Adolf Hitler's autobiography Mein Kampf is as vile as any book ever published. Written in 1923 while he was in prison as a revolutionary agitator and at that point unlikely ever to be anything else, Hitler built on the connected emotions of hatred and self-pity. It is the work of a failure, what is more of a man who knows himself to be a failure. The failure is everyone's fault except his own. And all these people are against him because they belong to different races: That is the key. In the book he invents a "racial ladder" with Germans naturally at the top of it and Jews down at the bottom. If only they had been properly German, all those other people would have recognized his greatness.
But by definition they couldn't be German, and they stood in his way, and so he had to kill them, stamp them out. On the one hand, thwarted ambition; on the other hand, a hatred of humanity. The combination still has the power to send a shiver down the spine.
Hitler's fate, and the mass-murder he inspired, did not put an end to the malignant appeal of his book. There are plenty of people who know themselves to be failures and blame everyone for it except themselves. They too fantasize that they have enemies who can never be anything else because they belong to another race, and the only solution is to massacre the lot. Almost 80 years after its first appearance, Mein Kampf remains an international hit.
The Bavarian state owns the copyright but whether it collects royalties is unclear. The book is banned in Germany, but for some years Random House has been marketing an English translation, defending itself with the argument that it is a historic text which has to be studied.
Communism was perhaps the most spectacular political failure in history, killing tens of millions, and wasting the lives of hundreds of millions more. These victims mostly came from societies that were still traditional, usually agricultural. How were they to explain to themselves the calamity which Communism visited upon them? The arrival of democracy in Russia and its former satellites has brought into these countries fresh editions of Mein Kampf in half a dozen languages. In Poland the initial print-run was 20,000 copies (a significant quantity there). A minority evidently believes that Communism was all a Jewish plot, and Hitler had got things right. The authorities crack down half-heartedly.
Muslim and Arab society is today a failure much as Communism used to be. Muslims and Arabs live under absolute and despotic government which prevents them from enjoying anything like the freedom and prosperity that they see in the West and wish for themselves. On the whole they realize that they have long ago taken their history and destiny into their own hands, and so are responsible for themselves. But so dire are the injustices and the poverty, and so threatening is the tyranny over their heads, that many are lost in pity for themselves, and hatred of everyone else. A slew of racists, radicals, and Islamists share a frame of mind that the West is selfishly conspiring against them, with the Jews once again secretly in charge. Catering to such people since the early '60s, editions of Mein Kampf have been put out in Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, and it is reported to be a bestseller in the Palestinian Authority area. It is available in London stores selling Arabic books. As its Arabic translator Luis al-Haj expresses it in his preface, "National Socialism did not die with the death of its herald. Rather, its seeds multiplied under each star."
In traditional society in the Middle East, Arabs were the masters and Jews were second-class subjects, protected though under rather demeaning conditions. European-style anti-Semitism, usually spread by missionaries and diplomats, came in during the 19th century. Zionism, another import from Europe, redefined Jews according to nationality rather than religion, and the accompanying improvement in their lowly status abruptly challenged Arab assumptions of superiority. These second-class people could surely never have done it on their own; they could only be obtaining their new power from outside — it had to be a plot. Hitler says so too in his book. He believed Zionism was "nothing but a comedy," and he could see through "this sly trick of the Jews." He wrote in Mein Kampf: Download Here