Mein Kampf, E-Readers, and the Power of Nazi Propaganda


Mein Kampf is the sleeper e-book hit of 2013, with a number of competing digital versions of Hitler's autobiographical manifesto surging at online retailers. According to journalist Chris Faraone, the trend may have much to do with the anonymity digital editions afford readers. 

People might not have wanted to buy Mein Kampf at Borders or have it delivered to their home or displayed on their living room bookshelf, let alone get spotted reading it on a subway, but judging by hundreds of customer comments online, readers like that digital copies can be quietly perused then dropped into a folder or deleted.

Mein Kampf survives as one of the most effective pieces of propaganda created by the Nazis, who knew a lot about using mass media to instill fear and loyalty. In a 2010 Reason TV video, Steve Luckert of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's highlighted some of the artifacts displayed in"State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda." Among them: a braille copy of Mein Kampf.

The original text from the Dec. 2, 2010 video, which was produced by Jim Epstein, is below. 

From radio and film to newspapers and publishing, the Nazi regime controlled every aspect of German culture from 1933-1945. Through Josef Goebbels' Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, the German state tightly controlled political messaging, promoting deification of the leader—the Führerprinzip—and the demonization of the ubiquitous and duplicitous "racial enemy." A new exhibit at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., examines "how the Nazi Party used modern techniques as well as new technologies and carefully crafted messages to sway millions with its vision for a new Germany."'s Michael C. Moynihan visited with museum historian and curator Steve Luckert to discuss the role and effectiveness of propaganda in the rise of fascism and what lessons can be drawn from the Nazi experiment in mass manipulation

Approximately 6 minutes.