Joseph Goebbels

Paul Joseph Goebbels (29 October 1897 - 1 May 1945) was a German politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945.

Goebbels, who aspired to be an author, obtained a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Heidelberg in 1921. He joined the Nazi Party in 1924. He was appointed as district leader for Berlin in 1926, where he began to take an interest in the use of propaganda to promote the party and its programme. After the Nazi Seizure of Power in 1933, Goebbels' Propaganda Ministry quickly gained and exerted controlling supervision over the news media, arts, and information in Germany. He was particularly adept at using the relatively new media of radio and film for propaganda purposes. Topics for party propaganda included antisemitism, attacks on the Christian churches, and (after the start of the Second World War) attempting to shape morale.

Goebbels was particularly interested in controlling radio, which was then still a fairly new mass medium. Sometimes under protest from individual states, Goebbels gained control of radio stations nationwide, and placed them under the German National Broadcasting Corp in July 1934. Manufacturers were urged by Goebbels to produce inexpensive home receivers, called Volksempfenger (people's receiver), and by 1938 nearly ten million sets had been sold. Loudspeakers were placed in public areas, factories, and schools, so that important party broadcasts would be heard live by nearly all Germans. On 2 September 1939 (the day after the start of the war), Goebbels and the Council of Ministers proclaimed it illegal to listen to foreign radio stations. Disseminating news from foreign broadcasts could result in the death penalty. Through technical devices like the radio and loudspeaker, 80 million people were deprived of independent thought.

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