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Ever since the early s, the history of Adolf Hitler 's Mein Kampf in English has been complicated and has been the occasion for controversy.
In , just four years after the war to end all wars, an unknown Austrian then living in Bavaria planned a pamphlet to be called Settling Accounts. In it he intended to attack the ineffectiveness of the dominant political parties in Germany which were opposed to the new National Socialists Nazis. In November , Adolf Hitler was jailed for the abortive Munich Beer Hall putsch along with men willing and able to assist him with his writing. With the help of these collaborators, chief among them Rudolf Hess, the pamphlet became a book.
Ever since the early s, the history of Adolf Hitler 's Mein Kampf in English has been complicated and has been the occasion for controversy. Not all of these had official approval from his publishers, Eher Verlag. Since the war, the Ralph Manheim translation has been the most popular published translation, though other versions have continued to circulate. Eher Verlag took steps to secure the copyright and trademark rights to Mein Kampf in the United States in and In the literary agency Curtis Brown, Limited secured the assignment for negotiation of translation rights in the United States and Great Britain, and a German copy was picked up by their employee, Cherry Kearton.
Even after the elections of September , when the Nazi Party became the second largest party in the Reichstag , publishers were cautious about investing in a translation, due to the Great Depression.
The same election inspired Blanche Dugdale to urge her husband, E. Dugdale , to write an abridgement of Mein Kampf. Dugdale began his work on this abridgement in about , but he, too, was unable to find a publisher for it.
The abridgement was finally published in October In January , Houghton Mifflin issued a second edition, the first having sold out. The publishers replaced the old dust jacket that featured Hitler giving his salute over a black and white background with a new one that featured panels of black, red, and yellow and a quotation from Dorothy Thompson.
This led to an official protest by the German government, as the black-red-yellow color scheme was emblematic of the liberal German revolutions of —49 and the Weimar Republic , while the Nazis had returned to the black, white, red of the Second Reich. Houghton Mifflin agreed to change the yellow to white, but it is unknown whether the Dorothy Thompson quotation was ever removed.
The first printing was a deluxe shilling book that sold out its 5, copies and was never reprinted. The popular edition cost 3s. Below is a table of available sales figures of the Dugdale abridgment in the United Kingdom.
The commission was payable to Curtis Brown as literary agent, and the tax to Inland Revenue. The first printing of the U. Dugdale edition was 7, copies, of which were given away as complimentary gifts. The royalty on the first printing in the U. There were three separate printings from August to March , totaling 14,; sales totals by March 31, , were 10, The Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda commissioned James Vincent Murphy , who had been employed to make English translations of Hitler's speeches and other items, to begin an English translation of Mein Kampf in late and it was finished by the fall of Murphy was beginning to be seen as "unreliable" by the government and was dismissed from his position at the Ministry.
As the international situation worsened in , Murphy sent his wife and children to England to live with her mother. They arrived in Southampton in June, while James finished up the rest of his commissioned translation work in Berlin and came to London in early September. In London Murphy contacted his literary agent, Robert Somerville, and they found an interested publisher in Heinemann.
However, they realized that translation rights in the United Kingdom and its dependencies already belonged to Hurst and Blackett. Furthermore, they did not have a manuscript in hand. So Murphy was convinced to return to Germany to secure both a copy of the manuscript and permission to publish it, but on the date he was scheduled fly to Berlin.
Therefore, his wife, Mary, decided to make the trip, finally crossing the Channel on November 6, In Berlin she was unable to schedule any appointments with the Propaganda Ministry until November This meant she was in Berlin during the infamous Kristallnacht pogrom of November 9.
She pursued other contacts within the Ministry but came up empty handed. Finally, without any more money and living with her ex-house keeper, she decided to visit one of James' former secretaries whom he had employed as a typist. To her great relief, she still had one of the handwritten copies of the James Murphy translation.
She left Berlin on November Meanwhile, Hurst and Blackett had not yet decided whether to publish Murphy's manuscript, or any translation at all. On November 21, they received a message from Eher Verlag stating that they had not authorized Murphy to publish his edition in England, but reiterating that Hurst and Blackett would be the publisher if any edition was ever released in England.
Unbeknownst to them, the various principals in Berlin and the German diplomats in the US were contacting each other, trying to find out what their position was with regards to the various translations. By the time the matter was finally sent to the Reichskanzlei in February , the point had been rendered moot. While neither Hitler nor any of the German government officials endorsed the Murphy translation, they ultimately took no action against it, and by May Eher Verlag was inquiring about possible royalties.
They were told that royalties would only be paid after six months in print. However, by then war had broken out between the two countries and copyright relations severed. Because so many records were destroyed during the war, accurate sales figures on Murphy's translation are difficult to establish. Robert Sommerfeld reported that approximately 32, copies were sold by August There was also an illustrated edition and a serial edition in eight parts.
It has been conjectured that ,—, copies were sold in total. The publishers did not feel the need to pay him any more after they received a letter from Germany prior to publication, stating he had already been paid for his efforts when he was employed by the Propaganda Ministry.
This 'Operation Sea Lion Edition' was finalized and printed in the summer of Very few copies survived after the war. They found that a team of scholars at the New School of Social Research were in the midst of preparing such a translation.
However, on December 8, , Stackpole Sons Inc. The agreement between Reynal and Hitchcock and Houghton Mifflin was finalized on February 18, and the book was available in stores on February After one year, Reynal and Hitchcock had the option of releasing a cheaper edition, and the agreement itself would expire after three years.
Houghton Mifflin would print and bind the book at its Riverside Press in Cambridge, Massachusetts and was allowed to keep publishing the My Battle abridgement. Notably, Houghton Mifflin agreed to pay all the expenses for seeking a copyright injunction , and subsequent legal fees would be split between the two companies.
To counter Stackpole's claims that sales of its translation would go to the Third Reich , Reynal contacted the various boycott committees and pledged all profits above their legitimate expenses would go to a charity for refugees. However, no assets could be touched for the Reynal and Hitchcock edition, including royalties or charitable donations, until the legal issues were settled.
As it happened, the legal battle did not finally end until October 25, Before this could be done, however, war broke out between the United States and Germany and Eher never received any royalties from this edition. As far as Hitler's royalties went, they were governed by the Trading with the Enemy Act of and put into an account assigned to the Office of Alien Property Custodian , succeeded by the United States Attorney General after the war. Fay , John Gunther , Carlton J.
Langer , Walter Millis , R. The book was translated from the two volumes of the first German edition and , with annotations appended noting any changes made in later editions, which were deemed "not as extensive as popularly supposed". The text was heavily annotated for an American audience with biographical and historical details derived largely from German sources. Apart from the editorial committee there was also a "sponsoring committee" of prominent individuals including Pearl S.
Buck , Dorothy Canfield , Edna St. Harry Emerson Fosdick , Rev. John Haynes Holmes , James M. John A. The Stackpole edition was translated and printed in a hurry between December and February The translation job was left to Barrows Mussey , who requested anonymity.
Coxe reasoned that "The Defendants Stackpole have raised questions of title and validity which are not free from doubt; the facts are in dispute; and the issues cannot properly be determined on affidavit. Houghton Mifflin appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit , and for a few months both translations were available for sale to the public.
Hand and Charles Edward Clark. The Supreme Court denied Stackpole's petition for a writ of certiorari that is, the Court declined to hear the appeal on October 23, , Felix Frankfurter recusing himself. Stackpole then tried further appeals, this time based on the original contract between Eher Press and Houghton Mifflin.
Chase and Robert P. Patterson , who ruled in July that Houghton Mifflin did need to get authorization from Eher Verlag in order to prove their contract valid. However, Stackpole was still enjoined from selling its translation. Eher Verlag, who had not previously been involved in the case, gave a statement to a consular official in Munich in , and the case was finally settled in District Court on September 4, , when Houghton Mifflin was authorized to collect damages from Stackpole.
In its publicity campaign for the book, Stackpole set up a committee of prominent individuals who were to handle the funds that sales of the book would provide to refugee charities. This committee included: Harold Lasswell , Wesley C. During the short period it was in print from February 28 — June 9, , Stackpole had sold 12, copies of its translation. No records show whether any profits were ever turned over to any charity. Worldcat lists copies worldwide.
The case set a legal precedent in US copyright law, as it established that stateless individuals have the same copyright status as other foreigners, a point not addressed in the Copyright Act of or in previous litigation.
The Reynal and Hitchcock translation went out of print in No reason was given, but it was speculated that it was because Houghton Mifflin did not want to share profits with Reynal and Hitchcock, as well as a desire to produce a cheaper, less bulky version, without the elaborate notes and commentary that the Reynal and Hitchcock translation had.
In Houghton Mifflin published their own edition, translated by Ralph Manheim , which they continued to publish into the 21st century. The decision to issue a new edition at all ran into opposition from the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the West German government. The new edition was finally published in Britain in an intentionally expensive hardcover edition in In its efforts to counteract the influence of Dugdale's Mein Kampf abridgement, the American Jewish Committee drew up a mimeograph of quotations which showed that Hitler "attacked not only the Jews but the liberal institutions that are the basis of the government of the United States and in which he glorified war and the militaristic spirit.
As these were not part of the abridged edition, copies of this mimeograph were sent to book reviews across the country. The first excerpts from Mein Kampf to be published in English were selections from the Dugdale abridgement in the London Times in July These were published on July 24, 25, 27 and Most of these were "semi-obscene allegations against the Jews", but others were on foreign policy and the role of education under Nazism.
A series of pamphlets published by the Friends of Europe included four which consisted of excerpts from Mein Kampf.
Home Forum Login. Download PDF Download. In the Bavarian Elector was made King of Bavaria by Napoleon and stipulated to back up Napoleon in all his wars with a force of 30, men. Thus Bavaria became the absolute vassal of the French. He was denounced to the French by a Bavarian police agent.
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