Joseph Goebbels

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Dr. Paul Joseph Goebbels
Chancellor of Germany
In office
30 April 1945 – 1 May 1945
President Karl Dönitz
Preceded by Adolf Hitler
Succeeded by none (Lutz Graf Schwerin von Krosigk became Leading Minister)
Reich Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda
In office
13 March 1933 – 30 April 1945
Preceded by Post created
Succeeded by Werner Naumann
Personal details
Born October 29, 1897(1897-10-29)
Rheydt, Prussia, Germany
Died 1 May 1945(1945-05-01) (aged 47)
Berlin, Germany
Political party National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP)
Spouse(s) Magda Goebbels
Alma mater University of Bonn
University of Würzburg
University of Freiburg
University of Heidelberg
Occupation Politician
Religion Roman Catholicism

Dr. Paul Joseph Goebbels (German pronunciation: IPA: ['gœbl̩s]; 29 October 1897 in Mönchengladbach as Paul Joseph Goebbels – 1 May 1945 in Berlin) was a German politician and the minister of propaganda during the Nazi regime. He studied literature and philosophy at the Heidelberg university.

He was a close friend of Adolf Hitler. Goebbels stayed with Hitler in the Führerbunker until Hitler's suicide on 30 April 1945. After Hitler's death, Goebbels was chancellor of Germany for one day,[1] before he and his wife Magda Goebbels killed themseveles.[2] Just before she died, Magda killed their six children with poison.[3]

Early life[change | edit source]

Joseph Goebbels was born as Paul Joseph Goebbels in Mönchengladbach on 29 October 1897. His father, Friedrich Goebbels, was a bookkeeper and his mother was Maria Goebbels (born Oldenhausen). He was the third child of the family and grew up with five siblings.[4] Due to an illness in his childhood in 1901, Goebbels' right foot was malformed. He went to a Roman Catholic school in Rheydt in 1908. In 1914, Goebbels went to high school in Rheydt.[5] When the First World War started in August 1914, he volunteered to be part of the Army. This was refused because of his limp.[4]

Goebbels took his Abitur (school exams) in 1917. He was the best in his class. He gave a speech at the end of the school year. However, his headteacher said, that he would not become a good speaker.[5] Later, in 1917, he matriculated at the university of Bonn. Goebbels studied ancient philology, history and German philology.[4] He received his PhD in Drama from the Heidelberg university in 1921.[6] In 1923, Goebbels worked for the Deutsche Bank.[5]

Involvement in the Nazi Party[change | edit source]

Goebbels joined the National Socialist German Workers' Party in 1926.[7] In the same year, Hitler made him a Gauleiter for Berlin and Brandenburg. In 1927, Goebbels published the first the Nazi newspaper, Der Angriff (The Attack), in Berlin. The newspaper was printed twice a week.[4] In 1928, he became a member of the German Reichstag.[8] He kept this position until 1945.[4] In 1929, Goebbels saw his first movie with sound, "The Singing Fool". He said it would be the future of propaganda.[5]

In 1930, he became the Reichspropagandaleiter (Chief of the German Propaganda) and the deputy of Heinrich Himmler. Goebbels married Magda Quand in 1931. Franz Ritter von Epp and Adolf Hitler were the witnesses at the wedding.[4]

When Hitler became Chancellor in 1933, Goebbels became the Reich Minister for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda.[2]

The Nazi regime[change | edit source]

Pre-World War time[change | edit source]

In 1934, Goebbels moved to a villa near Berlin. On 30 June 1934, he was an eye-witness of the arrest of Ernst Röhm in Bad Wiessee.[4] Goebbels gave the order to confiscate about 650 art exhibits in 1937. He put them on display in show called Degenerate Art.[5] On 9 November 1938, a German diplomat was killed in France by a Jewish teenager. Because of this murder, Goebbels gave the order to the SS for what is now called Kristallnacht.[6]

Second World War[change | edit source]

At the start of the Second World War, Goebbels ordered to broadcast special announcements at the cinema and on the radio. On 26 May 1940, he published the new weekly newspaper Das Reich (The Imperium) for the first time.[4][5] In 1942, Goebbels took part in the Wannsee Conference. He was one of the Nazi leaders who planned the Final Solution to kill all the Jewish people. In 1943, he gave a well known speech in the Berlin Sportpalast where he called the Germans to support total war.[2] The coup on 20 July 1944 failed, because of Goebbels' quick thinking. He broadcast on radio that the coup had failed, before the plan of Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg could succeed.[5]

On 22 April 1945, two days after Adolf Hitler's birthday, he arrived in the Führerbunker in Berlin. He was one of the witnesses to the marriage of Hitler to Eva Braun. On the same day, Hitler made him his successor.[5] After Hitler's suicide on 30 April, he became the Chancellor of Germany.[1] He only held this job for one day, because on 1 May 1945, his wife poisoned their six children with the help of an SS doctor.[3] Immediately afterward he and his wife went up to the garden of the Chancellery, where they killed themselves. The details of their suicides are uncertain. After the war, Rear-Admiral Michael Musmanno, a U.S. naval officer and judge, published several accounts apparently based on eye-witness testimony: According to one account. "While Schwägermann was preparing the petrol, he heard a shot. Goebbels had shot himself and his wife took poison. Schwägermann ordered one of the soldiers to shoot Goebbels again because he was unable to do it himself." One SS officer said they each took cyanide and ordered an SS trooper to shoot them both. According to another account, Goebbels shot his wife and then killed himself. This version is the most popular theory and has been portrayed in the movies The Bunker and "Downfall".

References[change | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Goebbel's biography". history times. http://www.historytimes.com/history-books/book-reviews/biography/363-joseph-goebbels-biography. Retrieved 10 September 2009.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Goebbels' life story". The Jewish Virtual Library. http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/goebbels.html. Retrieved 07 September 2009.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Beevor, Antony (2003) [2002]. "Chapter 25: Reich Chancellery and Reichstag". Berlin: The Downfall 1945. Penguin History. London: Penguin Books. p. 380. ISBN 0-140-28696-9. "Kunz said that he could not face giving poison to the sleeping children... Together with Stumpfegger, she [Magda Goebbels] opened the mouths of the sleeping children, put an ampule of poison between their teeth and forced their jaws together."
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 "The life of Joseph Goebbels". dhm. http://www.dhm.de/lemo/html/biografien/GoebbelsJoseph/index.html. Retrieved 06 September 2009.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 "A biography of Goebbels". Nikolas Dikigoros. http://dikigoros.t35.com/bio/goebbels.htm. Retrieved 06 September 2009.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Dr. Joseph Goebbels". Think quest. http://library.thinkquest.org/C0111500/ww2/german/goebbels.htm. Retrieved 09 September 2009.
  7. "Goebbel's biogrphy". Spartacus schoolnet. http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/GERgoebbels.htm. Retrieved 11 September 2009.
  8. "Biography of Goebbels". historylearningsite. http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/joseph_goebbels.htm. Retrieved 11 September 2009.