Monday 17 August 2009

Should Hitler's book, Mein Kampf be banned?

Zealous Nazi in Germany censors banned and burned thousands of books considered to foster ‘liberal decay’ --- everything from the ‘false enlightenment’ of Darwin to books by Jewish authors.

The only books Germany bans these days are Nazi books --- and chief among them is Mein Kampf, (My Struggle) Hitler's anti-Semitic autobiography-cum-political manifesto written in prison in 1924. It was banned after the war as a part of efforts to repudiate the Nazi era. Israel also bans the book. Its original title was the not-very-catchy ‘A Four-and-a-Half-Year Struggle Against Lies, Stupidity and Cowardice,’ but Hitler's publisher persuaded him to use the simpler, ‘My Struggle.’

Germany's influential Central Council of Jews has backed a call to have it republished. Proponents argue that a scholarly edition --- complete with commentary from historians that would critique Hitler's claims --- is long overdue. I agree with them. Let me explain why.

Jewish groups are protesting that a new edition would unnecessarily bring Hitler's poisonous message to a new generation of German readers. Authorities are struggling with the problem of when and what kind of hate speech should be censored – indeed, whether it should be censored at all.

The state of Bavaria, which holds the copyright to the book and remains resolutely opposed to lifting the ban, worries that republishing Mein Kampf could play straight into the hands of the far right --- the neo-Nazis. In Israel, where the book has long been outlawed, an editorial in the daily newspaper Haaretz criticized the plan, arguing a scholarly edition of the book would only stoke the ‘myth’ of Hitler.

There's no question that neo-Nazi and racist groups here and in Germany have quoted Hitler’s xenophobic, belligerent text to incite racial divisions. But many Holocaust scholars argue that banning books doesn't protect readers and can actually blunt our understanding of the Nazi genocide.

What should be included in the book is a critical commentary by historians who will include Germans, Jews and others from other races and nationalities. I feel that every paragraph should have explanations following each of them that in the opinions of the historians, bears an explanation.

Publishing an annotated edition of the book would give the children of the present and of the future of what was wrong in the mind of Hitler when he wrote the book. This is not to say that everything he wrote was wrong but those parts that were wrong, really were seriously wrong.

Hitler's incendiary 1924 text would be there, making its claims of racial purity and hatred – surrounded by academic footnotes that challenge and debunk most of its assertions.

Mein Kampf has a reputation for selling well, but rarely getting read in its entirety. Its prose has been described as mind-numbing, long, tedious and full of clichés. Even Benito Mussolini, Hitler's fascist Italian ally, is rumoured to have tossed it aside unfinished.

In Canada, Mein Kampf has a distinct status: although publication of the book is legal here, as it is in the U.S. and England, it is de facto banned by the decision by the Chapters-Indigo book chain to keep it out of its stores.

It went on to sell millions of copies of Mein Kampf in Nazi Germany, with editions being given out to marrying couples and school children. Hitler made millions from the sale of the book but when it came to paying the taxes with respect to the income he derived from the sale of the book, he didn’t pay them. There wasn’t much the tax people could say however considering that Hitler was their boss and everyone else’s boss in Germany during that time.

Some scholars now say that if the book had been more widely available before the beginning of World War II, the United States would have had a better idea of the extent of Hitler's horrifying plans. That wouldn’t have necessarily brought them into the war however. It was when Hitler foolishly declared war on the United States the day after Japan attacked Pearl Harbour, that brought the Americans into the war.

An American journalist who had been stationed in Germany, future U.S. senator Alan Cranston, printed a comic-book version of Hitler's book containing some of its more outrageous statements. Comic books will do it every time. I remember enjoying reading historical comic books when I was young.

Even if the book was widely read by the Americans and greater publicity for the Nazis' ideas alerted the world to the danger to the Jews of Europe, nothing would have changed at that time since Hitler's statements against Jews were widely reported in newspapers of the time. In fact, when a German ship carrying Jews to the United States as refugees arrived in New York, it was turned away. The Jews were forced to return back to Germany where they were then sent to a concentration camp where most of them were killed.

As a policy, outright censorship is not an effective way to silence expressions of hatred. You don't deal with that danger by hiding them away. You deal with it by helping people see them in their context and analyzing them.

Much of the book is a form of rambling by a madman whose goal was the subjugation of all of Europe and the extermination of Jews.

I have read part of the English version of the book and will tell you of some of what I found by quoting some of what Hitler wrote in chapter 11 of his book.

Hitler wrote; “The stronger must dominate and not blend with the weaker, thus sacrificing his own greatness. Only the born weakling can view this as cruel, but he after all is only a weak and limited man; for if this law did not prevail, any conceivable higher development of organic living beings would be unthinkable.”

In October of 1939 amid the turmoil of the outbreak of war Hitler ordered widespread 'mercy killing' of the sick and disabled. Patients had to be reported to Nazi officials by doctors if their patients suffered from schizophrenia, epilepsy, senile disorders, therapy resistant paralysis and syphilitic diseases, retardation, encephalitis, Huntington's chorea and other neurological conditions, also those who had been continuously in institutions for at least 5 years, or were criminally insane, or did not posses German citizenship or were not of German or related blood, including Jews, Negroes, and Gypsies. What Hitler had in mind was to euthanize those who in his opinion, did not meet the expectations of a super race. As many as 275,000 men, women and children were euthanize in Germany while he was in power.

He later wrote; “The consequence of this racial purity, universally valid in Nature, is not only the sharp outward delimitation of the various races, but their uniform character in themselves. The fox is always a fox, the goose a goose, the tiger a tiger, etc., and the difference can lie at most in the varying measure of force, strength, intelligence, dexterity, endurance, etc., of the individual specimens. But you will never find a fox who in his inner attitude might, for example, show humanitarian tendencies toward geese, as similarly there is no cat with a friendly inclination toward mice.”

Hitler certainly had no friendly inclination towards those races whom he felt were beneath his own concept of what the Aryan race was. That meant that the Jews had to be exterminated. As many as six and a half million Jews were murdered in Europe during the Holocaust while Hitler was in power.

Hitler further wrote; “If the process were different, all further and higher development would cease and the opposite would occur. For, since the inferior always predominates numerically over the best, if both had the same possibility of preserving life and propagating, the inferior would multiply so much more rapidly that in the end the best would inevitably be driven into the background, unless a correction of this state of affairs were undertaken.”

His concept of making a correction in Germany’s state of affairs was to created extermination camps in Europe, which in fact he did.

He also wrote; “Historical experience offers countless proofs of this. It shows with terrifying clarity that in every mingling of Aryan blood with that of lower peoples the result was the end of the cultured people. No more than Nature desires the mating of weaker with stronger individuals, even less does she desire the blending of a higher with a lower race, since, if she did, her whole work of higher breeding, over perhaps hundreds of thousands of years, night be ruined with one blow.”

Hitler passed a law in Germany that stated that if any Jew had a sexual relationship with an Aryan, he or she would be subject to the death penalty.

He also said this; “When man attempts to rebel against the iron logic of Nature, he comes into struggle with the principles to which he himself owes his existence as a man. And this attack must lead to his own doom.”

Thousands of homosexuals were sent to concentration camps.

He said in part; “Anyone, for example, who really desired the victory of the pacifistic idea in this world with all his heart would have to fight with all the means at his disposal for the conquest of the world by the Germans; for, if the opposite should occur, the last pacifist would die out with the last German, since the rest of the world has never fallen so deeply as our own people….”

Hitler unquestionably believed this hogwash because he marched on pracically every country in Europe in hopes that Europe would be one nation; Germany.

He also said; “In actual fact the pacifistic-humane idea is perfectly all right perhaps when the highest type of man has previously conquered and subjected the world to an extent that makes him the sole ruler of this earth.”

His idea of humanity had much to be desired when you consider just how brutal his minions treated the conquered people in the nations he grabbed for Germany and himself.

He added; “Everything we admire on this earth today-science and art, technology and inventions-is only the creative product of a few peoples and originally perhaps of one race. On them depends the existence of this whole culture. If they perish, the beauty of this earth will sink into the grave with them.” and later; “All the human culture, all the results of art, science, and technology that we see before us today, are almost exclusively the creative product of the Aryan.”

While Hitler’s scientists were trying to create an atomic bomb, they failed whereas the United States succeeded. When the German Army marched into Paris, they stoled thousands of paintings and other art works created by non-Aryans and claimed them for themselves.

This was Hitlers comment in his book; “All great cultures of the past perished only because the originally creative race died out from blood poisoning.”

That is utter nonsense. The Egyptians, the Incas and the Mayans died out simply because they were conquered by Europeans, not by blood poisoning. These great races were building large stone edifices while the Germans were still living in wooden buildings.

Then he said; “Those who want to live, let them fight, and those who do not want to fight in this world of eternal struggle do not deserve to live.”

He really believed that. In fact, near the end of the war after Germany’s major cities were bombed into oblivion and the German people were desperately hoping for peace, Hitler’s attitude towards them was that as far as he was concerned, the citizens of Germany didn’t deserve to live long enough to be conquered by the Allies.

Hitler believed his next statement; “He (Aryans) provides the mightiest building stones and plans for all human progress and only the execution corresponds to the nature of the varying men and races.”

Obviously, Hitler had never visited the United States.

He also said; “In a few decades, for example, the entire east of Asia will possess a culture whose ultimate foundation will be Hellenic spirit and Germanic technology, just as much as in Europe.”

It is beyond me as to how he believed that he could influence almost a billion Asians into thinking they should have a Hellenic spirit.

He then said; “If beginning today, all further Aryan influence on Japan should stop, assuming that Europe and America should perish, Japan's present rise in science and technology might continue for a short time; but even in a few years the well would dry up…”

Japanese technology skyrocketed soon after the war ended.

He had this to say; “Aryan races-often absurdly small numerically-subject foreign peoples, and then, stimulated by the special living conditions of the new territory (fertility, climatic conditions, etc.) and assisted by the multitude of lower-type beings standing at their disposal as helpers, develop the intellectual and organizational capacities dormant within them. Often in a few millenniums or even centuries they create cultures which originally bear all the inner characteristics of their nature, adapted to the above-indicated special qualities of the soil and subjected beings.”

What Hitler really wanted was all non-Aryans to be slaves to their German masters.

He also said; “Hence it is no accident that the first cultures arose in places where the Aryan, in his encounters with lower peoples, subjugated them and bent them to his will. They then became the first technical instrument in the service of a developing culture.”

As I said earlier, the first cultures, the Egyptians, Incas and Mayans were far more superior than the Germanic people of their times so where Hitler got this idea that it was the Aryans who subjugated them had to be somewhere in his drugged mind. I don’t believe that any thinking mind would believe that nonsense he was spouting about the original cultures being the first instrument to be in the service of Germany.

He made this statement also; “Blood mixture and the resultant drop in the racial level is the sole cause of the dying out of old cultures; for men do not perish as a result of lost wars, but by the loss of that force of resistance which is contained only in pure blood.”

The millions of Germans who were killed during the Second World War in Europe which Hitler brought about when he attacked Poland in 1939, was because of Hitler alone and not because of the mixture of blood with one race with another.

He added; “All who are not of good race in this world are chaff.”

Since the Americans, the British, the Canadians and the Russians brought Germany to its knees, it must have been discouraging to Hitler in his last moments before he shot himself to death in 1945, that his Aryan nation had been defeated by chaff. Jesse Owens, an American black man won the 100-metre gold medal at the Olympic Games held in Berlin in 1936. Hitler was present when this happened. He must have gagged when he realized that a black man, a member of a race he considered inferior to Aryans, actually beat Germany's top runner. When Owens waved at the crowd, they cheered. It made Hitler so furious; he stomped out of the stadium, refusing to greet the man who was considered at that moment as the fastest man alive. Years later, a street near the stadium was named after Jesse Owens.

I am not going to say that everything he wrote in Mein Kampf is rubbish. Here are some of the gems in his book that are worth repeating.

“In giving one's own life for the existence of the community, lies the crown of all sense of sacrifice.”

“How necessary it is to keep realizing that idealism does not represent a superfluous expression of emotion, but that in truth it has been, is, and will be, the premise for what we designate as human culture, yes, that it alone created the concept of man. Without his idealistic attitude all, even the most dazzling faculties of the intellect, would remain mere intellect as such outward appearance without inner value, and never creative force.”

“.....posterity forgets the men who have only served their own advantage and praises the heroes who have renounced their own happiness.”

“The mental qualities of the Jew have been schooled in the course of many centuries. Today he passes as 'smart,' and this in a certain sense, he has been at all times.”

“All thinking is based only in small part on man's own knowledge, and mostly on the experience of the time that has preceded. The general cultural level provides the individual man, without his noticing it as a rule, with such a profusion of preliminary knowledge that, thus armed, he can more easily take further steps of his own. The boy of today, for example, grows up among a truly vast number of technical acquisitions of the last centuries, so that he takes for granted and no longer pays attention to much that a hundred years ago was a riddle to even the greatest minds, although for following and understanding our progress in the field in question, it is of decisive importance to him. If a very genius (person) from the twenties of the past century should suddenly leave his grave today, it would be harder for him, even intellectually to find his way in the present era than for an average boy of fifteen today. For he would lack all the infinite preliminary education which our present contemporary unconsciously, so to speak, assimilates while growing up amidst the manifestations of our present general civilization.”

Despite these words that make a lot of sense, a good part of Chapter 11 of his book, speaks of the condemnation of the Jews and his blaming them for the world’s problems.

As I said earlier in this essay, it is my opinion that the book should be published but only if annotations are included that have been written by a panel of world-wide respected historians.

1 comment:

Thermblog said...

I have a copy. We need to know what to guard against; frankly we're doing a poor job right now."