Historia Libros

El juicio que Hitler ganó en los Estados Unidos

Al hilo del post anterior me he encontrado con una curiosidad acerca de Hitler y su libro Mi Lucha. Resulta que el famoso libro sólo tuvo una edición abreviada en inglés antes de la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Algunos historiadores creen que si hubiese habido una edición completa y se hubiera hecho una lectura amplia del mismo, se podrían haber previsto los propósitos de Hitler.

Algo así debió pensar también Alan Cranston, un periodista norteamericano de la UPI que trabajaba en Alemania, y que más tarde sería senador por California. De modo que publicó su propia edición de Mi Lucha en inglés, con anotaciones propias refutando las tesis del Führer. El editor fue una de las agencias de William Randolph Hearst.

En 1939 Hitler se enteró de la existencia de dicha edición y demandó a Cranston por infracción de copyright (!!). Hubo juicio, y un juzgado de Connecticut falló a favor de Hitler. La venta de la edición de Cranston tuvo que ser interrumpida.

En una entrevista realizada el 17 de abril de 2000 Cranston reconoce que, efectivamente, había violado el copyright de Hitler. Por la versión abreviada en inglés Hitler percibia como pago de derechos unos 40 centavos de dólar por cada copia. Por la versión de Cranston Hitler no percibía nada. Según Cranston y sus editores Hitler había registrado el copyright de su libro en Austria, y como luego había invadido y destruído Austria, supuestamente habría destruido también su copyright. Pero este argumento no fue suficiente para el juez.

While I was doing my foreign correspondence work, I read Adolph Hitler’s Mein Kampf, the book he wrote while he was in prison before he became the dictator, outlining his plans for Germany and the terrible things he intended to do in the world. There was no English language version of it. When I quit journalism and came back to try to get involved in activities in the United States, one day in Macy’s bookstore in New York I saw a display of Mein Kampf, an English language version, which I’d never seen before, which hadn’t existed. I went over to look at it out of curiosity and as I picked it up, I knew it wasn’t the real book. It was much thinner than the long book that I had read, which is about 350,000 words. So I bought it to see how come. And delving into it I found that it was a condensed version, and some of the things that would most upset Americans just weren’t there as they were in the version I had read, the original, in German.

So I talked to an editor friend of mine in New York, a Hearst editor named Amster Spiro, and suggested that I write and we publish an anti-Nazi version of Mein Kampf that would be the real book and would awaken Americans to the peril Hitler posed for us and the rest of the world. So we did that. I spent eight days [compiling] my version of Mein Kampf from the English language version that I now had, the original German language version, and another copy that had just appeared. A book was then selling for around three dollars normal price. Hitler was getting forty cents royalty for each copy that somebody bought that wasn’t [even] the real thing. We proceeded to print in tabloid the version that I wrote, with a very lurid red cover showing Hitler carving up the world, and we sold it for ten cents on newsstands. It created quite a stir. Some Nazis went around knocking down newsstands that displayed it in St. Louis and the German part of New York and elsewhere in the country. We sold half a million copies in ten days and were immediately sued by Hitler’s agents on the grounds we had violated his copyright, which we had done. We had the theory that [though] he had copyrighted Mein Kampf in Austria, he had destroyed Austria with his army, so we said he destroyed his copyright at the same time. Well, that didn’t stand up in court, and a Connecticut judge ruled in Hitler’s favor. No damages were assessed, but we had to stop selling the book. We got what was called an injunction. But we did wake up a lot of Americans to the Nazi threat.