1961 German-language hardcover edition
|Subject||Autobiography, political theory|
|Preceded by||Mein Kampf|
The Zweites Buch (pronounced [ˈtsvaɪ̯təs buːχ], "Second Book"), published in English as unofficially Hitler's Secret Book and then officially Hitler's Second Book, is an unedited transcript of Adolf Hitler's thoughts on foreign policy written in 1928; it was written after Mein Kampf and was not published in his lifetime. The Zweites Buch was not published in 1928 because Mein Kampf did not sell well at that time and Hitler's publisher, Franz-Eher-Verlag, told Hitler that a second book would hinder sales even more.
Zweites Buch and Mein Kampf
There are a number of similarities and differences between Zweites Buch and Mein Kampf. As in Mein Kampf, Hitler declared that the Jews were his eternal and most dangerous opponents. As in Mein Kampf, Hitler outlined what the German historian Andreas Hillgruber has called his Stufenplan ("stage-by-stage plan"). Hitler himself never used the term Stufenplan, which was coined by Hillgruber in his 1965 book Hitlers Strategie. Briefly, the Stufenplan called for three stages. In the first stage, there would be a massive military build-up, the overthrow of the shackles of the Treaty of Versailles, and the forming of alliances with Fascist Italy and the British Empire. The second stage would be a series of fast, "lightning wars" in conjunction with Italy and Britain against France and whichever of her allies in Eastern Europe—such as Czechoslovakia, Poland, Romania and Yugoslavia—chose to stand by her. The third stage would be a war to obliterate what Hitler considered to be the "Judeo-Bolshevik" regime in the Soviet Union.
In contrast to Mein Kampf, in Zweites Buch Hitler added a fourth stage to the Stufenplan. He insinuated that in the far future a struggle for world domination might take place between the United States and a European alliance comprising a new association of nations, consisting of individual states with high national value. Zweites Buch also offers a different perspective on the U.S. than that outlined in Mein Kampf. In the latter, Hitler declared that Germany's most dangerous opponent on the international scene was the Soviet Union; in Zweites Buch, Hitler declared that for immediate purposes, the Soviet Union was still the most dangerous opponent, but that in the long-term, the most dangerous potential opponent was the United States.
In the first two chapters Hitler proclaims the conquest of habitat as the main subject of the Nazi movement, and he gives it a far-reaching and detailed analysis.
The starting point of his analysis is the "struggle for daily bread" as the basis of human society. From this he develops his central idea of the relationship between the population and the size of the habitat of a people. If this is out of proportion, degeneration and a decline of the nation results. Hitler raises the struggle for adequate habitat to a central principle of human history. Hitler believes this battle can only be fought militarily.
As alternatives to the struggle for living space, he sees birth control to reduce emigration of the population, increasing food production, and increasing exports to buy additional food. All of these alternatives he rejects. Birth control and emigration he rejects as a weakening of the people. The increase of food production he declares is insufficiently feasible. Greater exports he discards because it leads to increased market competition with other nations, and therefore could only lead to the situation Germany faced in 1914. Hitler revisits these arguments several times in subsequent chapters.
In the other chapters Hitler developed his thoughts on the future National Socialist foreign policy that serves the struggle for living space. As in Mein Kampf, Hitler explains that the Jews are the eternal and most dangerous opponents of the German people; he also outlines and elaborates on his future political plans.
In Mein Kampf, Hitler had the United States mentioned only occasionally and even with contempt. They were, to him, a "racially degenerate" society that will continue to see its demise. In his second book, however, Hitler describes the United States as a dynamic and "racially successful" society that has eugenics, racial segregation practices, and an exemplary immigration policy at the expense of "inferior" immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe. Why this change occurred in Hitler's attitude between 1924-1928 is unknown. Historians have noted that Hitler was notoriously poorly informed about the world outside Germany and, at the time of the writing of Mein Kampf, he probably knew little about the United States. Hitler's knowledge of America came especially from the Western novels of Karl May he read. This seems to have changed by 1928; Hitler would have heard of the prosperity and industrialization in the United States, as well as the Immigration Act of 1924, racial segregation, and the fact that several states had the forced sterilization concept passed on supposedly mentally retarded people. Hitler stated his admiration for such measures, as well as his wish that Germany should adopt similar policies on a larger scale.
Hitler stated that National Socialist foreign policy was to be based on Lebensraum for the German people:
The National Socialist Movement, on the contrary, will always let its foreign policy be determined by the necessity to secure the space necessary to the life of our Folk. It knows no Germanising or Teutonising, as in the case of the national bourgeoisie, but only the spread of its own Folk. It will never see in the subjugated, so called Germanised, Czechs or Poles a national, let alone Folkish, strengthening, but only the racial weakening of our Folk.
Ideas on international relations
Of all Germany's potential enemies, Hitler ranked the U.S. as the most dangerous. By contrast, Hitler saw the UK as a fellow "Aryan" power that in exchange for Germany's renunciation of naval and colonial ambitions would ally itself with Germany. France, in Hitler's opinion, was rapidly "Negroizing" itself. In regard to the Soviet Union, Hitler dismissed the Russian people as being Slavic Untermenschen ("sub-humans") incapable of intelligent thought. Hitler consequently believed that the Russian people were ruled by what he regarded as a gang of bloodthirsty but inept Jewish revolutionaries.
In Zweites Buch, Hitler called for an Anglo-German alliance based on political expediency as well as the notion that the two Germanic powers were natural allies. In Zweites Buch, Hitler argued that the alleged British striving for a balance of power leading to an Anglo-German alliance would not conflict with his goal of Germany being the dominant continental power because it was wrong to believe that "England fought every hegemonic power immediately", but rather was prepared to accept dominant states whose aims were "obviously and purely continental in nature". Hitler went on to write that "Of course no one in Britain will conclude an alliance for the good of Germany, but only in the furtherance of British interests." Nonetheless, because Hitler believed that there was an ongoing struggle between the "Jewish invasion" and the "old British tradition" for the control of Britain, Hitler believed the chances for Anglo-German alliance to be good provided the "Jewish invasion" was resisted successfully. Hitler hedged somewhat, however, by claiming that
The instincts of Anglo-Saxondom are still so sharp and alive that one cannot speak of a complete victory of Jewry, but rather, in part the latter is still forced to adjust its interests to those of the English. If the Jew were to triumph in England, English interests would recede into the background.... [But] if the Briton triumphs then a shift of England's attitude vis-à-vis Germany can still take place."
English publication history
The book was pirated, poorly translated in English, and then unofficially published as Hitler's Secret Book in 1962. More than forty years later, it was re-released officially in 2003 as Hitler's Second Book with newer translation by Gerhard Weinberg.
- Publishers Weeekly
- Cf. Adam Tooze (2007): The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy. London. p. 13.
- Hitler, Adolf; Weinberg, Gerhard L. (editor) (2003). Hitler's second book: the unpublished sequel to Mein Kampf, p. 227. Enigma.
- Hillgruber, Andreas Germany and the Two World Wars, Harvard University Press: Cambridge, 1981 pages 50–51
- Zweites Buch, p.143
- Jäckel, Eberhard Hitler's World View page 41
- Strobl, Gerwin The Germanic Isle page 43.
- Leitz, Christian Nazi Foreign Policy page 35
- Eberhard, Jäckel, Hitler's World View A Blueprint for Power, Harvard University Press: Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States of America, 1981.
- Hillgruber, Andreas Germany and the Two World Wars, Harvard University Press: Cambridge, 1981.
- Leitz, Christian, Nazi Foreign Policy, 1933–1941 The Road to Global War, Routledge: London, United Kingdom, 2004.
- Strobl, Gerwin, The Germanic Isle Nazi Perceptions of Britain, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, United Kingdom, 2000.
- Weinberg, Gerhard L. (editor), Hitler's Second Book: The Unpublished Sequel to Mein Kampf, Enigma Books: New York, 2003, ISBN 1-929631-16-2.