Involvement in the Nazi
Joseph Goebbels became a member of the Nazi party which supported nationalism and anti-Semitism in 1922. He joined after breaking away from Gregor Strasser (the leader of the more anti-capitalistic party) who he supported originally, and became supportive of Hitler. Impressed by Goebbels’s ability to exploit and persuade through writing and his success in turning a small section of Berlin into a powerful organisation for the Nazi party, Hitler appointed him in 1929 as Reich Propaganda Leader of the NSDAP (Nazi). He became a much entrusted friend of Hitler as they both had the ability to exploit emotions through Goebbels’s brilliant ability of writing and Hitler’s talent of persuasive public speaking in front of huge crowds. In the 1932 elections, Goebbels organised campaigns and he devised a slogan for the Nazi ‘Hitler over Germany’ earning support for the Nazi Party. In 1933, when Hitler finally came into power, he appointed Goebbels as Reich Minister of Public Enlightenment and propaganda, and this gave him total control of the communication media.
Goebbels was one the most significant and persuasive people of the Nazi who played a crucial role in bringing Hitler into power and increasing support for him. Some historians argue that without Goebbels, Hitler may never have come into power.
With the role of Reich Minister of Enlightenment and Propaganda, Goebbels made sure that the views of the Nazis were put across in the most persuasive manner possible and that nobody in Germany could read or see anything that was not in favour of the Nazi Party. He used arguments to convince people that the Nazis were the answer to the country’s problems. He eliminated all Jews and political opponents from positions of influence from German Newspapers and media. On May 10 1933, he staged the public burning of books in Berlin, where the works of Jewish, Marxist and other authors he regarded as dissident or ‘unGerman’ were publicly burned.
During the Second World War, the relationship between Goebbels and Hitler grew stronger as Goebbels used his publicity skills to encourage the German people and boost morale. He used propaganda to convince Germans to support total war. His Anti-Semitism also brought him closer to Hitler. His hatred for Jews was put into action when he produced a film known as “The Eternal Jew” depicting Jews as parasites disturbing the tidy world.
Goebbels did not personally kill any Jew, but he was responsible for the millions killed as suggested by the historian Jeremy Roberts. In his personal diary, Goebbels wrote “our task is no longer humanitarian but surgical. Steps must be taken and they must be radical ones, make no mistake” referring to Jews. (Quote from Holocaust Biographies) Goebbels then went to see Hitler and urged that Jews be removed from Germany. From the beginning of his career, he had always tried to get rid of Jews. He openly blamed the Jews for the war and that as a result of it; he wanted the Jews to pay with extermination of their race in Europe and possibly beyond. However he suppressed news of the extermination which he judged as damaging to the Nazi image. The biographer Ralf George Reuth argues that Goebbels tried to convince Hitler to exterminate Jews after he visited Lodz in 1939. In Reuth’s opinion, this helped lead the Nazis to the plans for the Holocaust. Goebbels directly organised the deportation of Jews from Berlin in 1942 suggesting that they should be considered unconditionally exterminable. Historian, Jeremy Roberts suggests that Goebbels met with Reinhard Heydrich who played an important role in carrying out the final solution. Shortly after the meeting, many Jews were then deported to Poland.
In 1944, he isolated conspirators in the war ministry with the help of detachments of loyal troops, which saved the Nazi Regime and he was appointed General Plenipotentiary for Total War. After the war, he was the…