‘Every Frenchman Must Read This Book’: The Impact of Politics and Ideology on the Production, Translation and Dissemination of Hitler’s Mein Kampf in France, 1933-1939

In: Quaerendo
Aron BrouwerUniversity of Pennsylvania, USA

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This article examines the political and ideological circumstances surrounding the two French translations of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf during the 1930s. It focuses on the personal histories of the translation agents involved in the production, translation and dissemination of Mein Kampf—such as diplomats, politicians, investors, publishers, editors and translators. By uncovering and exposing their ideological attitudes, this study shows how Hitler’s book was altered, censored and repurposed in France to suit different political agendas. Consequently, it argues that the two French translations during the prewar period, entitled Mon Combat (1934) and Ma Doctrine (1938), should be regarded as historical artifacts in their own right, rather than mere reproductions.

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