Their Combats… for Peace?

Posted by John Rosenthal

One might have thought that since the defeat of Nazi Germany, the publication of books with the title “My Combat” would be taboo. This is, after all, the title of Adolf Hitler’s “bible” of the National Socialist movement Mein Kampf – even if the odd convention of citing the title only in the original German may have obscured this fact for some. Could Jacques Chirac be one of those who have remained ignorant of the meaning of the German title? This hardly seems likely in light of the fact that Chirac was born in 1932 and thus lived through not only the Second World War, but indeed the entire twelve years of Hitler’s rule in neighboring Germany. Nonetheless, the outgoing French President has just published two volumes of speeches and articles titled… Mon combat: “My Combat”. Volume I is titled, more precisely, “My Combat for France” and volume II, invoking Chirac’s famous stand against the Iraq War, “My Combat for Peace”.  
  
 

French Edition of Mein Kampf (image: wikipedia.fr)

 
Of course, it could well be imagined that Chirac’s describing his “combat” as one specifically for peace would avoid any possible confusion with the combat of the war-mongering German “Führer”. This is, however, to ignore the fact that once in power, Hitler frequently presented his and his party’s “combat” as one for a just and equitable peace. Thus, whereas Hitler’s autobiographical Mein Kampf might well be construed as his “combat for Germany”, in 1936 the official Nazi publishing house, the Franz Eher Verlag, published a separate volume titled Des Führers Kampf um den Weltfrieden: “On the Führer’s Combat for World Peace”. “On the Führer’s Combat for World Peace” is a collection of speeches. Three years later, just weeks before the German occupation of Czechoslovakia and barely 8 months before the invasion of Poland, Hitler was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize

 

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