Zweites Buch, 4

Excerpted from “Elements of Foreign Policy,” Chapter 4 of Hitler’s Second Book. The whole chapter includes these subjects: Must learn from the past—Must forge the instruments for change to a fruitful German foreign policy—Correct ideas valueless unless translated into action—The Pan-German League—Necessity of taking risks—Policies must be carried out with vigor even if total success not guaranteed—Breaking the circle of enemies of Germany.
 
It is often terrible to see how little men want to learn from history, how with such imbecilic indifference they gloss over their experiences, how thoughtlessly they sin without considering that it is precisely through their sins that so and so many Nations and States have perished, indeed vanished from the Earth.

And indeed how little they concern themselves with the fact that even for the short time span for which we possess an insight into history, States and Nations have arisen which were sometimes almost gigantic in size, but which two thousand years later vanished without a trace, that world powers once ruled cultural spheres of which only Sagas give us any information, that giant cities have sunk into ruins, and that their rubble heap has hardly survived to show present-day mankind at least the site on which they were located.

The cares, hardships and sufferings of these millions and millions of individual men, who as a living substance were at one time the bearers and victims of these events, are almost beyond all imagination. Unknown men. Unknown soldiers of history.

And truly, how indifferent is the present. How unfounded its eternal optimism, and how ruinous its wilful ignorance, its incapacity to see, and its unwillingness to learn. And if it depended on the broad masses, the game of the child playing with the fire with which he is unfamiliar would repeat itself uninterruptedly and also to an infinitely greater extent.

Hence it is the task of men who feel themselves called as educators of a Folk to learn on their own from history, and to apply their knowledge in a practical manner now, without regard to the view, understanding, ignorance or even the refusal of the mass.

It is noteworthy that innumerable hygienic measures which perforce redound to the advantage of a Folk, and which individually are uncomfortable, must be formally forced upon the main body of a Folk through the autocratic standing of individual persons, in order however to disappear again when the authority of the personality is extinguished through the mass insanity of democracy.

Zweites Buch, 3

Excerpted from “Race And Will In The Struggle For Power,” Chapter 3 of Hitler’s Second Book. The whole chapter includes these subjects: Weapons on hand no gauge of national strength—National will the decisive factor—Old German army as source of people’s will and discipline—National-Socialist mission to revitalize national will—Blood and folk values superior to internationalism—Leadership superior to mass democracy.
 
What is ultimately decisive in the life of a Folk is the will to self preservation, and the living forces that are at its disposal for this purpose. Weapons can rust, forms can be outdated; the will itself can always renew both and move a Folk into the form required by the need of the moment.

The fact that we Germans had to give up our arms is of very slight importance, insofar as I look at the material side of it. And yet this is the only thing our bourgeois politicians see.

But even there the major misfortune is not the elimination of the organisation as the bearer of the weapons we possess, but rather the abolition of an institution for the training of our Folk to manliness, which was possessed by no other State in the world, and which, indeed, no Folk needed more than our Germans. The contribution of our Old Army to the general disciplining of our Folk for the highest achievements in all fields is incommensurable.

This is also the reason for the fierce hatred of the typical capitalistically inclined Jews against an organisation in which money is not identical with position, dignity, to say nothing of honour, but rather with achievement; and in which the honour of belonging among people of a certain accomplishment is more greatly appreciated than the possession of property and riches.

At any rate, in the times of Kaiser Wilhelm I, there was no understanding for such events. Nevertheless, all in all, the Germany Army at the turn of the century was the most magnificent organisation in the world, and its effect on our German Folk one that was more than beneficial.

The breeding ground of German discipline, German efficiency, forthright disposition, frank courage, bold aggressiveness, tenacious persistence and granite honourableness. The conception of honour of a whole profession slowly but imperceptibly became the general patrimony of a whole Folk.

The real lack of weapons lies in our pacifistic democratic poisoning, as well as in internationalism, which destroys and poisons our Folk’s highest sources of power.

For the source of a Folk’s whole power does not lie in its possession of weapons or in the organisation of its army, but in its inner value which is represented through its racial significance, that is, the racial value of a Folk as such, through the existence of the highest individual personality values, as well as through its healthy attitude toward the idea of self preservation.

In coming before the public as National Socialists with this conception of the real strength of a Folk, we know that today the whole of public opinion is against us. But this is indeed the deepest meaning of our new doctrine, which as a world view separates us from others.

The importance of the blood value of a Folk, however, only becomes totally effective when this value is recognised by a Folk, properly valued and appreciated.

Folks who do not understand this value or who no longer have a feeling for it for lack of a natural instinct, thereby also immediately begin to lose it.

Blood mixing and lowering of the race are then the consequences which, to be sure, at the beginning are not seldom introduced through a so called predilection for things foreign, which in reality is an underestimation of one’s own cultural values as against alien Folks.

Once a Folk no longer appreciates the cultural expression of its own spiritual life conditioned through its blood, or even begins to feel ashamed of it, in order to turn its attention to alien expressions of life, it renounces the strength which lies in the harmony of its blood and the cultural life which has sprung from it.

It becomes torn apart, unsure in its judgement of the world picture and its expressions, loses the perception and the feeling for its own purposes, and in place of this it sinks into a confusion of international ideas, conceptions, and the cultural hodgepodge springing from them. Then the Jew can make his entry in any form, and this master of international poisoning and race corruption will not rest until he has thoroughly uprooted and thereby corrupted such a Folk. The end is then the loss of a definite unitary race value and as a result, the final decline.

For this reason, international mindedness is to be regarded as the mortal enemy of these values.

Majorities have never wrought creative achievements. Never have they given discoveries to mankind. The individual person has always been the originator of human progress.

Once a Folk installs the majority as the rulers of its life, that is to say, once it introduces present-day democracy in the western conception, it will not only damage the importance of the concept of personality, but block the effectiveness of the personality value. Through a formal construction of its life, it prevents the rise and the work of individual creative persons.

For this is the double curse of the democratic parliamentary system prevailing today: not only is it itself incapable of bringing about really creative achievements, but it also prevents the emergence and thereby the work of those men who somehow threateningly rise above the level of the average.

In all times the man whose greatness lies above the average measure of the general stupidity, inadequacy, cowardice, and arrogance too, has always appeared most threatening to the majority. Add to this that, through democracy, inferior persons must, almost as a law, become leaders, so that this system applied logically to any institution devaluates the whole mass of leaders, insofar as one can call them that at all.

This resides in the irresponsibility lying in the nature of democracy. Majorities are phenomena that are too elusive to be grasped so that they can somehow be charged with responsibility. The leaders set up by them are in truth only executors of the will of the majorities.

Compare the army organisation, oriented to the highest degree toward authority and responsibility of the individual person, with our democratic civil institutions, especially in relation to the results of the leadership training on both sides, and you will be horrified.

The pitiful lack of really great leading minds among the German Folk finds its most simple explanation in the desolate disintegration which we see before us through the democratic parliamentary system which is slowly corroding our whole public life.

Nations must decide. Either they want majorities or brains. The two are never compatible. Up to now, however, brains have always created greatness on this Earth, and what they created was again destroyed mostly through majorities.

That present State leaders pay little attention to this viewpoint is partly due to the nature of democracy, to which they owe their very existence, but secondly to the fact that the State has become a purely formal mechanism which appears to them as an aim in itself, which must not in the least coincide with the interests of a specific Folk.

Folk and State have become two different concepts. It will be the task of the National Socialist Movement to bring about a fundamental change here.

Published in: on May 22, 2017 at 11:54 am  Comments (3)  

Zweites Buch, 2

Excerpted from “The Necessity of Strife,” Chapter 2 of Hitler’s Second Book. The whole chapter includes these subjects: Territorial conquest is necessary for a people’s security and healthy growth—Morality of conquest: no one owns any part of the Earth—Birth control eugenically unsound—Spartan exposure logical—Emigration sacrifices best elements—Increase in productivity of no help competitively—Export trade vanishing as other nations modernize—Necessity of strife.
 
A Folk’s struggle for existence is first and foremost determined by the following fact: Regardless of how high the cultural importance of a Folk may be, the struggle for daily bread stands at the forefront of all vital necessities.

In general, the merely material interest will rise in exact proportion as ideal spiritual outlooks are in the process of disappearing. But the bread which a Folk requires is conditioned by the living space at its disposal. A healthy Folk, at least, will always seek to find the satisfaction of its needs on its own soil. Any other condition is pathological and dangerous, even if it makes possible the sustenance of a Folk for centuries.

The increase of population can be balanced only through an increase, that is, an enlargement, of living space.

Yet the regulation of the relation between population and territory is of tremendous importance for a nation’s existence. Indeed, we can justly say that the whole life struggle of a Folk, in truth, consists in safeguarding the territory it requires as a general prerequisite for the sustenance of the increasing population.

The sword was the path breaker for the plough. And if we want to talk about human rights at all, then in this single case war has served the highest right of all: it gave a Folk the soil which it wanted to cultivate industriously and honestly for itself, so that its children might some day be provided with their daily bread.

For this soil is not allotted to anyone, nor is it presented to anyone as a gift. It is awarded by Providence to people who in their hearts have the courage to take possession of it, the strength to preserve it, and the industry to put it to the plough.

Hence every healthy, vigorous Folk sees nothing sinful in territorial acquisition, but something quite in keeping with nature. The modern pacifist who denies this holy right must first be reproached for the fact that he himself at least is being nourished on the injustices of former times.

Finally, The present distribution of possessions on the Earth has not been designed by a higher power but by man himself. Anyone who would banish this struggle from the Earth forever would perhaps abolish the struggle between men, but he would also eliminate the highest driving power for their development…

The rule of six thousand Spartans over three hundred and fifty thousand Helots was only thinkable in consequence of the high racial value of the Spartans. But this was the result of a systematic race preservation; thus Sparta must be regarded as the first Völkisch State. The exposure of sick, weak, deformed children, in short their destruction, was more decent and in truth a thousand times more humane than the wretched insanity of our day which preserves the most pathological subject, and indeed at any price, and yet takes the life of a hundred thousand healthy children in consequence of birth control or through abortions, in order subsequently to breed a race of degenerates burdened with illnesses…

The present day European dreams of a living standard which he derives as much from the potentialities of Europe as from the actual conditions prevailing in America. International relations between nations have become so easy and close through modern technology and the communication it makes possible, that the European, often without being conscious of it, applies American conditions as a standard for his own life.

Regardless of how, for example, the land is distributed in Germany, whether in large or in small peasant holdings, or in plots for small settlers, this does not alter the fact that there are, on the average, 136 people to one square kilometre. This is an unhealthy relation. It is impossible to feed our Folk on this basis and under this premise. For the distress is not the result of a wrong kind of land distribution, say, but the consequence of the inadequate amount of space, on the whole, at the disposal of our nation today.

The more pure capitalist interests begin to determine the present economy, the more the general viewpoints of the financial world and the stock exchange achieve a decisive influence here, the more will this system of branch establishments reach out and thus artificially carry out the industrialisation of former commodity markets and especially curtail the export possibilities of the European mother countries. Today many can still afford to smile over this future development, but as it makes further strides, within thirty years people in Europe will groan under its consequences.

Since all great nations today are industrial nations, the so called peaceful economic conquest of the world is nothing but the struggle with means which will remain peaceful for as long as the stronger nations believe they can triumph with them, that is, in reality for as long as they are able to kill the others with peaceful economics. For this is the real result of the victory of a nation with peaceful economic means over another nation. Thereby one nation receives possibilities of survival and the other nation is deprived of them. Even here what is at stake is always the substance of flesh and blood, which we designate as a Folk.

The danger to a Folk of economic activity in an exclusive sense lies in the fact that it succumbs only too easily to the belief that it can ultimately shape its destiny through economics.

A special danger of the so called peaceful economic policy, however, lies above all in the fact that it makes possible an increase in the population, which finally no longer stands in any relation to the productive capacity of its own soil to support life.

This overfilling of an inadequate living space with people not seldom also leads to the concentration of people in work centres which look less like cultural centres, and rather more like abscesses in the national body in which all evil, vices and diseases seem to unite.

Above all, they are breeding grounds of blood mixing and bastardisation, and of race lowering, thus resulting in those purulent infection centres in which the international Jewish racial maggots thrive and finally effect further destruction.

Precisely thereby is the way open to decay in which the inner strength of such a Folk swiftly disappears, all racial, moral and folk values are earmarked for destruction, ideals are undermined, and in the end the prerequisite which a Folk urgently needs in order to take upon itself the ultimate consequences of the struggle for world markets is eliminated.

They have no strength to break the chains of the enemy, and no inner value with which to bear their fate with dignity. Once they believed they could live, thanks to their peaceful economic activity, and renounce the use of violence. Fate will teach them that in the last analysis a Folk is preserved only when population and living space stand in a definite natural and healthy relation to each other…

Politics is the art of carrying out a Folk’s struggle for its earthly existence.

Foreign policy is the art of safeguarding the momentary, necessary living space, in quantity and quality, for a Folk.

Domestic policy is the art of preserving the necessary employment of force for this in the form of its race value and numbers.

Zweites Buch, 1

Excerpted from “War and Peace,” Chapter 1 of Hitler’s Second Book. The whole chapter includes these subjects: History is the story of peoples’ struggles for existence—Peace and war as means of waging the struggle—Neither should be the sole means—Too much war kills off the elite—Too much peace leads to submissiveness and emigration.
 
In the times before man, world history was primarily a presentation of geological events: the struggle of natural forces with one another, the creation of an inhabitable surface on this planet, the separation of water from land, the formation of mountains, of plains, and of the seas.

Later, with the emergence of organic life, man’s interest concentrated on the process of becoming and the passing away of its thousandfold forms.

And only very late did man finally become visible to himself, and thus by the concept of world history he began to understand first and foremost only the history of his own becoming, that is, the presentation of his own evolution. This evolution is characterised by an eternal struggle of men against beasts and against men themselves. From the invisible confusion of the organisms there finally emerged formations: Clans, Tribes, Folks, States. The description of their origins and their passing away is but the representation of an eternal struggle for existence.

If, however, politics is history in the making, and history itself the presentation of the struggle of men and nations for self preservation and continuance, then politics is, in truth, the execution of a nation’s struggle for existence. But politics is not only the struggle of a nation for its existence as such; for us men it is rather the art of carrying out this struggle.

Since history as the representation of the hitherto existing struggles for existence of nations is at the same time the petrified representation of politics prevailing at a given moment, it is the most suitable teacher for our own political activity.

If the highest task of politics is the preservation and the continuance of the life of a Folk, then this life is the eternal stake with which it fights, for which and over which this struggle is decided. Hence its task is the preservation of a substance made of flesh and blood. Its success is the making possible of this preservation. Its failure is the destruction, that is, the loss of this substance.

Consequently, politics is always the leader of the struggle for existence, the guide of the same, its organiser, and its efficacy will, regardless of how man formally designates it, carry with it the decision as to the life or death of a Folk…

Therefore, wise political leaders of a Folk will never see in war the aim of the life of a Folk, but only a means for the preservation of this life. It must educate the human material entrusted to it to the highest manhood, but rule it with the highest conscientiousness.

If necessary, when a Folk’s life is at stake, they should not shrink from daring to shed blood to the utmost, but they must always bear in mind that peace must one day again replace this blood.

Wars which are fought for aims that, because of their whole nature, do not guarantee a compensation for the blood that has been shed, are sacrileges committed against a nation, a sin against a Folk’s future.

The culture of European Folks rests on the foundations which its infusion of Nordic blood has created in the course of centuries. Once the last remains of this Nordic blood are eliminated, the face of European culture will be changed, the value of the States decreasing, however, in accordance with the sinking value of the Folks…

The peasant youth who emigrated to America 150 years ago was as much the most determined and most adventurous man in his village as the worker who today goes to Argentina.[1] However, the positive gain for the new country is thus a loss for the mother country.

The fundamentally peaceful policy, with the subsequent bleeding to death of a nation through emigration and birth control, is likewise all the more catastrophic the more it involves a Folk which is made up of racially unequal elements.

For in this case as well the best racial elements are taken away from the Folk through emigration, whereas through birth control in the homeland it is likewise those who in consequence of their racial value have worked themselves up to the higher levels of life and society who are at first affected. Gradually then their replenishment would follow out of the bled, inferior broad masses, and finally, after centuries, lead to a lowering of the whole value of the Folk altogether. Such a nation will have long ceased to possess real life vitality.

Thus a policy which is fundamentally peaceful will be precisely as harmful and devastating in its effects as a policy which knows war as its only weapon.

Politics must fight about the life of a Folk, and for this life; moreover, it must always choose the weapons of its struggles so that life in the highest sense of the word is served. For one does not make politics in order to be able to die, rather one may only at times call upon men to die so that a nation can live.

The aim is the preservation of life and not heroic death, or even cowardly resignation.

___________________

[1] Between 1885 and the First World War, more than 100,000 German speaking immigrants settled in Argentina.

Published in: on April 27, 2017 at 9:48 am  Comments (2)  

Hitler’s “Zweites Buch”

Hitler’s Zweites Buch (Hitler’s Second Book) is a book generally attributed to Adolf Hitler where it deepens much of the subjects mentioned in Mein Kampf, in particular his theory on the Lebensraum or “vital space” that was to occupy Germany to the detriment of the peoples he considered weaker.

This work was dictated by Hitler in the spring and summer of 1928 to Max Amann, the then head of Eher Verlag, a company linked to the NSDAP and responsible for the publication of Mein Kampf and the propaganda material of the party. It was not published during the Third Reich, and was stored in a safe at the NSDAP Publications Central.

The Institut für Zeitgeschichte would publish the document for the first time in 1961. The original prologue was titled Vorwort, but Hitler never mentioned how the complete work was to be called. In the 1961 publication it was simply called Hitler’s Second Book. In Spanish speaking countries it is usually published under the title Raza y Destino.

Published in: on April 26, 2017 at 9:44 am  Leave a Comment  

What is the best Hitler biography?

by Andrew Hamilton




I’m not a National
Socialist, but…
I have read a few
books on Hitler.

Regarding Hitler,
I agree with
Irmin Vinson:



I consider Hitler less a model to be followed than an avalanche of propaganda we must dig ourselves out from under. Never in human history has a single man received such sustained vilification, the basic effect and purpose of which has been to inhibit Whites from thinking racially and from acting in their own racial self-interest, as all other racial/ethnic groups do. Learning the truth about Hitler is a liberating experience. By the truth I mean not an idealized counter-myth to the pervasive myth of Hitler as evil incarnate, but the man himself, faults and virtues, strengths and weaknesses. (“Some Thoughts on Hitler”)

Since literally thousands of worthless books have been churned out about Der Boss, how does one sift through the massive pile of crap on the hopeful assumption that, “Hey, with all this manure, there must be a pony in here somewhere!”?

A “good” biography by my definition is an objective, truthful account, not a comic book fabrication about a lunatic, one-testicled rug chewer, or a thinly-disguised religious fable in which Hitler (= Satan/Nazis/Germans/white people) crucifies 6 million Jews (= God’s chosen people, elbowing the Lord Jesus Christ aside) by fantastic and diabolical means before efficiently employing the grisly remains to manufacture bars of soap and lampshades for the amusement of Hitler and his henchmen, or to lighten the burden of wartime rationing.

Hopefully, the book would be well-written and fun to read, as well.

If there’s a reliable bibliographical essay along these lines, I am unaware of it.


Ian Kershaw’s biography

What brought this perennial question—What is the best Hitler biography?—to mind recently was an article about English historian Sir Ian Kershaw in the Guardian (UK) newspaper asserting that the author’s two-volume, 2,000-page (prolixity is the norm in Hitler studies) biography of Hitler published to wide acclaim a decade ago, “is likely to remain the standard life for a generation.”

The biography is: Volume 1, Hitler, 1889–1936: Hubris (London: 1998), and Volume 2, Hitler, 1936–1945: Nemesis (London: 2000). A single-volume abridgement, Hitler: A Biography, appeared in 2008.

This pattern of two-volume books and abridgements, plus multiple translations, editions and printings of the same book at different times, often with different titles, continually bedevils the researcher.

Kershaw, who comes from a white, working-class background, does not inspire confidence. Among other things, he’s a knight (OBE), though he claims to be “embarrassed” by the “neo-feudal title.”

During the so-called Historikerstreit (Historians’ Dispute) in Germany from 1986 to 1989, Kershaw teamed with academic mentor Martin Broszat, an anti-German German, to publicly attack other German historians—Ernst Nolte, Andreas Hillgruber, Michael Stürmer, Joachim Fest and Klaus Hildebrand—as apologists for the German past.


“Comic Book” Titles as a Screen

One heuristic I use is to reject any book with a ridiculous or patently propagandistic title.

Using that guideline, the New York Times did Kershaw no favor when it titled its shallow reviews of his two Hitler volumes “The Devil’s Miracle Man” and “When Depravity Was Contagious,” respectively.

Examples of other self-destructive titles are The Psychopathic God: Adolf Hitler (1977; 1993), Explaining Hitler: The Search for the Origins of His Evil (1998), Hitler: The Pathology of Evil (1998), Adolf Hitler: A Chilling Tale of Propaganda as Packaged by Joseph Goebbels. (1999), Adolf Hitler: A Study in Hate (2001), and Hitler and the Nazi Leaders: A Unique Insight into Evil (2001).


Books I own

I read Konrad Heiden’s critical Der Fuehrer: Hitler’s Rise to Power (1944) in high school. Its first chapter, “Protocols of the Wise Men of Zion,” was my introduction to Alfred Rosenberg. I remember being enthralled by the book. Heiden was at least half-Jewish (his mother). He eventually fled Germany and settled in the United States, where he died in 1966. In Hitler’s War David Irving warns against reliance upon Heiden’s and several other biographies “hitherto accepted as ‘standard’ sources on Hitler” without further elaboration.

Another book I read while young is journalist William Shirer’s 1,245-page The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany (1960). It sold more than 2 million copies and won the National Book Award. I read the whole thing, but with nothing like the zest I read Der Fuehrer. Unfortunately, Shirer’s work is empirically and ideologically flawed.

Robert Payne, author of The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler (1973), was a freelance writer, not an academic or journalist. He was enormously prolific. I looked him up in Contemporary Authors and learned that he authored over 110 novels, biographies, and histories. If he began at age 20, he wrote (and published) more than two books per year until he died at age 72. Evidently his pace exacted a price on accuracy. Besides purveying conventional ideological and racial animus, the biography contains glaring factual errors, some very big indeed.

Two spurious memoirs frequently cited by mainstream historians are Hermann Rauschning’s Conversations with Hitler (1940) (US title: The Voice of Destruction and Fritz Thyssen’s I Paid Hitler (1943) (neither of which I own), both published by a Hungarian Jew, Churchill confidant, and world federalist named Emery Reves.

Rauschning’s fabricated Conversations with Hitler has been relied upon by William L. Shirer, Robert Payne, Jewish historians Leon Poliakov, Gerhard Weinberg, and Nora Levin, Alan Bullock’s Hitler: A Study in Tyranny (1952) (the first comprehensive biography, Bullock’s Hitler dominated scholarship for years; it also possesses the kind of title that’s a red flag to me; I do not own it), and Joachim C. Fest’s Hitler (Germ. 1973, Eng. trans. 1974), among others. For background on this see Mark Weber, “Rauschning’s Phony Conversations With Hitler: An Update,” Journal of Historical Review (Winter 198586), pp. 499 ff.

Nevertheless, as David Irving points out, “Historians are quite incorrigible, and will quote any apparently primary source [memoirs, diaries, autobiographies, etc.] no matter how convincingly its false pedigree is exposed.” When “serious” biographers rely upon works like Rauschning’s, their books should be approached cautiously, if at all.

Fest’s Hitler, the first major biography since Alan Bullock’s in 1952, and the first ever by a German author, became the bestselling book in Germany upon its publication; the next year it was translated into 17 languages. A prominent German journalist, broadcaster, and anti-Nazi, Fest was one of a troika of Establishment editors who re-wrote, or co-wrote, German armaments minister Albert Speer’s famous memoir, Inside the Third Reich (Germ. 1969; Eng. trans. 1970). (Speer was imprisoned at Spandau from 1946 to 1966.) The book, a worldwide bestseller, made a fortune for Speer and earned widespread praise for its disavowal of Hitler. According to David Irving, Speer had a secret agreement with his German publisher, Ullstein Verlag, to pay 25% of all royalties and proceeds to the State of Israel.

About Fest’s Hitler Irving wrote, “Stylistically, Fest’s German was good; but the old legends were trotted out afresh, polished to an impressive gleam of authority.”

As noted above, Fest fought on the conservative side of Germany’s Historian’s Dispute in the 1980s, denying the “singularity” of the Holocaust (which, however, he believed in). His Wikipedia entry provides lengthy quotations that strike a contemporary reader as heretical.

Finally, a friend kindly gave me his copy of Timothy W. Ryback’s Hitler’s Private Library: The Books That Shaped His Life (2008), which is both interesting and informative.


Recommendations of a dissident: William Pierce’s National Vanguard Books Catalog (December 1988)

I’ve often used this valuable reference over the years. It is essentially an elaborate college syllabus. Subdivisions include “European Prehistory, Archaeology, & Folkways,” “European Legend, Myth, and Religion,” “History of Western Civilization,” “Western Art,” and so on. Its 125 carefully-selected titles provide in-depth knowledge and a comprehensive overview of the white race and Western civilization.

With the exception of Mein Kampf, only three Hitler biographies are included in Pierce’s catalog, none of them standard ones. Two are: Heinz A. Heinz, Germany’s Hitler (London: 1934), and Hans Baur (Hitler’s personal pilot), Hitler at My Side (1986).

The third, Otto Wagener’s Hitler–Memoirs of a Confidant (1985), was written in 1946 when Wagener was a British prisoner. It was not published until many years after his death by the late Yale historian Henry Ashby Turner, Jr. Pierce described the book as “By far the most informative and positive memoir by a confidant of Hitler since August Kubizek’s The Young Hitler I Knew” ([German 1953, English 1955], another memoir NV had previously sold).

A notable feature of Wagener’s memoir is that, according to historian Gordon Craig’s New York Times review, it strongly emphasizes Hitler’s pro-British views and depicts the Führer as “an ‘unwitting prisoner’ of Göring, Goebbels and Himmler, powerless to prevent his true intentions from being distorted by evil associates for their own criminal purposes”—claims by an eyewitness that parallel David Irving’s controversial views.


Mein Kampf (My Struggle) and Zweites Buch (Second Book)

Though not biographies, strictly speaking, I own 1950s-era drugstore paperback copies of Hitler’s Secret Conversations, 1941–1944 (1953) and Felix Gilbert, ed. and trans., Hitler Directs His War (1950).

According to David Irving, the transcripts published as Hitler’s Secret Conversations, 1941–1944 are genuine. (Though Irving doesn’t say it, the book he discusses, Hitler’s Table Talk, 1941–1944, is the same as mine, but with a different title—I warned you it’s complicated!)

I recommend clicking on the preceding link to get a feel for how important it is to understand the provenance and reliability—the evidentiary basis—of even “mainstream” books and texts you might otherwise assume are problem-free. To his credit, Irving is keenly aware of the difficulties posed by mainstream books and official documents housed in archives. They cannot simply be accepted at face value.

I should nevertheless quote the following from Irving’s web page:

The Table Talks’ content is more important in my view than Hitler’s Mein Kampf, and possibly even more than his Zweites Buch (1928). It is unadulterated Hitler. He expatiates on virtually every subject under the sun, while his generals and private staff sit patiently and listen, or pretend to listen, to the monologues.

Along with Sir Nevile Henderson’s gripping 1940 book Failure of a Mission: Berlin, 1937-1939, this was one of the first books that I read, as a twelve year old: Table Talk makes for excellent bedtime reading, as each “meal” occupies only two or three pages of print. My original copy, purloined from my twin brother Nicholas, was seized along with the rest of my research library in May 2002.

He adds: “Ignore the 1945 ‘transcripts’ published by Hugh Trevor-Roper in the 1950s as Hitler’s Last Testament [The Testament of Adolf Hitler—Ed.]—they are fake.” That book purports to be Martin Bormann’s notes on Hitler’s final bunker conversations.

Mein Kampf was originally published in German in two volumes, the first in 1925 and the second in 1927. English translations combine both volumes into one.

I read Mein Kampf thoroughly in 1988, as my well-marked copy indicates. (The fact that it was ’88 is coincidental!) However, the book did not have an impact on me intellectually or emotionally. I wasn’t a national socialist then (much less a National Socialist) and am not one now. Nor do I view Hitler as a quasi-sacred figure.

Part of the reason for the book’s lack of effect may be due to the particular translation I purchased. In the original German the book was a runaway bestseller and the source of much of Hitler’s private fortune. Even acknowledging the political factors involved, one cannot dismiss the possibility that it reads better in German than in its English translations. The quality of a translation determines how well a book “travels” from one language to another. Both fidelity to the original (accuracy) and transmission of the spirit or feel are necessary. I have experienced translations that capture the originals marvelously, and others where even classic works appear dead on the page.

I bought my copy of Mein Kampf without prior research and ended up purchasing the 1939 Hurst and Blackett translation by James Murphy.

Murphy, a former Irish Catholic priest, was hired by the German government to make the official English translation, but the project was scuttled after a dispute. Murphy continued the translation nevertheless, and it appeared independently in Britain in 1939.

I later learned that many English-speaking National Socialists prefer Ralph Manheim’s 1943 Houghton Mifflin translation (which I have not read). It is possible that Manheim better catches the spirit of Hitler’s original, because he was also the translator of Konrad Heiden’s Der Fuehrer which so enthralled me as a boy.

In his catalog, William Pierce categorized Mein Kampf as “semi-autobiographical,” calling it “a beacon and a guide to every healthy soul in this dark age, to everyone who seeks understanding and light.” He described the differences between the English translations this way:

Manheim translation: Accurate, but marred by anti-Hitler introductions and derogatory footnotes.

Murphy translation: No hostile comments, but the translation is not as faithful to the original text.

After Mein Kampf, Hitler wrote what has become known as the Zweites Buch (Second Book) (1928), an extension and elaboration of his foreign policy aims. It also sets forth his views of the Soviet Union, France, Great Britain, and the United States. The book was written to clarify his foreign policy objectives for the German public after the 1928 elections. However, his publisher advised him that, from a sales point of view, the time was not propitious for bringing it out. By 1930 Hitler had decided that it revealed too much about his intentions, so it was never published.

In 1935 it was locked away at his order in a safe inside an air raid shelter. There it remained until the fall of Germany in 1945, when it was discovered by the American invaders. Its authenticity was reportedly vouched for by Josef Berg and Telford Taylor.

In 1958 the manuscript of the Zweites Buch, having again fallen into obscurity, was rediscovered in American archives by Jewish historian Gerhard Weinberg. Weinberg, whose family left Germany for the United States in 1938, is the author of numerous anti-German academic books and articles and a vigorous Holocaust promoter. He is Shapiro Senior Scholar in Residence at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Weinberg strongly supported the ethnic cleansing of Germans from Eastern Europe after WWII, which resulted in an enormous number of white deaths.

Unable to find a US publisher for the book, Weinberg turned to a fellow Jew in Germany, Hans Rothfels; a German edition of the Second Book was issued in 1961. (A pirated copy translated into English appeared in New York the following year.) An authoritative English edition did not appear until 40 years later: Gerhard L. Weinberg, ed., Hitler’s Second Book: The Unpublished Sequel to Mein Kampf (New York: Enigma Books, 2003).

Because I had never heard of this book until 2003, I thought the whole story a bit strange. It is unclear how many scholars apart from Weinberg have examined the original manuscript, or what methods of authentication were used. However, David Irving sold the 2003 edition at one of his lectures, and has indicated at least implicitly on several occasions (some quoted here) that he accepts the book as genuine.


David Irving

David Irving’s Hitler’s War is interesting on several levels.

An independent, non-academic historian, Irving has been victimized to an unimaginable degree over many decades by the Jewish power structure, including a global panoply of government agencies, apparatchiks, courts, police, and academic and media shills eternally at its beck and call. His suffering is mind-numbing proof of the bizarre, Orwellian world we live in. Blacklisted and bankrupted, his personal prosperity and former high reputation are in ruins.

His book, as usual, is long: 985 pages (2002 ed.), and again there is the thorny problem of multiple volumes and editions of a single biography floating around. Hitler’s War was first published in 1977, and its prequel, The War Path, in 1978. In 1991 a revised 1-volume edition incorporating both books was issued as Hitler’s War. In 2002, a revised “Millennium Edition” was published under the title Hitler’s War and the War Path, incorporating the latest documents from American, British, and former Soviet archives. This is the one I own.

In an introductory Note Irving states that in the Millennium Edition he has not revised his earlier views, but merely refined the narrative and reinforced the documentary basis of his former assertions.

Famed for working almost exclusively from official archival documents, diaries, private letters, and other original source material, his method has the downside of somewhat impeding smooth narrative flow. However, this is compensated for by the rich source material. Almost incredibly, Irving admits:

I have dipped into Mein Kampf but never read it: it was written only partly by Hitler, and that is the problem. More important are Hitlers Zweites Buch, (1928) which he wrote in his own hand; and Hitler’s Table Talk, daily memoranda which first Heinrich Heim (Martin Bormann’s adjutant, whom I interviewed) and then Henry Picker wrote down at his table side, and the similar table talks recorded by Werner Koeppen (which I was the first to exploit, in Hitler’s War).

In his introduction, notes, and on his website, Irving reveals the care necessary in dealing with even supposedly reliable documentary materials, never mind historians’ work (which he typically ignores). German memoirs, for example, have been extensively tampered with by publishers, Allied authorities, and others. When using them Irving attempts to work from the original typescripts rather than published texts. Even documents contained in government archives have been altered, removed, or otherwise manipulated. His many discussions about such issues are highly instructive.

Irving is not a “Holocaust denier” as Jews claim, though he does not believe in every jot and tittle of their religious narrative as everyone else does.

One of Irving’s most controversial claims is that “antisemitism” in Germany was “a powerful vote catching force,” “an evil steed” that Hitler had no compunction in riding to the chancellorship in 1933. But once in power, “he dismounted and paid only lip service to that part of his Party’s creed.” The “evil gangsters” under him, however—Heinrich Himmler, Reinhard Heydrich, and Joseph Goebbels—continued to ride it even when Hitler dictated differently.

Although Irving maintains that a Jewish Holocaust of sorts did occur (unfortunately, he is exceedingly vague, evasive, and even contradictory about its details, and denies any interest in it), he says that Hitler’s evil henchmen dreamed it up and carried it out entirely without Hitler’s knowledge or approval. Thus, while Irving is a Hitlerphile, he is extremely harsh toward “bad guys” like Himmler (in particular), Heydrich, and Goebbels. The reader may perhaps see how Irving’s central thesis is hard to… accept.

Irving has published a critical biography of Goebbels and is currently working on one about Himmler. Himmler’s elderly daughter Gudrun has publicly expressed her fear that Irving will perform a hatchet job on her father in an attempt to salvage his (Irving’s) reputation.

In fairness to Irving, Jewish historian Felix Gilbert, editor of Hitler Directs His War (above), wrote that “during the war, Hitler cut himself off from all his former associates and interests and closed himself in at his headquarters with his military advisers. The center of Hitler’s activities became then the daily conferences on the military situation.” This suggests possible great autonomy on the part of Himmler and others, at least after the inception of the war. Irving, however, tends to emphasize disloyalty, deceit, and manipulation by Himmler and others rather than Hitler’s isolation or distraction. Still, as previously noted, Otto Wagener’s Hitler: Memoirs of a Confidant also presents a picture of Hitler’s relationship to his top lieutenants even in the early days of the regime that is similar to Irving’s.

The most important thing to note is that Hitler’s War is not a biography per se, but a military history of WWII from Hitler’s perspective. My primary interest, however, apart from biography, is the racial, political, philosophical, and social aspects of Hitler’s Germany rather than the conduct of the war.


John Toland’s Hitler

La Crosse, Wisconsin-born John W. Toland is another independent scholar who wrote a major biography of Hitler: Adolf Hitler: The Definitive Biography. Something of an intellectual renegade in his later years, he managed to stay beneath the radar screen of controversy. His books remain popular and highly regarded. His best-known book, The Rising Sun: The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire, 1936–1945 (1970), won the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction. Based upon extensive original interviews with high Japanese officials who survived the war, it was the first book in English to tell the history of the war in the Pacific from the Japanese rather than the American point of view. (Toland married a Japanese woman.)

Toland’s mildly controversial Infamy: Pearl Harbor and Its Aftermath (1982) offered a quasi-revisionist view of the Roosevelt Administration’s scapegoating of the Pearl Harbor commanders and subsequent cover-up. The Pearl Harbor book led to Toland’s association with the Holocaust revisionist Institute for Historical Review (IHR), at whose meeting he spoke.

After Jewish terrorists firebombed the Institute on the Fourth of July, 1984, destroying its warehouse and inventory of books (American authorities “never found”—or punished—the perpetrators), Toland wrote to the IHR:

When I learned of the torching of the office-warehouse of the Institute for Historical Review I was shocked. And when I heard no condemnation of this act of terrorism on television and read no protests in the editorial pages of our leading newspapers or from the halls of academia, I was dismayed and incensed. Where are those defenders of democracy who over the years have so vigorously protested the burning of books by Hitler? Are they only summer soldiers of democracy, selective in their outrage? I call on all true believers in democracy to join me in public denunciation of the recent burning of books in Torrance, California.

Toland’s Adolf Hitler was based upon a great deal of original research, including previously unpublished documents, diaries, notes, photographs, and interviews with Hitler’s colleagues and associates. I have had difficulty identifying a good copy of the biography for sale on Amazon due to the headache of multiple editions and reprints I mentioned earlier.

As near as I can determine, the initial publication was Adolf Hitler, 2 vols. (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1976). However, sellers often list it for sale on Amazon while really having only one volume (which one is usually undeterminable) in stock. On the other hand, one seller informed me that he checked his 1976 edition in the warehouse, and it appeared to be a complete book in one volume. My impression is that the reprint (I assume it is unrevised), Adolf Hitler: The Definitive Biography (Doubleday, 1992), is the same book in a single volume.

Toland’s biography was well-received by both reviewers and the public. In his autobiography Toland wrote that he earned little money from his Pulitzer Prize-winning The Rising Sun, but was set for life thanks to the earnings from Adolf Hitler.

Patrick Buchanan penned a column about the book in 1977, after which he was widely condemned for “praising Hitler.” Daniel Weiss of the Virginia Quarterly Review wrote that “In some respects the Hitler who emerges is almost too human, too normal.”

Mark Weber, director of the Institute for Historical Review and a longtime WWII revisionist who reads German, writes:

I’m sometimes asked which biography of Hitler I think is best, or which I recommend. In my view, the best single biography of Hitler, and the one I most often recommend, is the one by John Toland, Adolf Hitler. It’s especially good in helping the reader to understand Hitler’s personality and outlook. Kershaw’s biography is detailed, but it’s also very slanted and leaves out a lot.

It would be a mistake to assume that Weber’s recommendation is the result of Toland’s brief connection with the IHR. Adolf Hitler was written several years before that relationship developed. Moreover, in 1977, when David Irving offered a thousand pound reward to anyone who could produce a single wartime document showing that Hitler knew anything about the Holocaust, Toland published an emotional appeal in Der Spiegel urging his fellow historians to refute Irving.

It is unlikely that Toland’s book is “pro-Hitler.” Certainly, reviewers have not attacked it as such.


Conclusion

I guess I’ll go with Toland’s biography, evidently the most objective, despite owning several others instead. Although I’ve only scratched the surface, it is apparent that enormous effort is required to merely survey the field before diving in to actually get a handle on The Most Evil Man Who Ever Lived.

And what is the likely outcome of such an effort? Well, David Irving, who has spent the better part of a lifetime studying the Führer, concluded:

What is the result of twenty years’ toiling in the archives? Hitler will remain an enigma, however hard we burrow. Even his intimates realised that they hardly knew him. General Alfred Jodl, his closest strategic adviser, wrote in his Nuremberg cell on March 10, 1946: “I ask myself, did you ever really know this man at whose side you led such a thorny and ascetic existence? To this very day I do not know what he thought or knew or really wanted.”

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