Peter Longerich: Joseph Goebbels Biographie



The main problem is that Goebbels is a full blown narcissist It s all about him He s always right and he s always successful What I don t understand is how or why this man worshiped Hitler Near the end of the war he did see a few faults with his hero Not enough however to stop him and his wife from commiting suicide upon Hitler s death and illing their six children A legend in his own mind Goebbels was never in the true inner circle When it came to military strategy and really significant decisions Goebbels was never invited in He would find out eventually sometimes after the fact Hitler had a talent for making people feel that they were essential to him although they weren t It depends on how you want to use this book You do get what Goebbles is doing with his time but you rarely see the other suspects In short this is a narrow view of a huge subject Hitler s propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels meticulously ept a diary from 1923 until a few days before his suicide in 1945 Before joining Hitler in his bunker as Berlin s defences were slowly falling apart he had the diaries microfilmed for future preservation Peter Longerich s ambitious biography relies largely on the Goebbels diaries in their entirety Joseph Goebbels became Gauleiter of Berlin in the second half of the 1920s and established himself early on as a ruthless leaderA deeply rooted inferiority complex together with his narcissistic personality caused him to seek out dominance and personal satisfaction through radical means Goebbels also had according to Longerich a twisted perception of reality and often changed facts in his diary so that they would portray him in a certain light As long as people praised him and as long as he deemed Adolf Hitler to be on his side he was content However when the F hrer s attitude towards his minister swayed as it did in 1938 after Magda Goebbels complained about her husband s affair with an actress he plunged into deep depressionThis biography is a detailed and meticulous portrait of not only Goebbels as man and minister but also a window into the politics of the Third Reich and those working to hold up this giant machinery However it is uite long but those interested in Goebbels will not be disappointed Both his political and personal lives are studied and the diaries are freuently referenced throughout Longerich compellingly portrays Goebbels growing dependence on Hitler s acceptance and paints a picture of a man who slowly moves from harbouring distinctive personal opinions to completely submitting himself to Hitler s will In his early years Goebbels was a socialist and a supporter of a rapprochement with the Soviet Union In his newspaper Die Angriff he often wrote articles encouraging the NSDAP to embrace socialistic tendencies However these revolutionary tactics subsided as the years went by Goebbels is described by Longerich as a cunning and intelligent person however his need for recognition often came before his personal convictionsGoebbels became propaganda minister of the Third Reich in 1933 and while he often portrayed himself as part of Hitler s inner circle truth is that the F hrer often informed him of important events and policies at the last minute From 1943 and onwards his propaganda efforts experienced an effondrement as the necessary image of the F hrer state was no longer possible to maintain with Hitler s retreat from the public eye and the increasingly freuent military setbacks that Germany was experiencing The last days in the bunker where Goebbels and his wife would allow the illing of their children as well as their double suicide is a chilling end to the Nazi era but perhaps it portrays the utter and sheer madness that the ideology led them into out of all of Hitler s henchmen Goebbels was the one who followed his F hrer into the grave I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for this honest reviewThis should teach me to pay attention when I ask for an ARCI reuested this from NetGalley on a whim when I saw the title and I didn t realize that I was getting a book that was almost a thousand pages I also didn t consider that a itten suisher of a biography about a notorious Nazis wasn t going to be ideal summer time reading I ve done my best to give it a fair review but any critical comments I make should probably be taken with a grain of salt by anyone interested in itPeter Longerich uses Joseph Goebbels diary as a guide post from the time when he was a wannabe writer and radical through his rise through the Nazi party to become the chief architect of its propaganda By contrasting what Goebells claimed in his journals against other documentation Longerich gives us the real historyThis portrayal shows that Goebbels was a raging narcissist that achieved the recognition he craved by dedicating himself to Adolf Hitler who Goebbels helped elevate to the supreme leader of Germany We all now how well that ended By making Hitler into an almost god like figure Goebbels could then validate himself as great by earning Hitler s respect and praise Hitler s opinion was so important that Goebbels and his wife Magda Who it seems Hitler had a bit of a thing for made him a de facto father figure that they treated like a member of the family and consulted on domestic decisions Perhaps what s most interesting is how Longerich uses what Goebbels claims against other historical documents to show how much Hitler used him like a chump While Goebbels liked to brag about his close relationship with Hitler and boast about his many accomplishments the records show that in fact Hitler often Attracting Songbirds to Your Backyard kept him out of the loop ignored his advice and even occasionally used him as a diversion If Goebbels had self awareness he might have realized that Hitler saw his value as a talented creator of propaganda but didn t credit him as much than that at least until the end of the war left him with few other optionsAfter establishing what he believed about Goebbels personality Longerich is content to relay the facts of his life in chronological order while letting uotes from the diary clue us into what Goebbels was thinking and correcting the record with a minimum of commentary aside from occasionally pointing out patterns This approach gives a remarkably detailed and rich portrait of Goebbels as well as the inner workings of the Nazi partyHowever it s also one of the problems with the book Everyone has habits and routines When you read something that covers 20 years of a person s life it s going to get repetitive no matter what they re doing even if they re Nazis perpetrating some of history s greatest crimes So whether it s Goebbelsissing Hitler s ass or Goebbels having some bureaucratic suabble with another Nazi or Goebbels feuding with his wife or Goebbels launching another anti Semitic propaganda campaign there comes a time when the point has been made so it seems like the same thing is being rehashed over and overIn a weird way the strength of the book became one of its irritations for me but I m not sure what could have been done about it It s tempting to say that it could have used analysis and less detail but the details are what eventually give you such an understanding of what made Goebbels tick It seems unfair to fault Longerich for being too thorough but in the end that s almost what it feels likeIf you re looking for a seriously detailed in depth biography of Joseph Goebbels that also provides a lot of behind the scenes history of the Nazis then this is the book for you If you re in the mood for a lighter pop history that tells you the basics about Goebbels you should probably look elsewhere About 40% of the book is its bibliography and notes. Longerich’s Goebbels is a man dogged by insecurities and beset by bureaucratic infighting He feuds with his bitter rivals Hermann Göring and Alfred Rosenberg unsuccessfully advocates for a radical line of “total war” and is thwarted in his attempt to pursue a separate peace with the Allies during the waning days of World War II This book also reveals as never before Goebbels’s twisted personal life his mawkish sentimentality manipulative nature and voracious sexual appetite A harrowing look at the life of one of history’s greatest monsters Goebbels delivers fresh insight into how the Nazi message of hate was conceived nurtured and disseminated This complete portrait of the man behind that message is sure to become a standard for historians and students of the Holocaust for decades to com.

Never having read a biography about a high ranking Nazi I feared Goebbels A Biography might be too harrowing a read Early on though I realized harrowing was not what this book happened to be which made it easily readable Yet the I read the I wondered if the way the book was written didn t make Goebbels and his The Matriarchs (The Family kind seem too normal By the time one reached the end of the author s conclusion which was page 700 one is apparently suppose to believe Goebbels main problem was he was narcissistic Really That s itHe was also apparently always looking for a mother figure even though he had a living mother who he claimed to be very close to in his diary Why did he need mother figures The author says that is how he saw Hitler as a mother Hitler as a mother figure Now men who are always looking for mothers are often men who are always fantasizing there are forever innocent little boys not responsible for any bad or shameful things they do Their mothers are responsible or their mother substitutes such as their wives are responsibleWhen Goebbels first starts talking about Hitler in his diary though it doesn t sound like he s seeing him as a mother figure It sounds like he s in love with him His diary entries also show he is a total drama ueen when it comes to all of his romantic relationships with women In addition he married a woman Magda in what was apparently a threesome with Hitler because that is what Hitler wanted And when his wife had only daughters he was terribly disappointed and only happy when she had a son Moreover he started showing off a mistress for all to see in public until Hitler put an end to that Finally he thought telling lies was a normal and good thing Is it possible that Goebbels was such a good propaganda minister because he was an expert liar even before he became a Nazi Is it unreasonable to suggest that besides being narcissistic Goebbels was also possibly a self loathing latent or closet homosexual He certainly wouldn t put that in his diary but those were unmistakable signs of that Narcissism is often a type of self hatred rooted in shameThat could also partly explain why he became rabidly anti Semitic Besides needing a scapegoat for Germany s problem he needed someone to project all of his own self hatred and guilt onto it was the Jews who were dirty and worthless and the cause of all of life s problems Thus all the Jews needed to be destroyed Not to mention all of the exposed or out of the closet homosexuals Of course in the end Goebbels destroyed himself which was no surpriseThe fact that he alsoilled all his children as if they were his to Notes for the Everlost kill is definitely a sign of narcissism But it s also a sign he didn t want or truly love them in the first place He was emotionally the little boy the one who always needed a mother the one who never would be held responsible by God for any bad things he ever did You can t hold an innocent little boy responsible No matter what shameful things he did he would not be responsible That is why he always needed at least one mother figure on hand To take the blame He probably most definitely made sure Magda committed suicide with himNote I received a free e copy of this book from NetGalley and Random House in exchange for an honest review Goebbels A masterpiece BiographyGoebbels by Professor Peter Longerich is a masterpiece biography with outstand research that over seven hundred pages covers all aspects of Joseph Goebbels This biography delves in to the dark heart of Goebbels and shines a light upon aspects of his life that we think wenow with excellent scholarship and we find out how important Goebbels was within the Third ReichUsing Goebbels own diaries which he started in 1925 as he was then a failed novelist and playwright to when he died in the Hitler bunker in April 1945 Goebbels had originally struck a deal to publish his dairies and even though some were published in 1948 most were carried off to Moscow and was not published Longerich has set the bar high for anyone to surpass this volumePeter Longerich is a German professor of history He is regarded by fellow historians as one of the leading German authorities on the HolocaustBenefiting from the 1997 discovery of the microfilmed diaries in a Russian archive of Longerich s work on Joseph Goebbels Hitler s Propaganda Minister is a master class in biographyIn immense detail he covers the rise of Goebbels from journalist and wannabe playwright to Reich Chancellor for a day following Hitler s suicideSurprisingly despite his club foot polio weakened body and the nickname the poison dwarf Goebbels was uite the lothario His most infamous affair was with the Czech actress Lida Baarova with whom Hitler ordered Goebbels to break off his relationship whereupon Goebbels offered his resignation which Hitler refused Goebbels even attempted suicide which resulted in a furious Hitler ordering Himmler to remove Baarov from Germany where she was deported to CzechoslovakiaHowever the book is much than an expose of his love life it shows how Goebbels tried to manage the morale and thoughts of the German population from the early 1930s through to the denouement in Berlin 1in 1945I d always thought Goebbels was part of the Nazi inner circle and despite being one of Hitler s intimates he was on the periphery of most of the main decisions throughout the war often being told after the fact Even When I Moan (Vassi and Seri 1: Russian Stepbrother Romance) knowledge of an invasion of the Soviet Union was late in being supplied to himWhilst there s many biographies on the other leading Nazis there s surprisingly few on Josef Goebbels however Longerich has set the bar high to surpass this volume In my never ending perhaps obsessive uest to understand what was going on in the minds of Hitler and the people in close proximity to him I tackled this 900 pages biography of one of Hitler s most devoted associates Joseph Goebbels Goebbels lived just at the right time to develop into the man of fearsome influence who he succeeded to become after much loathsome scheming and character destroying of anyone who stood in his way Goebbels possessed a deeply narcissistic personality and purely by extreme willpower rose from failed writer someone in despair to the top nazi propaganda minister and he was about the only high rank nazi who Hitler felt comfortable enough with to join on an occasional holiday outing or go boating in the weekendIt is clear that biographer Peter Longerich had set himself some strict f Longerich has established himself as a scholar who specializes in writing about the Nazi thugs who surrounded and supported Hitler s regime in the 1930 s and 40 s Thank you to Net Galley and Random House for the ARC The fact is despite my strong preference for meaty well documented detailed historical works including biographies I really struggled with this one At first I thought it was my own fault for asking for 992 pages about a third of which is documentation about such a rotten guy but that isn t the reason Iept setting it aside I devoured John Dean s recent tome on Nixon who while not actually a fascist was a really dirty guy and that was really interesting reading This colossal volume on Goebbels on the other hand is dry dry dryLongerich s thesis if such a large work can be boiled down to its essence is that while Goebbels was a villain and a sociopath he wasn t nearly as important a player in Hitler s regime as he considered himself to be He was emotionally dependent on Hitler and the reverse was also true but his scope and authority were not as great as many people may believe Longerich makes his case thoroughly and carefully using Goebbels s own journal entries and other primary documents often citing works in the German lan. From renowned German Holocaust historian Peter Longerich comes the definitive one volume biography of Adolf Hitler’s malevolent minister of propaganda In life and in the grisly manner of his death Joseph Goebbels was one of Adolf Hitler’s most loyal acolytes By the end no one in the Berlin bunker was closer to the Führer than his devoted Reich minister for public enlightenment and propaganda But how did this clubfooted son of a factory worker rise from obscurity to become Hitler’s most trusted lieutenant and personally anointed successor In this ground breaking biography Peter Longerich sifts through the historical record and thirty thousand pages of Goebbels’s own diary entries to provide the answer to that uestion Longerich the first historian to make use of the Goebbels diaries in a bio.

Guage to back his assertions And maybe that is where part of my ambivalence lies because what he sets out to prove isn t what I wanted to No Biggy! know I wanted tonow just as we always do when something really calamitous occurs or a really monstrous person draws the public eye what the hell happened to make someone participate in and even initiate the things that Goebbels did I don t care about his love life and would just as soon see a good portion of the first 200 pages edited since the interesting part of his story is later in his life once the fascists assume power However Longerich has written about at least one other top Nazi and he followed the same basic format relying on the man s early life to demonstrate the formation of his character and he s had success and acclaim by doing so and perhaps that isn t entirely the reason I found this work to be so unexpectedly dullFor those who are pursuing research projects that involve Nazi top officers Goebbels is bound to be a valuable resource For general audiences it might have been interesting to see him from multiple perspectives We see Goebbels through his own eyes and we see what Longerich has discovered to be fact in terms of the authority he was given and the positions he held I wonder what about what others who worked with him thought about him What about how the German public perceived him I think it might have livened up the text to include vantage pointsI have no doubt whatsoever that this is the most thorough biography of Goebbels that is widely available and written in English For scholars seeking information for purposes of research I highly recommend it For the audience that seeks an accessible and interesting history and biography that relates to the Holocaust and Nazi officers I recommend Six Million Accusers Catching Adolph Eichmann by D Lawrence YoungIn short Goebbels is appropriate for a niche audience than as a general read Goebbels a biography published in German in 2010 and recently translated into English may soon stand with Joachim C Fest s biography of Hitler as one of the Crush It! key sources of information for those interested in understanding the personalities and events that brought about the advent of the Third Reich and all the horrendous events that it spawned Longerich s biography of Joseph Goebbels based largely on the Nazi propaganda minister s voluminous diaries begins in the early 1920s with Goebbels a young man with a less than impressive track record in school and employment struggling to find himself At one point drawn to the Catholic church and socialist ideology he ultimately rejects both and follows a totally different path Longerich portrays Goebbels as an extremely narcissistic individual who at one point saw himself as the ultimate savior of Germany but who fell victim to the powerfully persuasive personality of Adolph Hitler and instead assumed for himself the mantle of self proclaimed John the Baptist and dedicated himself to spreading his F hrer s message As with most comprehensive biographies there are several places where the pace tends to lag but it still contains a lot of previously unpublished information that will intrigue readers I was interested to learn that when Goebbels first became interested in anti Semitism he read the series of booklets The International Jew written by American Auto maker Henry Ford but decided that he was not prepared to follow the author s train of thought all the way One ultimately is given the impression that Goebbels believed that he had a greater impact on events in Europe than he actually did Perhaps his greatest propaganda coup was to leave most students of history believing that he alone controlled much of the output of the German media educational and artistic institutions during the years the Nazis were in power The truth is that he fought a constant and usually unsuccessful battle to convince Hitler to grant him the power he craved and in the end had to settle for sharing many of the propaganda functions with other party officials That he lacked that power is evident in how many of theey German actions that Goebbels was left out of until after they were begun Even so Goebbels many diaries still provide readers with much information regarding the secret meetings and inner workings of the Nazi party English narrator Simon Prebble does an admirable job of narrating the audio version of this book produced by Highbridge Audio The narration is unabridged and runs for 2875 hoursuotations are cited from an advanced reading copy and may not be the same as appears in the final published edition The review book was based on an advanced reading copy obtained at no cost from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review While this does take any not worth what I paid for it statements out of my review it otherwise has no impact on the content of my reviewFYI On a 5 point scale I assign stars based on my assessment of what the book needs in the way of improvements 5 Stars Nothing at all If it ain t broke don t fix it 4 Stars It could stand for a few tweaks here and there but it s pretty good as it is 3 Stars A solid C grade Some serious rewriting would be needed in order for this book to be considered good or memorable 2 Stars This book needs a lot of work A good start would be to change the plot the character development the writing style and the ending 1 Star The only thing that would improve this book is a good bonfire This is an extremely long and detailed biography which makes extensive use of Goebbel s own diaries Longerich is Attracting Birds to Your Backyard keen to stress the fact that Goebbels had a narcissistic personality disorder and I felt he gets a little stuck on this point at times bringing any evidence that he can to support his argument Not that I am suggesting the author was wrong but I was not sure it needed to be hammered home uite so oftenThe biography was split into three main parts The first part gook the years 1897 1933 the second the period 1933 1939 and the third the war years 1939 1945 After reading this I think there were some very interesting points about Goebbels that I learnt The first was how isolated Goebbels often was in the Party Hitler certainly tended toeep decisions on a need to Deep Listening know basis or probably likely liked the intrigue ofeeping those around him divided In the early years especially he tended to dangle appointments like toys in front of Goebbels but often broke his promises So often Goebbels was isolated and despairing a failed writer who was always being chased in Court for inflammatory racist articles As you would expect there is much about his marriage to Magda Again here Hitler has a great deal of involvement Not only did he eep the couple together when the marriage faltered but apparently had an interest in Magda himself leading to some jealousy from Goebbels before the marriage The three main characters in this biography are Goebbels Hitler and Magda who make an uneasy trio right until the tragic end when the decision was made to ill themselves and their children in the bunker Longerich had much material with the diaries but somehow I felt this led to too many notes and was something between a diary and a biography Still undoubtedly this is a fascinating portrait of a deeply flawed insecure man who was too willing to overlook his own concerns in his desire to have the approval of Hitler We ll just call this what it really is a meticulous academic examination of Joseph Goebbels It s not interesting and the chances of your learning something new and mindblowing are almost nil It isn t the author s fault Goebbels made diary entries every day What we now of him comes from those and other writings some his some not. Graphical work engages and challenges the self serving portrait the propaganda chief left behind Spanning thirty years the diaries paint a chilling picture of a man driven by a narcissistic desire for recognition who found the personal affirmation he craved within the virulently racist National Socialist movement Delving into the mind of his subject Longerich reveals how Goebbels’s lifelong search for a charismatic father figure inexorably led him to Hitler to whom he ascribed almost godlike powers This comprehensive biography documents Goebbels’s ascent through the ranks of the Nazi Party where he became a member of the Führer’s inner circle and launched a brutal campaign of anti Semitic propaganda Though endowed with near dictatorial control of the media film radio press and the fine arts.

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Peter Longerich born 1955 is a German professor of history He is currently director of the Research Centre for the Holocaust and Twentieth Century History at Royal Holloway University of London