What We Can Learn from Mein Kampf

Michael Rosenblum
3 min readMay 18, 2024

On November 8th, 1923, Adolf Hitler and a group of his followers attempted to overthrow the government of the Weimar Republic in Germany. They failed.

As a result, Hitler and his lieutenants were sentenced to serve 8 months in a small prison in southwestern Bavaria. Whilst in prison, Hitler wrote his manifesto for the Nazi Party, Mein Kampf.

Of course, few people read Mein Kampf today. It’s too bad. It’s a blueprint on how to overthrow a democracy without the need for arms. Hitler is very straightforward and honest in his plans for the future — which he carried out with great success.

As you read it, you may notice some extremely disturbing parallels to events happening today.

If you’d like a far deeper and better understanding of this, allow me to suggest The Attention Merchants by Tim Wu, which inspired me to post this.

What made off of this possible, is that Hitler was able to apply his ideas on how to attract and win the minds of people to the new mass media of the age — radio. Hitler was a master of radio. He understood the power that that medium, properly focused, could exercise.

In Mein Kampf, Hitler asks, “To whom has propaganda to appeal? To the scientific intelligentsia, or to the less educated masses? It has to appeal forever and only to the masses.” Propaganda must “be popular and has to adapt its spiritual level to the perception of the least intelligent.”

Hitler actually spent some time working for a German advertising agency, and here he learned an important lesson in the selling of a product, or an idea. You have to, he wrote, “catch the masses attention by outline and color….(colorful banners, flags, hats). You have to keep directing the masses towards certain facts, events, necessities, etc.. the purpose being to move their importance into the masses’ field of vision.”

Hitler wrote that the best way to attract the ‘masses’ was to keep the message simple and to hammer home a few slogans over and over again. “The great masses receptive ability is very limited, their understanding is small, but their forgetfullness is great. As a consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda has to limit itself to only a very few points and to use them like slogans until even the very last man is able to imagine what is intended by such a word.”

“They will lend their memories only to the thousandfold repetition of the most simple ideas.”

Mein Kampf, it turns out, is an instruction manual on how to used media and repeated simple messages, often at odds with the truth, to overthrow a democratic state.

People often wonder how it was possible that the nation that brought the world Beethoven and Schiller and Mann, amongst others, could have become the monster that the Third Reich gave rise to. How could 80 million Germans, citizens of one of the best educated and most advanced societies, have fallen in line with this man? The answers are all there in black and white.

Don’t think it can’t happen here. It can.



Michael Rosenblum

Co-Founder TheVJ.com, Father of Videojournalism, trained 40,000+ VJs. Built VJ-driven networks worldwide. Video Revolution. Founder CurrentTV, NYTimes TV. etc..