel would have been superfluous.

Indeed, it was. Hitler's Second Book, now translated for the first time into English for the benefit of lay readers, turns out to be about Hitler as we’ve always known him: monomaniacal, bigoted, semi-educated and nasty. His stilted verbosity, obsessively repetitive reasoning, and tortuous syntax haven’t improved much either since Mein Kampf. Even after his German has been coaxed into tolerable English, it still needs ample further mental interpretation by the reader.

The Fuhrer scorned the pen in favor of the spoken word and that amply shows in his literary output, such as it was

Hitler scorned the craft of writing (men wielded swords, not pens) in favor of the spoken word. So inevitably, Hitler’s Second Book reads as what it essentially is: the stream-of-consciousness ravings of a street-corner rabble-rouser — just what Hitler still was around July 1928, when he dictated its content to his erstwhile Great War comrade-in-arms turned scribe, Max Amann, replicating their collaboration on Mein Kampf three years earlier.

Gerhard L. Weinberg, a German-born Jewish historian in the U.S. who uncovered the manuscript in 1958, when he was overseeing the postwar microfilming of captured Nazi documents, speculates in his foreword that Hitler may have backed out of publishing it at first because of the pitiful sales of Mein Kampf (a mere 3,015 copies sold in 1928), and later to hide the true extent of his expansionist aims. Weinberg published the unedited draft the way he found it, syntactic warts and all, in a limited-issue 1961 German edition, which has at long last now been made available in English. Thus editorially unadulterated (several chapters end in mid-sentence), Hitler’s Second Book shows its author at his most crudely authentic.

Here’s Hitler the unabashed megalomaniac, styling himself a “higher being” who “renounces his own self-preservation instinct for the benefit of the species.” Here he is the delirious militant, extolling the virtues of war, from the “daily fight for bread” to that for world domination. And here he is the pretentious doctrinaire, explaining the history of the world from lifeless geological beginnings to the evolutionary rise of man, all within a rambling, tortured paragraph and with the sole purpose of belaboring his cherished “racial struggle for survival” creed. And all of this comes within the book’s first few pages.

He doesn’t let up much for the rest of the 336 pages, plenty enough space in which to harp on his pet themes: the Germans’ genetic superiority and racially deterministic right to Lebensraum (living space) in Eastern Europe at the expense of Slavic subhumans; the crimes of the French after World War I; the parasitic qualities of the perfidious Jews. Yet Hitler’s second offering also comes with a bit of a surprise: his respect for the United States.

Though once at war with it, he’d deride it as a plaything of “petty and pitiful creatures” — Jews, yes — Hitler here professes admiration for the U.S. on account of its being robust and innovative, with the potential to wield unparalleled economic, technological and military clout. “[A] new determination of the fate of the world [will gradually be] by the people of the North American continent,” he theorized presciently. To counter “the menacing American hegemonic position,” Nazi Germany would have no choice but to challenge the U.S. for world supremacy.

Hitler duly declared war on “the American union” shortly after Pearl Harbor, despite being already embroiled in war on two fronts, with Britain and the Soviet Union. It was an act of military hubris that has befuddled some historians; yet his Second Book now provides the rationale for it. Apparently, Hitler, imputing his own command-and-conquer motives to everyone else, viewed warfare as a parlor game of global military strategy in which the winner takes all. By so doing, he loaded the dice heavily against himself (as well he should have).

Hardly a nuanced thinker, Adolf Hitler made his indelible mark on history by virtue not of his ideas but the ruthless ferocity with which he set about imposing his crackpot theories on a hapless world. As he believed, so the world must be — or be made to be. “Politics is history in the making,” he declares in the book’s very first sentence, to elucidate later: “[It’s] the art of leading a people in its struggle with destiny for freedom and bread.” This juxtaposition of “freedom” and “bread” bordered on a French baker-like obsession with him (“Freedom and Bread” was a primary Nazi Party slogan).He uses the words fondly and frequently — as in “From the distress of war grows the bread of freedom.” Or else he waxes lyrical about bread-related affairs: “The sword breaks the path for the plow.” (Read: To feed yourself you must wrestle bread away from others.)

Hitler's "Second Book" is not much of an improvement on the first

Forever spoiling for a bread fight, Hitler could reasonably be seen as just a glorified neighborhood bully who thinks nothing of sticking up weaker folk for their lunch boxes; only he wanted to seize the whole world’s lunch. Even so it would be dangerous to reduce him (as he has popularly been) to a goose-stepping buffoon with a ridiculous comb-over and toothbrush mustache. As caricatures go, he was more a Mephistopheles: a supreme pragmatist and shrewd manipulator whose greatest talent lay in painting his credo of unmitigated hate and expansionism — an idiosyncratic hodgepodge of hand-me-down Social Darwinism, racial anti-Semitism and militarism — in lights of historical inevitability, God-given rights and eternal justice.

Some of Hitler’s observations, though, are remarkably perceptive, at least when applied selectively and case-specifically. No one in Israel and the Palestinian territories, for instance, would want to laugh off Hitler’s insistence that rival ethnicities often end up fighting for every inch of the same land in a struggle for national survival. Nor would Israelis want to shrug off his assertion that reduced fertility can imperil a nation more than outright war. Or that “a peace policy that fails [can] lead to the destruction of a people.” Then, without missing a beat, Hitler, a doting mother’s firstborn, only son, veers off into insisting at length that great qualities and achievements “do not appear tied to the birthright of the firstborn.” Come again?

And that just about sums up Der Fuehrer: a man who failed to spot the irrationality of his ideas, much less paused to examine their accuracy or validity. Hitler couldn’t — wouldn’t — suffer any ideological ambiguity. He was a dyed-in-the- wool demagogue, conflicted and conflicting; he accuses Jews, for instance, of masterminding both capitalism and communism, both democracy and bolshevism.

“The Jew has never had his own territorially defined state like the Aryan states,” he offers. If ignorance is the primary mark of a crank, another is a penchant for drawing sweeping conclusions from baloney. And so: “The Jewish people, because of its lack of productive capabilities,” he pontificates (twice, in two separate parts of the book), “cannot carry out the territorially conceived formation of a state.” With every passing day for over a half century, the State of Israel has been proving him wrong.

Yet lousy forecaster or no, Hitler validated the hoary cliché that “actions speak louder than words.” You’d be hard-pressed to find, either in Mein Kampf or in his Second Book, any prescriptive ideas, however outlandish, that he wouldn’t — come the opportunity — attempt to implement to the letter. Thankfully, he was never granted the chance for a full realization of his designs. Yet Hitler’s Second Book is now here to remind us again to what lengths he would have gone to reshape our world into an unspeakable horror.


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