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Goebbels Diaries

Goebbels Diaries

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Joseph Goebbels
Joseph Goebbels
Paul Joseph Goebbels was a German politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. As one of Adolf Hitler's closest associates and most devout followers, he was known for his zealous oratory and anti-Semitism...

, a leading member of the German National Socialist Party
National Socialist Party
Parties in various contexts have referred to themselves as National Socialist parties. Because there is no clear definition of national socialism, the term has been used to mean very different things...

 and Propaganda Minister in Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

's government from 1933 to 1945, kept a diary
A diary is a record with discrete entries arranged by date reporting on what has happened over the course of a day or other period. A personal diary may include a person's experiences, and/or thoughts or feelings, including comment on current events outside the writer's direct experience. Someone...

 from 1923, when he was an unemployed ex-student with no interest in politics, until shortly before his death by suicide in Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

 on 1 May 1945. The Goebbels Diaries, which have only recently been published in full in German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 and are available only in part in English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

, are a major source for the inner history of the Nazi Party and the Third Reich which it ruled for twelve years. The British historian Ian Kershaw
Ian Kershaw
Sir Ian Kershaw is a British historian of 20th-century Germany whose work has chiefly focused on the period of the Third Reich...

 wrote in the preface to his biography of Hitler: "For all the caution which must naturally be attached to Goebbels's regularly reported remarks by Hitler... the immediacy as well as the frequency of the comments makes them a vitally important source of insight into Hitler's thinking and action."

Goebbels began to keep a diary in October 1923, shortly before his 27th birthday, while unemployed and living in his parents' home at Rheydt
Rheydt is a borough of the German city Mönchengladbach, located in the west of North Rhine-Westphalia. Until 1918 and then again from 1933 through 1975 it was an independent city....

 in the Ruhr
The Ruhr is a medium-size river in western Germany , a right tributary of the Rhine.-Description:The source of the Ruhr is near the town of Winterberg in the mountainous Sauerland region, at an elevation of approximately 2,200 feet...

 region. He had been given a diary as a present by Else Janke, a young woman (of part-Jewish background) with whom he had a turbulent but eventually unsuccessful relationship, and most of his early entries were about her. His biographer Toby Thacker writes: "Writing a diary quickly became a kind of therapy for this troubled young man, and several historians have commented on how extraordinarily candid and revealing Goebbels was, particularly in his early years as a diarist." From 1923 onwards he wrote his diary almost daily.

Goebbels's early entries show little interest in politics. There is no mention of Hitler or the Nazi movement until 13 March 1924 - strikingly, there is no mention of the Beer Hall Putsch
Beer Hall Putsch
The Beer Hall Putsch was a failed attempt at revolution that occurred between the evening of 8 November and the early afternoon of 9 November 1923, when Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler, Generalquartiermeister Erich Ludendorff, and other heads of the Kampfbund unsuccessfully tried to seize power...

 of November 1923, which first made Hitler a national figure. After Goebbels first met Hitler in July 1925, however, the Nazi leader increasingly became the central figure in the diary. By July 1926 Goebbels was so enraptured by Hitler that he could write: "It is impossible to reproduce what he said. It must experienced. He is a genius. The natural, creative instrument of a fate determined by God. I am deeply moved."

Hitler became Chancellor in January 1933 and appointed Goebbels Propaganda Minister. Goebbels then published an edited version of his diaries for the period of Hitler's rise to power in book form, under the title From the Kaiserhof to the Reich Chancellery. Goebbels's book was later published in English as My Part in Germany's Fight. Although this book was of course propagandist in intent, it provides a valuable insight into the mentality of the Nazi leadership at the time of their accesion to power.

By July 1941 the diaries had grown to fill twenty thick volumes, and Goebbels realised that they were too valuable a resource to
risk their destruction in an air-raid. He therefore moved them from his study in his Berlin home to the underground vaults of the Reichsbank in central Berlin. From this time onwards, he no longer wrote the diaries by hand. Instead he dictated them to a stenographer, who later typed up corrected versions. He began each day's entry with a resume of the day's military and political news. Thacker notes: "Goebbels was already aware that his diary constituted a remarkable historical document, and entertained fond hopes of reworking it at some future stage for further publication, devoting hours to each day's entry." The involvement of a stenographer, however, meant that the diaries were no longer entirely secret, and they became less frank about personal matters such as his relationship with his wife or, later, his doubts about Hitler's leadership.

By November 1944 it was evident to Goebbels that Germany was going to lose the war. He wrote in his diary: "How distant and alien indeed this beautiful world appears. Inwardly I have already taken leave of it." Realising that he was unlikely to survive the fall of the Third Reich, he gave orders that his diaries were to be copied for safekeeping, using the new technique of microfilm (recently developed, in a strange coincidence, by Dr Joseph Goebel). A special darkroom was created in Goebbels's apartment in central Berlin, and Goebbels's stenographer, Richard Otte, supervised the work.

Goebbels made the last entry in his diary on 10 April 1945, less than a month before his death. The boxes of glass plates containing the microfilmed diaries were sent to Potsdam
Potsdam is the capital city of the German federal state of Brandenburg and part of the Berlin/Brandenburg Metropolitan Region. It is situated on the River Havel, southwest of Berlin city centre....

 just west of Berlin, where they were buried. The original handwritten and typed diaries were packed and stored in the Reich Chancellery
Reich Chancellery
The Reich Chancellery was the traditional name of the office of the Chancellor of Germany in the period of the German Reich from 1871 to 1945...

.. Some of these survived, and formed the basis for the publication of sections of the diaries (mainly from the war years) after the war. The boxes of glass plates at Potsdam were discovered by the Soviets and shipped to Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

, where they sat unopened until they were discovered by the German historian Elke Fröhlich in 1992. Only then did the publication of the full diaries become possible.

In German

A 29-volume edition, spanning the years 1923-1945, was edited by Elke Fröhlich and others. It is said to be 98% complete. Beginning in 1993, the last volume was published in 2008. Die Tagebücher von Joseph Goebbels was published on behalf of the Institut für Zeitgeschichte
Institut für Zeitgeschichte
The Institut für Zeitgeschichte in Munich was conceived in 1947 under the name Deutsches Institut für Geschichte der nationalsozialistischen Zeit...

 and with the support of the National Archives Service of Russia by K. G. Saur Verlag
K. G. Saur Verlag
K. G. Saur Verlag is a German publisher that specializes in reference information for libraries. The publishing house is owned by Walter de Gruyter and is based in Munich....

 in Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

. Full information follows:
  • Die Tagebücher von Joseph Goebbels, Teil I Aufzeichnungen 1923-1941 [The Diaries of Joseph Goebbels, Part I: Notations, 1923-1941] (ISBN 3-598-23730-8)
    Volume Entry dates Editor(s) Year published
    1/I October 1923 – November 1925 Elke Fröhlich 2004
    1/II December 1925 – May 1928 Elke Fröhlich 2005
    1/III June 1928 – November 1929 Anne Munding 2004
    2/I December 1929 - May 1931 Anne Munding 2005
    2/II June 1931 – September 1932 Angela Hermann 2004
    2/III October 1932 - March 1934 Angela Hermann 2006
    3/I April 1934 – February 1936 Angela Hermann
    Hartmut Mehringer
    Anne Munding
    Jana Richter
    3/II March 1936 – February 1937 Jana Richter 2001
    4 March – November 1937 Elke Fröhlich 2000
    5 December 1937 – July 1938 Elke Fröhlich 2000
    6 August 1938 – June 1939 Jana Richter 1998
    7 July 1939 – March 1940 Elke Fröhlich 1998
    8 April – November 1940 Jana Richter 1997
    9 December 1940 – July 1941 Elke Fröhlich 1997

  • Die Tagebücher von Joseph Goebbels, Teil II Diktate 1941–1945 [The Diaries of Joseph Goebbels, Part II: Dictations, 1941-1945] (ISBN 3-598-21920-2):
    Volume Entry dates Editor(s) Year published
    1 July – September 1941 Elke Fröhlich 1996
    2 October – December 1941 Elke Fröhlich 1996
    3 January – March 1942 Elke Fröhlich 1995
    4 April – June 1942 Elke Fröhlich 1995
    5 July – September 1942 Angela Stüber 1995
    6 October – December 1942 Hartmut Mehringer 1996
    7 January – March 1943 Elke Fröhlich 1993
    8 April – June 1943 Hartmut Mehringer 1993
    9 July – September 1943 Manfred Kittel 1993
    10 October – December 1943 Volker Dahm 1994
    11 January – March 1944 Dieter Marc Schneider 1994
    12 April – June 1944 Hartmut Mehringer 1995
    13 July – September 1944 Jana Richter 1995
    14 October – December 1944 Jana Richter
    Hermann Graml
    15 January – April 1945 Maximilian Gschaid 1995

  • Die Tagebücher von Joseph Goebbels, Teil III Register 1923–1945 [The Diaries of Joseph Goebbels, Part III: Register, 1923-1945]:
    Contents Editor(s) Year published
    Geographical register. Register of persons Angela Hermann 2007
    Introduction by Elke Fröhlich to the complete work. Subject index. 2 volumes. Florian Dierl, Ute Keck, Benjamin Obermüller, Annika Sommersberg and Ulla-Britta Vollhardt. Coordinated and brought together by Ulla-Britta Vollhardt. Composed by Angela Hermann. 2008

  • Angela Hermann, "In 2 Tagen wurde Geschichte gemacht". Über den Charakter und Erkenntniswert der Goebbels-Tagebücher ["In Two Days, History Was Made": About the Character and Scientific Value of the Goebbels Diary]. Published in Stuttgart
    Stuttgart is the capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany. The sixth-largest city in Germany, Stuttgart has a population of 600,038 while the metropolitan area has a population of 5.3 million ....

     in 2008 (ISBN 978-3-9809603-4-2).

In English translation

  • The Goebbels Diaries, 1942-1943 was translated, edited, and introduced by Louis P. Lochner
    Louis P. Lochner
    Ludwig Paul "Louis" Lochner was an American political activist, journalist, and author. During World War I, Lochner was a leading figure in the American and international anti-war movement. Later, Lochner served for many years as head the Berlin bureau of the Associated Press. He is best...

    . First published by Doubleday in 1948. It was reprinted by Greenwood Press in 1970 (ISBN 0-837-13815-9).

  • Final Entries 1945: The Diaries of Joseph Goebbels was edited, introduced, and annotated by Hugh Trevor-Roper. First published by Putnam
    G. P. Putnam's Sons
    G. P. Putnam's Sons was a major United States book publisher based in New York City, New York. Since 1996, it has been an imprint of the Penguin Group.-History:...

     in 1978 (ISBN 0-399-12116-1). An annotated edition was published by Pen and Sword in 2008 (ISBN 1-844-15646-X).

  • The Goebbels Diaries, 1939-1941, edited and translated by Fred Taylor
    Frederick Taylor (historian)
    Frederick Taylor is a British historian and author of such works as Dresden: Tuesday, February 13, 1945 about the bombing of Dresden in World War II....

    . First published in London
    London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

     by Hamish Hamilton
    Hamish Hamilton
    Hamish Hamilton Limited was a British book publishing house, founded in 1931 eponymously by the half-Scot half-American Jamie Hamilton . Confusingly, Jamie Hamilton was often referred to as Hamish Hamilton...

     in 1982 (ISBN 0-241-10893-4). The first American edition was published by Putnam
    G. P. Putnam's Sons
    G. P. Putnam's Sons was a major United States book publisher based in New York City, New York. Since 1996, it has been an imprint of the Penguin Group.-History:...

     in 1983 (ISBN 0-399-12763-1). This translation of a previously unpublished part of Goebbel's diaries was the subject of controversy.

External links

  • Joseph Goebbels' Diaries: Excerpts, 1942-43, selected by the Nizkor Project
    Nizkor Project
    The Nizkor Project is an ongoing Internet-based project run by B'nai Brith Canada which is dedicated to countering Holocaust denial. It was founded by Ken McVay as a central Web-based archive for the large numbers of documents made publicly available by the users of the newsgroup alt.revisionism...