GERMANY (CBS/AP) — The book has long been known as “the Nazi bible,” and was for years banned from being reprinted in Germany over fears it would reignite the passions that plunged the country into World War II.
Times change, however, and it now appears a new edition of Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” will be bound for sale in bookstores in Germany for the first time in 75 years, according to multiple reports.
The state of Bavaria has owned the German copyright to the book and has legally blocked attempts to print it, reports The Washington Post. In December, however, the copyright expires.
The Institute for Contemporary History, in Munich, has been long preparing for the day, producing a heavily annotated version full of criticism and analysis that will stretch its original size from 700 pages to nearly 2,000, reports the New York Times. Officials agreed to allow the book to be published anew only if it was heavily laden with commentary, the Times reports.
Hitler wrote the book – its English translation is “My Struggle” – after he was jailed in the aftermath of the failed Beer Hall Putsch in 1923. After the Nazis rose to power in the 1930s, the book became a best-seller that made Hitler rich. Copies of it were given free to every German soldier and newlywed couple, bolstering circulation that reached around 10 million copies.
Germany is one of the few countries to ban the reprinting of the book, while also tightly regulating its sale. “Mein Kampf” is widely available in the U.S. and much of the English-speaking world, as well as some of the Bundesrepublik’s neighbors.
Regardless, many are wary of letting Germans freely find copies of the book again, especially amid the growing anti-Semitism they are struggling to tamp down.
“This book is most evil; it is the worst anti-Semitic pamphlet and a guidebook for the Holocaust,” Charlotte Knobloch, head of the Jewish community in Munich, told Time magazine.
The push from historians to release the book in a controlled way has been underway for some time. Many have argued that by not allowing its free release, it has given rise to lots of myths about the rambling and highly subjective tome from the Nazi leader.