Essays

The Quality of Hitler’s Writing

by Hadding Scott

APPARENTLY SOME JEW named Ryback has just written a book that includes extensive criticism of Hitler as a writer.

Since I have read the first half of Mein KampfEine Abrechnung, in German, I feel qualified to make some comments.

People think that Hitler was a terrible writer mainly because that is what Konrad Heiden wrote in the foreword to Ralph Mannheim’s translation, which is certainly the most widely distributed translation of Mein Kampf in English. The newer foreword to the Mannheim translation by Abe Foxman parrots Heiden on this point.

You almost have to wonder if Heiden even bothered to read the book before he wrote his foreword. Heiden says for example that the title of the first half of Mein KampfEine Abrechnung (“A Reckoning,” as Mannheim renders it) is unrelated to its content, supposedly because Hitler changed his mind about what he was going to write and didn’t bother to change the title. This is total nonsense.

Heiden has failed to grasp, first of all, that the title is a double entendre. Eine Abrechnung means recounting or payback. Hitler recounts the experiences that formed his political views and notes instances of payback for ignoring the principle of race. Variants of the word Abrechnung appear at key points in the text where these things occur (thus alluding back to the book’s title).

The only place where Eine Abrechnung meanders a bit is in the last chapter, where Hitler apparently wanted to say some things that seemed important but didn’t entirely fit into the rest of his narrative; this is understandable since Eine Abrechnung originally was the whole of Mein Kampf.

There are a few grammatical oddities (mostly regarding word order, which some other important German authors also did not always respect) and some unusual uses of words in Mein Kampf, but nothing to make you think that the writer is unintelligent. The overall quality of the writing is very good, even poetic at times.

An English-speaking reader might well get the idea that Hitler was a terrible writer from the Mannheim translation, because it is a badly rendered translation, in this respect: a good translator doesn’t translate German phrases word for word. That results in some very clunky expressions in English whereas the original German expression may have been entirely normal to a German reader.* A translator can easily make a German author look ridiculous that way, if he wishes. It doesn’t even have to be deliberate; there are a lot of hard-to-read translations of German books around. It takes considerable talent to render a German text in English that will seem completely natural without any hint of foreignness. Where there is a lot of ill will toward a German author the probability that somebody with the requisite talent will make the effort to render a good, easy-to-read, and naturally flowing translation is rather small. In Ralph Mannheim we were not so lucky.

(Ernst Zündel once said that the Mannheim translation is “fairly good” in that it represents Hitler’s ideas accurately. What we are discussing here, what Ryback attacked, is the quality of Hitler’s writing, not the content and whether it has been correctly understood. Mannheim’s is on the whole an accurate translation — I have found very little in it that did not accurately represent the meaning of what Hitler said — but stylistically it is mediocre and does not do justice to Hitler’s style, which is elegant. There are places where Mannheim’s English renderings are too literal and consequently strange-sounding. The Mannheim translation speciously supports Heiden’s claim that Hitler was a poor stylist.)

* The extreme case of such word-for-word translation is called Luebke English.

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Source: National-Socialist Worldview

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7 Comments

  1. June 6, 2018 at 6:28 pm — Reply

    Just a FYI: I have read that the Ford translation is the most accurate.

  2. Axis Sally
    June 7, 2018 at 1:33 am — Reply

    Thank you Hadding, for pointing this out. Every English translation I have seen seems to deliberately strive to make the author appear an illiterate buffoon. The Random House Modern Library edition I once owned even included snide remarks in the footnotes. I burned it. English translations of important German literature almost invariably include an introduction, usually written by a Jew, which tries to subvert the reader by hinting at what conclusions he is expected to draw from what he is about to read. For this reason, I believe, it is essential to read the important works in the original rendering. This is especially true of Hitler, Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, and Kant.

  3. cc
    June 7, 2018 at 10:02 am — Reply

    Jews have a tendency to lecture the reader. Ayn Rand is a good example. This explains why those people have no problem editing writings not of their persuasion. With no language or country of their own in spite of the artificial state, they prefer English which is a Germanic dialect. Jews bend their knee to speak a borrowed language.

    A.H. said everything they do is patchwork.

    Over at the Hitler Museum, his writings are morally upright. He doesn’t try to win the reader over. Hits the fact and moves to the next sentence.

  4. June 7, 2018 at 5:50 pm — Reply

    Hadding, I’m sending you Cecil Vivian Pollard’s 1950 edition of The Practical Solution to German Translation. Pollard also wrote German– The Easy Way, 1945, and The Key to Rapid Translation of German, 1947. Let me know if you already have the book. If you don’t, let me know and when finished with it, please see that it is returned for inclusion in the WLP research library. It came to us from Dr. Daams’ collection.

    There are no political statements in this book whatsoever, and it’s doubtful that the author (b. 1902, d. 1960) was related to the Pollard that sired the Jew spy Jonathan. Mother Caroline Frances Pollard (born Ogilvie) and father Alfred George Pollard had seven sons, none that I could find had Hebrew “Christian” names.

  5. Michael Dean Miller
    June 9, 2018 at 9:37 am — Reply

    .

    I read Mannheim’s translation.
    His text was … blocky? …tongue trip ups …odd wording?
    Apparently, lots of thought and ideas, subtleties and nuances really do get lost in translation.
    In short Hitler let us know what bugged him and wrote a book about it.
    Writing wasn’t bad for a first time best seller, I guess.

    .

  6. cc
    June 9, 2018 at 8:00 pm — Reply

    Hitler Historical Museum

    The url’s are attached to the same website.

    http://www.hitler.org/

    http://www.hitler.org/writings/

    Mein Kampf – Hitler’s Autobiography, written in Landsberg prison after the putsch and exceeded in popularity by only the Bible.

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