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The Zweites Buch (German, "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 never published in his lifetime.
A sequel to Mein Kampf
After the Nazi Party's poor showing in the 1928 elections, Hitler decided that the public did not fully understand his ideas. He retired to Munich and began dictating a sequel to Mein Kampf. It focused on foreign policy, expanding on the ideas of Mein Kampf and suggesting that around 1980, a final struggle would take place between the United States and the combined forces of Greater Germany and the British Empire.
The origins of Zweites Buch can be traced back to one of the main issues during the 1928 Reichstag elections, the condition of ethnic Germans in Italy.
In the province of Alto Adige, which was the former Austrian province of South Tyrol had become part of the Italy after World War I, but possessed a German-speaking majority, Benito Mussolini's Fascist government had followed a policy of forcible Italianization of the German-speaking majority, a policy widely opposed in Germany.[clarification needed] During the 1928 Reichstag elections, the leader of the German People's Party, the Foreign Minister Gustav Stresemann felt that taking a strong diplomatic stand against the Italianization policies of Fascist Italy might improve his party's chances at the polls. Indeed, every German political party — except the Nazi Party — followed Stresemann's lead and vied with each other to offer the strongest possible condemnation of Mussolini's treatment of Italy's German minority.
Hitler publicly stated that Germany needed Italy as an ally, and thus the German government should remain silent about the Tyrol issue. Hitler was roundly condemned by every other German political party for his views about the Tyrol issue; Even many of the other Nazi leaders were uncomfortable with Hitler's stance. Hitler wrote Zweites Buch initially to explain why he felt that Germany should not champion Tyrol's German population. Hitler considered Mussolini one of the world's great statesmen, and was willing to abandon Tyrol's German population to forge an alliance with him.
Moreover, Hitler attacked Stresemann for his goal of restoring Germany to its pre-1914 position. In Hitler's view, merely overthrowing the Treaty of Versailles and restoring Germany to its pre-1914 borders was only a temporary solution. In Zweites Buch, Hitler stated his belief that Germany's real problem was the lack of sufficient Lebensraum ("Living space") for the German people. In Hitler's view, only states with large amounts of Lebensraum were successful. In Zweites Buch, Hitler announced that overthrowing the "shackles" of Versailles would be only the first step in a Nazi foreign policy, whose ultimate objective was to obtain the desired Lebensraum in the territory of Russia.
Only two copies of the original 200-page manuscript were made, and only one of these copies has ever been made public. Zweites Buch was not published in 1928 as Mein Kampf was not selling well, and Hitler's publisher informed him that having two books out would depress sales even further. By the time Mein Kampf started to sell well after the September 1930 Reichstag elections, Hitler decided that Zweites Buch revealed too much of his foreign policy goals. Kept strictly secret under Hitler's orders, the document was placed in a safe inside an air raid shelter in 1935 where it remained until its discovery by an American officer in 1945. The authenticity of the book was verified by Josef Berg (a former employee of the Nazi publishing house Eher Verlag) and by Telford Taylor, the former Brigadier General U.S.A.R. and Chief Counsel at the Nuremberg war-crimes trials. The book was neither edited nor published during the Nazi Germany era and remains known as Zweites Buch (lit. "Second Book"). The Zweites Buch was first discovered in the Nazi archives being held in the United States by the German-born Jewish American historian Gerhard Weinberg in 1958. Unable to find an American publisher, Weinberg turned to his Jewish mentor Hans Rothfels and his associate Martin Broszat at the Institute of Contemporary History in Munich, who published Zweites Buch in 1961 in German. Rothfels wrote the foreword to the 1961 edition. A pirated edition was translated into English and published in New York in 1962. The first authoritative English edition was not published until 2003 as Hitler's Second Book: The Unpublished Sequel to Mein Kampf. It has also been published under the title "Hitler's Secret Book".
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 announced that, around 1980, the final struggle for world domination would take place between the United States and the now Greater Germany allied with the British Empire. Zweites Buch also offers a different perspective on the United States 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.
Ideas on international relations
Of all Germany's potential enemies, Hitler ranked the United States as the greatest and most dangerous. By contrast, Hitler saw the United Kingdom 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 over by what he regarded as a gang of bloodthirsty but inept Jewish revolutionaries. By contrast, the majority of Americans were in Hitler's view "Aryans", albeit Aryans ruled by what Hitler saw as a Jewish plutocracy. In Hitler's point of view, it was this combination of "Aryan" might coupled with competent "Jewish rule" which was what made the U.S. so dangerous.
In Zweites Buch, Hitler called for an Anglo-German alliance based on political expediency as well as the notion that the two "Aryan" powers were natural allies. In Zweites Buch, Hitler tried to explain away the contradiction between his view of the British striving for a balance of power leading to an Anglo-German alliance, and his goal of Germany being the dominant continental power by arguing 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" against "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."
In Mein Kampf, Hitler rarely mentioned the United States and when he did, it was in a tone of deep contempt. In Mein Kampf, Hitler portrayed the United States as a "racially degenerate" society on its way to self-destruction. By contrast, in Zweites Buch, Hitler portrayed the U.S. as a dynamic, "racially successful" society that practiced eugenics and segregation and followed what Hitler considered to be a wise policy of excluding "racially degenerate" immigration from eastern and southern Europe. What promoted the change in Hitler's views between 1924 and 1928 is not known. By 1928, Hitler seems to have heard about the U.S.' massive industrial wealth, the Immigration Act of 1924, segregation, and the fact that several American states had eugenics boards to sterilize people who were considered mentally defective, and was favorably impressed. Hitler proclaimed his admiration for these sorts of policies and expressed his wish that Germany would do similar things, albeit on a much greater scale.
- Eberhard, Jäckel Hitler's World View A Blueprint for Power, Harvard University Press: Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States of America, 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
- Gerhard L. Weinberg (editor) Hitler's Second Book: The Unpublished Sequel to Mein Kampf, Enigma Books: New York, 2003, ISBN 1-929631-16-2