“Hitler’s Second Book”

Wow… the NY Times is reporting that an English translation of “Hitler’s Second Book“, his previously unpublished (and untitled) sequel to the infamous “Mein Kampf“, is about to see print. Apparently the book outlines in some detail Hitler’s belief that Nazi Germany would have to confront and defeat the United States in order to meet its needs for power and lebensraum (living space).

If that’s the case, this is a genuinely interesting new development in World War Two history, since Germany’s declaration of war on the U.S. has always been treated as a kind of puzzling mistake. After Pearl Harbor, you see, there was some sentiment in the U.S. Congress towards attempting to limit the scope of the coming war by only giving President Roosevelt authorization to declare war on Japan — and not its ally, Germany. However, before Congress could act, Hitler preemptively declared war on the United States, so Congress widened the scope of the declaration to include all the Axis powers (Japan, Germany, and Italy).

There’s been a lot of head-scratching about exactly why Hitler chose to make that preemptive declaration, when he was already embroiled in a war against both England and the Soviet Union. Most accounts have explained it as Hitler upholding his treaty obligations with Japan. However, Hitler was no stickler for legalisms and had shown no hesitation in the past to disregard treaties when they became inconvenient, so that’s not a completely compelling explanation. Now, though, we may finally have a better one.

It’s worth noting that the world has been hoaxed by the appearance of “new Hitler documents” before, most notably in the case of the so-called “Hitler diaries” back in the 1980s, so it’s always good to approach these claims with skepticism. However, this new book has been endorsed as authentic by many prominent historians — the translator is Dr. Gerhard Weinberg, author of the encyclopedic history “A World At Arms“, and Sir Ian Kershaw used the original German version of the manuscript as a source for his acclaimed biography “Hitler“), so it’s either a very, very clever hoax or the real deal indeed.