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'Mein Kampf' To Be Republished In Germany 462

Posted by samzenpus
from the formerly-banned-books dept.
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.'"
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'Mein Kampf' To Be Republished In Germany

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  • Heil Erstegepostungmittlestoff!

    • Very nice! Den Kerl erschiessen!
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by flyneye (84093)

      erste Antwort, keine Erstegepostungmittlestoff.

      Oh to read "Mein Kampf" in the original Deutsch.
      Although I do not agree with all his philosophies and methods, I recognize the brilliance of Corporal Schicklgruber in attaining Germanys highest post.
      I wonder at his further being able to bend an unsuspecting country and then a continent to his will.
      But, the advent of the Volkswagon is proof that even a stopped clock is right twice a day.
      His relationship with Henry Ford, noteworthy.
      His love of children, extraord

      • Re:Heil (Score:5, Insightful)

        by hairyfeet (841228) <.bassbeast1968. .at. .gmail.com.> on Friday April 27, 2012 @07:36AM (#39819291) Journal

        I'll get hate for saying this but WTF,lets be honest, if you wanna go by sheer numbers Hitler hated Ruskies even more than Jews but if you look at the man's record pretty much anyone not Aryan that didn't think EXACTLY like him got put on his shit list. Lets see...Poles, Jews, Russian, Gypsy, gay, communists...did I leave anybody out? lets face it the guy really wasn't THAT picky when it came to killing and if you look at those throughout history that racked up huge body counts that's something they all had in common. While its true he didn't like Jews once WWII started not liking someone wasn't really a prerequisite, he slaughtered for pretty much any old reason.

        Personally I'm for printing it,not because I thought the man had any great insight, far from it and one could argue that WWII was pretty much a war with all the planning of throwing darts at a dartboard without any real thought involved on Germany's part (attacking Russia without ANY winter gear? batshit much?) but because i'm a strong believer on freedom of thought, be it the little red book or Mein Kampf or the supposed "pro pedo" book. To be frightened of words on a page is to be frightened of thought and I personally find that even more scary. If you truly fear words on a page because you think they are gonna suddenly affect large numbers of your populace? then maybe, just throwing this out there, you should teach your people to think for themselves and instead of trying to hide the words make a decent counterargument instead?

        My grandfather fought in WWII and actually liberated one of the camps in Poland, not one of the big names but it was horrifying none the less, and one of the last things he taught me was not to fear words and ideas as he actually supported the Illinois Nazis right to march, even though he had suffered so much in the war and ended it with a wall dropped on him by a Werwulf squad. He said "that's what made us different, we let people speak, even if we don't agree" and I always took those and his memories he shared of that time to heart. so when i saw some neo Nazis on a street corner in Dallas in the late 80s I didn't join the protesters shouting dirty names at them, I simply bought a large piece of posterboard and made up a sign that said "My grandfather liberated one of the camps, ask me about it" and told his story, of seeing children piled like cordwood, of seeing people so starved one couldn't tell male from female, of being told NOT to feed them because they had been starved so long rich GI rations would throw their frail bodies into shock and of watching in horror because one of the other men did exactly that because he felt pity and the person went into convulsions and died. He said that was the closest he ever got to committing war crimes as he and his men were ready to execute those Nazis on the spot until one of the prisoners told them these were just some flunky recruits brought in while the monsters snuck away and they had actually been treated well by the recruits.

        Well needless to say all those nasty names didn't phase those Nazis but what DID phase them was me. They even went so far as to actually complain to a cop standing there who snickered and said "you have the right to speak and so does he" and when they saw I wouldn't go away they packed up and left. It is ALWAYS better not to sweep such things under the rug but to fight it with the truth. By keeping it hidden and banned since the Americans left Germany has simply allowed those groups to grow when a much better solution would have been to simply fight them with the reality of the past IMHO.

        • Re:Heil (Score:4, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 27, 2012 @08:34AM (#39819959)

          This is a wonderful post. But what you say at the end about Germany "...keeping it hidden and banned since Americans left Germany...' may be true in the sense that Hitler/Nazi literature/paraphernalia became banned, but the facts regarding the atrocities committed by that regime were definitely not hidden. As I went through the German school system in the '70s, I recall vividly the compulsory viewing of documentaries that went into quite graphic details on what went on in the concentration camps. I actually feel that the government went overboard in this regard - a whole generation of Germans grew up with this enormous guilt complex that, IMHO, negatively impacted Germany's subsequent role in various post-war European organizations.

          • I visited the Holocaust Museum in Berlin about 5 years ago. This is a fascinating place, and even though some bits seemed a little silly to me (some weird "what is a Jew?" infographics that looked like they'd be more at home in an intergalactic zoo), I'd recommend a visit.

            The vast majority of those in attendance were German. There were about a half-dozen little interactive polling kiosks scattered around, and the one that struck me most asked "Do you believe that the Holocaust was a result of an inherent c

        • Re:Heil (Score:4, Interesting)

          by morari (1080535) on Friday April 27, 2012 @12:57PM (#39823771) Journal

          Christopher Columbus gets a national holiday in the U.S. because he was too stupid to find India. He didn't prove that the Earth was round, nor did he beat Leif Ericson and John Cabot to North America. We push aside the negativity of indigenous genocide so that we can celebrate "European Accomplishment" instead. Well then, I propose that we institute a Hitler Day. Think about it... Hitler pushed for the creation of Volkswagen and the Autobahn. His leadership of Germany led to jet propulsion, significant advances in rocket telemetry, and laid the foundation for genetic engineering. Why not celebrate his bona fide accomplishments on behalf of humanity rather than "dwelling" so persistently on the genocidal by-products of his policies?

      • Re:Heil (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 27, 2012 @08:02AM (#39819539)

        Lots of people hate the Jews for their work in international banking. But they ended up in banking, a soiled business, because in the 1200s it was forbidden to christians and muslims by their religions.

        If you're pissed about the 'dirty Jew bankers' blame your own stupid theologies for cutting you out of the action. Churches like to keep the flock poor; makes them obedient.

  • 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.

    • by Gib7 (2445652) on Friday April 27, 2012 @03:25AM (#39818071)

      Sort of like the Skeptics Annotated Bible ?

      • 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: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by TheRaven64 (641858)

          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.

          • by Savage-Rabbit (308260) on Friday April 27, 2012 @06:04AM (#39818799)

            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.

            Why do people insist on calling him a moron? Hitler was a homicidal sociopath, a racist and a right wing fanatic but he was also an astute politician, quite intelligent and strangely enough, judging from statements by people who met him, he was also very charming. Just because somebody is a Nazi doesn't make them stupid. The French and the British made assumptions about Hitler and it turned out to be an expensive mistake. If this publication helps to dispel myths about Nazism I'm all for it. Strangely enough there is now an effort being made to pronounce the Nazis a left wing movement which is pretty funny if you know anything about the Freikorps, Anton Drexler and the rest of that ilk. Nazism was an attempt to create a right wing counterpart to communism.

            • It's interesting that you mention left wing, because already when you said right wing, I wondered what you meant by it. I'm often fuzzy regarding what should be called one or the other (if the terms are at all relevant outside the French revolution), so I'm collecting samples of how other people use the words. Today, I'm sampling you. :-) What do you have in mind when you call Hitler the movement right wing? (Amusingly, we're talking about the National Socialist German Workers' Party, but what's in a name?) Supporting the crown and the estates? Dismantling the state ("taxation is theft")? Encouraging capitalism? Belief in Christian ideals? Those are traits that I see as characterising the Right in one context or another. (Though I don't see them as particularly representative of the Nazis.)

              • by voss (52565)

                Broms, your confusing American and European conservatism. In that era European conservatives tended be traditionalists who favored protectionism,pro-state and pro-religion. In the early 20th century Capitalism tended to be in the liberal parties(in Europe "liberal" still refers to what we call classical liberalism).

              • by SirGarlon (845873) on Friday April 27, 2012 @07:46AM (#39819353)

                Right wing: tending toward fascism [wikipedia.org]. Left wing: tending toward socialism [wikipedia.org]. Since both ideologies are dedicated to crushing personal freedom it is easy to confuse the two. It's *how* they want to crush your freedom that distinguishes them.

                • Wonderful reply! I like the symmetry of it and how you manage to bash both sides. :-) Perhaps you're even right. I mean, correct.

                • by readin (838620)

                  Right wing: tending toward fascism. Left wing: tending toward socialism.

                  It can be confusing because in America conservatives are often called "right-wing" and the more libertarian a conservative is the more likely he is to be labeled "far right-wing" yet such people are directly opposed to fascism.

                • by msobkow (48369) on Friday April 27, 2012 @09:10AM (#39820487) Homepage Journal

                  I can't agree with you that the goal of socialism is to crush personal freedom. In fact, I'd take the direct opposite stance.

                  Full-on socialist policies (which some refer to as a "nanny state" because the essentials of life are provided by the government) actually free the citizenry from having to worry about the very trials and tribulations that consume the time and energy of a capitalist society: survival.

                  Even fascism isn't so much about "crushing" personal freedom as it is about whipping the population into a fanatical frenzy of support for the state and it's purported mission.

                  Had you said that they try to manipulate people into giving up the ideals of capitalism, I'd have agreed. But I don't see capitalism as the be-all and end-all of society. Never have, and never will.

                  Primarily because I grew up in and live in a country that has had socialist leanings pretty much since the 1930's -- Canada. Having grown up in such an environment, I can see definite benefits to society from a government which generally considers the welfare of society as a whole to be more important than some ideology of freedom to rape, pillage, and rob your neighbours without restriction so long as it's profitable.

                  • by KDR_11k (778916)

                    Full-on socialist policies (which some refer to as a "nanny state" because the essentials of life are provided by the government) actually free the citizenry from having to worry about the very trials and tribulations that consume the time and energy of a capitalist society: survival.

                    That was the reasoning behind the first social system and general health care in the world. It was introduced by a liberal (the pro-economy European kind) in order to increase economic activity and prosperity by reducing the im

              • by swalve (1980968) on Friday April 27, 2012 @08:22AM (#39819795)
                He called it the socialist party to get the people on board. But by pretty much all accounts, there was nothing socialist about it.

                Left and right are unclear ways to describe people's political tendencies. You have to add in a second dimension [wikipedia.org], that of "use of the state" or libertarian versus authoritarian. Left and right describe "how things are", and authoritarian and libertarian describe "what you are going to do about it".

                Left and right, according to one definition, says that the right believes in the various social structures, and that they are there for a reason. The unfortunate are that way for a good reason. The left would say the unfortunate are that way for not a good reason, and seek to change the social structures. Authoritarian people would use the power of the state to further their left or right goals, and libertarian people want to limit or destroy the power of the state.

                Hitler was right wing, authoritarian. Use the power of the state to cleanse the social structures of people and institutions that were messing it up.
                • by operagost (62405)

                  He called it the socialist party to get the people on board. But by pretty much all accounts, there was nothing socialist about it.

                  Volkswagen? KdF? Winter relief? Eugenics? "Reich Nature Protection Act"? The anti-tobacco campaign? The animal protection laws? The state-run film industry?

            • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Friday April 27, 2012 @07:06AM (#39819095) Journal

              Why do people insist on calling him a moron?

              Judging by his writing style, which is incoherent, rambling, and in a lot of places just plain wrong. He was charismatic, but from what I've read about the Nazis most of the successes (e.g. the invasion of most of Europe and the militarisation of Germany) were either orchestrated by other people, were blind luck (and failed miserably when he tried to repeat them), but most of the disasters for them (e.g. the invasion of Russia) happened when Hitler overrode the opinions of the people he'd previously let get on with running the empire.

              The allies didn't underestimate Hitler so much as underestimate the ability of competent people to ride the coat tails of a charismatic leader. If he'd been assassinated in the late '30s, most of Europe would probably be speaking German now...

        • by flyneye (84093) on Friday April 27, 2012 @06:57AM (#39819039) Homepage

          I'd like to read it in the original Deutsche though. There is no perfect Bible. Even the bible must be researched from the original languages and translations, compared to Archeological facts and Socialogical history before it can be defined into a version that seems to meet someones dogma. That is why there are so many translations and editions. Politics and Church Politics play a great role in all this. That is why it is terribly important that there be a scholars neutral edition( which doesn't exist,guess why?). We would find that the "resilient" inherit the earth.( Early church wanted meek parishioners as they are easier to control than resilient ones)
          The temple priests used cannabis rather than "calmus" as an unguent. Scattered throughout are warnings for man to follow Gods governance rather than mans, even that bit about "rendering unto Caesar" gets misconstrued as instruction to obey mans governance rather than highlight the unimportance of earthly joys compared to the everlasting glory, which is what it was meant to do until "politically modified".

          So, my longwinded point is, Get your hands on the original and ignore annotations of the politically motivated.

             

        • by vlm (69642) on Friday April 27, 2012 @07:34AM (#39819273)

          It's boring, repetitious,

          Been there read that. Read it for a liberal arts survey holocaust senior year class in school... quite a while ago.

          The last two words I'd use would be boring and repititious.

          Hard to describe the plans and beliefs of the guy who pretty much ran WWII as boring. I guess if all you pay attention to is the Kardashians and fashion shoes, this wide reaching social geopolitical stuff could be a bit dull, but I found it extremely interesting.

          The repetitious stuff, again, is the readers fault. I'm sitting there reading and thinking "this is a pretty shitty WWII textbook" and realizing it was written well before WWII. Its kind of like calling 20000 leagues under the sea by Jules Verne from 1870 boring, because everyone knows the history of cold war era submarines and I've seen better modern agitprop movies and books about nuclear subs..

          Him being naughty and evil is not an excuse or justification or (good) rationalization for basically making stuff up to make his book look bad and by connection his actions. He makes himself look bad quite well all on his own, by his beliefs and actions without you making stuff up about his very interesting book.

          An example of a slightly less inflamatory subject: I'm the opposite of a bible thumper (which has the weird political effect of making me an anti-republican... they kicked me out, I didn't wanna leave...). Objectively it has some pretty decent poetry in it. Aside from the poetry I think its completely full of it, mostly false WRT anything important, and generally has been a net negative on society. If you don't like that, search and replace with any other religious text until it matches your personal dislikes. That dislike of what believers have done and disagreement with their beliefs does not mean I should make stuff up about their book being "unpoetic" in an attempt to make them look bad. They make themselves look bad very well all by themselves.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Grayhand (2610049)
      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
  • Demystification (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mseeger (40923) on Friday April 27, 2012 @03:12AM (#39818015)

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

    • Re:Demystification (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 27, 2012 @03:40AM (#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 ).

      • by Black Parrot (19622) on Friday April 27, 2012 @04:20AM (#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 (Score:4, Interesting)

        by antifoidulus (807088) on Friday April 27, 2012 @04:22AM (#39818339) Homepage Journal
        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 (Score:4, Insightful)

          by benjfowler (239527) on Friday April 27, 2012 @04:52AM (#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 (Score:5, Insightful)

            by TheRaven64 (641858) on Friday April 27, 2012 @05:13AM (#39818579) Journal
            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.
          • Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland [amazon.com] is a book that looks at exactly what it took to turn perfectly good, reasonable people into cold-blooded killers.

            It's been over a decade since I read it, but IIRC most of the people the book follows were neither delusional or consciously following a warped ideology. They did what they were coaxed and coerced to do at first, but in very short order it became routine to them and they thought nothing of orders to continue.

            A very chi

        • Re:Demystification (Score:5, Insightful)

          by SenseiLeNoir (699164) on Friday April 27, 2012 @05:04AM (#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.

          • by TaoPhoenix (980487) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Friday April 27, 2012 @05:52AM (#39818751) Journal

            It already is! Once again the Net sneaks up on our old school habits! "(Blah blah blah copyright runs out in 2015 blah blah blah)". Remember that thing called countries, and how they have different laws? (Up until the US "fixes" that anyway!) Well, for now Australia's copyright laws are a lot shorter than the US, so Gutenberg Australia has some editions of texts that are still locked in copyright elsewhere. Here is Gutenberg Australia's copy of Mein Kampf, so have at it!

            http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks02/0200601.txt [gutenberg.net.au]
            Oh wait, there is this eerie clause:
            http://gutenberg.net.au/submissions.html [gutenberg.net.au]

            "Of course, works may remain copyrighted in other countries. One cannot legally download or read books posted at Project Gutenbrg of Australia if one is in a country where copyright protections extend more than 50 years past an author's death. The author's estate and publishers still retain their legal and moral rights to oversee the work in those countries."

            So, I guess you'd better not follow that link. Isn't copyright wonderful.

          • by mcgrew (92797) *

            AS for the German people, yes they need to shoulder some of the blame for supporting him at the time

            The last one I knew who fought in WWII died a few years ago at age 87. How is a 70 year old German in any way responsible for what his parents' generation did?

            No, the only Germans who shoulder the blame for Hitler are either did or very, very old. Today's Germans are no more responsible for Hitler than I am responsible for slavery.

      • Re:Demystification (Score:4, Interesting)

        by benjfowler (239527) on Friday April 27, 2012 @04:50AM (#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 (Score:4, Insightful)

        by lattyware (934246) <gareth@lattyware.co.uk> on Friday April 27, 2012 @05:48AM (#39818725) Homepage Journal
        I think that you have to cut Germany some break. Everyone in the world has a tendancy towards knee-jerk politics, and let's face the reality where people have done a lot worse than censorship of nazi propaganda for a lot less. I'm not saying it's right, just saying I can see why some people would think (misguidedly) it was a good idea.
        • Re:Demystification (Score:4, Insightful)

          by martin-boundary (547041) on Friday April 27, 2012 @07:39AM (#39819301)
          Then let me stand up and say it's right.

          There's nothing knee-jerk about the German policy. It's easy for Americans to pretend to be superior and allow "free" speech to extremist minorities when there's no chance that they can be taken seriously nation-wide, but the Nazi and fascist ideologies have been *proven* to be dangerous and *proven* to be realistic alternatives if given the chance to spread.

          The idea that Germany isn't allowing discussion of the Nazi past is ridiculous. The only thing it isn't allowing is the Nazi side a free voice in the matter, but there are plenty of discussions about Nazism and everything related.

          For slashdotters, the closest present analogy is probably the teaching of intelligent design in schools. The intelligent designers should *not* be given a voice in the school science curriculum, as doing so 1) legitimizes their delusion, and 2) it confuses school children on the *actual known facts*.

          Similarly, giving the Nazis a free voice in Germany would lead to lies being spread as fact, thereby confusing people and weakening the historical consensus in the public mind.

          No, there is, and there should continue to be, plenty of discussion of Nazism. However, the Nazis themselves and their sympathisers don't deserve a place in that discussion. They can rot on the sidelines - they lost the war, and that is part of the penalty - it's still better than being "disappeared" or shot in the night, which is what they did with minorities who didn't think like them.

  • a slashdot story that godwin's itself

  • by Intropy (2009018) on Friday April 27, 2012 @03:16AM (#39818031)

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

  • Let them read it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kokuyo (549451) on Friday April 27, 2012 @03:20AM (#39818043) Journal

    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: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

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

      Better annotate it then.

    • 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.

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

      • Re:Let them read it (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Tom (822) on Friday April 27, 2012 @04:56AM (#39818509) Homepage Journal

        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".

    • by wickerprints (1094741) on Friday April 27, 2012 @03:52AM (#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.

  • 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?

    • by Hans Adler (2446464) on Friday April 27, 2012 @03:40AM (#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.

      • by Asic Eng (193332) on Friday April 27, 2012 @06:25AM (#39818879)

        Unfortunately, the US seems to have lost the knowledge of how to deal with a conquered nation.

        Part of the problem is that the US probably didn't have that knowledge in the first place - at least not to the extent it's commonly thought of today. Most of us probably think that after the end of WWII, Germans basically accepted the new government and went back to work. Unfortunately that's a propaganda legend of sorts - there was actually a lot of guerrilla fighting, murdering "collaborators", attacking allied troops and destroying infrastructure. However it was decided not to give these events any press in order not to encourage the resistance. Which made a lot of sense at the time.

        The result today is that we have a distorted view of the way things went in Germany, and that may have contributed to the ill-fated decision to occupy Iraq and Afghanistan.

        There is a documentary [youtube.com] available on youtube about the German "Werwolfs". It's quite an eye opener.

        Of course another problem of applying the "German approach" to Iraq, is that the Germans had genuinely done something wrong, and you could appeal to human morals as part of an occupation strategy. That doesn't work in Iraq, because the criminal action in this war was on the US side. In Afghanistan that angle would be possible, but nobody actually voted for Bin Laden or the Taliban, so it's hard to claim that an ordinary citizen had any involvement in that.

        It might have helped if similar education had been provided for Americans - perhaps it would have changed the approach to engage the population with more humility "we messed up but we need to fix the situation now". But generally US politicians are too afraid to tell the population that the US can be morally wrong, too.

  • by Bert64 (520050) <bert@slaSLACKWAR ... com minus distro> on Friday April 27, 2012 @03:23AM (#39818057) Homepage

    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.

    • ... 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.

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

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

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

    • by Black Parrot (19622) on Friday April 27, 2012 @04:44AM (#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.. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Kidbro (80868) on Friday April 27, 2012 @06:01AM (#39818789)

        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.

        The story is a copyright story. The book hasn't been banned. The book has simply not been published, because the people sitting on the copyright refused to publish it. The reason it is now about to be published is because the copyright is finally expiring.

        How much more deserving can a story be of triggering anti-copyright rants than when copyright is explicitly and directly used to enforce censorship?

      • ...shooting his mouth off without bothering to read the summary:

        "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."

  • 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?
    • by Mindcontrolled (1388007) on Friday April 27, 2012 @03:38AM (#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...
    • 0101010101110010011011010110111101101101
    • by Tom (822)

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

    • by Golden_Rider (137548) on Friday April 27, 2012 @05:50AM (#39818731)

      Definitely not required reading in school. Would be no point in doing that anyway, since the whole book is just crap, nothing to learn there except that Hitler was not good at writing :-) Maybe some excerpts are used in history class somewhere to show how delusional Hitler was.

      The book could not be bought anywhere because of the mentioned copyright, but it never was any problem getting your hands on an old version of it - basically every household back then in Germany had one, and many of those books survived to this day on some grandma's / grandpa's bookshelf. I know that my grandmother had one (she said that most people threw theirs away after the war, but she kept hers because it had an autograph in it), I think my uncle has it now.

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

  • 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

  • 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.

    • by MacTO (1161105) on Friday April 27, 2012 @04:53AM (#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.

  • by Shoe Puppet (1557239) on Friday April 27, 2012 @04:24AM (#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".

  • finally (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tom (822) on Friday April 27, 2012 @04:41AM (#39818433) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • German approach (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hipp5 (1635263) on Friday April 27, 2012 @06:44AM (#39818971)

    I have to be honest, I'm not a huge fan of the German approach to presenting the horrors of WWII. Last Christmas I visited the Dachau concentration camp outside of Munich. All the material presented there went extremely over the top to paint the Nazis as inhuman monsters that were far distanced from any sane person. But what this totally missed is that the horror of the Holocaust was that it was completely human. The vast majority of the Nazis were everyday people like you an me, and that's what makes it mindbogglingly terrible.

    In contrast you have the Holocaust exhibit at the British Imperial War Museum. The whole first section is very clearly focused on the on the economic and political conditions that led to the rise of the Nazis. Through the propoganda and information presented in that exhibit you come to understand how otherwise normal people came to participate in, sanction, or at least turn a blind eye to, one of the worst attrocities in modern history. I believe that only by dissecting this information and understanding this "flaw" of human nature can we really prevent such terrible things from happening again. Mein Kampf should have been repuplished years ago for exactly this reason.

  • by Migraineman (632203) on Friday April 27, 2012 @08:17AM (#39819741)
    Funny, I was stumbling through some Private Snafu shorts last night, and watched this gem. [youtube.com] I find it very interesting to look back at the films from the WWII era and see how much (or how little) society has changed.

    As for the Bavarians camping on Mein Kampf, you'd think that they would have figured out that most parents have - the more you demonize something (alcohol, MJ, sex et al), the more the teenagers will find it appealing. If they want to destroy the financial incentive associated with the work, release it GPL-style. Make sure derivative works have to be GPL'd as well. Just stuffing the master copy under a mattress is ineffective.

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