National socialist propaganda in late Reza-Shah Iran: the case of Khaterat-e Hitler by Mohsen Jahansuz

Leonard Michael

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Abstract

The attempts of national socialist Germany to influence the Iranian public are an important dimension of the relations between the two countries during the last years of Reza Shah’s rule. Yet previous studies on this aspect have barely considered Iranian sources to assess the actual impact of these propaganda efforts on Iranian society. One of these sources is the 1938-published Khaterat-e Hitler by Mohsen Jahansuz. By analysing the book in depth and situating it within the context of Jahansuz’s biography, this study provides new findings concerning the reception of national socialist ideology in 1930s Iran and challenges previous claims concerning the publication, which has hitherto been considered the first translation of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf. It argues that Jahansuz, by inserting his own ideas and interpretations into the text without explicitly indicating his authorship, did not create a translation but an adaptation of the German original that transcended the limits of Hitler’s exclusivist Germanocentrism in order to establish a theory of the ‘racial superiority’ of the rural population at Iran’s mountainous periphery. The paper shows how a representative of the Iranian literati appropriated national socialist ideology and distributed it in an altered way to further his own cause.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
JournalBritish Journal of Middle Eastern Studies
VolumeLatest Articles
Early online date1 Jul 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Jul 2021

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