Although it is thought of as having been ‘written’ by Hitler, Mein Kampf is not a book in the usual sense. Hitler never actually sat down and wrote, but instead dictated it to Rudolf Hess while pacing around his prison cell in 1923-24 and later at an inn at Berchtesgaden. Reading Mein Kampf is like listening to Hitler speak at length about his youth, early days in the Nazi Party, future plans for Germany, and ideas on politics and race. In his book, Hitler divides humans into categories based on physical appearance, establishing higher and lower orders, or types of humans. At the top, according to Hitler, is the Germanic man with his fair skin, blond hair and blue eyes. Hitler refers to this type of person as an Aryan. He asserts that the Aryan is the supreme form of human, or master race. Hitler assigns the inferior position to Jews and the Slavic peoples, notably the Czechs, Poles, and Russians.
Mein Kampf also provides an explanation for the military conquests later attempted by Hitler and the Germans. Hitler states that since the Aryans are the master race, they are entitled simply by that fact to acquire more land for themselves. But in order to achieve this, Hitler states, Germany must first defeat its old enemy France, to avenge the German defeat of World War I and to secure the western border. Hitler bitterly recalls the end of the First World War, saying the German Army was denied its chance for victory on the battlefield by political treachery at home.
When Mein Kampf was first released in 1925 it sold poorly. However, after Hitler became Chancellor of Germany, millions of copies were sold. It was considered proper to own a copy and to give one to newlyweds, high school graduates, or to celebrate any similar occasion. But few Germans ever read it cover to cover. Although it made him rich, Hitler would later express regret that he produced Mein Kampf, considering the extent of its revelations. Those revelations concerning the nature of his character and his blueprint for Germany’s future served as a warning to the world. A warning that was mostly ignored.