A New English Translation by Thomas Dalton
New for 2019, from Clemens & Blair, LLC. (354 pp.)
A new English translation of the classic work by Adolf Hitler. This edition brings together the best, timeliest, and most interesting passages from the original two-volume work. It includes a detailed Introduction, section headings, helpful footnotes, bibliography, and a useful index.
Mein Kampf is the autobiography and articulated worldview of one of the most consequential leaders in world history. It is also one of the most maligned and least understood texts of the 20th century. A major problem in the Anglophone world has been the poor state of English translations. The new Dalton translation is clear, lucid, and highly readable—and yet true to the original. Unlike every other edition, this version has authentic section headings embedded in the text, which serve to both organize Hitler’s ideas and to parse long sections of text into manageable units. Finally, this edition edits out the long tangents and ancillary comments that would only be of interest to academic historians.
The Essential Mein Kampf captures the ‘best of the best,’ and presents it in modern, highly-readable English. A truly compelling read, as relevant today as when it was written.
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Introduction by Thomas Dalton 15
From VOLUME ONE
1. CHAPTER 1: IN MY PARENTS’ HOUSE (full) 39
The Young Ringleader
‘Choice’ of Profession
Never a Civil Servant…
…But Rather an Artist
The Young Nationalist
The German Ostmark
The Struggle for Germanism
Lessons from History
Devotion to Wagner
The Death of my Parents
2. CHAPTER 2: YEARS OF STUDY AND SUFFERING IN VIENNA (excerpts) 55
Skill as an Architect
Formation of a Worldview
Architect and Watercolor Painter
The Art of Reading
The Key to Social Democracy
The Jewish Question
The So-Called World Press
Criticism of Kaiser Wilhelm II
Transformation into an Anti-Semite
The Jew as Leader of Social Democracy
Study of the Foundations of Marxism
Marxism as Destroyer of Culture
3. CHAPTER 3: GENERAL POLITICAL REFLECTIONS FROM MY TIME IN VIENNA (excerpts) 77
Lack of Responsibility
The Destruction of the Idea of Leadership
The Exclusion of the Individual Leader
The Majority Principle
The Destruction of Character
Anti-Semitism on a Religious Basis
Growing Aversion to the Habsburg State
The School of my Life
4. CHAPTER 4: MUNICH (excerpts) 99
The Four Paths of German Policy
Acquisition of New Land
With England, Against Russia
State and Economy
The Moment of Decay
5. CHAPTER 5: THE WORLD WAR (excerpts) 117
The German War for Freedom
Enlistment in a Bavarian Regiment
Baptism by Fire
From Young Volunteer to Old Soldier
Artificial Dampening of Enthusiasm
The Use of Naked Force
Attack of a Worldview
6. CHAPTER 7: THE REVOLUTION (full) 131
The First Enemy Leaflets
Boasting of Cowardice
Hatred of Prussia
The Army’s New Hope
The Allies are Beaten Down
“Germany Facing Revolution!”
Last Wreaths of Immortal Laurel
Growing Moral Decay
Poisoned by Mustard Gas
All Sacrifice in Vain
Decision to Enter Politics
7. CHAPTERS 8 and 9: BEGINNING OF MY POLITICAL ACTIVITY and THE “GERMAN WORKERS’ PARTY” (excerpts) 149
The Fight against International Finance Capital
The ‘Educational Officer’
The “German Workers’ Party”
The ‘Committee Meeting’
A Final Decision
8. CHAPTER 10: CAUSES OF THE COLLAPSE (excerpts) 161
Moral Disarmament of a Dangerous Accuser
Toxins and Symptoms
The Rule of Money
Jewish Press Tactics
The Sin against Blood and Race
The Task of Combating Syphilis
Sound Mind only in Sound Body
The Fight against Spiritual Poisoning
Modern Masses of Humanity
9. CHAPTER 11: NATION AND RACE (full) 177
The Result of Racial Mixing
Man and Idea
Race and Culture
The Aryan as Founder of Culture
Effects of Blood-Mixing
Service to the Community
Purest Idealism, Deepest Knowledge
Aryan and Jew
Consequence of Jewish Egoism
Sham Culture of the Jews
The Jew, a Parasite
Jewish ‘Religious Community’
Jewish Religious Doctrine
The ‘Elders of Zion’
The Way of Jewry
Standing of the Factory Worker
The Core of the Marxist Worldview
Organization of Marxist World-Doctrine
Palestine as Organizational Center
Dictatorship of the Proletariat
From National Jews to Racial Jews
Failure to Recognize the Inner Enemy
10. CHAPTER 12: FIRST PERIOD OF DEVELOPMENT OF THE NSDAP (excerpts) 221
Nationalization of the Masses
Education for Struggle
Education for Respect of the Person
The First Meeting
‘Intellectual Weapons,’ ‘Silent Workers’
First Great Mass Meeting
Drafting the Program
A Movement on the March
From VOLUME TWO
11. CHAPTER 1: WORLDVIEW AND PARTY (excerpts) 243
Marxism and Democratic Principles
Worldview Against Worldview
12. CHAPTER 2: THE STATE (excerpts) 247
The State is Not an End in Itself
Consequences of our Racial Division
Dangers of Racial Mixing
The Folkish State and Racial Hygiene
13. CHAPTER 5: WORLDVIEW AND ORGANIZATION (excerpts) 259
Worldview and Organization
Struggle and Criticism
14. CHAPTER 6: STRUGGLE IN EARLY TIMES (excerpts) 263
Fight against Poisonous Propaganda
Against the Tide
Politics of the Wide View
Enlightenment about the Peace Treaties
15. CHAPTER 7: CONFLICT WITH THE RED FRONT (excerpts) 269
Old and New Black-Red-Gold
The National Socialist Flag
First Meeting in the Circus
An Attempted Disruption
16. CHAPTERS 9, 10, and 11: THE REVOLUTION, FEDERALISM, and BUILDING THE MOVEMENT (excerpts) 283
The Resulting Disorganization
Jewish Incitement Activity
Reorganization of the Movement
Responsibility of the Leader
Building the Movement
17. CHAPTER 13: GERMAN POST-WAR ALLIANCE POLICY (excerpts) 299
Present European Power Relations: England and Germany
England’s War Aim Not Achieved
Political Goals of France and England
Alliance Possibilities for Germany
Is Germany Capable of Alliance Today?
Divergence Between British and Jewish Interests
Jewish World Incitement Against Germany
Pandering to France
Concentration on One Enemy
Reckoning with the Traitors
Fascist Italy and Jewry
England and Jewry
Japan and Jewry
Our Fight Against the World-Enemy
18. CHAPTER 14: GERMANY’S POLICY IN EASTERN EUROPE (excerpts) 317
Significance of the State’s Area
French and German Colonial Policy
The Historical Mission of National Socialism
Resumption of Eastern Policy
German Alliance with Russia?
Germany and Russia Before the War
The German-English-Italian Alliance
Conditions for Eastern Policy
19. CHAPTER 15: THE RIGHT TO EMERGENCY DEFENSE (excerpts) 329
Cowardly Submission Brings No Mercy
Seven Years to 1813—Seven Years to Locarno
What Should Have Been Done After the Ruhr Occupation?
Failure to Reckon with Marxism
20. CONCLUSION 341
Appendix: The 25 Points of the National Socialist Program 343
CHAPTER 1: IN MY PARENTS’ HOUSE
I consider it most fortunate today that destiny selected Braunau-on-the-Inn to be my birthplace. This little town lies on the border between two German states—the union of which seems, at least to us of the younger generation, a task to which we should dedicate our lives and pursue with every possible means!
German-Austria must return to the great German Motherland. And not for mere economic reasons. No, no. Even if the union were a matter of economic indifference, and even if it were to be economically disadvantageous, it still must take place. The same blood should be in the same Reich. The German people have no right to engage in colonialism until they have brought all their sons together in one state. Only when the territory of the Reich embraces all Germans and then finds itself unable to assure them a livelihood, only then will the moral right arise to acquire foreign territory. The plow will then become the sword, and the tears of war will produce our daily bread for generations to come.
And so this little border town appeared to me as the symbol of a great mission. But in another way too, it points to a lesson that is applicable today. More than 100 years ago, this insignificant place was the scene of a tragic calamity that affected the whole German nation. It will be remembered forever, at least throughout German history. At the time of our Fatherland’s deepest humiliation, Johannes Palm—Nuremberger, bookseller, uncompromising nationalist, and enemy of the French—was put to death here because he had the misfortune to have loved Germany so passionately. He stubbornly refused to reveal the names of his colleagues, or rather the leaders who were chiefly responsible for the affair. The same happened with Leo Schlageter. The former, like the latter, was denounced to the French by a government agent. An Augsburg police chief won this unenviable fame on that occasion, and set the example that was later to be copied by neo-German officials of Herr Severing’s regime.
It was in this little town on the Inn—gilded by the memory of a German martyr, a town that was Bavarian by blood but under Austrian rule—that my parents lived, towards the end of the last century. My father was a civil servant who fulfilled his duties very conscientiously. My mother looked after the household and lovingly devoted herself to the care of her children.
I don’t remember much from that period because, after a few years, my father had to leave that beloved border town. He took up a new post farther down the Inn, at Passau, hence in Germany itself.
In those days it was typical for an Austrian civil servant to be transferred periodically from one post to another. Soon my father was transferred to Linz, and there he retired to live on his pension. But this didn’t mean that the old gentleman would now ‘rest.’ As the son of a poor cottager, and while still young, he grew restless and left home. When he was barely 13 years old, he slipped on his small backpack and set forth from his native woodland parish. Despite the pleas of villagers who could speak from experience, he went to Vienna to learn a trade. This was in the 1850s.
It was a difficult time, that of deciding to leave home and face the unknown, with three gulden in his pocket. By the time the boy of 13 became a youth of 17, he had passed his apprenticeship examination as a craftsman, but was not content. Quite the contrary. The long period of hardship, constant want, and misery strengthened his resolve to give up working at a trade and strive for ‘something higher.’ As a boy it had seemed to him that the position of the parish priest in his home village was the highest in the scale of attainment; but now that the big city had enlarged his outlook, he looked upon the state official as the highest of all. With the tenacity of one whom misery and suffering had already made ‘old’ while still young, the 17-year-old stuck to his new project. He became a civil servant. He was about 23 years old, I think, when he achieved his life’s dream. Thus he was able to fulfill the promise he had made as a poor boy, to not return to his native village until he was a success.
He achieved his goal. But back in the village, there was no one who remembered him as a little boy, and the village itself had become strange to him.
Finally, when he was 56 years old, he retired. But he couldn’t bear to be idle for even a single day. On the outskirts of the small market town of Lambach, in Upper Austria, he bought a farm and tilled it himself. Thus, at the end of a long and hard-working career, he came back to the life that his father had led.
1.1 The Young Ringleader
It was at this time that I first began to have ideals of my own. I spent a good deal of time playing out in the open, on the long road from school, and mixing up with some of the roughest boys, which caused my mother many anxious moments. This made me something quite the opposite of a stay-at-home. I gave scarcely any serious thought to the question of choosing a vocation in life; but I certainly had no interest in the kind of career that my father had followed.
I think that an inborn talent for speaking now began to develop in me, during the more or less strenuous arguments with my friends. I became a youthful ringleader, one who learned quickly at school but was rather difficult to manage. In my free time, I practiced singing in the choir of the monastery church at Lambach. I was well-situated to be emotionally impressed again and again by the magnificent splendor of the church ceremonies. It was natural for me to look upon the Abbot as representing the highest human ideal worth striving for, just as the humble village priest had appeared to my father in his day.
For awhile at least, that was this case. But my father didn’t appreciate my oratorical gifts as beneficial for a career, and so he naturally couldn’t understand my youthful ideas. This internal conflict made him feel somewhat concerned.
As it happened, my short-lived yearnings soon gave way to hopes that were better suited to my temperament. Browsing through my father’s books, I happened to come across some publications that dealt with military subjects. One of these was a popular history of the Franco-German War of 1870–71. It consisted of two volumes of an illustrated periodical dating from those years. These became my favorite reading. Soon that great and heroic conflict began to dominate my thinking. And from that time on, I became more and more enthusiastic about everything that was at all connected with war or military affairs.
But this story had a special significance for me on other grounds, too. For the first time, and as yet in only quite a vague way, I began to think: Is there a difference—and if so, what is it—between the Germans who fought that war and the other Germans? Why didn’t Austria also take part in it? Why didn’t my father and all the others fight in that struggle?
Are we not the same as other Germans?
Do we not all belong together? That was the first time that this problem began to agitate my brain. And from the conclusions that I reached, I was forced to accept the fact—though with a secret envy—that not all Germans had the good luck to belong to Bismarck’s Reich.
This was something that I couldn’t understand.
1.2 ‘Choice’ of Profession
It was decided that I should study.
Considering my whole personality, and especially my temperament, my father decided that the classical subjects studied at the Gymnasium were not suited to my natural talents. He thought that the Realschule would suit me better. My obvious talent for drawing confirmed this for him; in his opinion, drawing was a neglected subject in the Austrian Gymnasium. Another likely factor was the memory of his own hard road, and this contributed to him looking upon classical studies as unpractical; accordingly, he set little value on them. At the back of his mind, he believed that his son should also become a government official. Indeed, he had decided on that career for me.
Due to the difficulties through which he had to struggle in his own case, he overestimated what he had achieved. His success was exclusively the result of his own indefatigable effort and energy. The characteristic pride of the self-made man led him to the idea that his son should follow the same calling—and if possible, to rise even higher. Moreover, this idea was strengthened by the consideration that the results of his own life’s work put him in a position to aid his son’s advancement in the same career.
It was simply inconceivable to him that I might reject that which had meant everything in life to him. My father’s decision was simple, definite, and clear. In his eyes, it was something to be taken for granted. A man of such a nature, who had become domineering by reason of his own hard struggles, could not think of allowing inexperienced and irresponsible young men to choose their own careers.
To act in such a way, where the future of his own son was concerned, would have been a grave and reprehensible weakness in the exercise of parental authority and responsibility; it was something utterly incompatible with his characteristic sense of duty.
And yet things had to turn out differently.
1.3 Never a Civil Servant…
For the first time in my life—I was then 11 years old—I felt myself forced into open opposition. No matter how hard and determined my father might be about putting his own plans and opinions into action, I was no less obstinate in rejecting an idea that didn’t appeal to me at all.
I wouldn’t become a civil servant.
Neither persuasion nor ‘serious’ warnings could break down that opposition. I would not, on any account, become a state official. All the attempts that my father made to arouse in me a love for that profession, by envisioning his own career for me, had only the opposite effect. It nauseated me to think that one day I might be chained to an office desk, and that I couldn’t control my own time but would be forced to spend the whole of my life filling out forms.
One can imagine what kind of thoughts such a prospect aroused in the mind of a young man who was by no means ‘good’ in the usual sense of that term!
The ridiculously easy school tasks that we were given made it possible for me to spend far more time outdoors than at home. Today—when my political opponents pry into my life with diligent scrutiny, as far back as the days of my boyhood, so as to finally be able to prove what dirty tricks this ‘Hitler’ was used to in his youth—I thank heaven that I can look back to those happy days and find the memory helpful. The fields and the woods were then the battlefields on which all disputes were decided.
Even attendance at the Realschule could not alter my way of spending my time.
1.4 ...But Rather an Artist
But now I had another battle to fight.
As long as my father’s plan to make me a state functionary contradicted my own inclinations only in theory, the conflict was bearable. I could be discreet about expressing my personal views and thus avoid constantly recurring arguments. My own resolution not to become a government official was sufficient for the time being to put my mind completely at rest. I resolutely held on to that conviction. But the situation became more difficult once I had a positive plan of my own, one that I presented to my father as an alternative. This happened when I was 12 years old.
How it happened, I cannot exactly say now. But one day it became clear to me that I would be a painter—I mean an artist. It was a fact that I had an aptitude for drawing. It was even one of the reasons why my father had sent me to the Realschule. But he had never thought of having that talent developed in such a way that I could become a professional painter. Quite the contrary. When, as a result of my renewed refusal to adopt his preferred plan, my father asked me for the first time what I myself really wished to be, my resolve expressed itself almost automatically. For a moment my father was speechless.
“A painter? An artist?”
He wondered whether I was sane. He thought that he might not have heard me right, or misunderstood me. But when I explained my ideas to him, and he saw how seriously I took them, he opposed it with all the determination of his nature. His decision was very fundamental; any consideration of my own natural abilities was out of the question.
“An artist, no, not as long as I live, never.” But seeing as I had inherited much of my father’s obstinacy—besides having other qualities of my own—my reply was equally forceful. Except that it stated something quite the contrary.
At that point, our struggle became a stalemate. Father would not abandon his ‘Never,’ and I became all the more firm in my ‘Nevertheless.’
Naturally, the consequences were unpleasant. The old gentleman was bitterly annoyed; and indeed so was I, although I really loved him. My father forbade me to entertain any hopes of taking up the art of painting as a profession. I went a step further and declared that I would not study anything else. With such declarations, the situation became ever more strained, so that the old man irrevocably decided to assert his parental authority at all costs. That led me to adopt an attitude of circumspect silence, but I put my threat into action. I thought that once it became clear to my father that I was making no progress at the Realschule, he would be forced to allow me to follow my dream—for better or worse.
1.5 The Young Nationalist
I don’t know whether I calculated rightly or not. My failure to make progress in school was obvious. I studied just the subjects that appealed to me, especially those that I thought I might need later as a painter. What didn’t appear to have any importance, or what didn’t otherwise appeal to me, I completely sabotaged. My school reports of that time were always in the extremes of good or bad, according to the subject. In one column my evaluation read ‘very good’ or ‘excellent.’ In another it read ‘average’ or even ‘below average.’ By far my best subjects were geography and, even more so, general history. These were my two favorite subjects, and I led the class in them.
When I look back over so many years and try to judge the results of that experience, I find two very significant facts standing out clearly:
First, I became a nationalist.
Second, I learned to understand and grasp the true meaning of history.
1.6 The German Ostmark
The old Austria was a multi-national state.
The Germans of the Reich didn’t realize that if the Austrian Germans had not been of the best blood, they could never have given their characteristic stamp to an empire of 52 million—such that the erroneous idea arose that Austria was a German state. This error led to dire consequences. But all the same, it was a magnificent testimony to the character of the 10 million Germans in the Ostmark. Only very few of the Germans in the Reich itself had an idea of the bitter struggle that those Eastern Germans had to carry on daily for the preservation of their German language, schools, and character.
Only today—when a tragic fate has torn several millions of our kinsfolk away from the Reich and forced them to live under foreign rule, dreaming of that common fatherland towards which all their yearnings are directed, and struggling to maintain the right to use their mother tongue—only now have the wider circles come to realize what it means to fight for one’s people. Today perhaps there are some who can assess the greatness of that German spirit that animated the Reich’s old Ostmark. It enabled those people, left entirely on their own, to defend the Reich against the East for several centuries. They also were able to secure the boundaries of the German language through a guerilla war of attrition, at a time when the Reich was more interested in colonies than in protecting its own flesh and blood at its very doorstep.
1.7 The Struggle for Germanism
In this battle over the language of old Austria, there were, as in every such struggle, three groups: the fighters, the slackers, and the traitors.
The sifting process began at school. And it is worth noting that the language-war was waged in perhaps its bitterest form in school; this was the nursery where the seeds had to be watered that were to spring up and form the coming generation. The tactical objective of the fight was to win over the child, and it was to the child that the first rallying cry was addressed:
“German boy, don’t forget that you are a German,” and “Remember, little girl, that one day you must become a German mother!”
Those who know something of the youthful spirit can understand how the young will always lend a glad ear to such a rallying cry. The young people led the struggle through many forms, fighting in their own way and with their own weapons.
They refused to sing non-German songs. The greater the efforts made to win them away from their German allegiance, the more they exalted the glory of their German heroes. They went hungry so that they might spare their pennies to help the war chest of their elders. They were incredibly aware of the significance of what the non-German teachers said, and they contradicted them in unison. They wore the forbidden emblems of their own kinsfolk and were happily penalized or even beaten for doing so. On a small scale, they were mirrors of loyalty from which the elders might learn a lesson.
And thus it was that, at a comparatively early age, I took part in the nationalist struggles of old Austria. When meetings were held for the Südmark and the School League, we wore cornflowers and black-red-gold colors to express our loyalty. We greeted each other with “Heil,” and instead of the Austrian anthem we sang Deutschland über Alles, despite warnings and penalties. Thus the youth were politically educated at a time when the citizens of the so-called national state knew little of their own nationality except the language.
I, of course, didn’t belong to the slackers. Within a short time I had become an ardent ‘German Nationalist,’ which had a different meaning from our present party concept.
I rapidly moved in the nationalist direction. By the time I was 15 years old, I had come to understand the distinction between dynastic ‘patriotism’ and ‘nationalism’ based on the concept of Volk, or people—my inclination being entirely in favor of the latter.
1.8 Lessons from History
Such a preference may not perhaps be clearly intelligible to those who have never taken the trouble to study the internal conditions that prevailed under the Habsburg Monarchy. Among historical studies, universal history was the subject almost exclusively taught in the Austrian schools; there was very little of specific Austrian history. The fate of this state was closely bound up with the existence and development of Germany as a whole—such that a division of history into German history and Austrian history would be practically inconceivable. And indeed it was only when the German people came to be divided into two states that this division of German history began to take place.
The insignia of former imperial glory, which are still preserved in Vienna, appear to cast a magic spell. They guarantee an eternal bond between these two peoples.
When the Habsburg State crumbled to pieces, the Austrian Germans instinctively raised an outcry for union with their German fatherland. That was the voice of a unanimous yearning in the hearts of the whole people for a return to the never-forgotten home of their fathers. But such a general yearning could not be explained except by attributing its cause to the historical training through which the individual Austrian Germans had passed. Therein lay a spring that never dried up. Especially in times of distraction and forgetfulness, its quiet voice was a reminder of the past—bidding the people to look out beyond mere momentary prosperity to a new future.
The teaching of universal history in the so-called high schools is still very unsatisfactory. Few teachers realize that the purpose of teaching history is not the memorizing of certain dates and facts that the student is not interested in knowing: the exact date of a battle, or the birthday of some marshal or other. And the student isn’t at all—or only incidentally—interested in knowing when the crown of his fathers was placed on the brow of some monarch. These are certainly not looked upon as important matters.
To study history means to search for and discover the forces that are the causes of those results that appear to us as historical events.
The art of reading and studying consists in this: Remember the essentials and forget what is inessential.
Probably my whole future life was determined by the fact that I had a history professor who understood, as few others understand, how to make this viewpoint prevail in the classroom. This teacher was Dr. Leopold Pötsch, of the Realschule at Linz. He was the ideal personification of the qualities necessary for a teacher of history in the sense I mentioned above. An elderly gentleman with a decisive manner but a kindly heart, he was a very compelling speaker and was able to inspire us with his own enthusiasm.
Even today I cannot recall without emotion that venerable personality whose enthusiastic exposition of history so often made us entirely forget the present. He allowed us to be transported into the past, as if by magic. He penetrated through the dim mist of thousands of years and transformed the historical memory of the dead past into a living reality. When we listened to him, we became afire with enthusiasm; sometimes we were even moved to tears.
It was still more fortunate that this professor was able not only to illustrate the past by examples from the present, but from the past he was also able to draw a lesson for the present. He understood better than anyone else the everyday problems that were then stirring in our minds. He used the national fervor that we felt in our own small way as an instrument of our education, in that he often appealed to our national sense of honor. In that way he maintained order and held our attention much more easily than he could have done by any other means.
It was because of him that history became my favorite subject.
As a natural consequence, but without my teacher’s deliberate intention, I then and there became a young revolutionary.
After all, who could have studied German history under such a teacher and not become an enemy of that state whose rulers exercised such a disastrous influence on the destinies of the German nation?
And how could one remain a faithful subject of the House of Habsburg, whose past history and present conduct proved it to be always ready to betray the interests of the German people, for the sake of trivial personal interests?
Did we not realize, even as youngsters, that this Austrian State did not, and could not, have any love for us Germans?
That which history taught us about the policy of the House of Habsburg was confirmed by our experiences. In north and south, the poison of foreign races was eating into the body of our people. Even Vienna was steadily becoming more and more a non-German city. The ‘Imperial House’ favored the Czechs on every possible occasion. Indeed, it was divine retribution that caused Germanism’s most deadly enemy in Austria, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, to fall by the very bullets that he himself had helped to cast. Working from above, he was the chief patron of the movement to make Austria a Slav state.
The burdens laid on the shoulders of the German people were monstrous, and the sacrifices of blood and treasure that they had to make were incredibly heavy. Yet anyone who was not blind must have seen that it was all in vain. What affected us most bitterly was the awareness of the fact that this whole system was morally shielded by the alliance with Germany, whereby the slow rooting-out of Germanism from the old Austrian Monarchy seemed in some way to be more or less sanctioned by Germany herself. Habsburg hypocrisy, which outwardly tried to make the people believe that Austria was still a German state, increased the feeling of hatred against the Imperial House. At the same time, it aroused a spirit of rebellion and contempt.
But in the German Reich itself, its rulers understood nothing of what all this meant. As if struck blind, they stood beside a corpse; in the very symptoms of decomposition, they believed that they saw signs of a renewed vitality.
In that unhappy alliance between the young German Reich and the illusory Austrian State lay the germ of the [First] World War, and also of the final collapse.
In the course of this book, I will go to the root of the problem. Suffice it to say here that in the very early years of my youth, I came to certain conclusions that I have never abandoned. Indeed, I became more profoundly convinced of them as the years passed. They were:
That the dissolution of Austria is a preliminary condition for the defense of Germany; further, that national feeling is by no means identical with dynastic patriotism; finally, and above all, that the House of Habsburg was destined to bring misfortune to the German nation.
As a logical consequence of these convictions, there arose in me a feeling of intense love for my German-Austrian home, and a profound hatred of the Austrian State.
The kind of historical thinking that I developed through my study of history at school never left me afterwards. World history became more and more an inexhaustible source for the understanding of contemporary historical events—in other words, politics. Therefore I will not ‘learn’ politics, but rather let politics teach me.
A precocious ‘revolutionary’ in politics, I was no less a precocious revolutionary in art.
1.9 Devotion to Wagner
At that time, the provincial capital of Upper Austria had a theater that was, relatively speaking, not bad. Almost everything played there. When I was 12 years old, I saw William Tell performed. That was my first theater experience. Some months later I saw Lohengrin, the first opera I had ever heard. I was fascinated at once. My youthful enthusiasm for the Bayreuth Master [Wagner] knew no bounds. Again and again I was drawn to hear his operas; and today I consider it a great stroke of luck that these modest productions in the little provincial city made it possible for me to appreciate it more intensely later on.
But all this helped to reinforce my profound distaste for the career that my father had chosen for me. This dislike became especially strong after I outgrew my adolescence—a process that was, in my case, especially painful. I became more and more convinced that I’d never be happy as a state official. And now that the Realschule had acknowledged my aptitude for drawing, my own resolution became all the stronger.
Thereafter, neither pleas nor threats could change things.
I wanted to become a painter, and no power in the world could force me to become a civil servant.
Oddly though, as I grew older, I became more and more interested in architecture.
At the time, I considered this a natural development of my talent for painting, and I inwardly rejoiced at this expansion of my artistic interests.
I didn’t suspect that things would turn out differently.
1.10 The Death of my Parents
The question of my career was decided much sooner than I could have expected.
When I was 13, I suddenly lost my father. He was still in robust health when a stroke of apoplexy painlessly ended his earthly wanderings, and left us all deeply bereaved. His deepest wish was to be able to help his son advance in a career and thus to save me from the harsh ordeal that he himself had experienced. It appeared to him that he had failed. And yet, though he himself was not conscious of it, he had sown the seeds of a future that neither of us foresaw at that time.
At first, nothing changed outwardly.
My mother felt it her duty to continue my education in accordance with my father’s wishes. This meant that she would have me study for the civil service. For my own part, I was more determined than ever to not undertake this career. The school curriculum and teaching methods were so far removed from my ideals that I became profoundly indifferent.
Illness suddenly came to my assistance. Within a few weeks, it decided my future, putting an end to the long-standing family conflict. My lungs became so seriously affected that the doctor strongly advised my mother not to allow me to take up a career that would require working in an office. He ordered me to stop attending the Realschule for at least a year. What I had secretly desired for such a long time, and had persistently fought for, now became a reality almost at one stroke.
Concerned about my illness, my mother agreed that I would leave the Realschule and attend the Academy.
Those were happy days, and they seemed to me almost as a dream; but they were bound to remain only a dream. Two years later, my mother’s death put a brutal end to all my wonderful plans.
She succumbed to a long and painful illness, one that, from the very beginning, permitted little hope of recovery. Though expected, her death came as a terrible blow to me. I respected my father, but I loved my mother.
Poverty and hard reality forced me to decide quickly. The meager family resources had been almost entirely used up by my mother’s severe illness. The allowance which came to me as an orphan was not enough for the bare necessities of life. Somehow or other, I would have to earn my own bread.
With my clothes and linen in hand, and with an indomitable resolution in my heart, I left for Vienna. I hoped to forestall fate, as my father had done 50 years before. I was determined to become ‘something’—but certainly not a civil servant.
 Braunau, Austria lies about 25 km north of Salzburg, and about 50 km east of Munich. It has a present-day population of some 16,000. The river Inn is the border with Germany.
 ‘Reich’ may be translated variously as ‘empire,’ ‘kingdom,’ or ‘realm.’ Throughout the present text, it will often appear as ‘empire’ but in general will be left untranslated.
 Palm was executed in 1806 by Napoleon’s forces for publishing a pamphlet in defense of Germany.
 Schlageter actively opposed the French occupation of the Ruhr; he was shot in 1923.
 Carl Severing was German Minister of Interior during the Weimar regime. He held office from 1928 to 1930.
 ‘Ostmark’ was the German nationalist designation for German-Austria, that is, the German part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
 The Habsburg Monarchy refers to the family dynasty that ruled in central Europe for 400 years. It began in 1519 with Charles V, and ended in 1918 with Charles I. The Habsburgs were the ruling power in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Monarchy was, of course, finished by the time Hitler wrote these words in 1923.
 In 1918.
 Pötsch (1853-1942) taught Hitler from ages 12 through 15.