For years "Mein Kampf" stood as proof of the blindness and complacency of the world. For in its pages Hitler announced -- long before he came to power -- a program of blood and terror in a self-revelation of such overwhelming frankness that few among its readers had the courage to believe it.
-- Konrad Heiden, Introduction to "Mein Kampf"
It's impossible to read these chilling words without drawing analogies to Hamas. The organization says loud and clear that it wants to rub Israel from the map, and voices across the political spectrum tell us to relax, take it easy, we shouldn't necessarily believe they really intend to do what they say they will. Besides, even if they meant it, now that an election has put them in power, they will finally behave themselves.
Like Hitler and those who followed him, Hamas thrives on humiliation and blames others for its failures. Hamas understands that Muslims in the rest of the world have done almost nothing to alleviate their situation, but they blame the Jews, anyway. They keep it simple.
Hitler and his followers knew well the vulnerabilities of the Weimar Republic, and exploited its weakness. Hamas understands the weakness of Fatah. With all of the big talk about taking care of domestic issues -- better schools, better health care, better public services -- Hamas wouldn't give up the guns before the election, and Fatah couldn't, or wouldn't, take them. The rest of the world cheerfully agreed that everyone could wait until after the election to see to that.
Outsiders have advantages. Of the major non-Marxist parties in Germany in the 1930s, only the Nazis had never held power, so they couldn't be blamed for the inflation, the shortages, the unemployment, the misery in Germany. The Nazis were free to promise everything because, being out of power, they didn't have to deliver anything. Hatred was enough -- hatred of the Jews, the communists and above all the Weimar Republic.
Hitler's good friend Dietrich Eckart, who der fuehrer called "the spiritual founder of the National Socialist Party," had already written the book about the Bolsheviks. Hitler wanted to top that. He wanted to call his book "A Four and One-Half Year Struggle against Lies, Stupidity, and Cowardice: Settling Accounts with the Destroyers of the National Socialist Movement." He decided to settle for "Mein Kampf." By focusing on the Jews, he could sharpen grievances with appeals to anti-Semitism. Civilized people couldn't believe that Hitler and his Nazis actually meant to do anything about the mean things they were saying about the Jews.