Sales of Adolf Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ Are Soaring After German Reprint

Sales of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf in Germany are soaring after a special new reprint edition of this book was released one year ago. The latest edition of Hitler’s political treatise was put out in January 2016 once a 70-year copyright had expired on the text in late 2015.

Unlike previous editions of this book during the Nazi-era, it now has just a white cover with no picture of Adolf Hitler on it as Nazi symbols have been banned throughout Germany and is being sold as Hitler, Mein Kampf, A Critical Edition.

This new reprint edition of Mein Kampf is the first reprint since World War II and features explanatory sections with 3,500 annotations. The publishers have been surprised to find that it has sold 85,000 copies of the book to date, as Reuters report.

Historic copies of Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf" are featured during launch of a new critical edition at the Institute for Contemporary History on January 8, 2016 in Munich, Germany.
Historic copies of Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf" are featured during launch of a new critical edition at the Institute for Contemporary History on January 8, 2016 in Munich, Germany. [Image by Johannes Simon/Getty Images]

The Institute for Contemporary History’s Andreas Wirshing, who heads up the publishing company, has said, “These sales figures have taken us by storm. No one could really have expected them.”

“We are very happy that the ambitious bridge between fundamental academic work and historical-political explanation appears to have succeeded.”

Adolf Hitler originally wrote Mein Kampf between 1924 and 1926, but the end of World War II saw it banned by the Allies. After Germany’s defeat in 1945, Allied forces gave the copyright to the state of Bavaria. The book’s title is translated as My Struggle. Hitler wrote the majority of this book while he was incarcerated in Landsberg Prison after his 1923 attempt at a coup in Munich during the same year.

In 1933, once Hitler had become Chancellor, the book turned into a bestseller. By 1945, Mein Kampf had sold 12 million copies and was also translated into 18 different languages.

While the new reprint of Mein Kampf is being reported to have strong sales currently, sales are still below best sellers in Germany, the BBC have said. Since the book hit No. 1 in April in Der Spiegel’s non-fiction charts, some have said that this is solid evidence that Nazi propaganda is making a comeback in Germany.

But this is not necessarily the case as a full quarter of books bought in Germany are bought close to Christmas, and it is easy to top book lists during other times of the year while still selling fewer copies. Furthermore, the treatise is being sold as an academic edition, with prices at €58 and is being purchased by academics, schools, and libraries.

Andreas Wirsching has said that he is in favor of what he calls “clever” teachers using his publishing company’s new academic reprint edition of Hitler’s Mein Kampf while teaching in the classroom. He also suggested not “repeating the absurd 1950s discussion, when people said ‘it was all Hitler’s fault’.”

A copy of "Mein Kampf" is shown at the press review for 'Hitler and the Germans Nation and Crime' at the German Historical Museum on October 13, 2010 in Berlin.
A copy of "Mein Kampf" is shown at the press review for 'Hitler and the Germans Nation and Crime' at the German Historical Museum on October 13, 2010 in Berlin. [Image by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images]

Wirsching stated that The Institute for Contemporary History had sought legal advice before they published Hitler’s treatise on a limited basis and that his company’s edition was meant to “preempt” other editions that might be put out by those who are Nazi sympathizers. Andreas Wirsching stated that it would be “irresponsible to just let this text spread arbitrarily.”

The New York Times notes that this new critical reprint edition of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf has brought about over five dozen discussions at memorial sites, schools, churches and museums, which Wirsching said gives people the opportunity to properly examine the book, which is useful when some aspects of far-right policies are gaining traction around the world.

“On the contrary, the discussions about Hitler’s worldview and dealing with his propaganda presented an opportunity at a time when authoritarian political beliefs and far-right slogans are again gaining in popularity to re-examine the ominous roots and results of such totalitarian ideologies.”

Do you think it was a good idea to put out this new critical reprint edition of Hitler’s Mein Kampf?

[Featured Image by Johannes Simon/Getty Images]