Donald Trump and Mein Kampf

Raphael Ahren in “The Times of Israel” reports that “Mein Kampf is a bestseller again in Germany, with demand so outstripping supply that it is virtually impossible to get one’s hands on a copy.”  The question is why is there such a great demand for this heinous, evil book?

Some will argue that it is mostly historians who are clamoring for this book.  I find that argument not quite believable.  It seems that there is something else going on in the German psyche.  Could it be that the mass exodus of migrants from Syria, and Iraq to Germany and other parts of Europe is fueling this interest in Hitler’s manifesto?  At first, I assumed that this has been a factor in the initial great interest in the book. However, maybe there is something deeper going on.

If we look at the current fascination with Donald Trump, I think there could be a parallel with the German interest in Mein Kampf.  Trump is a clown, bully, demagogue and an outrageous liar.  He can also be funny, smart, quick-witted and very entertaining.  I have found that in the beginning, I could not get enough Trump.  I was also fascinated, along with much of America.  I found myself reading everything I could get my hands on re him.  I was thinking a great deal about his campaign and I watched a number of the Republican debates with incredible interest.  When watching him in action, my blood would boil over and I was actually screaming at the TV.  “Why is Wolf Blitzer letting him get away with it,” I would mutter.  I was close to throwing objects at the TV.  When Rubio finally went after him at one of the debates, I was cheering.  And I cannot stand Rubio.

I think that now my initial obsession and fascination is beginning to wear off.  I am still quite concerned and anxious about his candidacy.  He seems to be channeling his inner Hitler in order to get elected. He is extremely dangerous, but that is not the theme of this essay.

Many of us have been fascinated with Trump, while at the same time loathing all of the things that he stands for and represents. Our obsession with Trump is probably part of the human condition.  We are fascinated with him because he says things that are dangerous and forbidden.  And so far, he is getting away with it.

The Germans were unable to see and read Mein Kampf for the past 70 years.  It is finally on the bookshelves, and people want to see and read the forbidden.  In the end, I think that is the great interest in Hitler’s diatribe.  I don’t think the interest will last.  Hopefully, the interest will fade.

Regarding Trump, I am hoping that the interest won’t last, but as of now, that is certainly not the case.  He has continuously outlasted all the pundits’ prognostications of his demise. His demise does not seem to be happening.  His narcissism knows no bounds.  Many of us are eagerly awaiting his destruction, but so far, we have been greatly disappointed.  If an extreme right wing candidate in Germany gains the kind of popularity that Trump is presently experiencing, then one could argue that the present interest in Mein Kampf could be more than titillation and peering into the forbidden.

Both of these events, Trump and Mein Kampf being number two on the bestseller list, seem to be contagions.  People seem to be infected by these viruses  I think that the Mein Kampf virus will quickly dissipate.  I am less optimistic about the Trump virus.


About the Author
Michael Hessdorf is a school social worker working in NYC high schools and maintains a private psychotherapy practice in Maplewood, NJ.
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