In Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler takes the opportunity to discuss a number of the most important issues that he struggled to understand and overcome. In this particular segment of the work, Hitler discusses Jewish people and how he came to form his more than mild distaste for them and their practices. The thesis, which Hitler goes on to argue later in the essay, is that his understanding of the Jewish people as a whole was shaped by a number of factors, including his family history and his personal experience. His thesis also seeks to argue that, in his experiences, he has found the Jewish people to be something less than human.
Adolf Hitler’s strategies for discussing his argument are varied and extensive. For all of his personal flaws, Hitler is a man of great calculation, so each of his thoughts was well supported and well developed. In this case, Hitler starts his support for the argument by describing his personal struggle to understand what he called “Jewry”. In his first paragraph, Hitler uses his father as an example of how he was never exposed to Judaism as an idea until he reached his teenage years. He writes, “At home I do not remember having heard the word during my father’s lifetime. I believe that the old gentleman would have regarded any special emphasis on this term as cultural backwardness. In the course of his life he had arrived at more or less cosmopolitan views which, despite his pronounced national sentiments, not only remained intact, but also affected me to some extent” (Hitler). In this quotation, the reader can see Hitler’s calculated struggle to understand the religion, as he had no basis for understanding passed down from his father.
Hitler uses very descriptive language to make his point about the Jewish people. In nearly all of his explanatory sentences, Hitler uses strong words against the people themselves. Hitler writes of Jewish people, “The cleanliness of this people, moral and otherwise, I must say, is a point in itself. By their very exterior you could tell that these were no lovers of water, and, to your distress, you often knew it with your eyes closed. Later I often grew sick to my stomach from the smell of these caftan-wearers. Added to this, there was their unclean dress and their generally unheroic appearance” (Hitler). It is important to note that he chooses to focus much more on physical appearance than he does on any sort of important characteristics like character or integrity.
In his work, Hitler seeks to disprove the Jewish people and discredit them through his strong language and descriptive tones. Wrongly, he is outraged by their standing as God’s “chosen people”, so he goes on a crusade to run all Jews through the mud. Later in the work, he even goes so far as to bash all of the accomplishments of Jewish people, casting the works aside simply because they were performed by Jewish people. He writes, “I now began to examine carefully the names of all the creators of unclean products in public artistic life. The result was less and less favorable for my previous attitude toward the Jews. Regardless how my sentiment might resists my reason was forced to draw its conclusions” (Hitler). Hitler uses many logical fallacies in his arguments against Jews, as he had hoped to convince others to adopt his philosophy based simply upon the misinformation that he was providing in his manifesto.
Hitler, Adolf. Mein Kampf.