Joseph Goebbels

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Paul Joseph Goebbels (1897-1945), member of the German National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) and propaganda minister during the era of the Third Reich. He was a slightly built man with a deformed right leg (clubfoot). Goebbels had earned a PhD in 1921 and was a frustrated writer when he joined the Nazi Party in late 1924. He became an ardent admirer of Adolf Hitler and took national office when the Nazis seized power in January 1933. He was known for his oratory skills and for spreading Nazi propaganda to the masses. He molded German newspapers, radio, movies, art and culture into areas which followed and reflected Nazi doctrine. He was a noted anti-Semite and one of the most aggressive anti-Christian proponents in the Nazi leadership.[1]

In the late 1930s, Goebbels was an enthusiastic supporter of Hitler's aggressive foreign policy of expansion. He orchestrated propaganda campaigns against Czechoslovakia and Poland from 1938, onward. Once the war in Europe started in September 1939, Goebbels controlled the news and information reported to the public in Germany and the occupied regions through his Propaganda Ministry. Thereafter as the war progressed, Hitler made fewer and fewer public appearances and speeches. Goebbels in turn increasingly became both the face and the voice of the Nazi regime. By 1943, Goebbels used his position as propaganda minister to exhort the German people to greater effort and efficiencies through the concept of total war which he endorsed. During the latter stages of the war he was able to use the intrigues of the Nazi Party to bring himself closer to Hitler.[2]

In April 1945 as the war in Europe drew to an end, Goebbels spent his last days with Hitler in Berlin. After Hitler's suicide on April 30, Goebbels decided that there would be no redemption for himself or his family. On May 1, 1945 he and his wife, Magda had their six children poisoned. Late that afternoon in the Reich Chancellery garden, Goebbels shot himself and his wife took poison. Acting on Goebbels' prior order, an SS officer then "gave... the coup de grace". The bodies were then burned, but not buried. On the afternoon of the following day, Soviet Army soldiers found the heavily charred remains of the couple.[3]

References

  1. Hamilton, Charles. Leaders and Personalities of the Third Reich (1984).
  2. Snyder, Louis. Encyclopedia of the Third Reich (1994) [1976].
  3. Hamilton, Charles. Leaders and Personalities of the Third Reich (1984).

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