A US Senator realized that the English translation of Mein Kampf left out a lot of the most hateful ideologies of Hitler and made him seem more sympathetic. So the Senator wrote his own TL:DR of the book so Americans would know how evil Hitler was.

January 1, 2021 is Public Domain Day: Works from 1925 are open to all!

By Jennifer Jenkins, Director of Duke’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain

On January 1, 2021, copyrighted works from 1925 will enter the US public domain,1 where they will be free for all to use and build upon. These works include books such as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, Ernest Hemingway’s In Our Time, and Franz Kafka’s The Trial (in the original German), silent films featuring Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton, and music ranging from the jazz standard Sweet Georgia Brown to songs by Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, W.C. Handy, and Fats Waller.

This is not just the famous last line from The Great Gatsby. It also encapsulates what the public domain is all about. A culture is a continuing convers… Continue Reading (14 minute read)

8 thoughts on “A US Senator realized that the English translation of Mein Kampf left out a lot of the most hateful ideologies of Hitler and made him seem more sympathetic. So the Senator wrote his own TL:DR of the book so Americans would know how evil Hitler was.”

  1. Ice_Burn

    This happened in 1939.

    >There were also some truly odious works from 1925, most notably Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, which was actually the subject of a fascinating copyright story. A young reporter named Alan Cranston, who later became a United States Senator, had read the German-language version of the book, and was surprised to see a bowdlerized translation of it circulating in the US. This English-language version had removed some of the most hateful and terrifying parts of the book, including Hitler’s plan for Nazi domination. So, in Cranston’s words, he prepared a “Reader’s Digest-like version (showing) the worst of Hitler” that included “every important point, every important idea Hitler presented,” but “eliminated his long-winded digressions, and cut out much of the endless repetition,” and added annotations showing Hitler’s “propaganda and distortions.” Cranston pledged no royalties to Hitler, and promised that any profits would go to help refugees from Hitler’s Reich. The unauthorized translation was 10 cents, and sold a half million copies in 10 days. It was 1939.

    >While Cranston had exposed Hitler’s evil, his unauthorized translation had also undercut the market for the authorized and sanitized version. He was sued for copyright infringement, and lost in court. “No damages were assessed, but we had to stop selling the book,” Cranston remembered. “But we did wake up a lot of Americans to the Nazi threat.”

  2. newportgwentdragons

    On copyright.gov I found an excerpt of what Senator Cranston wrote.


    > “The masses can only be captured by a ruthless and one-sided presentation of our nationalistic idea.

    > The dynamic force which has made the most important changes in history has always been- no scientific intellect- but rather a fanatic feeling of hysteria which has hurled the masses in one direction.

    > To win the soul of the people, it is not enough merely to fight for one’s own end- one must at the same time destroy the upholders of the opposite cause.

    > A savage attack upon some adversary is proof to the people of the justice of their own cause.

    > The masses feel that if their leaders refrain from destroying an opponent, this must be a sign of uncertainty of their own cause- of not a sign that the cause is unjust.

    > The masses are only a fragment of nature, and their feelings cannot understand a handclasp between men who proclaim opposite views. What they want is the victory of the stronger and the annihilation of the weaker, or else his unconditional enslavement.”


  3. Cuillereasoupe

    This is actually a neat case in translation studies. The first translator Edgar Dugdale was unfaithful to the text to be faithful to the skopos (converting readers to nazism). Later translators like Ralph Mannheim were faithful to the text to reverse the skopos, to persuade readers how evil the Nazis were. Translation is way more complex and interesting than it looks from the outside.

  4. gerdataro

    Feels like how the press has treated Trump here in the US. They’ve spent a whole lot of time summarizing and interpreting Trump. Watched German news play his entire ramble when the hospital ship docked in NY. The usual dumb, circular bullshit. Meanwhile, the US outlets just play a clip. Trump has definitely benefited from our sound bite culture. He depends on it.

  5. artaig

    ” Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races ” by Gobineu, which is the basis of US racism, I mean the very simple fact of Americans believing in such thing as a race and classifying themselves as such, is missing a chapter in his American English translation on how the “white Americans” are inferior to white Europeans due to miscegenation. But fools will be fools.

  6. gamefreak773

    What’s the name of the book?

  7. mallystevens

    And yet they’re are still so many Americans who deny the Holocaust or just as evil, support the beliefs of Hitler

  8. no0neiv

    Norm MacDonald’s Mein Kampf TL:DR
    “That Hitler guy was a real jerk “

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