My pace has slowed through Mein Kampf and I’m still less than a third of the way through it. I’ve been taking breaks and getting reacquainted with my old friend, Edgar Allan Poe; a companion more suitable for these autumn evenings.
But back to Hitler. One of his comments caught my eye, as he was discussing suitable ways for advancing a philosophy near the end of the fifth chapter:
Any attempt to combat a philosophy with methods of violence will fail in the end, unless the fight takes the form of attack for a new spiritual attitude. Only in the struggle between two philosophies can the weapon of brutal force, persistently and ruthlessly applied, lead to a decision for the side it supports.
Proposing violence as a means to convincing opponents of the merits of an argument. That sounded familiar.
It reminded me of his experience as a youth arguing politics with workers in Vienna near the beginning of chapter two. The men with whom he was arguing became fed up and threatened him with violence. I went back and reread that section, expecting to find a Hitler condemning such use of violence. But I didn’t. Instead, he never seems to condemn their threats but only complains a little bit, then seeks to do more research to make his argument clearer. And of course, he spends a while ranting and raving about Jews.
I actually don’t think he ever made a connection, or ever truly thought of his opponents’ threats as wrong. He never realized that by resorting to violence, that side is really just admitting defeat. Instead, it seemed to have become one of his core tactics and here, he admits it plainly. Was there anything in this guy’s head besides a nationalistic fury? He spends so much time attacking Marxism, Jews, and anything else you can think of, and all he offers in return is a feeling of how cool it is to be German. Was his nationalistic leaning just a tool to get rid of those he deemed undesirable? His comments in this chapter seem to point to him thinking that it’s just a necessary filler to be used in eradicating other philosophies.