Adolf Hitler was obviously the most vicious, violent and murderous anti-Semite in human history (the Holocaust proves it beyond the reasonable doubt). Consequently, it is very important to understand how he became one.
It is all the more important because for the first two decades of his life, his decisions and actions demonstrated no Anti-Semitism at all. His family physician – Dr. Eduard Bloch – was very much Jewish.
It is a well-established fact that then 18-year-old Hitler granted him his “everlasting gratitude” for this. This showed in 1908 when Hitler (already in Vienna at that time) wrote Dr. Bloch a postcard assuring him of his gratitude and reverence which he expressed with handmade gifts, as for example, a large wall painting.
By the end of 1909, Adolf Hitler established a business partnership with one Reinhold Hanisch – a small-time hustler and a petty criminal (he was twice sentenced for theft and spent nine months in Berlin prison). And – as it later turned out – a very much street-smart businessman.
Learning that Hitler could paint (and paint well), Hanisch persuaded young Adolf to ask his family (i.e. his loving aunt) for some money (ostensibly for studies) which they subsequently used as seed money for their business venture.
Fifty kronen received from his Aunt Johanna allowed Hitler to acquire the supplies that he needed to begin painting. He painted, Hanish sold his paintings, they split the proceeds and thus generated a decent leaving for themselves. The living, which allowed them to move from the homeless shelter to much more comfortable accommodations of Men’s Home.
Paintings were sold primarily through dealers, most of which (and the most reliable) were Jewish. Hitler’s closest partner (apart from Hanisch) in his little art-production business, Josef Neumann, was also a Jew – and one with whom Hitler was, it seems, on friendly terms. According to Hanish, Neumann liked Hitler a lot – and the feeling was apparently mutual.
Even more than that, Hitler perceived Jews as better businessmen and more reliable customers than non-Jewish dealers. He actually preferred to sell his pictures to Jewish dealers, and one of them, Jacob Altenberg, subsequently spoke highly of their business relationship.
Hanish later stated that Hitler got along exceptionally well with Jews, and even said at one time that they “were a clever people who stick together better than the Germans do”.
Ian Kershaw quoted Hanish as saying:
“Hitler admired the Jews for their resistance to persecution, praising Heine’s poetry and the music of Mendelssohn and Offenbach, expressing the view that the Jews were the first civilized nation in that they had abandoned polytheism for belief in one God, blaming Christians more than Jews for usury, and dismissing the stock-in-trade anti-Semitic charge of Jewish ritual murder as nonsense”
Hitler’s close comrades during the First World War also recalled that he voiced no explicitly anti-Semitic views.
Actually, two of his commanding officers were Jewish. One of his company commanders was Lieutenant Ernst Moritz Hess – a baptized German Jew (baptized Lutheran that is).
His last company commander was also a Jew – Lieutenant Hugo Gutmann. It was him who recommended Hitler’s for the award of the Iron Cross First Class – a decoration rarely awarded to one of Hitler’s Gefreiter (Corporal) rank.
Consequently, the best way to find an answer to this question is by using the avalanche paradigm. According to this paradigm, during his childhood, youth and young age (i.e., roughly by the age of thirty or so), Adolf Hitler accumulated the critical mass of anti-Semitic beliefs.
This critical mass triggered the anti-Semitic avalanche and ultimately the Holocaust avalanche – much like accumulation of a critical mass of snow triggers the snow avalanche.
A thorough study of Adolf Hitler’s biography reveals that this critical mass was accumulated in thirteen key steps:
- Domestic anti-Semitism present in just about every German family at that time. Judging by the fact that in his childhood he showed no signs of Judeophobia (and that their family physician Dr. Bloch was Jewish), this anti-Semitism was rather mild
- Pötsch’s history lessons. Although not explicitly anti-Semitic, they were fundamentally nationalist and racist. Which at least implicitly implied that Jews were a hostile nation (a hostile race, actually) and a threat to the Aryan-Germanic race
- General German nationalist environment in Linz where he grew up. Although not explicitly anti-Semitic, German nationalism always contained a significant dose of Judeophobia
- His personal experiences in Vienna where Jewish presence in the professions (doctor, lawyer, etc.), academia, business, finance, media, etc. was far higher than in the general population. Which planted in his mind a totally erroneous belief that Jews were in control of “all of the above”
- His personal interactions in Vienna with poor Jews, a significant percentage of whom were Marxists – or at least had a favorable view of Marxism. Which planted in his brain another totally erroneous belief – that Jews want to overthrow existing political, economic and social order and replace it with Marxist dictatorship
- Highly poisonous anti-Semitic atmosphere in Vienna which included general public, newspapers, magazines, radio, etc.. At the time, Vienna was one of the most virulently anti-Jewish cities in Europe.
- Virulent anti-Semitism of von Schönerer – his political hero and his role model.
- Murderous anti-Semitism of Dr. Karl Lueger – another political hero of his and another role model.
- The Protocols of the Elders of Zion – an anti-Semitic fabricated text purporting to describe a Jewish plan for global domination
- The Bolshevist revolution of October 1917, which created the existential Bolshevist threat to Germany and to the whole Europe. Many prominent leaders of this revolution and of the Bolshevist regime were Jewish which strengthened Hitler’s belief that Bolshevism was a “Jewish conspiracy against Germany”
- The stab–in-the-back theory. It was a myth (very popular among the right-wing in Germany) that the German Army did not lose World War I on the battlefield but was instead betrayed by the civilians at home – especially by Jewish politicians (one of which – Hugo Preuß – was the author of the draft version of the constitution that was passed by the Weimar National Assembly and came into force in August 1919)
- Bolshevist coups in Bavaria, Hungary and Berlin whose leaders were Jewish
Consequently, it would be safe to conclude that the critical mass of Hitler’s anti-Semitism was accumulated sometime in 1919 – 1920 at the latest. But it did not got murderous until Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, thus starting an open and bloody war with the Bolshevist regime.
And the Holocaust avalanche.
Still there remains one mystery that we need to solve to arrive at a proper understanding of Hitler’s antisemitism. The mystery of anti-Semitic passages and statements in Mein Kampf.
Mein Kampf is a strange book. Although it was obviously written (dictated, actually) by one individual – Adolf Hitler – it looks (reads, actually) as if it was written by two very different ones.
Just about all content (with very few genuinely outlandish claims) is written by a serious, competent, experienced and well-established politician. A lot of it is either true and correct (i.e. contains irrefutable facts) or makes sense. Some is debatable, of course and some is just plain wrong (i.e. the “racial theory”).
However, all this content can be rationally challenged and debated (and the author does have a few arguments that support his position). Which does not make them correct, obviously.
All, except for everything that is written about the Jews. Passages and statements about the “chosen people” look and read like they have been written by a totally different individual. A longtime resident of a lunatic asylum. And you can not argue with a patient of a mental institution.
All Mein Kampf content except for the “Jewish” part is based on certain facts (not always irrefutable), logic (not always rock-solid and sometimes outright faulty) and not always conforms to the good old common sense. However, it is still can be rationally analyzed challenged, disputed, opposed and debated.
The passages and statements about the Jews read like the rants and ramblings of a clinically insane individual. Criminally insane, to be more precise. The one who suffers from acute paranoia (among other mental health problems).
It is well-known that Adolf Hitler was no lunatic. He was very sane and rational individual capable of setting and achieving genuinely miraculous objectives – both in a civilian life and on the battlefield.
And of creating from scratch and very efficiently managing (at least for some time) enormously complex systems. Nazi Party, Nazi State, etc. He was a mystic and an eccentric (and a mass murderer), for sure – but he was not insane.
Consequently, the only rational explanation of the “Jews in Mein Kampf” mystery is the Adolf Hitler did not believe a word of what he has written about Jews. Which was very unusual, to put it mildly.
Unlike Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky and other Bolsheviks who were lying through teeth practically all the time, Adolf Hitler and the other Nazis were mostly honest individuals.
True, they did spread what today would be called “fake news” but they for the most part sincerely believed in what they were saying. It did not qualify as intellectual honesty (they should have checked the facts before making them public) but it still was honesty.
Bolsheviks preached one thing and did quite another (and a very different one) while the Nazis mostly walked what they talked and practiced what they preached (which was often both criminal and horrible). The “Jewish passages” in Mein Kampf were an outlier. Quite an outlier, actually.
The real attitude of Adolf Hitler towards the Jews was different (possibly very different) from the one presented in Mein Kampf. It was much simpler. And much deadlier.
He believed (incorrectly) that the Jews – who publicly and officially proclaimed themselves (in the Old Testament) “the chosen people” – sincerely believed that they were chosen by their God for a very simple purpose: to become the rulers and masters of the Earth. In other words, to turn all other peoples and nations into their slaves. Including, obviously, the German nation.
For millennia (i.e. even well before the first coming of Jesus Christ) they have been trying to achieve this objective using a variety of tools (financial control, “blood poisoning” by promoting interracial marriages, destroying culture and morals with decadent art an poisonous media, etc.).
They failed and failed and failed. So the Jews developed a super-weapon – the Marxist ideology. And its derivative – Bolshevism (Russian Marxism). This superweapon allowed them to establish control over Russia (the largest country in the world by area, mind you), which they were rapidly transforming into a springboard for the conquest of the entire world. Which they were planning to accomplish by launching and winning an existential racial war.
Hitler (erroneously) believed this war to be genuinely existential. In other words, it was a zero-sum game. Either the Jews win – and all Germans perish; or the Aryans win – and all Jews must die.
This faulty logic led to a murderous conclusion – ultimately all Jews must be either expelled from the Aryan-controlled territories or physically exterminated. And as Aryans were finally to control the whole Earth… the Jews were doomed to be physical exterminated. All of them.
Adolf Hitler made these conclusions based on one document (the infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion) and an irrefutable fact that Karl Marx – the founder of Marxism – and many Bolshevist leaders in Russia and other nations were Jews by blood (“genetic Jews”).
His conclusions were all wrong. In reality, there was (and there is) no such thing as a “global Jewish community” (let alone “Jewish race”). The Jewish people is the most diverse and divided nation in the world (actually “Jewish nation” is pretty much a myth as well). Consequently, there never was (and never would have been) a “global Jewish conspiracy”.
Karl Marx was a Jews “in blood only” – for all practical purposes he was German (very German, actually). His close associate Friedrich Engels (whose support was absolutely vital for the development of Marxist ideology) was a full-blooded German.
Vladimir Lenin – the founder and developer of the Bolshevist ideology (and the leader of Russian Bolshevist Party and the Soviet State) was ¼ Jewish. Which according to Nazi own definition, made him a Russian, not a Jew. Georgy Plekhanov – the first Russian Marxist – was a full-blooded Russian.
All Russian Marxist Jews were internationalists – which immediately placed them outside of the Jewish community (the community of the “chosen people” can include only fierce nationalists). On top of that, many of them were baptized Jews, which made them “double outcasts”. And sworn enemies of the Jewish community.
In fact, this community (its religious and social infrastructure, to be more precise) was among the first to be ferociously attacked by the Bolsheviks (many of whom were of the Jewish blood). In the Soviet Russia supposedly dominated by Jews, the Jewish infrastructure was hit far more severely than the Russian Orthodox Christian one.
The infamous “Protocols” proved to be a fraud perpetrated by the Russian political police long before Adolf Hitler ever heard of this very much fake document.
But Adolf Hitler did not care. He made a decision to make German-controlled territories Judenfrei and doggedly pursued this objective. And he was very well aware of three things.
First, he could achieve this objective (or any other strategic objective, for that matter) only with the support of the overwhelming majority of Germans. Second, to obtain this support, he must win over their hearts, minds and souls (in other words, fill them with genuinely rabid Judeophobia).
Which could have been done only via powerful emotions – the abovementioned arguments were way too complex and “intellectual” to lead to success in this endeavor.
So he chose an entirely different propaganda strategy – incessant “carpet bombing” of hearts, minds and souls with the most outlandish anti-Semitic statements (the more frequent, loud and bizarre, the better).
But first, he had to obtain political power – an absolute power, because such a radical endeavor required genuinely absolute power.
In the antebellum Austro-Hungarian Empire (as well as in Imperial Germany, of course), his ambitions for an absolute political power had a chance of a snowball in Hell of becoming a reality.
The Great War changed all that – and changed radically.