Katy WilwaycoMs. Biggs 9th Honors Literature/1st period 30 January 2018Joseph Goebbels: The ProfessionalPuppet Master “A lie toldonce remains a lie, but a lie told a thousand times becomes the truth”(Goebbels). Joseph Goebbels was a regular family man who, like most men inGermany, had a wife Magda, and six children. On the contrary, Goebbels wasknown mostly for his role as the Minister of Propaganda of the Nazi Party. Inhis position, Goebbels controlled all media and entertainment that wasadvertised in Germany during WWII.
Hedisplayed a powerful and authoritative figure to the world, which lead him tobecome the influential man known in history today. Joseph Goebbels is aninfluential figure of WWII due to his forceful influence of propaganda, whichimpacted WWII by increasing the Nazi Party’s support for their actions andbeliefs. JosephGoebbels began his life as an ordinary child born into a typical family fromRheydt, Germany. He was born on October 29, 1897 to Friedrich Goebbels andKatharina Maria Odenhausen. Goebbels attended Catholic school growing up and lateron attended college at Heidelberg University. Although Goebbels may appear tohave a normal childhood, there was one flaw in that image. At a young age,Goebbels suffered from polio, which caused his right leg to be slightly shorterthan his other leg.
This deformity later caused many problems and insecuritiesfor Goebbels throughout his life. For example, an article written by HelmutHeiber states, “He was exempted from military services during World War Ibecause of his clubfoot (presumably a result of having contracted polio as achild)..
.This defect played a disastrous role in his life by engendering inGoebbels a strong desire to be compensated for his misfortune” (Heiber). Thisquote exercises the idea that Goebbels became psychologically affected by hisdeformity, which can later be lead to explain his belief system. His hatred ofhis imperfection caused him to have a strong hatred towards those who were notperfect in his eyes.
After realizing these true beliefs about himself andothers, Joseph Goebbels concentrated his studies on German Philology. In 1922,he graduated with a degree in the subject, which helped him gain a trueunderstanding of the knowledge needed for his future job. Heiber also writes, “After graduating from HeidelbergUniversity in 1922 with a doctorate in German philology, Goebbels pursuedliterary, dramatic, and journalistic efforts, writing an expressionist novel indiary form in the 1920s” (Heiber). This quote proves that Goebbels’ backgroundin German Philology helped jumpstart his career in German propaganda andentertainment.
His understanding of the German people through history lead himto become a successful manipulator of the German population. Even though JosephGoebbels lived a fairly ordinary childhood, certain events in his life lead himto set a platform for his later beliefs and influences in the world. JosephGoebbels worked for the Nazi Party from the beginning of its influence on theworld to the final moments of its defeat. After reaching success at the NaziMagazine in Germany, Goebbels was recognized by Hitler, who elected him tobecome the district leader of Berlin. Goebbels was remarkably successful inspreading the beliefs of Nazism, which resulted in Adolf Hitler later promotingGoebbels to Minister of Propaganda. While he toiled as minister, JosephGoebbels’ secretary, Brunhilde Pomsel, worked with him while his derangedactions were being executed. A review by Kate Connolly, written about Pomsel’sdocumentary over her experience during WWII recalls, “Only occasionally did sheget a glimpse of the man who turned lying into an art in pursuit of the Nazi’smurderous goals” (Connolly). According to Pomsel, Goebbels was often completelyimmersed in his work.
The quote provides an insight into his characteristics asa boss by exhibiting how he very seldom socialized with employees and kept mostthings confidential. However, Goebbels seemed to portray a different personawhile in the public’s eye. For example, the review also states, “No actor couldhave been any better at the transformation from a civilized, serious personinto a ranting, rowdy man… In the office he had a kind of noble elegance, andthen to see him there like that raging midget- you just can’t imagine a greatercontrast” (Connolly). The quote suggests that Joseph Goebbels had an exclusiveinsight on how to persuade the German people. He transformed into the powerful imagethe Nazi’s expected him to portray, which allowed him to capture his audience’sattention. This enabled him to prosper in his job and become one of the mostsuccessful influencers in history.
Mostof the German population’s beliefs were originally thought up and created byJoseph Goebbels. During his life, Goebbels wrote a series of diaries thatexplained all of his thoughts, actions, and plans. Goebbels worked closely withAdolf Hitler, allowing him to become one of the few people to know the truth ofthe Nazi regime during the war. As a result, the two authoritative figuresoften shared the same beliefs.
“The Goebbels Diaries” states, “The Jews have deserved thecatastrophe that has now overtaken them. Their destruction will go hand in handwith the destruction of our enemies” (Goebbels 86). This excerpt provides anexample of Goebbels’ beliefs, more specifically, his strong belief in Anti-Semitism.Goebbels, along with Hitler, believed that the Jews were the root of all of thecorruption in the world and the only way to obtain victory in the war was toeliminate all those who were not of the master race. Goebbels infused thisbelief all throughout his propaganda in Germany, hoping to persuade others intobelieving the same. However, in his journal, there were many secrets that hekept from the public. Joseph Goebbels foreshadowed the outcome of the war earlyon, but continued to push Germany civilians till the end.
For instance, JosephGoebbels writes, “How distant and alien indeed this beautiful world appears.Inwardly, I have already taken leave of it” (Goebbels). This quote examines how Joseph Goebbels knewthe war wouldn’t turn out the way Germany hoped and understood his time inpower would soon come to an end.
Despite his intuition, he continued to followHitler and execute his plans. Goebbels’ strong beliefs of Anti-Semitism andNazi supremacy were spread through propaganda, which impacted people allthroughout the world.Joseph Goebbels was arguably one ofthe best puppet masters of all time due to his constant use of censorship,which tricked the minds of millions of Germans. His influences throughpropaganda caused many effects on the entire world. His most influential actionwas the persuasion of the German people to elect Hitler as Chancellor ofGermany.
The article written by HelmutHeiber states, “Goebbels began to create the Führer myth around the person ofHitler and to institute the ritual of party celebrations and demonstrates thatplaying a decisive role in converting the masses to Nazism” (Heiber). Thisquote reveals that Goebbels often portrayed a false example of an enjoyable andcare-free life the Germans could possess if they elected Hitler as Chancellor.His propaganda influenced millions of Germans to vote for Hitler, thereforechanging the world forever. In addition, Goebbels controlled all of theentertainment and media in Germany, making all employees of the industry reportto him. Through this power, Goebbels enforced censorship among the Germanpeople, by misleading them into believing and supporting the Nazis. In thereview about Pomsel’s experience during WWII, the author states, “She remainedin a bubble, unaware of the destruction being melted out by the Nazi regime onits enemies, despite the fact she was at the physical heart of the regime,”(Connolly). The quote depicts Brunhilde Pomsel’s experience on how skillfullyGoebbels censored Germans. Pomsels subsequently says that she was unaware theholocaust was occurring until she arrived home and was reminded of her manyJewish friends leaving one by one.
Joseph Goebbels changed the outcome ofhistory by influencing the views German citizens had on the Nazi Party throughthe use of propaganda. Joseph Goebbels and his family dieda tragic death following the collapse of the Nazi Party. On April 30, 1945,Adolf Hitler committed suicide and in his final moments, pronounced JosephGoebbels the next Chancellor of Germany. The next day, May 1, 1945, JosephGoebbels killed his family and then committed suicide. The article, “CourtPapers Shed Light on Killing of Goebbels Children,” explains, “The childrenwere knocked out with morphine by an SS doctor and then had cyanide capsulescrushed between their teeth. Afterwards, Goebbels shot his wife and thenhimself” (Hall). This quote describes the death of the Goebbels family andindirectly suggests Goebbels’ fear of facing war crimes.
The death of Goebbelsadditionally portrays Nazis who ran away from their problems and left others tofight for themselves. Furthermore, the event provides an insight on how muchpeople were influenced by Nazism. For example, Hall writes, “They also show howa mother became so corrupted by Nazism that she would allow this to happen toinnocent children”(Hall). This quote displaysthe absolute firm belief of Nazisupporters, who would be influenced kill their children because of the actionsand decisions they made. The quote also provides an example of how importantthe Fuhrer was to the Nazi supporters; the death of him causing many to go astray.
Thus, the death of Joseph Goebbels and his family showed how much of an impactNazism had on those who were severely impacted by it. Joseph Goebbels influenced hundredsof thousands of people, through the use of propaganda, into believing that theNazi Party was the superior political group. This caused many to naivelysupport them without knowing what was truly going on in the war. Hence, the Minister of propaganda lead the Germansto believe and preform anything that he portrayed in his propaganda. Due to hisinfluence, Goebbels’ actions impacted World War II by raising support for theNazi party in Germany, which helped to elevate the party to a sustainable levelof dominance over the world. Therefore, Joseph Goebbels played a major role inWorld War II and history by influencing many minds and changing the field ofpropaganda for many generations to come. Work Cited Connolly, Kate. “Joseph Goebbels’ 105-Year-Old Secretary:’No One Believes Me Now, but I Knew Nothing’.
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2018. Goebbels, Joseph. “The Goebbels Diaries 1942- 1943.” The Goebbels Diaries 1942- 1943,Edited by Louis P. Lochner, 6 Dec.2016. Hall, Allan.
“CourtPapers Shed Light on Killing of Goebbels Children.” The Telegraph, 8 Oct. 2008.Heiber, Helmut. “Joseph Goebbels.” Encyclopedia Britannica, Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc., 1Dec. 2017, https://www.
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