Joseph Goebbels

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Joseph Goebbels (Sometimes in English Josef Goebbels) was the Minister of Propaganda of the Third Reich.[1] He was later briefly the Chancellor of Nazi Germany. He was widely considered a master Propagandist, which is why most people account him for creating a positive image of the Nazi regime for the German proletariat.


Born on October 29, 1897, in Rheydt, Germany. During World War I he was exempted from military service because of his clubfoot (likely a result of having contracted polio as a child), which later allowed his enemies to make a parallel with the cloven foot and limp of Satan. This defect played a horrendous role in his life by causing Goebbels a strong need to be compensated for his misfortune.

After graduating from Heidelberg University in 1922 with a doctorate in German philology, Goebbels wrote an Expressionist novel in diary form in the 1920s. Although not yet concerned in politics, Goebbels, in common with most of his time, was imbued with a nationalistic passion made more extreme by the loss of Germanu in the war. During his university time, a friend also introduced him to socialist and communist ideas. Anti-bourgeois from his youth, Goebbels stayed as so albeit his later upper-class pose. Nevertheless, initially, he was not anti-Semitic. The high school teachers he valued most were Jewish, and he was at one time engaged to a half-Jewish woman. As a young one, his options remained wide as he thought of political involvement. At first, his hyperactive imagination found an outlet in poetry and drama, but other than his novel, "Michael: Ein Deutsches Schicksal in Tagebuchblattern", nothing ever came of his first literary efforts. It was in the Nazi Party that Goebbels's very sharp intelligence, his oratorical abilities and flair for theatrical effects, his unrestrained opportunism and political radicalism flowered in the duty of a yearning will-to-power.[2]

Nazi Activism

In the fall of 1924, Joseph made friends with a group of Nazis. A talented speaker, he became the district administrator of the NSDAP in Elberfeld and editor of a Nazi magazine. In November 1926, Hitler made him the Gauleiter in Berlin. The Nazi Party had been founded and developed in Bavaria, and, up to that time, there had been essentially no party organization in Berlin. Goebbels owed his new appointment to the frugal choice he made in a fight between Gregor Strasser, representing the “left-wing” anticapitalist faction of the NSDAP, and the “right-wing” party leader, Hitler. In this conflict, Goebbels showed opportunism by taking Hitler's side against his inner guiltiness. In 1932, at Hitler's command, he organized a boycott of Jewish businesses.[3] The following year, he had headed the burning of books deemed to be "not German enough," which fiercely targeted Jews again. Within the second World War, Goebbels's propaganda skills were on full display: He converted battlefield losses to victories and boosted morale with each very engagement. Goebbels continued to fortify Nazi strength in Berlin until Hitler’s attainment of power in January 1933. In 1928 Hitler gave Joseph, who founded Der Angriff (The Assault) in 1927 and served as its editor and subsequently, from 1940 to 1945, served as an editor of Das Reich, the additional post of propaganda director for the NSDAP for all of the country. Goebbels began to manufacture the Führer legend around the person of Hitler and to launch the ritual of party celebrations and demonstrations that played a critical role in converting the proletarian masses to Nazism. Furthermore, he spread propaganda by continuing his very intensive schedule of speech making.[4]

Following Adolf Hitler's suicide, Goebbels ignored Hitler's testament, which had appointed him as Chancellor, and decided to also commit suicide. He had all fo his 6 children poisoned with injection by an SS doctor. He then had himself and his wife shot by an SS orderly on May 1, 1945. He declared shortly before his death: "We shall go down in history as the greatest statesmen of all time, or as the greatest criminals."