I’ve read first-person accounts of life within the Third Reich before, but never one from someone in a position of power like what Goebbels had. This diary of a madman is pretty fascinating stuff, not only for the look it provides into the mind of a megalomaniac but also for some details of what was really going on on the home front. Despite having locked up or killed innumerable dissidents, the Nazis had to deal with all sorts of minor sabotage: explosives-filled suitcases left in railway stations and so on.
In my other readings I’ve come across a few really good Nazi-era jokes. Unfortunately, they don’t translate well.
Goebbels hasn’t made any jokes so far. Tell you the truth, he doesn’t seem to have much of a sense of humor at all. What he does have is a tremendous capacity for double-think. Hardly surprising in a minister of propaganda. To give you an idea of how his mind worked, I have written up a Readers’ Digest of his diary below. He repeats himself a lot, so I’ve cobbled together a compendium of the sort of thing he spews out on a regular basis. And I’ll have you know that I did not make up the part about the dancing girls.
A Day in the Life of Dr. Joseph Goebbels:
Der Führer is displeased with the lack of results on the naval front. The admirals are all old fools who have no understanding of how to conduct a modern war. The navy should be put under my jurisdiction; then the world would see that the German fleet is unstoppable when led by someone with superior intelligence. I will speak with der Führer about this soon.
Last night’s bombing of Rostock by the English achieved little or nothing. Nevertheless, the arch-fiend Churchill made much of it in a speech today that was notable for its stupidity and lack of coherence. We could never get away with this sort of amateurish propaganda with our own people. Unfortunately, the English are easily led, and will put up with all sorts of hardship during wartime. If only they were not so stupid they would have given up long ago. Their leaders have obviously been receiving huge checks from the Americans. The English started this war, and it will be only right and just when their empire is wiped off the face of the earth.
My speech yesterday was received with great approval and huge ovations. Every word I speak is golden, and the people can hardly get enough of me.
The stupidity of the diplomatic corps is maddening. Bureaucrats should stay where they belong: behind their desks. And they should do nothing without my explicit approval. I will speak with der Führer about this soon.
The French, who started this war, are completely unreliable. They hardly seem to care about the English bombs being dropped on their cities. What can you do with such fools?
The Russians continue to fight tenaciously, preferring death to capture. This proves how stupid they are. An intelligent enemy would have capitulated long ago. Stalin, who is completely aware of the sub-human nature of his people, has cleverly dispersed some recently-liberated Russian soldiers among the front-line units so they can give speeches detailing their treatment as prisoners. Clearly, they hope to receive huge checks from the Americans for telling these lies.
If only the army command were not so stupid! They should follow my directives exclusively. I will speak with der Führer about this soon.
The English have done terrible damage to the peaceful city of Rostock. Two munitions plants were destroyed, and an aircraft factory badly damaged. If this continues, the situation will become serious. The Anglo-Saxon race enjoys nothing more than destroying other people’s property. Of course, without the huge numbers of bombers being supplied by the Americans they could achieve nothing. Der Führer was justifiably incensed at the poor performance of the air force and the anti-aircraft batteries during this raid. I will speak with der Führer soon about my taking command of these operations.
Roosevelt again made a very foolish speech, giving ridiculous and completely unbelievable figures on war production. He has taken the illegal step of declaring all German patents null and void. Clearly, it is their policy to involve themselves in a foreign war every twenty-five years or so in order to steal other people’s technology.
If only the German people were not so intelligent! We have to be very careful what we tell them, for example, about the reasons for the new reduced rations; otherwise they may get the impression that things are going badly. They must understand that everyone must make sacrifices in order to assure the glorious future der Führer has planned for the world. For instance farmer’s wives, whose husbands are in the army, refuse to do any work because they receive a cash stipend. They go to the nearest town to get their hair done instead of digging potatoes. I will speak with der Führer about putting their stipends in trust until the end of the war. That is the only way to deal with such a stupid group of people.
I have just received from my subordinates several insanely stupid suggestions for increasing war production. One says we should do away with beauty parlors, so that the women in that industry can build munitions instead. Another cretin suggests that dancing girls be put into the general workforce. How idiotic! They would soon become fat, and be no longer fit to be carry on their profession!
How I miss der Führer. He works so hard, and could certainly use a vacation. When I saw him last week he was looking very worn, and he complained of constant fatigue. Yet without his iron will holding everything together, surely all would be lost by now. There is no greater joy than to work for such a genius. Of course, he found time for several long talks with me, and approved completely with everything I have done. He congratulated me many times on the success of my speeches. What a genius. If the German people fail him, history will be seen to have no meaning. I have complete confidence in total victory as long he remains in good health. Only through his great personality, words, and deeds have we reached our present heights.