I’m not sure why, but I expected the terrible messages in Mein Kampf to be subtle. When I think of propaganda leading to widespread, harmful ideologies I think of governments pushing out ads for the military that promote nationalism, which in turn causes xenophobia, which then leads to hate crimes. Actually reading the book, my expectations were tossed out the window pretty quickly; the racism and antisemitism were so ouvert, I’m shocked so many people were on board with this man. If somebody tried to release a book like this in Germany today, it would be immediately shot down by a vast majority of people. No reason or critical justification would have to be provided to reject the book; simply pointing out the extremely harmful, bigoted ideas would suffice.
Despite how outlandish it seems that a book so terrible could be a pillar to such an influential ideology, outright bigotry has been successfully weaponized throughout history and will continue to be weaponized in years to come. Reading this book and discussing it in class has taught me more about Nazi rhetoric, so I feel more equipped to recognize and avoid it in other places. Fascism is a deadly ideology and it’s the last thing I ever want to support; reading one of the most well-known fascist manifestos will help me to avoid it in the future.