‘Mein Kampf’: Hitler’s book in past and present
In January 2016, the Institut für Zeitgeschichte in Munich published a scholarly edition of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, thus bringing this book to the centre of public and academic attention. This edition will be a point of departure for all future research into the history of National Socialism, the Nazi movement and Hitler’s biography. The debates stirred by this new edition show that the issues involved are not confined to Germany or academia alone. Questions regarding the meaning, relevance and interpretation of Mein Kampf, the way it was and is being received and read today, and how we should deal with its content and legacies are being raised in various European countries, seldom followed by the question of whether the German example of publishing a new edition should be followed or not.
During the lecture, Dutch and German scholars will discuss the content, reception and relevance of Hitler’s Mein Kampf in the past and present. First, Ewoud Kieft (NIOD) will give an overview of the content of this book with a special focus on the themes and narratives it picked up and channeled from contemporary discourses. Norbert Frei (Jena) will comment on the lecture and reflect on the recent debate about the edition of Mein Kampf in Germany. He will discuss scholarly reactions as well as the wider public discourse about the relevance and meaning of Hitler’s books in German political culture today.