Paul Joseph Goebbels (1897-1945)
"He who controls the medium controls the message. He who controls the message controls the masses."

Joseph Goebbels, more affectionately known as the "Poison Dwarf," was the master propagandist and cultural dictator of the Nazi Regime for twelve years. While not a physically impressive man, only standing at a little over 5 feet tall and having a crippled foot, his intellect and wit enabled him to solely create the "Führer" myth and embed the Nazi ideal into millions of German people. His propaganda campaigns were incredibly thorough, as they bombarded the German people through the press, radio, film, publications, literature, theater, music, and fine arts. It was total immersion.

Early Years (Before the NSDAP)

Paul Joseph Goebbels was born to Friedrich and Maria Goebbels on October 29, 1897 in Rheydt, Germany. Along with six brothers and sisters, Joseph was raised in a strict Roman Catholic environment. He attended a Roman Catholic school where he excelled in his studies and exhibited remarkable intelligence. At the age of 17, Joseph attempted to join the military, but was deemed unfit to serve because of his crippled foot. This devastated Goebbels, and it is rumored that he cried for two days straight. This rejection, coupled with the years of chiding brought on by his puny frame and intellectual background, lead to an increasing degree of resentment towards the human race.

After the rejection from military service, Joseph attended the University of Heidelberg. He studied history and literature under the direction of Friedrich Gundolf, a distinguished historian of Jewish literacy. In 1921, Joseph received his Doctorate in Germanic Philology. This distinction alone would later make him one of the most educated figures in Hitler's entourage. After graduation, Joseph seeked to gain employment as a journalist. He faced much rejection, most of which was from Jewish-owned publishing houses. These rejections is what most likely sparked his animosity of the Jewish people, as he held no anti-semitic views during his years at Heidelberg. In fact, while at Heidelberg, he regarded many of his Jewish professors with high-esteem, and he even dated a girl with Jewish parents.

Goebbels Joins the NSDAP

After coming in contact with circles of National Socialists, Joseph joins the NSDAP in 1924. Subsequently, he takes the position as editor of Volkische Freiheit ("National Freedom"), a weekly newspaper. In the paper, Goebbels derides the prominent Jewish publishers of that time. Joseph makes quite an impression in the party, and he is promoted to business manager of the Ruhr district. He would be under the direction of George Strasser, the leader of the party in northern Germany. In 1925, Joseph founded and edited the Nationalsozialistischen-Briefe ("NS Letters"). These publications touted anti-capitalistic views and cried for the revaluation of all values.

A small conflict developed between Strasser and Hitler, and Goebbels, being an opportunistic fellow, left Strasser and declared loyalty to Hitler. Keep in mind that all this took place after Joseph called for the expulsion of Adolph, the "petty-bourgeois," just one year earlier. Hitler, grateful of Joseph's decision, decided to appoint him the Nazi district leader for the Berlin-Brandenburg area. Goebbels was perfectly suited for this type of work, as he had great organizational skills and excellent oratory abilities. He launched a large campaign which consisted of elaborate posters, published propaganda, and impressive parades. In 1927, Joseph founded and edited a newspaper called Der Angriff ("The Attack"). Its recurring theme? Why bashing Berlin Jews, of course!

Hitler was very impressed that Joseph managed to turn the small Berlin section into a powerful organization in North Germany, so he decided to appoint him the Reich Propaganda Leader in 1929. After his appointment, Goebbels started a large propaganda campaign to promote the Nazi party and establish the Führer (leader or savior) myth. He did this by exploiting the suffering masses that were impacted by the Great Depression. Posters, parades, speeches, and 120 daily or weekly newspapers blamed Jews and lefties for economic woes, promised work for the unemployed, profits to industries and small businesses, expansion of the army, and restoration of German pride.

Goebbels managed to find some time from his busy schedule of being an evil bastard to get married in 1931. He and his wife, Magda, would have six children together. In later years, Magda would soon seek out a divorce from Joseph, mainly because of his numerous love affairs with beautiful actresses. Hitler wouldn't allow it, though, as the Reich tried to promote a sense of family values.

When Hitler acceded to power in 1933, he creates a National Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda for Goebbels. In addition, Hitler also appoints Goebbels as the President of the Reich Chamber of Culture. This title gives Joseph an enormous amount of influence. Germany's press, radio, film, publications, literature, theater, music, and fine arts is now all under the control of Goebbels. And this wasn't some simple pamphlet; it was a full-blown propaganda smorgasbord. Germans had to live and breath this crap.

Continuing with his propaganda campaign, on May 10, 1933, Joseph staged the infamous "burning of the books" in Berlin. Literary works by Jewish, Marxist, and other "unacceptable" authors were publicly burned. He also managed to incite the mayhem of Kristallnacht ("Crystal Night") when he is said to have conducted an arousing speech to party leaders in 1938.

World War II Begins

During World War II, Goebbels played a critical role in myriads of affairs. Beginning in 1940, he founded and edited a weekly newspaper called "Das Reich." It covered various issues, but mainly focused on keeping Germans focused on the war effort, and conveying the idea that Jews and Gypsies be regarded as "unconditionally exterminable." Subsequently, Joseph was one of the chief secret abettors of the Endlosung ("Final Solution"), which was the extermination of Jews, Gypsies, Slavs, homosexuals, communists, and other undesirables in death camps. He also personally supervised the deportation of Jews from Berlin.

In 1943, as Allied forces encircle Germany and after a crushing defeat at Stalingrad, Goebbels rallied the masses to encourage the war effort and call for "total war." During his speeches, Joseph would enforce fears of "Asiatic hordes," invent mythical "secret weapons," and speak about fortresses in the mountains where the last stand would be made (Wolfenstein, anyone?).

Goebbels was able to shine one last time when he was able to isolate conspirators in the War Ministry after an attempted coup in 1943, saving the Nazi regime. Shortly after that, Hitler appoints Joseph the Plenipotentiary for Total War mobilization. In the last months of the war, Goebbels tries desperately to keep the war machine running by visiting bombed communities, and promising state relief for civilians who lost their families and homes.

Last Days

Before Hitler's suicide on April 30, 1945, Goebbels was named the Reich chancellor. One day later, as Soviet troops storm Berlin, Goebbels ordered an SS doctor to euthanize his six children, aged 4 to 12, via lethal injection. He then orders an SS orderly to shoot him and his wife. Before taking his last breath, Goebbels muttered these last words: "We shall go down in history as the greatest statesman of all time, or as the greatest criminals."

Various Quotes

"It is the absolute right of the State to supervise the formation of public opinion."

"We have made the Reich by propaganda."

"If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it people will eventually come to believe it."

"...the rank and file are usually much more primitive than we imagine. Propaganda must therefore always be essentially simple and repetitious."

"We hate THEM from the bottom of our souls because they threaten our very life, because they oppose our national existence out of envy, jealousy and ill-concealed national pride."

"During a war, news should be given out for instruction rather than information."

"If we have the power, we'll never give it up again unless we're carried out of our offices as corpses".

"The Jews are our destruction. They provoked and brought about this war. What they mean to achieve by it is to destroy the German state and nation... Every Jew is a sworn enemy of the German people."

"If the day should ever come when we the Nazis must go, if some day we are compelled to leave the scene of history, we will slam the door so hard that the universe will shake and mankind will stand back in stupefaction."


Some various links to photos of Joseph: - This photo gives an idea of Goebbels` stature. - Goebbels in public. - Goebbels up close.

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