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Back in the Day: First publication of 'Mein Kampf'

Back in the Day

Back in the Day: First publication of 'Mein Kampf'


July 18 1925 marks the first publication of Mein Kampf.

Mein Kampf (‘My Struggle’) was written by Adolph Hitler during his time in prison following the failed ‘Munich Putsch’.

In addition to autobiographical elements, the work also expresses Hitler’s social and political ideologies. His theories on race are exposed, portraying the superiority of the Aryan race against the inferiority and low rank on the racial scale of the Jewish population and Romany gypsies. He also writes about his desire for military expansion and for a ‘new Germany’.

Mein Kampf was not immediately successful. In the five years following its publication, just 23,000 copies were sold. However, sales increased and had reached 1.5 million copies by 1935. From 1936 onwards, it was being given to newly-married couples as a wedding present from the state. Historian Ian Kershaw estimates that approximately 10 million copies of the book existed in Germany in 1945, so one copy for every two households.

From 1933, the book became a political reference point and deluxe copies were made for high-ranking Nazis.

The work has since been translated into 16 languages and, in 2008, total sales of Mein Kampf were estimated to have reached 80 million.

Also on July 18:

  • 1898: French author Emile Zola is exiled to London, following his conviction for “attacking” President of the Republic Felix Faure in his open letter entitled “J’accuse… !”.
  • 1921: Birth of the BCG vaccination against Tuberculosis.
  • 1936: Start of the Spanish Civil War. It ended in 1939.

Born on July 18

  • 1909: Andreï Gromyko, 10th president of the USSR.
  • 1918: Nelson Mandela, Nobel Peace Prize winner and symbol of the fight against the Apartheid.
  • 1950: Richard Branson, founder of Virgin.

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