The provided passage is taken from Mein Kampf (My Struggle), the most known work of Adolf Hitler, the infamous leader of the NSDAP since 1921 and the Führer of Nazi Germany in 1934-1945. The passage can be found in the first volume of the book, in Chapter 11 (“ People and Race”), paragraph 25. 1
The book was written in the times when Germany had recently lost the First World War and faced severe restrictions imposed on it by the victors. The restrictions (given in the Treaty of Versailles) included a partial occupation of German territories by France, and huge amounts of reparations, amounting to approximately 33-56 billion American dollars. 2 The country that gave birth to a number of prominent researchers, developers, physicians, writers and artists, and had been one of the most developed countries before World War I, crumbled because of the war and was staggering to recover from all the losses and reparations.
Many Germans, stripped of hope, developed resentment, and National-Socialist ideology found fertile grounds in these people. Mein Kampf, an autobiographical manifesto of Adolf Hitler, was among the texts that planted the seeds of National-Socialism in these grounds. In the book, the Führer explains his National-Socialist views and elaborates on his vision of the future of Germany and the world. It is also important to point out that Hitler joined the NSDAP in 1919, and became its leader two years later. However, in 1923, he organized the Beer Hall Putsch, failed, and was imprisoned. Hitler wrote his work while in jail, and released it in 1925-1926.
The book consists of two volumes. The first volume concentrates much on the author’s biography. The facts of his biography are mixed with his political ideas (such as his thoughts about certain historical events, mostly, plus certain theoretical items such as the hierarchy of races); Hitler gives them much attention and shows how and from what these ideas developed. The second volume focuses more on the National Socialist movement and how Hitler perceives the social and the world order, the role of the Party, the state and the leader, the opposing ideologies, etc. As for the passage in question, it can be found in Chapter 11 (“ People and Race”) of the first volume.
Before this passage, Hitler states that in nature, species breed separately and do not mix and that the strongest representatives survive and give birth to the next generations. Then, Hitler claims that the same should be happening in human society (the analogs of species for him here are races). In the passage in question, he says that “ the Aryan race,” the founders of civilization, created everything that is known as art, science, and culture, and that in order to retain this heritage and multiply it, “ he” (“ the Aryan race”) must remain pure. Further, Hitler asserts that there are races that could maintain this heritage, but not multiply it and that there are races that can only destroy civilization and thus deserve no mercy from the superior race. Hitler then dedicates much attention to how atrocious Jews are and how they leech society.
The given passage is rather important for the work as a whole, for it effectively summarizes Hitler’s idea of superiority of “ the Aryan race” and explains that, according to the author’s views, “ he” (“ the Aryan race”) bears the full responsibility for the rise of civilization, of everything that is valued, and that should “ he” vanish or be suppressed, the civilization will crumble and fall. The idea of racial superiority is one of the main principles, if not the main principle, of Nazism.
As it was mentioned, National-Socialism found fertile grounds in many people of Germany after World War I. The hopelessness and the resentment that those people suffered from allowed them to adopt the flattering idea that they are great but unfairly suppressed race. The book was aimed at this audience. The work contains numerous contradictions (for instance, Hitler appeals to the ideas of both evolution and divine creation).
The logic is mostly poor (for example, the mentioned comparison of different races of humanity to different animal species; the crude comparison of things that take place in wildlife to things that happen in the human society, and the repeating assortment that it is “ natural” for the society to act in similar ways, and that not acting in these ways is “ a deviation,” etc.). The statements usually contain too much generalization, especially if the fact that the author mostly does not provide the basic facts to generalize from (for instance, in the paragraph from which the discussed passage is taken, it is, in fact, asserted that it is obvious that all the today’s civilization is the product of “ the Aryan race”; but it is hard to see from what premises Hitler draws such conclusions).
Still, for a reader who is not trained or used to noticing such subtleties, the logic is very truth-like; in addition, it is reinforced by constant assertions that the author’s thoughts are “ natural” and “ obvious.” This makes the text of the work look plausible to many readers. Combined with a rather good style of writing, this allows the book to easily convince more susceptible readers (at whom the book is aimed) of the correctness of Hitler’s assertions.
Foner, Eric. Give Me Liberty!: An American History, Vol. 2. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company, 2013. Web.
Hitler, Adolf. “ Mein Kampf.” National Action London. Web.