Hitler's Library

Hitler's Library

Ambrus Miskolczy
Copyright Date: 2003
Edition: NED - New edition, 1
Pages: 186
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7829/j.ctt2jbnfm
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  • Book Info
    Hitler's Library
    Book Description:

    The first book to present the so-called Hitler Library. It sheds new light on the readings of Hitler and on his techniques how to read a book. Hitler presented himself as an ideal reader of Schopenhauer, nevertheless his remarks destroy that image, particularly if we see how he read Ernst Jünger, Richard Wagner, or Paul de Lagarde, and how he reread Mein Kampf. The book describes the gnostic character of the phenomenon as an explication of the success of nazism and that of the Hitler myth and challenges the static views of traditional historiography.

    eISBN: 978-615-5053-92-4
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. vii-xx)

    This work is an investigation of Hitler’s library. To be honest, I found myself in this “library” quite by accident. While reading in the Library of Congress in Washington, I discovered that Hitler’s books, or rather a number of his books, are lodged there in the Rare Book Division. American soldiers gathered them up from a salt mine near Obersalzberg. From the stamps in the books it is discernible that a significant part of the Hitler Library came from the Berghof in Obersalzberg, in addition to the books that arrived there from the Reich Chancellery, and from the Party Headquarter...

  4. Chapter 1 Hitler’s Erudition and Reading Habits
    (pp. 1-12)

    “Apparently [writes one of the best contemporary analysts of the Hitler myth] he never reads very much beyond official papers. He would never open a book, not even on the most tempestuous of days. His personal room at the Braun House had no books, and none of the pictures taken at his chalet show any. It is doubtful that he has ever made a serious attempt to study any historical or philosophical works.”¹ This opinion, however, was formed in the heat of counterpropaganda, and was mostly based on personal impressions, because, as we shall see, Hitler also wrote studies on...

  5. Chapter 2 Books That Hitler Read: Penciled Notes Attest
    (pp. 13-44)

    Let us examine how and to what the penciled notes attest.

    There is obviously a question as to whether it was always Hitler who wrote into these books. However, our impressions and experiences indicate that both the fine graphite pencil lines and the rough blue or red underlinings originate from his hand. In any case, who would have dared to defile his books apart from the authors themselves who might have wished to draw his attention to something in this way? True enough, there are some books, as we understand it, that he obtained second hand in his youth, and...

  6. Chapter 3 Books That Hitler Read Into
    (pp. 45-62)

    Perhaps the only common feature of the books dedicated to Hitler was that their authors, as we shall see, represented points of view that directly conflicted with one another. Obviously, Nazis wrote the majority of these books. Indeed, an intellectual and moral low point is marked by Nazi belles-lettres, if this pile of books can be referred to in that way at all. But why their belles-lettres?

    The answer to the question of why belles-lettres mark such a low point is based on impressions and to some extent on our astonishment. It is no use denying that there is a...

  7. Chapter 4 Books That Hitler Did Not Read (In Depth)
    (pp. 63-98)

    Books that were uncut or visibly untouched can be categorized as either valuable or rubbish. Not one book illustrates this fact better than Rabindranath Tagore’s book on nationalism, together with its dedication. The book claims that “nationalism is a great danger,” because the nation is becoming empty; “it diverts one’s willingness to make sacrifices for one’s real moral and live aim and directs it towards a mechanical and lifeless aim.”¹ The dedication written in April 1921 by Babette Steininger is more ambiguous. She cited a runic script inscribed in a decorative fastener which has two readings, “Logapore, Wodan, Donar, help!”,...

  8. Chapter 5 Hitler’s Works
    (pp. 99-126)

    On entering the storeroom of the Rare Books Collection of the Library of Congress in Washington the first thing that catches one’s attention on the shelves is an enormous row of volumes of Mein Kampf—for the blind. In fact, not many of Hitler’s own works survived. There are the collected speeches bound in brown volumes with a few press cuttings. They are important to Hitler research because they are more complete than any publication so far. They were presumably typed out on the basis of speeches he gave, since here and there the typist missed a word. Looking through...

  9. Chapter 6 On the Führer’s Taste: Artistic Albums and Catalogues
    (pp. 127-146)

    Hjalmar Schacht acted as the Reich’s economic minister between 1934–1937. At the Nuremberg trials he declared that Hitler “read an endless amount, gathered enormous knowledge, and juggled with this knowledge as a virtuoso in debates and lectures.”¹ Today’s reader can barely discern any juggling in his Kulturrede from the Nuremberg Party Rally. The rhetoric mentions names, but no citations are apparent, although many recall just how much he was able to conjure up from memory. Still, the fact that the rhetorician did not quote directly from others may indicate a wise use of tactics—if the style of the...

  10. Epilogue Farewell to the World of Hitler and His Library
    (pp. 147-154)

    Hitler’s library documents a sinful and criminal subculture. Our browsing through the library has shown how the thoughts buried there became part of the “granite foundation”—to use an expression from Mein Kampf—of the Hitlerian world view, a view that at times sacrificed acknowledgement of its actual sources, as in the cases of Dinter or Feder, for example. Something that Nazi authors shared beyond their worldview was their fate: they were immensely pathetic, unhappy, and pitiful people. Hitler was deeply honest in his letter (with all its linguistic and spelling mistakes) to the Magistrate of Linz in 1914, in...

  11. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 155-160)
  12. Name Index
    (pp. 161-164)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 165-165)