Saturday, November 16, 2013

Sein Kampf

After watching a presentation by the historian, David Irving, who is known and notorious for his apparent sympathy for Hitler and Nazism, I was sufficiently intrigued to buy a copy of Mein Kampf (In translation: I am no masochist). I was curious because Irving said that he had never read it, and I would have thought it counted as a primary source, and Irving castigates other historians for using mainly secondary sources.
It's a turgid read, repetitious and full of tendentious statements, but I am glad I have dipped into it (Years back, I carried out a similar exercise with Marx's Das Kapital, and dipping is all I could manage there, too). I am glad because it has shown me that Hitler was very clear about what was wrong (basically racial impurity) and how it could be put right. Most significantly, he was clear that the masses had an uninformed perception that things were wrong, a longing for things to be put right, and that they would rally to the leadership of a man who could define the disease and apply the remedy, namely himself.
Call it megalomania, call it a Messiah complex, but whatever it is, it sustained Hitler, it gave him the strength and determination to carry out his mission. As such, this drive is very very dangerous, because it brooks no opposition, it recognises no variation or alternative vision; and it is inflexible in the face of changing circumstances.
Looking at what has happened since Hitler's day in so many countries – Cambodia, Libya, North Korea, Venezuela and so on – the same phenomenon repeats itself. The latest country to fall victim to the Messiah complex is, in my view, Turkey. I have no doubt that if he had time, the PM of that country would write about sein Kampf,  his “struggle”.

No comments: