Mixed reactions as Hitler's manifesto returns to bookstores


It didn't take long for Adolf Hitler's infamous manifesto, "Mein Kampf," to sell out its first printing in Germany since World War II.

Blocked from publication for all those decades, the book is now on sale in a heavily annotated two-volume edition, reports CBS News correspondent Jonathan Vigliotti.

For many, the Nuremberg Rallies of the 1930s were the first glimpse of Hitler's Nazi Germany. His anti-Semitic tirades divided the country.

But long before the atrocities of the Holocaust and the millions of Jews murdered, history had an outline -- Hitler's "Mein Kampf," or "My Struggle," his 1920s manifesto that paved the way.

The Nazis printed at least 10 million copies. They were sold widely and even handed out by the government to newlyweds and soldiers.

Germany reprinting Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf... 00:25

When Hitler died and World War II ended in 1945, the Allies handed the copyright to the Bavarian government, who stopped the presses.

But 75 years later, that copyright has expired, and "Mein Kampf" is back in German bookstores for the first time. It's a chapter in history some who lived through it hoped would stay closed.

"For me, personally, it would better if the topic didn't exist," said 83-year-old Charlotte Knobloch.

The latest printing has some key additions to the original copy. The German government would only allow an annotated version with academic analysis of the text.

"This edition exposes the false information spread by Hitler, his downright lies and his many half-truths, which aimed at a pure propaganda effect," said professor Andreas Wirsching, director of the Institute for Contemporary History, which is the book's publisher.

Scholars also say the reprint will demystify Hitler by exposing just how bad a writer he was.

"It's a waffle, it's a rant, it's unstructured, it's unreadable, and I think making that open and showing that to potentially interested students is a good thing," said Rainer Schulze, a modern European history professor at Essex University.

'Mein Kampf' signed by Hitler up for online a... 00:52

The publishing house behind the new edition said they can't keep up with the demand. Controversy, it appears, sells books. The publisher ordered a print run of 4,000 but said it has received orders for 15,000.

The reaction has been mixed in Israel.

"It's complicated. On the one hand, I'm not thrilled about the fact that 'Mein Kampf' can be in even wider dissemination around the world, given its hateful content that it contains, but on the other hand it's kind of impossible to control speech, and I'm not even sure that we should," said Ayo Oppenheimer, a Jerusalem resident.

Hitler's original "Mein Kampf" is sold widely in countries outside of Germany and online.

Scholars say far from being a fascist bible, the new version offers crucial context that exposes a horrific past so history can't repeat itself.