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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mein Kampf

Review
"For years, Mein Kampf stood as proof of the blindness and complacency of the world. In its pages Hitler announced--long before he came to power--a program of blood and terror in a self-revelation of such overwhelming frankness that few had the courage to believe it...That such a man could go so far toward realizing his ambitions--that is a phenomenon the world will ponder for centuries to come." -- Konrad Heiden, author of Der Fuhrer: Hitler's Rise to Power
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Product Description
After 1944, Hitler's notorious book was not widely available until the hardback edition of this version appeared in 1969. This paperback edition is intended primarily for students of 20th century German history seeking to gain insight into its dominant figure from reading his own words. Ostensibly an autobiography, the work comprises a melange of Hitler's political and racial ideas over two volumes, "A Reckoning" and "The Nazi Movement". Described by D.C.Watt in his introduction as "lengthy, dull, bombastic, repetitious and extremely badly written", it is nonetheless Hitler's only major work - and its study is important to an understanding of how his ideas came to hold such sway over the German people.
About the Author
Konrad Heiden (7 August 1901 – 18 June 1966) was an influential journalist and historian of the Weimar Republic and Nazi eras, most noted for the first influential biographies of German dictator Adolf Hitler. Often, he wrote under the pseudonym "Klaus Bredow."

Heiden was born in Munich, Germany, on 7 August 1901, and graduated from the University of Munich in 1923. His father was a union organizer, his mother had a Jewish background. At the university, he organized a republican and democratic student body and became a member of the Social Democratic Party.

Heiden was one of the first critical observers of the rise of Nationalsozialism in Germany after he attended a party's meeting in 1920. He worked for the Frankfurter Zeitung and the Vossischen Zeitung, but became a freelancer in 1932. A year later, he went into exile; first to Saarland, then to Switzerland, finally to France.

Heiden's book, "The New Inquisition", published in New York in 1939, includes an eerie and accurate prediction of the Final Solution planned by the Nazi regieme:

"To drive 600,000 people by robbery into hunger, by hunger into desperation, by desperation into wild outbreaks, and by such outbreaks into the waiting knife -- such is the cooly calculated plan. Mass murder is the goal, a massacre such as history has not seen -- certainly not since Tamerlane and Mithridates. We can only venture guesses as to the technical forms these mass executions are to take. In his book Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler suggested that the people to be killed be kept "under poisonous gas"; however, he speaks of a mere twelve to fifteen thousand. Doubtless the destructive instinct in the ruling class of the regieme has grown in the meantime..."

After the occupation of France in 1940, Heiden managed to escape to the United States via Lisbon. Heiden died in New York City on 18 June 1966, having resided in the US for 26 years after fleeing from Germany.

Adolf Hitler (20 April 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 (F├╝hrer und Reichskanzler) from 1934 to 1945. He was named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.