Beta

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

'Mein Kampf' To Be Republished In Germany

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the formerly-banned-books dept.

Books 462

Hugh Pickens writes "Jacob Heilbrunn reports in The Atlantic that Germany is taking a new step toward what is often called 'normalization' as the state of Bavaria has announced that in 2015 it will publish Hitler's Mein Kampf, banned in Germany since World War II. In announcing the publication of the book, Bavarian finance minister Markus Soeder says that he wants to contribute to the 'demystification' of it. In 2015, the Bavarian state's copyright to the book will expire and the idea is to publish a scholarly version that will help stem its appeal for commercial publishers. The book is not banned by law in Germany, but Bavaria has used ownership of the copyright to prevent publication of German editions since 1945. Copyright restrictions stop at the end of 2015, 70 years after Hitler's death. By publishing in 2015 before the expiry of the copyright, Bavaria hopes to make future German editions as 'commercially unattractive' as possible. 'We want to make clear what nonsense is in there,' says Soeder and to show 'what a worldwide catastrophe this dangerous body of thought led to.'"

cancel ×

462 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Heil (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818001)

Heil Erstegepostungmittlestoff!

Re:Heil (-1, Flamebait)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818039)

Will there be a new forward by Rush Limbaugh and Michelle Malkin? :-)

Re:Heil (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39818521)

The word is "foreword", not "forward".

Posted anonymously on account of being a grammar nazi (pun not intended).

Re:Heil (1)

Pf0tzenpfritz (1402005) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818295)

Very nice! Den Kerl erschiessen!

The English version is good for this (4, Interesting)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818003)

The current English edition is actually peppered with footnotes calling out every time Hitler lies or exaggerates. It's like a side by side refutation.

Re:The English version is good for this (5, Funny)

Gib7 (2445652) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818071)

Sort of like the Skeptics Annotated Bible ?

Re:The English version is good for this (5, Informative)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818507)

Pretty much. Like any bible, Mein Kampf isn't actually meant to be read by its believers. I tried to read it because I thought it'd be good to know what Nazis were about, and in my student activist days I spent a bit of time working against neo-Nazis. IT'S TERRIBLE! It's boring, repetitious, tedious, egowank ... so yeah, it's a perfect bible. The footnoting is the only use it has. Hitler starts bullshitting from the very first page.

Re:The English version is good for this (2, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818563)

IT'S TERRIBLE! It's boring, repetitious, tedious, egowank

I came here to say the same thing. Banning publication is a service to anyone who, like me, might have the misguided belief that they'd learn something by reading it. Other than that Hitler was a semi-literate drooling moron with a god complex, I mean, which can be learned from other far less painful sources.

Re:The English version is good for this (1, Funny)

Grayhand (2610049) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818243)

Wait a minute, blond haired, blue eyed muscular men aren't serious stud muffins? You mean Hitler was lying? Next thing you'll be telling me "The Producers" was a comedy and "Spring Time For Hitler" was played for laughs and he wasn't the vaguely gay character they represented him as. I mean what are you to do when your niece that you were sleeping with commits suicide? I guess after you kill a few million people, and are responsible for the deaths of tens of millions, you marry the maid and blow your brains out in a bunker. I can totally understand why the skin heads idolize him, they are morons.

Demystification (3, Insightful)

mseeger (40923) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818015)

They should have started demystifying it 67 years ago.....

Re:Demystification (0)

million_monkeys (2480792) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818029)

word

Re:Demystification (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39818149)

German politicians are not interested demystifying Hitler or the Nazis, they did their best to stop any publication of old Nazi propaganda, that includes almost any scientific text about them. Even mentioning that not all Hitler did was downright evil gets you labeled as a Nazi, that Hitler needed a more or less functional country to fulfill his plans and that evil(TM) is not enough to run a world war are things that are best not mentioned. If a German politician wants to end a discussion quickly he will just mention that the Nazis did it that way.

I would not be surprised if they use the new publication to claim that everyone else selling "Mein Kampf" or related texts violates the copyright of the new (possibly censored) edition. (IAAGVDAGP - I am a German voter demystified about German politicians).

In contrast to many people I believe it is a crime to forget the past (especially if it is something our politicians do their best to make us forget ).

Re:Demystification (5, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818317)

If a German politician wants to end a discussion quickly he will just mention that the Nazis did it that way.

That works on the internet, too.

Re:Demystification (3, Interesting)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818339)

The Germans basically want to eliminate anything that would make Hitler look "human", including of course Mein Kampf, but even things like the Fuhrer bunker(whose destruction was sad, not at least for the reason that it was a marvelous piece of engineering). Even the wax figure of Hitler they put in a museum of famous Germans was covered in shadow, lest people believe he is an actual human.....

I guess its easier to reconcile with their past of they paint Hitler to be a monster. Monsters are pure evil and can force us to do things that we wouldnt do otherwise. Humans on the other hand are weak creatures who cannot do anything without the willing help of other humans(the German people in this case)....

Re:Demystification (3, Insightful)

benjfowler (239527) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818487)

The fact that the Nazis were once a very human reality, is what made them so monstrous: otherwise average, nice people being turned into delusional mass murderers for the sake of a warped ideology.

Re:Demystification (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818579)

The most truly terrifying source I've read from the second world war was (a translation of excerpts from) the diary of a concentration camp guard. Simple, banal, entries about his family, the same sorts of concerns as anyone else in wartime, and the occasional entry about how many people had been 'processed' by his camp. If you'd met him, he'd probably have seemed like a friendly and reasonable person, doing a job just like any other. It just happened that his job involved working people to death. Reading statements like the recent comment by an Apple exec about how great Foxconn's ability to get people up in the middle of the night to make a change to a product design reminds me that this attitude is still alive in senior positions.

Re:Demystification (4, Insightful)

SenseiLeNoir (699164) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818551)

Although Hitler was a human, indeed he was a monster. It is human to unfairly dislike something sometime in your life. I am sure most of us may have at one point in our past had a muttering of dislike for a particular race/religion/etc. However, what makes a monster is taking that dislike, then acting on it and killing over a million Jews and other undesirables in the clinical and orchestrated manner he and his cronies did it in.

AS for the German people, yes they need to shoulder some of the blame for supporting him at the time, but weigh in the fact that they were at the time suffering the effects of the Allies excessive sanctions and punishments of World War 1, and the failure of the Wiemar Republic. A form of Stockholm Syndrome occurred, and they saw Hitler as a savior. It is the mark of most "popular" monsters to be able to convince their citizens to follow their madcap means. Also remember many Germans did see through Hitler and tried to fight back, and most paid with their lives (see the white rose group).

Going back to the topic, I agree that this book should be published, so that people can see how a monster is formed, and with the disturbances currently going on in Europe and the world, maybe its a warning to prevent the same thing that happened in the past happening again. We do not know* of any monsters on the scale of Hilter since he died, but that doesn't mean we will never see one again, and maybe the next one will be worse.

*Note i said "know of" rather than outright say that such a monster does not exist. The reason is, even in the case of Hitler, the world in general only knew how much of a monster he was AFTER he was defeated.

Re:Demystification (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818375)

Even mentioning that not all Hitler did was downright evil gets you labeled as a Nazi,

Even worse: just saying that your party had the fastest raise in popularity since the Nazis also gets you labeled as one... The subject of Hitler and Nazis is best avoided altogether if you don't want to be confused with one.

Oddly enough most Germans still enjoy their fast cars and cruising down the speedlimitless Autobahnen...

If a German politician wants to end a discussion quickly he will just mention that the Nazis did it that way.

On the Internet, that's called invoking Godwyn's law...

Re:Demystification (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818417)

Even mentioning that not all Hitler did was downright evil gets you labeled as a Nazi,

Curse the Volkswagen beetle!

Re:Demystification (4, Informative)

kbg (241421) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818569)

"Hitler planned and built the Autobahn. Or did he?

In reality, the first section of what would later become the legendary German autobahn network was constructed and built before Hitler came to power. Construction on the Köln-Bonn Autobahn began in 1929. During opening ceremonies on August 6, 1932, none other than Konrad Adenauer was on hand to inaugurate the 20 km (12 mi) section of autobahn running between Cologne and Bonn. Adenauer, then the Oberbürgermeister (mayor) of Cologne, proclaimed: "So werden die Straßen der Zukunft aussehen." ("This is how the roads of the future will look.") Adenauer supported the autobahn project partly as a way to create jobs during hard economic times. Later he would become West Germany's first Bundeskanzler (chancellor, from 1949 to 1963)."

From: http://german.about.com/library/blgermyth08.htm [about.com]

The opposite is true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39818395)

The exact opposite is true. While there are some anti-nazi laws in Germany, (West) German politics, administration, foreign office, police, justice and intelligence services were being run by nazis until the last of them retired. The effects of nazi-friendly post-war Germany still become visible in our time, the latest being the German interior intelligence service ('Verfassungsschutz') proving, along with the police, its inability and unwillingness to notice, control and stop neonazi terrorist militia who were killing foreigners, first they suspected was that it had been foreigners fighting foreigners.

Re:Demystification (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39818427)

The last two decades since the reunification of Germany have been about Germany's economic conquering of Europe through

(i) a massive sustained process of industrialisation;

(ii) weakening neighbouring economies by a Union which encourages them to reduce self-sufficiency (become "service" or "finance"-oriented economies, i.e. empty shells reliant on foreign imports) while taking on massive debt.

Hitler's stupid racial bullshit was his Achilles' heel - his consequential belief that he could militarily conquer "inferior" races was his downfall. Post-WW2 Germany has learnt from this, applying merely economic strategy. In the short term this is better - no millions of dead bodies - but in the long term it's much worse, as dominance will be sustained.

You can deny this or shout "Godwin!" as much as you want, but it it what has already happened. Germany has led Europe in the same way that winning powers post-WW1 once treated Germany.

You've got to admire it. Then do something about it.

Re:Demystification (5, Insightful)

benjfowler (239527) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818501)

Crazy talk. Germany is a big country and its people work hard and smart. They exercise economic leadership as a consequence; it's to be expected.

It's an iron law of nature, is that sometimes the big kids get to tell the little kids what to do. Compared to China, I'll take Germany any way, because by and large, they innovate, play fair and work hard.

Re:Demystification (3, Interesting)

benjfowler (239527) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818477)

I feel sorry for people like my grandfather. He grew up in Hamburg and saw things that any human should EVER see, because that madman chose to sacrifice his country and people for his own conceit.

The real tragedy that might be hard to see now (the universal belief that (rightly) the Nazis were 100% evil), was that the German people believed in him and thought he was on a mission to 'save Germany', right to the bitter end.

BTW, just writing the Nazis off as pure evil is intellectually lazy; we don't examine how they got to where they got, and how they were able to brainwash so many people and do so much damage.

Re:Demystification (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39818553)

> Even mentioning that not all Hitler did was downright evil gets you labeled as a Nazi
If interpreted literally, yes, when Hitler was picking his nose that was not downright evil. But that's probably not what you mean if you say that. There's not only the literal meaning, but also the act of you speaking, wanting to convey a message. If you say something like "Not all Hitler did was downright evil", everybody will assume you want to justify him and his politics. If that's not what you want to say, you have to formulate it differently - that's how language works.

BTW I don't think that he did that much good in those parts of his politics that were not merely pragmatic, that is those that not any other (socialist, conservative, liberal [in the european sense]) politician also would have done in his place.

It took them 43 years (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818503)

to show the Star Trek episode Patterns of Force simply because it had Nazis in it.

http://www.airlockalpha.com/node/8755/germany-gets-patterns-of-force-43-years-later.html [airlockalpha.com]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patterns_of_Force_(Star_Trek:_The_Original_Series) [wikipedia.org]

Re:Demystification (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39818603)

I don't understand why every time some high profile Jew visits Germany Angela Merkel and other politicians have to apologize for the Holocaust. They had nothing to do with it. God-dammed Jews quit whining about it. Millions of Russians died in the war and they don't cry about it every day. Sue your God, he didn't do shit to protect his chosen people.

wow (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818021)

a slashdot story that godwin's itself

Re:wow (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818047)

Definitely gotta be a first, eh?

Yeah, it's the end of the world as we know it & I feel...

... mildly amused.

well, on reflection, it's not a real godwin (3, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818159)

the point of godwin's law is to point out the essential wrongness of comparing someone's opinion to something hitler or a nazi would do. it's just derails an argument into hysteria and absurdity

however if someone were to get really upset here and yell and scream that what the bavarian government is doing here is something hitler or a nazi would do... well, yeah

and i just learned a great phrase: "Reductio ad Hitlerum"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductio_ad_Hitlerum [wikipedia.org]

which sounds like a spell voldemort would cast

Re:well, on reflection, it's not a real godwin (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818227)

Afaik there's an exception for legitimate nazi comparisons and discussions involving the actual thing.

Re:well, on reflection, it's not a real godwin (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818331)

Afaik there's an exception for legitimate nazi comparisons and discussions involving the actual thing.

But how often does someone need to say that NAZIs are like NAZIs?

You know who else... (4, Insightful)

Intropy (2009018) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818031)

You know who else liked to suppress books they considered dangerous or "un-German?" The Nazis.

Nazi ideas in vogue again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39818085)

But not this one!

The interesting thing about is is that while it was fashionable all these decades to spit on any White Racist Neo-Nazis who were anti-Semitic, in the last few years, becoming anti-Semitic has become fashionable again, courtesy Muslims at large, and Nation of Islam members in the US. As a result, anti-Semitic slurs that had all but vanished in polite company are making a comeback, as is support for Judenrein, especially among Muslims.

Speaking of which, Germany seems to be behind the curve, and Mein Kamph, which was not easily available for decades, has been a bestseller in Muslim countries such as Turkey and Egypt. Even while pro-Hamas and pro-Hizbullah activists accuse Israel of being like the Nazis, they openly endorse what Hitler did, and only regret that he didn't get to finish the job. In fact, given that most Whites have pretty much abandoned racist views, groups like the Aryan Nation, which were once closed to non-Whites, are today dominated by Muslims, who have both the money and the membership numbers to flood those groups and determine their policies and directions.

Re:You know who else... (5, Funny)

million_monkeys (2480792) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818097)

Why can't we make it through a single story without someone bringing up Nazis?

Re:You know who else... (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818397)

Godwins. Erry time.

Re:You know who else... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39818261)

Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate; hate leads to suffering. I sense much fear in you.

Re:You know who else... (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818303)

godwin's law just exploded

Let them read it (4, Insightful)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818043)

Seriously, you don't even need annotations. Everyone with enough brain cells to rub together will start rolling their eyes in the first chapter already.

Hitler reinterpreted his whole life to match his ideology to such a degree it just becomes hilariously stupid to read... and boring, by the way.

And frankly, those who lack the necessary brain power to recognize the inherent worth (or lack thereof) of the book will not be dissuaded by annotations, true as they may be.

Re:Let them read it (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39818095)

Everyone with enough brain cells to rub together will start rolling their eyes in the first chapter already

Better annotate it then.

Re:Let them read it (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818119)

Seriously, you don't even need annotations. Everyone with enough brain cells to rub together will start rolling their eyes in the first chapter already.

Particularly those who can't read German.

Re:Let them read it (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818163)

Not being able to understand German is actually a mercy when trying to read Mein Kampf. The writing style is atrocious.

Re:Let them read it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39818131)

Seriously, you don't even need annotations. Everyone with enough brain cells to rub together will start rolling their eyes in the first chapter already.

Not everyone has enough brain cells.

Re:Let them read it (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818173)

And frankly, those who lack the necessary brain power to recognize the inherent worth (or lack thereof) of the book will not be dissuaded by annotations, true as they may be.

Most of those types will probably never actually read anything but quotations taken out of context by spinmeisters anyway. If the government really wanted to fight the idiocy they'd run a website with straightforward rebuttals instead of just annotations in a printed copy. That way should any particular quotation become "popular" the website could be updated with a persuasive rebuttal to not only the quotation but whatever larger point the spinmiester was trying to make by citing the quotation. Do a good job with such a website and google's algorithms will probably make it the first hit on searches for any popular quotation - kind of like how snopes is frequently the top hit for any random urban legend.

It wouldn't be perfect and it wouldn't change the minds of the hardcore, but it would give those who are on the fence easy access to counter arguments - and really that's the best you can hope for in a free society.

Re:Let them read it (4, Interesting)

Tom (822) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818509)

a website with straightforward rebuttals instead of just annotations in a printed copy.

Rebuttals are known to not work against believers. Why are you bringing up a proposal for which we have ample evidence of failure?

If rebuttals would work, there wouldn't be any christians left in the world, nor many climate-change deniers.

but it would give those who are on the fence

These people are always quoted, but I've yet to meet a single one. No matter if it's child porn or nazis, there is this straw man. Do you really think there is much of a fence to sit on? I think the boundary is much less defined than that, and that people aren't sitting there, wavering, undecided. I rather have an image of a grey zone that people pass through on a trajectory. Some faster, some slower, some straight and some not so straight, but very few tangentially. I don't think we really have so many people thinking "this neo-nazi thing sounds interesting, but I'm not certain, I need more information".

Re:Let them read it (1)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818543)

I don't know whether to support or refute your arguments because I have both more faith and less faith in human intelligence than you imply.

In some senses I have less faith since our emotions tend to override any attempts of rational thought. In those cases, neither annotations nor persuasive rebuttals will accomplish much.

In other senses, I have more faith. Those who are willing to look beyond their immediate emotional responses are more likely to interpret the primary sources in an appropriate context without annotations. Adding annotations simply reduces the amount of footwork that they have to do.

And, FWIW, I wouldn't call Neo-Nazis "hardcore". The label "extremist" seems much more appropriate since they are taking mostly verifiable observations and intepreting them in a way that does not accept alternative explanations.

Re:Let them read it (4, Insightful)

wickerprints (1094741) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818203)

I think Mel Brooks understood it best. Ridicule and parody are really the most powerful weapons we have against tyranny, hatred, violence, and terror.

When someone or some group commits atrocities that are unbelievably horrific as a means to paralyze reason and incite fear, and when society reacts with predictable anger, disgust, and outrage, we play into their sick game, for that's precisely the response they hope for. That's what al Qaeda, Hitler, Charles Taylor, and Anders Behring Breivik all share in common. Sociopaths do what they do in order to provoke, knowing full well that no amount of justice or outrage could make up for what they've done, while their ascension in notoriety helps disseminate their cause.

But when we LAUGH at them, when we are able to rise above the hatred they wish to foment by turning their ideals into the butt of jokes (and you gotta admit, "Springtime for Hitler" from The Producers is a masterstroke of comedic genius), that's how we win. We win by taking their manifestos and turning them into fodder for stand-up comedy. To be sure, we aren't trivializing the destruction and deaths they cause, but rather, we mock the basis for their crimes, we take their self-importance and sense of empowerment and simply brush them aside with a dismissive sneer. That's what Breivik, for instance, would hate the most--not to be judged fairly under Norwegian law, or to be jailed, or even to be executed. He himself has stated he hates the idea of being labeled "insane." And the reason is because in his view, insane = not to be taken seriously.

Re:Let them read it (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818441)

But when we LAUGH at them, when we are able to rise above the hatred they wish to foment by turning their ideals into the butt of jokes (and you gotta admit, "Springtime for Hitler" from The Producers is a masterstroke of comedic genius), that's how we win.

Problem with this approach is, such "humor" hurts the victims (or their survivors) just as much as the Nazis. Turning concentration camps into the butt of jokes cheapens the human suffering that happened therein...

To be sure, we aren't trivializing the destruction and deaths they cause,

... but it's a very thin line to walk, and it takes lots of skill to pull this off without offending the wrong parties...

Re:Let them read it (3, Interesting)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818479)

OTOH, there is no right to not be offended. Life is offensive. I agree that it's not a good thing to hurt Breivik's victims even more by making fun of it all but thinking of the big picture... will it dissuade other sociopaths from doing similar things if ridiculing them and their ideals becomes the new status quo?

Does preventing more deaths make adding pain to the already hurt acceptable? Especially when you cannot, ever, be sure that you really prevented deaths or how many?

I sure don't want to have to answer that question.

Re:Let them read it (2)

Tom (822) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818485)

Problem with this approach is, such "humor" hurts the victims (or their survivors) just as much as the Nazis. Turning concentration camps into the butt of jokes cheapens the human suffering that happened therein...

The victims are mostly dead, the survivors of old age by now.

But the ideology lives on. So at one point you have to make a decision as to who is more important - the past victims, or the future victims if you don't do something about it.

I'm all for respecting people's feelings. I don't want my own trampled, either. But there's a point where real danger of bodily and much more severe harm outweighs that. I'm very sure that the victims and survivors would agree that every step should be taken to make sure nobody suffers their fate.

Re:Let them read it (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818471)

Ridicule and parody are really the most powerful weapons we have against tyranny, hatred, violence, and terror.

So just publish it under its original title, Wehn Kopf.

Re:Let them read it (1)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818491)

While I somewhat agree that this could work, there's also another pitfall: We already have trouble taking people with outrageous ideas seriously... not because their ideas are bad but because they go against established conventions... they go against what we're used to.

Without someone magnitudes more impartial than average people nowadays are to judge such things, how will we stop people from applying this idea of yours to just about anything that does not immediately fit their worldview?

Re:Let them read it (1)

tinkerton (199273) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818513)

Well I hope your'e right but making it just a matter of intelligence sounds terribly naive to me. My problem is with what's commonly called "Agenda setting". I know little about the book's content but I know that I know that there is a lot of "blaming the Jews for things they did". Now if you take identifiable group X , and if they have some political relevance, and if you start listing all the things you think they are doing wrong, the average reader will dismiss some items, will agree with other items, and will partially agree with other items. And then you notice that the discussion revolves around "what they really did wrong" with people agreeing and disagreeing on it. And the people disagreeing sometimes taking unreasonable positions in defense because (you happen to know any group of people that are completely innocent?) really they allowed the central issue to shift to whether group X is totally innocent or not innocent at all. The degree of innocence shouldn't matter. When someone is inclined to a strategy of radical eliminating the undesirable people, do you want the discussion to shift to how real the problems are/were with the Roma, the Jews, the Communists, the gays, the handicapped, or the violent psychopaths and the child rapists? The central problem is the kind of radical thinking that wants to purify the population, the culture, the language and everything else. The central problem isn't hate either. It's possible to have this radical philosophy without any feelings of hate, and in fact to perceive them as very positive.

They want to de-mystify it? (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818045)

Then they should bring it out into the open and make it as readily available as possible. Have it available in paperback. Make it freely available in .epub and .mobi formats.

If the country has done its job properly, most German people already know what (truthfully) happened in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s. They already have the context - so what's the big deal about letting them see that evil man's writings?

Re:They want to de-mystify it? (5, Interesting)

Hans Adler (2446464) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818143)

It's not so much that Germany has done a good job about that, but the US did an excellent job of reeducating Germans after the Second World War. They treated the general population fairly and helped them survive. But they also had a reeducation scheme in which they forced groups of ordinary people to look at piles of dead bodies found at concentration camps, etc.

The Soviet Union, in contrast, had a different scheme that did not work. Essentially it amounted to drawing as much profit from the country as possible and torturing random people. This is why nazism is very strong in the east of Germany even today, long after reunification.

Unfortunately, the US seems to have lost the knowledge of how to deal with a conquered nation. In Iraq, for example, they behaved essentially like the Soviet Union did in East Germany.

Copyright.. (2)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818057)

The mere fact that a book written by someone nearly 70 years ago is still under copyright is ridiculous... The only reason there is any interest in this book at all is because it was written by possibly the most well known and infamous man in history.

How many other works were written during the same time period, which have become completely lost to history due to excessively long copyrights?

Also by keeping a work like mein kampf under wraps for so long, they have created a taboo subject around it, which will actually result in more people wanting to read it. In many other countries where talk of hitler and nazis is not restricted, hitler is considered a joke and is openly mocked, hardly an image that's going to generate any support for his ideas.

And as someone else pointed out, suppressing books containing ideas they didn't agree with was something the nazis did.

Re:Copyright.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39818103)

And as someone else pointed out, suppressing books containing ideas they didn't agree with was something the nazis did.

In the US, schools want an "edulcorized" version of the Adventures of Tom Sayer and the publishers are but happy to oblige.
So no, the Nazis aren't the first nor the last to suppress books either physically by burning them or by censoring them.

Re:Copyright.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39818185)

Who said they were the only ones? Pointing out that someone did something does not mean you are saying everyone else never did it.

Re:Copyright.. (1)

lloydchristmas759 (1105487) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818165)

The mere fact that a book written by someone nearly 70 years ago is still under copyright is ridiculous...

It's even worse than that: the copyright expires 70 years after the author's death. Mein Kampf was written 87 years ago, in 1925...

Actually... (1)

YuppieScum (1096) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818183)

... it was first published in 1925/6.

The 70 year restriction is based on when he died... presuming, of course, that it was actually *his* body in the bunker and he didn't escape to South America as some of his henchmen did.

Re:Copyright.. (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818299)

you can't godwin a story that godwin's itself. nice try

Re:Copyright.. (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818365)

you can't godwin a story that godwin's itself. nice try

People always talk about "grammar nazis"... are there "godwin nazis" too?

Re:Copyright.. (5, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818447)

The mere fact that a book written by someone nearly 70 years ago is still under copyright is ridiculous

Count on Slashdot to turn a story about naziism into an anti-copyright rant.

Re:Copyright.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39818571)

[Announcer voice] : Reverse godwin (+50pts)!!!

Doesn't sound right... (1)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818077)

Anyone from Germany on at this hour? I went to a friend's house in Germany about 10 years ago and his Uncle had the book sitting in his bathroom. He said it was required reading for anyone in Germany in grade-school. To teach the errors in it, or something along those lines.

I'm not sure if I was in Bavaria though - perhaps it varies by state?

Re:Doesn't sound right... (3, Informative)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818135)

It wasn't required reading and it wasn't exactly banned either - the copyright was state-owned and Bavaria simply decided not to print or license it. We did read some excerpts in history class - subjecting anyone to slouch through the whole mess would probably be considered abuse. Hitler couldn't write for shit...

Re:Doesn't sound right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39818157)

This book is not available legally in the whole of Germany due to the Bavarian copyright. And in no case and no state it is an allowed let alone required reading at school. May be the uncle of your friend was a little older and referred to his childhood in Nazi-Germany...

Re:Doesn't sound right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39818191)

I definately never read this in school. It is probably not a problem to get your hand on an old, used copy -- it was mass-produced after all. But to my best knowledge, up to now Bavaria does not grant licenses for creating new (annotated or not) copies of "Mein Kampf". As copyright is international, this of course affects all of Germany -- and other states, too.

Re:Doesn't sound right... (1)

philip.paradis (2580427) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818337)

0101010101110010011011010110111101101101

Re:Doesn't sound right... (2)

Tom (822) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818459)

Wasn't required reading when I went to school here, so no. I've never heard about that from anyone else, either.

TLDR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39818099)

It's safe all right ... just don't make a movie.

cool beans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39818117)

this will give hillary something to read as she preps her run to succeed obama in 2016

Some corrections. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39818153)

Sale never was banned. Only using copyright you could not have it banned either. Only reprinting is not allowed. There are still more than enough copies around, so anyone can grab a copy anyway (and you do not want to allow anyone making profit from this). (Actually not all reprinting was forbidden, the copyright holder AFAIR gave already several decades ago a permission for a isreali annotated reprint).

I'm also not sure if the allies gave the rights to the state of bavaria. The story as I read it before is that as Hitler died without heirs and relatives, his private posessions (including the copyright) end up as property of the state he was registered to live in, which was Bavaria.

Godwin's law (1)

worip (1463581) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818171)

I'm guessing the invocation of Godwin's law is inevitable for this article...

The State of Bavaria Holds the Copyright? (1)

GumphMaster (772693) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818199)

The State of Bavaria holds the copyright? Can someone explain how the single state of Bavaria, to the exclusion of the other states that together formed the republic of Germany, came to hold the copyright in this work. Hitler's last will allocated his possessions:

What I possess belongs — in so far as it has any value — to the Party. Should this no longer exist, to the State, should the State also be destroyed, no further decision of mine is necessary.

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/My_Private_Will_and_Testament [wikisource.org]

Re:The State of Bavaria Holds the Copyright? (4, Informative)

stefanb (21140) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818263)

The Federal Republic is the successor to the Weimar Republic, so the state was not "destroyed". Apparently, when an estate goes to the state, it goes to the state (Bundesland) where the deceased was last registered to live, not Germany; Hitler was registered as living in Munich. That's why it's Bavaria.

Ford translation accuracy (1)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818213)

Would anybody care to comment on the Ford translation? I've been curious about this book and have read different things about the accuracy of existing translations. The Ford translation claims to be the most accurate, but some reviews on amazon claim otherwise. However none of those making these claims for or against seem to be native German speakers. Any native German speakers care to chime in?

I want to read this book one day, but I don't want to read one that sugar coats what he says, or one that makes it look more bigoted than it is (which the Mannheim translation supposedly does.)

Pity some communist books weren't banned too (-1, Flamebait)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818217)

The long term damage done to the world by Marx's The Communist Manifesto and Capital probably far outweigh anything hitler wrote. Their legacy is still oppressing people today in places such as North Korea. Meanwhile Mein Kampf is now just a historical curiosity.

Re:Pity some communist books weren't banned too (1)

EnsilZah (575600) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818269)

The ideology of regimes like North Korea has more to do with what you're suggesting than with Marx's ideas.

No , sorry (2, Insightful)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818377)

You're not going to get away with a fatuous statement like that. The communist idea that all should work for the good of the state and put the good of the state above their own wellbeing is indelibly part of the way places such as North Korea work.

Re:No , sorry (1)

CheerfulMacFanboy (1900788) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818555)

You're not going to get away with a fatuous statement like that. The communist idea that all should work for the good of the state and put the good of the state above their own wellbeing is indelibly part of the way places such as North Korea work.

Interesting point - I'm sure you can show us where exactly Marx claimed something like that.

Re:No , sorry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39818585)

You're not going to get away with a fatuous statement like that. The communist idea that all should work for the good of the state and put the good of the state above their own wellbeing is indelibly part of the way places such as North Korea work.

That's how the people in power sell it, not how it works for them.

Re:Pity some communist books weren't banned too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39818285)

Banning books doesn't work.

Books and books.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39818253)

The idea that all books should be public is weird. Not all books are public, specifically those not yet written.

How would the public respond to a captivating narrative that induces readers to commit suicide? Not possible? Koran.

I think there is a vague territory in writing where the narrative creates a false sense of reality to which the response is nontheless real, Hitler does that with his book. Books can do that and people are apprehensive about it. Needless antaginism and animosity or resentment and especially unearned pride are bad for society.

Until everyone can be educated enough and is treated well enough to not be a breedingground for resentment and dumb hatred I think there is a definite point in keeping certain narrative from the public sphere.

Muslimrein Deutschland? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39818305)

Muslimrein Deutschland?

Read It Cover To Cover (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39818307)

The book is worth a read. The orignal & not the porposed "scholarly" version.
Gives you the views from the other side too.
Powerful!

Good (1)

JockTroll (996521) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818319)

If enough people manage to read through all of that drivel, maybe they won't be so keen on putting on the Reich.

Here we go again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39818327)

I started saying after east and west Germany were reunited that it is just a matter of time before they invade Poland. Here we go.

Oh, this'll be interesting. (1)

Cazekiel (1417893) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818335)

Everyone's going to interpret things in their own way. That's why this is both dangerous and enlightening, the latter weighing in most, I believe. Neo-Nazi types will celebrate and revel in its publication and read-away--perhaps some of them thinking, 'Okay, huh?' in getting the real-deal and the fucked-up psychosis that comes with it--and others simply interested in history (and not repeating it)... well, will get the real-deal and the fucked-up psychosis that comes with it. 'Guess we'll see.

Re:Oh, this'll be interesting. (4, Insightful)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818493)

At this point in history, it is bound to be more enlightening than dangerous.

My high school education in the subject of Nazi Germany was likely more intellectual than most because I had a teacher who was brave enough to stand up and claim that the holocaust wasn't the most important feature of the 20th century. Instead, that teacher claimed, the genocides that came afterwards should play a stronger role in history courses because they are both more contemporary (thus more relevant) and demonstrate how society needs to make a much more concerted effort to learn from the mistakes of our past.

The publication of Mein Kampf in Germany at this stage of history is important for a couple of reasons. One is that access to primary sources will allow the general population to more directly learn what the mistakesh of Nazi Germany were. But this will only work out because we have had a handful of generations to sort out why such policies represent an unforgivable evil. Both reasons are essential, because we need both information and a temporal/emotional distance to evaluate things rationally.

Publishing this work in this day in age isn't an apology to the Nazis. It does not represent a forgiveness due to social relativism, nor any other extremist ideology. It simply acknowledges that the only way to learn from the past is to understand the past from their perspective.

What, no copyright extension? (2)

Shoe Puppet (1557239) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818351)

I was fully expecting a push for copyright extension. Just so this book wouldn't be freely available. Anything else would have been "collateral damage".

stop lying to yourself !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39818405)

hilter and the nazi germany is the 'legitimate,legal whatever you wanna call" of the western culture and their hardcore philosophies of modern and post-modern ages ! stop lying to yourselves ! the only difference between hitler and chrchil or bush junior for example is that hilter did it "here to us not there to the "others" " !!

Re:stop lying to yourself !! (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818457)

hilter and the nazi germany is the 'legitimate,legal whatever you wanna call" of the western culture and their hardcore philosophies of modern and post-modern ages ! stop lying to yourselves ! the only difference between hitler and chrchil or bush junior for example is that hilter did it "here to us not there to the "others" " !!

signed,
Wayne Kerr

FTFY

Oh my life... (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818425)

A slashdot thread that Godwins itself?

finally (5, Interesting)

Tom (822) | more than 2 years ago | (#39818433)

If the book had been readily available, there would be fewer neo-nazis in Germany.

I've read it (my parents own a copy, from their grandparents, as Mein Kampf was regularily given as presents at weddings, etc.). It's interesting in parts and revolting in most. It's also pretty badly written. As an author, Hitler was much worse than as a speaker.

There was a comedian here in Germany, of turkish origin, who read from Mein Kampf for school classes and other audiences. He got attacked pretty badly, but in every discussion, he leaves his critics in the dust with his wit and intelligence. In one, he told a former MinisterprÃsident (our equivalent of american governors) that her anti-nazi initiatives had pretty much no effect whatsoever on the youth, because the young people distrust authoritarian stuff that's being forced down their throats. But his readings had a profound effect. Oh and also, the neo-nazis hated him for it, up to death threats.

You can not resolve history by hiding it, only by discussing it.

and just (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39818445)

in time for the collapse of European Socialism!

Just have to wait 69 more years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39818539)

Not sure if I'll be alive when Osama's slightly less known, "Mein Jihad", is released.

nothing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39818607)

a non event.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>