Mein Kampf: ‘Lies, Stupidity and Cowardice.’

Hitler was tried for high treason and could have faced the death penalty but got away with a lenient sentence of five years. He served less than nine months. Although frequently depressed and talking of suicide, Hitler used his time in prison constructively, dictating to Hess his autobiographical, ideological rant, Mein Kampf. Published in two volumes, the first on 18 July 1925, the second in 1926, it was originally entitled My 4½ Year Struggle Against Lies, Stupidity and Cowardice; the new title being suggested by his publisher.

Much of it is devoted to race; the need for a pure race of German Aryans, untainted by the blood of different races. The Aryan race was of the highest order, the ‘bearers of culture’; the Jewish race (Hitler defined Jews by race not religion) of the lowest. The aim was to eliminate the Jews (referred to throughout the book by various unpleasant metaphors: parasites, germs, vermin) from society. He expanded on many of the themes of the Nazi manifesto, including Lebensraum, the union of all German-speaking people and the treachery of the Treaty of Versailles. Mein Kampf sold poorly at first and a second book, written in 1928, was never published. However, by 1939, with Hitler firmly in power, it outsold all other titles in Germany with the exception of the Bible.

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