Paul Joseph Goebbels (29 October 1897 – 1 May 1945) was a German politician and Minister for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda in National Socialist Germany from 1933 to 1945. He was one of Adolf Hitler's closest associates.
Goebbels, along with Hitler and Göring, came to comprise the leadership ‘trinity’ of the early National Socialist party. As WWII progressed, Göring fell from grace. Goebbels has been argued to have eclipsed even Himmler in influence, becoming the de facto second-in-command (on non-security issues), and by 1943 to be virtually running the country while Hitler was running the war.
Conventional and politically correct descriptions of Goebbels's life are easily found in numerous online sources. This article will instead describe some less politically correct views on Goebbels.
- 1 Goebbels and propaganda
- 2 Goebbels and the Holocaust
- 2.1 Goebbels's chief secretary
- 2.2 Goebbels's diary
- 2.3 Non-diary statements
- 3 See also
- 4 External links
- 5 References
Goebbels and propaganda
He was "Minister for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda", but the word "propaganda" at this time had a somewhat different meaning than today, as explained in the article on Propaganda.
Goebbels is now depicted as a master of false propaganda and the "Big Lie".
Another view is that "Goebbels was successful as a propagandist not because he was a master of the “Big Lie,” but rather as a result of his fidelity to facts and truth."
There remains the problem of Goebbels’ reputation. He wore the title of Big Liar (bestowed by Anglo-Saxon propaganda) and yet he never stopped battling for propaganda to be as accurate as possible. He preferred being cynical and brutal to being caught in a lie. He used to say: “Everybody must know what the situation is.” He was always the first to announce disastrous events or difficult situations, without hiding anything. The result was a general belief between 1939 and 1942 that German communiqués not only were more concise, clearer and less cluttered, but were more truthful than Allied communiqués (American and neutral opinion) – and, furthermore, that the Germans published all the news two or three days before the Allies. All this is so true that pinning the title of Big Liar on Goebbels must be considered quite a propaganda success.—French scholar Jacques Ellul.
He consistently held that propaganda should be accurate and truthful. In an address given in September 1934 in Nuremberg, he said: "Good propaganda does not need to lie, indeed it may not lie. It has no reason to fear the truth. It is a mistake to believe that people cannot take the truth. They can. It is only a matter of presenting the truth to people in a way that they will be able to understand. A propaganda that lies proves that it has a bad cause. It cannot be successful in the long run." In an article written in 1941, he cited examples of false British wartime claims, and went on to charge that British propagandists had adopted the "big lie" technique that Hitler had identified and condemned in his book Mein Kampf. Goebbels wrote: "The English follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous."—Holocaust revisionist Mark Weber.
Some alleged statements by Goebbels involving propaganda and lies have been stated to lack sources and be fraudulent.
See also Allied psychological warfare.
Goebbels and the Holocaust
Goebbels's chief secretary
Brunhilde Pomsel was the chief secretary of Goebbels, with access to top-secret papers during the war. In 2016, shortly before her death, she stated that neither she nor her co-workers knew of the alleged mass exterminations.
Goebbels maintained a near-daily diary until his death. This amounted to 75,000 pages in its original version. It has been cited by both Holocaust revisionists and anti-revisionists as evidence.
The diary stated that Goebbels had extensive knowledge of the German policy on Jews during the time period when genocidal killings allegedly occurred, such as from SS (SD) reports and from discussions with Hitler on the "Jewish Question" during this time period.
The typed pages were in Soviet possession before they later came into American possession. This has been argued to cast further doubt on the authenticity.
The contents of a document may in some places in the document have been interpreted incorrectly and may in other places have been fabricated/edited. This could occur if the editor/fabricator used an original document as a template and made relatively minor changes when creating the new false document, but with these changes creating an overall misleading impression also regarding the parts which were not edited/fabricated. The motivations for only making relatively minor changes include that it is often very difficult and risky to forge a convincing completely new document, while making relatively minor changes to an already existing document is much easier and quicker.
However, the rest of the discussion in this article will assume that all entries are authentic (but sometimes mistranslated or misinterpreted).
A 2010 revisionist examination by Thomas Dalton argued that "Goebbels’s diaries, like Hitler’s ‘table talk’ reflections, are not well known or citied, even among the so-called experts. I think we can now see why: these entries offer very little support for the orthodox view, and raise lots of troublesome issues that must be explained away—not the least of which is the fact that, if we are to believe the exterminationists, Goebbels systematically lied to himself or otherwise falsified his own private diary, for years, for the sake of some unknown future events. This is simply not credible. Nor is the possibility that he was unaware of the mass killing that was allegedly happening."
Revisionists have argued that some non-revisionists have cherry picked quotes, mistranslated some German words, and ignored context in order to give a misleading impression. Also ignored, it is argued, is that Goebbels in his diary wrote about removing, pushing out, or deporting Jews, while making no clear reference to killings while the Holocaust was supposed to be ongoing.
Those citing the diary as Holocaust evidence often state that Goebbels wrote about Jews being "liquidated" (German: "liquidiert"). "Liquidated" is claimed to mean "exterminated".
See Meanings and translations of German words and Holocaust revisionism on this topic in general, such as several German words argued to be incorrectly translated/interpreted as referring to "extermination", with the argued correct meaning being "removal" of Jews and/or "removal" of argued harmful Jewish influence.
Etymologically the German "liquidieren" and the English "liquidate" originate from the Latin liquidus ("liquid"). Various extended meanings originate from the sense of making something clear or to clarify. The word was applied by communists to ideological opponents in the sense of cleansing, purifying, or purging in the 1920s. This use by communists meant "removing", such as by excluding from an organization, and not necessarily killing. A similar word is "purge", etymologically also meaning to "make clear", and in an extended sense also meaning "removing" (such as from an organization), and not necessarily killing.
The English word "liquidate" has had extensive changing in meaning over time. The 1828 and 1913 Webster's dictionaries list no sense in which liquidate means "to kill", but several related to "make clear". In 2015, Merriam-Webster lists "to kill" as one sense of the word and "to make clear" is described as archaic usage.
Dalton has stated on the German word that "Nor at the time, in the 1940s, did the word necessarily mean murder. An article in the London Times had this to say: “The rest of the Jews in the General Government…would be liquidated, which means either transported eastward in cattle trucks to an unknown destination, or killed where they stood” (4 December 1942; p. 3). Holocaust survivor Thomas Buergenthal (2009: 49) writes of his experience in the Kielce ghetto: “The ghetto was being liquidated or, in the words bellowing out of the loudspeakers, Ausseidlung! Ausseidlung! (‘Evacuation! Evacuation!’).” And later he comments, “After the liquidation of the labor camp…” (p. 56). Clearly the word means, and meant, something other than killing."
Regarding the stated use of the word in the diary, in some cases this is argued to be mistranslations of German, in other cases Goebbels does talk about liquidating Jews in Europe, but it is clear from other passages also using the word that liquidate does not necessarily mean killing.
Thus, on 19 March 1941, Goebbels stated that "Early flight to Posen. … Here, all sorts have been liquidated (liquidiert), above all the Jewish trash. This has to be. I explain the situation to Greiser\." This is dated before the alleged start of the Holocaust. Thus, liquidate here refers to the expulsions of the non-Germans, such as Jews and Poles, from Posen (Poznań) (which had been annexed by Germany) to the General Government. That such an expulsion of non-Germans from Posen to the General Government occurred is stated in non-Holocaust revisionist sources.
On 6 March 1942, Goebbels stated that "Anyway, I am of the opinion that the greater the number of Jews liquidated (liquidiert), the more consolidated will be the situation in Europe after this war. One must have no mistaken sentimentality about it. The Jews are Europe's misfortune; they must somehow be removed (beseitigt), otherwise we are in danger of being removed (beseitigt) by them." The entry the very next day, on March 7, 1942, unambiguously referred to deportations and not killings as the "final solution" to the "Jewish Question". The entry thus stated that "I read a detailed report from the SD and police regarding a final solution of the Jewish Question. Any final solution involves a tremendous number of new viewpoints. The Jewish Question must be solved within a pan-European frame. There are 11 million Jews still in Europe. They will have to be concentrated later, to begin with, in the East; possibly an island, such as Madagascar, can be assigned to them after the war. In any case there can be no peace in Europe until the last Jews are shut off from (ausgeschaltet) the continent."
The 30 May 1942 entry also included liquidate and discussed deportations. "one must liquidate (liquidieren) the Jewish danger, cost it what it will. [...] the Führer does not at all wish that the Jews should be evacuated (evakuiert) to Siberia. There, under the harshest living conditions, they would undoubtedly develop again a strong life-element. He would much prefer to resettle (aussiedeln) them in central Africa. There they would live in a climate that would certainly not make them strong and resistant. In any case, it is the Führer’s goal to make Western Europe completely Jew-free. Here they may no longer have their homeland."
27 March 1942 entry
The 27 March 1942 entry is very often quoted by supporters of the politically correct view on the Holocaust, although usually quoted only selectively, such as by often excluding the first sentence:
Beginning with Lublin, the Jews in the General Government are now being evacuated (abgeschoben) eastward. The procedure is a pretty barbaric one and not to be described here more definitely. Not much will remain of the Jews. On the whole it can be said that about 60 percent of them will have to be liquidated (liquidiert) whereas only about 40 percent can be used for forced labor.
The former Gauleiter of Vienna, who is to carry this measure through, is doing it with considerable circumspection and according to a method that does not attract too much attention. A judgment is being visited upon the Jews that, while barbaric, is fully deserved by them. The prophesy which the Führer made about them for having brought on a new World War is beginning to come true in a most terrible manner. One must not be sentimental in these matters. If we did not fight the Jews, they would destroy us (vernichten). It’s a life-and-death struggle between the Aryan race and the Jewish bacillus. No other government and no other regime would have the strength for such a global solution of this question. Here, too, the Führer is the undismayed champion of a radical solution necessitated by conditions, and therefore inexorable. Fortunately a whole series of possibilities presents itself for us in wartime that would be denied us in peacetime. We shall have to profit by this.
The ghettos that will be emptied in the cities of the General Government will now be refilled with Jews thrown out (ausgeschobenen) of the Reich. This process is to be repeated from time to time. There is nothing funny in it for the Jews, and the fact that Jewry’s representatives in England and America are today organizing and sponsoring the war against Germany must be paid for dearly by its representatives in Europe—and that’s only right.
Revisionists argue that the interpretation of it as describing extermination depends on the politically correct interpretation of words such as "liquidiert", "vernichten", and "solution".
- Generally, see Meanings and translations of German words and Holocaust revisionism on general revisionist views on these words.
- Regarding "liquidiert", see the section on "Liquidate" in this article. Revisionists argue that liquidiert in this entry refers to deportation further to the east of all Jews unable to work. Those able to work would do so as forced laborers. This is argued to be supported by a document from 17 March 1942, which describes sorting of Jews at the Belzec camp (see the entry on that date in the article on World War II statements argued to support Holocaust revisionism). Other documents are argued to show that there was no extermination of those deported. The phrase "not much will remain of the Jews" is argued to refer to an absence of Jews and their earlier economic, political, and social influence in western and central Europe.
- Regarding "solution" of the "Jewish question", see Meanings and translations of German words and Holocaust revisionism: The "Final Solution of the Jewish Question" on revisionist views, such as this phrase being used already in 1897 and 1899 by the very prominent Jewish Zionist Theodor Herzl who described Zionism as the "final solution of the Jewish question".
- Regarding "vernichten", Dalton has argued that the entry shows that for Goebbels the word "vernichten is not mass murder—would the Jews really kill every German simply by remaining unopposed, and living amongst them? Of course not. But they could destroy the character and integrity of traditional German society."
- Regarding "The prophesy which the Führer made", see Alleged statements by Hitler on the Holocaust: The 1939 Reichstag speech.
- Regarding "The former Gauleiter of Vienna, who is to carry this measure", this likely refers to Odilo Globocnik and the Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka camps. See the articles on these topics.
The often in politically correct quotes selectively excluded first sentence ("Beginning with Lublin, the Jews in the General Government are now being evacuated (abgeschoben) eastward."), with Lublin already being in the eastern part of the General Government, thus implying evacuation of the Jews out of Poland, is arguably inconsistent with the politically correct view that the Jews were killed or remained in Poland.
Many other entries in the diary both before and after this particular entry are argued to clearly refer to deportations and not killings. See World War II statements argued to support Holocaust revisionism regarding many detailed examples. See also the section ""Liquidate"" in this article on other entries using "liquidate" both before and after the 27 March 1942 entry.
13 December 1941 entry
Another diary entry frequently cited by anti-revisionists is the 13 December 1941 entry, which is stated to refer to a Reich Chancellery meeting of 12 December 1941.
15 February 1942 entry
Sometimes misdated to 14 February 1942. This is an example of disputed translations of "Ausrottung" and "Vernichtung". See Meanings and translations of German words and Holocaust revisionism on this topic in general.
Revisionist translation: "Bolshevism is a doctrine of the devil, and anybody who has once suffered from this scourge doesn’t want anything to do with it again. The sufferings of the Russian people under Bolshevism are indescribable. This Jewish terrorism must be rooted out, stump and stem, (ausgerottet, mit Stumpf und Stiel) from all of Europe. That is our historic task. World Jewry will suffer a great catastrophe at the same time as Bolshevism. The Führer once more expressed his determination to pitilessly clear out (aufzuräumen) the Jews from Europe. There must be no squeamish sentimentalism about it. The Jews have deserved the catastrophe that has now overtaken them. Their destruction (Vernichtung) will go hand in hand with the destruction (Vernichtung) of our enemies."
13 May 1943 entry
This is another example of disputed translations of "Ausrottung" and "Vernichtung". See Meanings and translations of German words and Holocaust revisionism on this topic in general.
The diary entry includes the sentences "There is therefore no other recourse left for modern nations except to root out (auszurotten) the Jew. They will use all means to defend themselves against this gradual process of destruction (Vernichtungsprozess). One of these means is war. There is no hope of leading the Jews back into the fold of civilized humanity by exceptional punishments. They will forever remain Jews, just as we are forever members of the Aryan race."
Non-revisionists may instead translate "auszurotten" (a verb form of "Ausrottung") as "exterminate" and exclude the last two sentences.
7 October 1943 entry
14 March 1945 entry
Dalton has stated on Goebbels’s diary that "I should note, by the way, that the German language does indeed have words for ‘killing’: morden, ermorden, töten, totschlagen, totschiessen. Goebbels had no shortage of alternatives if he wished to discuss literally killing the Jews. This is, after all, a personal and private diary. Consider his situation: Should the Germans win, he has nothing to fear. Should they lose, he must have known that his own death awaited, along with the ‘destruction’ of greater Germany—again, nothing to fear. Why hold back? So the reader might be wondering: Does Goebbels ever use such explicit terms? In fact he does: once. If I may temporarily leap ahead to one of his final entries, 14 March 1945, we read that certain soon-to-be-victorious Jews are calling for no mercy on the Germans—to which Goebbels replies, “Anyone in a position to do so should kill (totschlagen) these Jews like rats.” There we have it—an unambiguous call for murder. Except that it’s three years too late. One wonders, though, why, on the exterminationist thesis, Goebbels didn’t resort to such language much sooner."
Other diary entries
Several other diary entries are sometimes also discussed. See World War II statements argued to support Holocaust revisionism which cites many entries from the diary and the "External links" section.
Several non-diary statements by Goebbels are sometimes also discussed. See the "External links" section regarding discussions of several such.
"The War and the Jews"
The 1943 article "The War and the Jews" by Goebbels is sometimes cited by anti-revisionists.
The article includes various threatening statements against Jews such as "In the end, the Führer’s prophecy about World Jewry in 1939, which they laughed at then, will come true." Regarding revisionist views on this prophecy, see Alleged statements by Hitler on the Holocaust: The 1939 Reichstag speech.
As it was a published article intended for the general public and considering the extreme secrecy claimed to have been implemented to conceal the Holocaust, a Holocaust confession by Goebbels in the article as claimed by non-revisionists is arguably surprising.
Goebbels commented on the reaction to the article in his diary on 8 May 1943 and finished with "The Jews must therefore be thrown out (aus…heraus) of Europe."
- World War II statements argued to support Holocaust revisionism
- List of Goebbels' Speeches
- The Jews Are Guilty!
- Churchill’s Lie Factory
- Goebbels Speech 21 January 1945 Authors of the World's Disasters
- Robert Edward Edmondson
Articles on the diary
- Goebbels on the Jews, Part 1 - discusses all significant entries on Jews in the diary between 1938 and 1944
- Goebbels on the Jews, Part 2
- The Goebbels Diaries are Fake
- Mark Weber: Squishy Semi-Revisionist Shirker – Part Two
- Auschwitz Lies - Legends, Lies, and Prejudices on the Holocaust - section 3.7.2. Joseph Goebbels
- Lectures on the Holocaust - Controversial Issues Cross Examined - 4.1. Confessions of NS Leaders During the War
- The Hoax of the Twentieth Century - Chapter 6 Et Cetera: Joseph Goebbels
- Goebbels on the Jews, Part 1 https://codoh.com/library/document/1918/?lang=en
- Goebbels’ Place in History http://codoh.com/library/document/2564/
- Fake Nazi Quotations http://www.ihr.org/other/weber2011fakequotations.html
- 'He got away lightly with suicide': Goebbels' secretary, 100, breaks vow of silence to reveal secrets of Hitler's propaganda minister http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2031365/Goebbels-secretary-100-breaks-silence-cold-distant-monster-Germans-hate-Jews.html
- I 'Knew Nothing' About Holocaust http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/joseph-goebbels-brunhilde-pomsel-secretary-holocaust/2016/08/16/id/743850/
- Thomas Dalton. Goebbels on the Jews, Part 2. Inconvenient History. https://codoh.com/library/document/3109/?lang=en
- Mark Weber: Squishy Semi-Revisionist Shirker --- Part Two An aid to comprehension for viewers of Jim Rizoli's interview of Mark Weber (10 February 2016) http://codoh.com/library/document/4021
- Thomas Dalton. Goebbels on the Jews, Part 1. Inconvenient History Goebbels on the Jews, Part 1. https://codoh.com/library/document/1918/?lang=en
- Thomas Dalton. The Great Holocaust Mystery: Reconsidering the Evidence. https://codoh.com/library/document/3109/?lang=en
- Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913 + 1828): Liquidate. http://machaut.uchicago.edu/?resource=Webster%27s&word=liquidate&use1913=on&use1828=on
- Merriam-Webetser: Liquidate. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/liquidate
- Christopher R. Browning, The Origins of the Final Solution: The Evolution of Nazi Jewish Policy, September 1939-March 1942. U of Nebraska Press, 2007, ISBN 0-8032-5979-4
- Holocaust Handbooks, Volume 15: Germar Rudolf: Lectures on the Holocaust—Controversial Issues Cross Examined 2nd, revised and corrected edition. http://holocausthandbooks.com/index.php?page_id=15
- Holocaust Handbooks, Volume 18: Germar Rudolf, Carlo Mattogno: Auschwitz Lies—Legends, Lies, and Prejudices on the Holocaust. http://holocausthandbooks.com/index.php?page_id=18