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Mein Kampf

Mein Kampf (German "My Struggle") is a book written by Adolf Hitler. The first volume, titled Eine Abrechnung ("A reckoning") was published in 1925; the second volume Die nationalsozialistische Bewegung ("The national-socialistic movement") was published in 1926.

Hitler dictated the book during his imprisonment in Landsberg[?] to his later secretary Rudolf Hess, who edited it. The book is convoluted, repetitious and hard to read but clearly outlines Hitler's violent anti-semitism as well as his plans to gain "living space" in Poland and Russia. Much of the autobiographical material was distorted or fabricated by Hitler.

Before Hitler's rise to power, the book sold very slowly. Although the NSDAP (the Nazi party) claimed that it was already a huge seller, documents revealed following World War II proved that to be false. Some historians have speculated that a wider reading might have alerted the world to the dangers Hitler would pose to peace in Europe and to the genocide that he would pursue, now known as the Holocaust. An abridged English translation was produced before World War II. However, the publisher removed some of the more anti-semitic and militaristic statements. The publication of this version caused Alan Cranston[?], who was an American reporter for UPI in Germany and later senator from California, to publish his own abridged and annotated translation, which he believed to more truly reflect the contents of the book. In 1939 he was sued by Hitler for copyright infringement and a Connecticut judge ruled in Hitler's favor; the publication of Cranston's version had to be stopped, after about 500,000 copies had been sold.

After Hitler's rise to power, the book gained enormous popularity and virtually became a Bible of every Nazi, or a member of the NSDAP. Every couple intending to get married was required to own a copy. Sales of Mein Kampf earned Hitler millions; however many of those who purchased it never read it; many bought it simply to show their allegiance to Hitler, gain position in Nazism and avoid the attentions of the Gestapo. By the end of the war, about 10 million copies of the book had been distributed in Germany.

In his testament Hitler gave the copyright of Mein Kampf to the state of Bavaria. The copyright will end on December 31, 2015. The government of Bavaria, in agreement with the Federal Government of Germany, does not allow any copying or printing of the book in Germany, and opposes it also in other countries. (The book is still being printed in other countries however.) Owning and buying the book is legal. Trading in old copies is legal as well, unless it is done in such a fashion as to promote hatred or war, which is generally illegal. Most German libraries carry heavily commented and excerpted versions of Mein Kampf.

In 1999, the Simon Wiesenthal center[?] documented that major internet booksellers like amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com sell Mein Kampf to Germany. After a public outcry, both companies agreed to stop those sales.

Public-domain copies of Mein Kampf are available at various Internet sites with links to banned books; also, several white supremacist and hate-oriented Web sites provide copies of the book.

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