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Joseph Goebbels

Personal/Family History

  • Paul Joseph Goebbels was born on October 29, 1987 in Rheydt, an industrial town south of Mönchengladbach near Düsseldorf.
  • His mother Katharina and father Fritz were both devout Catholics.
  • 5 siblings; Konrad (1893-1947), Hans (1895-1949), Maria (1896-1896), Elisabeth (1901-1915), Maria (1910-1949).
  • He was diagnosed with a congenital abnormality which resulted him in having a deformed right foot which made it shorter and thicker than his left.
  • Educated at a Christian Gymnasium where he completed his Arbitur (university entrance exam) in 1917. He was the top student in his class.
  • His parents hoped he would become a Catholic priest and he actually seriously considered it.
  • Studied literature and history at the universities of Bonn, Würzburg, Freiburg and Munich.
  • At Freiburg, he met and fell in love with Anka Stalherm but by 1920, they had broken up and thoughts of suicide filled Goebbels.
  • He married Magda Goebbels in 1931, but they both died in 1945 after committing suicide after poisoning their children with cyanide.

Involvement in WW1

Due to his deformity, Goebbels was rejected from for military services in World War One.

Activities in 1930's

  • Goebbels was given the task of building Nazi support in Berlin. He did this between 1926 and 1930.
  • In 1933, after Hitler was appointed as Chancellor, Goebbels was appointed as Minister of Enlightenment and Propaganda. He held this post until 1945.

Relationship to Hitler


  • Although Goebells made enemies within the Nazi Party because of his sharp tongue and he had the nickname "Poison Dwarf", he had Hitler's support.
  • Hitler knew of Goebbels' womanising ways, but Hitler refused to give him permission to get a divorce because he couldn't tolerate the fact that a senior figure in the Nazi Party could present such a poor figure.
  • Goebbels was told by Hitler to change his womanising ways.

Involvement in WW2

  • Goebbels had the job of presenting Hitler to the public in a positive light to all the German media and to promote anti-Semitism.
  • Goebbels forced Jewish artists, musicians, actors, directors and magazine and newspaper editors into unemployment.
  • Staged a public burning of books that were considered "in-German".

What happened to them after the war?

  • As Berlin was besieged by the Russians in April/May 1945, Goebbels stayed with Hitler in Hitler’s bunker.
  • On May 1st, he gave poison to his six children and then shot his wife and then himself. He gave orders that his body should be burned. Before, his death, it is said that Hitler gave to Goebbels his own wrist watch as a mark that he had been the only senior Nazi leader to have stayed with Hitler to the end.
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