Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf is intriguing for numerous reasons. But one of the more intriguing ones is the amount of irony found in the book. What is especially interesting about the irony in Mein Kampf is the fact that Hitler was not even aware of it himself. The irony is totally unintentional.
Hitler has delusions of grandeur. He thinks that Providence plays a personal role in what he perceives as his greatness. All the experiences in Hitler’s life are what he considers to be steps taken by Providence to lead him to glory. Consider the Vienna years for example. Hitler says that these were hard times. He wallows in pity for himself. And this is ironic because great people are usually stoical about their sufferings. Hitler takes a Nietzschean view of the sufferings he says he endured during the Vienna years.
“While the goddess of suffering took me in
her arms, often threatening to destroy me, my
the will to resistance grew and in the end this
This echoes what Friedrich Nietzsche said about suffering. Nietzsche said, “That which does not destroy us makes us stronger.” Hitler obviously believes that his life testifies to the truth of what Nietzsche said. This of how this conviction, to which Hitler ascribed, ironically reflects on those whom Hitler considered being his and Germany’s main enemy: the Jews. Hitler sought to destroy Jews, but if the Nietzschean philosophy to which Hitler ascribed be true, he actually made the Jewish race stronger by tormenting them as he so barbarically did. No doubt many Jewish people would deeply resent this statement because they might argue, it contains the very vile implication that Hitler unintentionally did his Jewish enemies a favor. There is only the just irony of Nietzsche’s philosophy coming back to haunt Hitler; he made his enemies stronger while destroying himself.
How did World War I influence Hitler? Hitler was faced with the prospect of a bleak future following Germany’s defeat in World War I. Unsuccessful in civilian life, he had found himself in the military. The formation of the Weimar Republic, as a result of the Treaty of Versailles, eventually aroused dissatisfaction in the German people. This caused them to look toward the many radical groups, which had emerged following the war, for guidance. This presented Hitler with the opportunity to voice and attract the attention of Germans with his own extremist opinions. Hitler sided with the German Worker’s Party and led the development of the National Socialist State.
The Marxists also emerged in Germany after the war. But Hitler had no use for the Marxists. He saw Marxism as just one aspect of the Jewish conspiracy to break down the blood barriers which Nature sought to maintain so that the greater Aryan race would remain pure and unaffected by the inferior blood of other races.
“The Jewish doctrine of Marxism rejects the
aristocratic principle of Nature and replaces
the eternal privilege of power and strength by
the mass of numbers and their dead weight.”
Marxism, according to Hitler, contested the very will of Nature and Providence, since Nature and Providence willed that the stronger not blend with the weaker. Marxism threatened to undermine the significance of nationality and race, thereby depriving humanity of the premise of its existence and culture.
Negroes were another aspect of the Jewish conspiracy to dilute the pure blood of the German people, Hitler argued.
“It was and it is Jews who bring the Negroes
into the Rhineland, always with the same secret
thought and clear aim of ruining the hated white
race by necessarily resulting bastardization,
throwing it down from its cultural and political
height, and himself rising to be its master.”
But aside from being another weapon, the Jewish people would destroy the Aryan race, how did Hitler view the African race? He said that their culture was inferior. He thinks that their culture is “trash”. And Hitler judges the greatness of a race upon the culture it produces. Therefore the African race is inferior to the White race, Hitler says. He criticizes Christian missionaries for going to central Africa and attempting to convert the African people into Christians. For Hitler this is unnatural. Why? Because the superior culture of the German people and Christians, in general, is incompatible with the inferior African race.
“… the pious missionary wanders off to central
Africa and sets up Negro missions until there,
too, out “higher culture” turns healthy, though
inferior and primitive, human beings into rotten
Notice that Hitler acknowledges that the African people are “healthy”. Jesse Owen’s defeat of his German adversary in the track and field competition of the Olympics forced Hitler to acknowledge that African people are at least physically “healthy”. But their culture, he would argue, was still inferior, therefore the African race was inferior.
What are Hitler’s definitions of “Nation” and “race”? Hitler seems to think that “race” and “species” are the same thing. He considers the Aryan race to be a separate species, as though the Aryan people were true human beings who had realized their humanity in a sublime culture. Jewish people and other races were separate species, as though they were animals. Is it not ironic, then, that, when discussing how Nature has ordained that the Aryan people should remain pure, Hitler makes analogies between “uniform character” of animals and the wholeness of pure Germans? Should humans, in order to be superior humans like Germans, behave more like animals?
Hitler said that the “folkish state” would consist of racially pure Germans. The mere act of an official signature or the pronouncement by some official saying, “You are now a German.” held no significance for Hitler. Hitler said that there were three elements within the “folkish state”. They were: citizens, subjects, and foreigners. Until German men have served in the German army, they are not true citizens, but only subjects. Women who are not married, have a similar status. This changes when men serve in the army and women marry. Foreigners are simply an alien presence that was undesirable.
How did Hitler justify his anti-semetic views? Hitler said that the Jewish people were liars. One of the reasons they sought to integrate themselves into the states and races of other people was to distract attention from their true vile nature. Is this not ironic, considering that Hitler said that “… I shall never admit that I am tied by anything.” Does this at least suggest that Hitler was a man with a tendency to conceal his true motives? And is he not then just like the Jewish people he said were liars? The irony is that Hitler was the one who could not be trusted.
Mein Kampf is a book that tries to be deeply philosophical. And philosophical it is. Truthful, however, it is not. Instead, it is ridden with the delusions of a disturbed mind.
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