Adolf Hitler on 'Public Opinion'

I'VE BEEN READING THOMAS DALTON'S GREAT TRANSLATION OF MEIN KAMPF and enjoying it so much. I had read the Murphy translation twice and was satisfied with it, and I haven't yet compared the two up close, but I can tell Dalton's has a different feel to it. A very natural feel to me … maybe because Dalton is an American academic. I have Volume One of the dual German-English version, so I also like that I can compare the German on the left-hand page with the English on the right hand page and see that the paragraphs on both sides match so closely, giving me confidence that I am reading just what Hitler actually dictated in 1925 when he was 36 years old.

Certain passages came across to me as so pertinent to us today that I was inspired to run a series of posts whereby I just copy them (and comment if I feel called to). I'm not starting at the beginning but in Chapter 3, because this is where I first felt that what Hitler was saying was so very relevant to us today.

Page 189 – 3.12 'PUBLIC OPINION'

Objectively considered, there is no other principle that turns out to be quite so ill-conceived as parliamentarianism.

Here we may pass over the methods according to which the election of the representatives takes place […] Everyone who properly estimates the political intelligence of the masses can easily see that it is insufficient to independently form a general political outlook, or to select the men who might be competent to carry out their ideas.

Whatever definition we may give to the term 'public opinion,' only a very small part of it originates from personal experience or individual insight. The greater portion results from the manner in which public matters have been presented to the people, through an overwhelmingly impressive and persistent system of 'information.'


By far the most effective branch of political education—that which is best expressed by the word 'propaganda'—is conducted by the press. The press is the chief means employed in the process of political 'enlightenment.' It represents a kind of school for adults. This educational activity, however, is not in the hands of the state but in the clutches of powers that are of a very inferior character.

While still a young man in Vienna, I had excellent opportunities for coming to know the men who owned this machine for mass instruction, as well as those who supplied it with ideas. At first I was quite surprised when I realized how little time was necessary for this great evil power within the state to produce a certain belief among the public. It took the press only a few days to transform some ridiculously trivial matter into an issue of national importance—while vital problems were completely ignored or hidden away from public view.

The press succeeded in the magical art of producing names from nowhere within just a few weeks. They made it appear that the great hopes of the masses were bound up with those names. And so they made those names more popular than any man of real ability could ever hope for. All this was done despite the fact that such names were utterly unknown, even up to a month before the press publicly extolled them.

[…] To understand the really pernicious influence the press can exercise, one must study this infamous Jewish method whereby honorable and decent people are besmirched with filth, in the lowest form of abuse and slander, from hundreds of directions simultaneously—as if by magic.

Those spiritual robbers will grab at anything that might serve their evil ends.

They would poke their noses into the most intimate family affairs, and not rest until they had sniffed out some petty issue that could be used to destroy the victim's reputation. But even if nothing were discovered in the private or public life of the victim, they continued to hurl abuse at him in the belief that some of their charges would stick, even though refuted a thousand times. In most cases, it finally became impossible for the victim to continue his defense because the accuser worked together with so many accomplices that his slanders were repeated interminably.

But these slanderers would never admit that they were acting from motives that were believable or comprehensible to the common run of humanity. God forbid! The scoundrel who defamed his contemporaries in this villainous way would, like an octopus, cover himself with a cloud of respectability and clever phrases about his 'journalistic duty' and other such nonsense. When these pests gathered in large numbers at meetings and congresses, they would dish out a lot of slimy talk about a special kind of 'honor'—namely the professional honor of the journalist. Then the assembled species would bow their respects to one another.

Comment: What we are experiencing today in the age of Trump is simply a more heightened awareness of the kind of media manipulation that has always been going on. Hitler really hits it in the last two sentences - what we see when these 'journalists' get together in their numerous awards ceremonies, which are publicized as 'celebrity events.'


Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf