His Second Book (1)

ZBAfter the party’s poor showing in the 1928 elections, Hitler believed that the reason for this indisputable disaster was the public’s misunderstanding of his ideas. He then retired to Munich to dictate a sequel to Mein Kampf to expand on its ideas, this time with focus on foreign policy.

However (unlike with Mein Kampf) after Hitler finished dictating Das Zweites Buch no editing, revision, or correction took place. The first version of the 200-page manuscript was laid aside (in two copies) and was not prepared for printing, either immediately or later.

The obvious question is: Why? Why did the Eher-Verlag (Nazi Party publishing) not publish the book?

There is no conclusive evidence that would support any definite answer; however, some obvious suggestions can be offered as possible reasons. The first possible reason was simple: money.

Max Amann (head of the Eher-Verlag) was very good at making money (and thus had a very good nose for what would sell and what would not). In 1928, sales of Mein Kampf plummeted – the royalty register notes only 3,015 copies sold.

A new book by Hitler would immediately have begun competing with Mein Kampf. Right at this time when the party was forced, for financial reasons, to cancel its annual rally; could the party’s own publishing house be expected or asked to publish a book that would make sales of the slow moving second volume of Mein Kampf almost impossible?

Probably not. Consequently, it is highly likely that he dissuaded Hitler from publishing the work, at least at that particular point.

The second reason (which I believe to be far more likely) was content. During late 1920s, game-changing political events in Germany (and elsewhere) were happening so fast that within a (very) short time significant revisions of the manuscript would have been unavoidable.

In addition, foreign policy considerations might have also influenced Hitler’s decision not to publish the book. The open endorsement of a new war to conquer huge areas and the continually recurring disavowal of the 1914 borders as the goal of German policy could have made Hitler, particularly in the first years after 1933, see a publication of his “foreign policy position” as inopportune (he already had more than enough problems to deal with).

The third reason (actually, closely related to the second one) was time. The manuscript was completed in 1928, and in the following four years, Hitler and the National Socialist party took part in no less than five major national elections (1928, 1930, July 1932, November 1932, and March 1933).

Between this exertion, his hectic speaking schedule and day-to-day politicking, it is clear that Hitler and Max Annan simply never had the time to edit the manuscript properly, and correct any spelling or grammatical errors.

And when there would have been time to finish editing the book, Hitler was already in office—and thus there was simply no need for another book predicting what the new Chancellor was already doing.

Hence, the manuscript was neither edited nor published during the Nazi era and remains known as Zweites Buch, or “Second Book”. To keep the document strictly secret, in 1935 Hitler ordered that one copy should be kept in Hitler’s safe at his home in the Obersalzberg, and the other in the safe of the Eher Verlag in Munich.

In 1945, latter remained was discovered by an American officer in 1945 and was placed in storage – together with millions other documents generated by the gargantuan bureaucracy of the Third Reich.

The manuscript remained hidden within the archives of captured German records in Alexandria, Virginia, where in 1958 it was located by one Professor Gerhard Ludwig Weinberg – a German-born American diplomatic and military historian noted for his studies in the history of World War II.

Other sources (such as Arthur Kemp who also published The Second Book) claim that the document was found by a German historian named Erich Lauer and was only later transferred to Professor Weinberg.

Anyhow, this find led to his publication in 1961 of “Hitlers zweites Buch: Ein Dokument aus dem Jahr 1928” (“Hitler’s Second Book, a Document from the Year 1928”), later published in English as Hitler’s Second Book: The Unpublished Sequel to Mein Kampf (in this book I use the edition published by Enigma Books).

I analyze both books (Mein Kampf and Das Zweites Buch) using the same approach – I select Hitler’s statements that I deem the most relevant to the content of this book and add to them my analysis, recommendations and comments [in square brackets].

A word of caution: as Das Zweites Buch was never made public (unlike Mein Kampf, Hitler’s speeches and his “Table Talk”), it is somewhat unofficial and thus must be viewed with just a small grain of salt.

 

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