Joseph Goebbels

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A child laughs when it feels joy and cries when it feels pain. Both things, laughing and crying it does with its whole heart. We all became so tall and so clever. We know so much and we have read so much. But one thing we forgot: to laugh and cry like the children do.

Paul Joseph Goebbels (29 October 18971 May 1945) was Adolf Hitler's Propaganda Minister in Nazi Germany. He also served as Chancellor for one day, following Hitler's death. He was known for his zealous and energetic oratory and virulent anti-Semitism.

Quotes[edit]

  • It is rotten and dismal that a world of so many hundred million people should be ruled by a single caste that has the power to lead millions to life or to death, indeed on a whim...This caste has spun its web over the entire earth; capitalism recognizes no national boundaries...Capitalism has learned nothing from recent events and wants to learn nothing, because it places its own interests ahead of those of the other millions. Can one blame those millions for standing up for their own interests, and only for those interests? Can one blame them for striving to forge an international community whose purpose is the struggle against corrupt capitalism? Can one condemn a large segment of the educated Sturmer youth for protesting against the greatest ability? Is it not an abomination that people with the most brilliant intellectual gifts should sink into poverty and disintegrate, while others dissipate, squander, and waste the money that could help them? … You say the old propertied class also worked hard for what it has. Granted, that may be true in many cases. But do you also know about the conditions under which workers were living during the period when capitalism “earned” its fortune?
    • Letter to Anka Stalherm (14 April 1920), quoted in Ralph Georg Reuth, Goebbels (Harvest, 1994), pp. 33-34.
  • To attract people, to win over people to that which I have realized as being true, that is called propaganda. In the beginning there is the understanding, this understanding uses propaganda as a tool to find those men, that shall turn understanding into politics. Success is the important thing. Propaganda is not a matter for average minds, but rather a matter for practitioners. It is not supposed to be lovely or theoretically correct. I do not care if I give wonderful, aesthetically elegant speeches, or speak so that women cry. The point of a political speech is to persuade people of what we think right. I speak differently in the provinces than I do in Berlin, and when I speak in Bayreuth, I say different things than I say in the Pharus Hall. That is a matter of practice, not of theory. We do not want to be a movement of a few straw brains, but rather a movement that can conquer the broad masses. Propaganda should be popular, not intellectually pleasing. It is not the task of propaganda to discover intellectual truths. Those are found in other circumstances, I find them when thinking at my desk, but not in the meeting hall.
    • Speech by Joseph Goebbels on 9 January 1928 to an audience of party members at the "Hochschule für Politik", a series of training talks for Nazi party members in Berlin
    • As quoted in "Erkenntnis und Propaganda," Signale der neuen Zeit. 25 ausgewählte Reden von Dr. Joseph Goebbels (Munich: Zentralverlag der NSDAP., 1934), pp. 28-52
    • The Pharus Hall was a meeting hall the Nazis often used in Berlin.
  • What does Christianity mean today? National Socialism is a religion. All we lack is a religious genius capable of uprooting outmoded religious practices and putting new ones in their place. We lack traditions and ritual. One day soon National Socialism will be the religion of all Germans. My Party is my church, and I believe I serve the Lord best if I do his will, and liberate my oppressed people from the fetters of slavery. That is my gospel.
    • Diary entry for October 16, 1928. [1]
My Party is my church, and I believe I serve the Lord best if I do his will, and liberate my oppressed people from the fetters of slavery. That is my gospel.
  • That is of course rather painful for those involved. One should not as a rule reveal one's secrets, since one does not know if and when one may need them again. The essential English leadership secret does not depend on particular intelligence. Rather, it depends on a remarkably stupid thick-headedness. The English follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.
    • "Aus Churchills Lügenfabrik" ("Churchill's Lie Factory"), 12 January 1941, Die Zeit ohne Beispiel (Munich: Zentralverlag der NSDAP., 1941), pp. 364-369
    • This and similar lines in Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf about what he claimed to be a strategem of Jewish lies using "the principle & which is quite true in itself & that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily," are often misquoted or paraphrased as: "The bigger the lie, the more it will be believed."
  • Berndt reicht mir eine Ausarbeitung über die von uns zu betreibende okkultistische Propaganda ein. Hier wird in der Tat Einiges geleistet. Die Amerikaner und Engländer fallen ja vorzüglich auf eine solche Art von Propaganda herein. Wir nehmen alle irgendwie zur Verfügung stehenden Kronzeugen der okkulten Weissagung als Mithelfer in Anspruch. Nostradamus muß wieder einmal daran glauben.
    • Berndt handed in a plan for the occultist propaganda to be carried on by us. We are getting somewhere. The Americans and English fall easily to this kind of propaganda. We are therefore pressing into service all star witnesses of occult prophecy. Nostradamus must once again submit to being quoted.
    • Diary of Joseph Goebbels, 19 May 1942, concerning the use of Nostradamus's famous "Hister" quatrain
    • as displayed and translated in Nazis: The Occult Conspiracy, Discovery Channel
  • If the German people lay down their weapons, the Soviets, according to the agreement between Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin, would occupy all of East and Southeast Europe along with the greater part of the Reich. An iron curtain would fall over this enormous territory controlled by the Soviet Union, behind which nations would be slaughtered.
    • Article titled 'Das Jahr 2000' printed in the newspaper Das Reich, February 25, 1945, pp. 1-2
A mother who is not everything for her children: a friend, a teacher, a confidant, a source of joy and founded pride, inducement and soothing, reconciliator, judge and forgiver, that mother obviously chose the wrong job.

Michael : a German fate in diary notes (1926)[edit]

Michael: ein Deutsches Schicksal in Tagebuchblättern, Zentralverlag der NSDAP, Franz Eher Nachf., Munich, 7th edition, 1935
  • I dedicate this book to the memory of my friend Richard Flisges, who died as a brave soldier of work in a mine at Schliersee on the 19th of July 1923.
    • Dieses Buch widme ich dem Andenken meines Freundes Richard Flisges, der am 19. Juli 1923 in einem Bergwerk bei Schliersee als tapferer Soldat der Arbeit in den schweren Tod ging.
  • 1920. Both of us were about to capitulate facing spiritual breakdown. Then we helped each other to stand tall and did not falter.
    My answer was: Resistance!
    • 1920. Wir standen beide im Begriff, vor seelischem Zusammenbruch zu kapitulieren. Da richteten wir uns aneinander auf und strauchelten kaum.
      Meine Antwort war: Trotz!
  • 1923. You challenged your fate. To surmount or to die! It was not yet time. Therefore you became a victim.
    Your answer was: Death!
    • 1923. Du fordertest dein Schicksal in die Schranken. Biegen oder brechen! Noch war es zu früh. Deshalb wurdest du Opfer.
      Deine Antwort war: Tod!
  • 1927. I stood in front of your grave; in radiating sunshine there was a still, green mound. And it was preaching about mortality.
    My answer was: resurrection.
    • 1927. Ich stand an deinem Grab; im glastenden Sonnenschein lag ein stiller, grüner Hügel. Und predigte Vergänglichkeit.
      Meine Antwort war: Auferstehung.
  • A mother who is not everything for her children: a friend, a teacher, a confidant, a source of joy and founded pride, inducement and soothing, reconciliator, judge and forgiver, that mother obviously chose the wrong job.
    • Eine Mutter, die ihren Kindern nicht alles: Freund, Lehrer, Vertraute, Quell der Freude und des gefestigten Stolzes, Ansporn, Dämpfer, Ankläger, Versöhner, Richter und Vergeber ist, die Mutter hat offenbar ihren Beruf verfehlt.
  • I'm looking for the teacher who is simple enough to be great, and great enough to be simple.
    • Ich suche den Lehrer, der einfach genug ist, um groß zu sein und groß genug, um einfach zu sein.
  • Everything is what you make of it, even yourself.
    • Alles ist das, was du daraus machst, auch du selbst.
  • One only honors what one conquers or defends.
    • Man schätzt überhaupt nur das, was man erobert oder verteidigt.
  • When I sit near the ocean in the morning and write my verses and breathe the salty wind which is coming from the water, I rejoice in God and I am blissful, as I was as a child.
    • Wenn ich morgens am Meere sitze und Verse dichte und atme dabei den salzigen Wind, der vom Wasser herüberspringt, dann gehe ich auf in Gott und bin glücklich, wie ich es nur noch in der Kinderzeit war.
  • A nation without a religion - that is like a man without breath.
    • Volk ohne Religion, das ist so wie Mensch ohne Atem.
  • Today there seems to be only one absolute thing: relativism.
    • Für die Zeitgenossen gibt es anscheinend nur ein Absolutes: die Relativität.
  • The modern man is necessarily a seeker of God, maybe a Man of Christ.
    • Der moderne Mensch ist notwendigerweise ein Gottsucher, vielleicht ein Christusmensch.
  • Christianity is not a religion for the masses, let alone for all. Cultivated by few and translated into deeds, it is one of the most splendid blossoms that can grow in the soul of a good man."
    • Das Christentum ist keine Religion für viele, geschweige denn für alle. Von wenigen gepflegt und in die Tat umgesetzt, ist es eine der köstlichsten Blüten, die eine Kulturseele je getrieben hat.
  • If Christ came back he would drive his treacherous servants out of the temple with a whip.
    • Käme Christus wieder, wie würde er seine falschen Bediensteten mit der Peitsche aus seinem Tempel jagen!
Man only honors what he conquers or defends.
  • Mozart didn't need a scheme for his music. He played and sang with the heavenly lightness of a child.
    • Mozart brauchte kein Programm für seine Musik. Er musizierte und sang mit der göttlichen Leichtigkeit eines Kindes.
  • I would like to be a parson on this island. Explain the Sermon on the Mount to ordinary people and let the world be the world.
    • Ich möchte Pastor auf dieser Insel sein. Einfachen Menschen die Bergpredigt erklären und die Welt Welt sein lassen.
  • My God is a God of strength. HE does not like the smell of frankincense and the dishonoring crawl of the crowd. I stand before HIM proudly, with the head held high, as HE created me, and I profess gladly and freely before HIM. The true German seeks God for all of his life.
    • Mein Gott ist ein Gott der Stärke. Er mag nicht den Weihrauchdampf und das entehrende Kriechen der Menge. Ich stehe vor ihm stolz erhobenen Hauptes, wie er mich erschaffen hat, und bekenne mich freudig und frei vor ihm. Der wahre Deutsche bleibt Zeit seines Lebens ein Gottsucher.
  • To be modern only means to fill new forms with eternal truths.
    • Modern sein heißt nichts anderes als ewige Inhalte in wechselnde neue Formen zu füllen.
  • I feel how inside of me word follows word and thought follows thought, growing to the last act of creation. Holy hour of bringing forth, you are pain and pleasure, and a longing for form, image and essence. I am only the instrument that God uses to sing his song. I am only the vessel that nature smilingly fills with new wine.
    • Ich fühle, wie in mir sich wachsend Wort an Wort, Gedanke an Gedanke reiht zum letzten Akt der Schöpfung. Heilige Stunde des Gebärens, Schmerz bist du und Lust und eine Sehnsucht nach Form, Gestalt und Wesen. Ich bin nur Instrument, darauf der alte Gott sein Lied singt. Ich bin nur harrendes Gefäß, in das Natur den neuen Wein mit Lächeln füllt.
  • At night I sit in my chamber and read the bible. Far in the distance roars the sea. Then I lie down and think for a long time about the calm and pale man from Nazareth.
    • Abends sitze ich auf meinem Zimmer und lese die Bibel. In der Ferne braust das Meer. Dann liege ich noch lange wach und denke an den stillen, bleichen Mann von Nazareth.
I am only the instrument that God uses to sing his song. I am only the vessel that nature smilingly fills with new wine.
  • We shall be quiet and wait till a star falls from heaven. Can you see, how above one light appears after the other and they together form a dome! We sit in silence and fold our hands in prayer. We shall be quiet and wait until a star falls from heaven.
    • Wir wollen stille sein und warten, bis ein Stern vom Himmel fällt. Siehst du, wie oben Licht an Licht sich zündet zu einem Dom! Wir sitzen im Schweigen und falten die Hände zum Gebet. Wir wollen stille sein und warten bis ein Stern vom Himmel fällt.
  • A child laughs when it feels joy and cries when it feels pain. Both things, laughing and crying it does with its whole heart. We have all become so tall and so clever. We know so much and we have read so much. But one thing we have forgot: to laugh and cry like the children do.
    • Das Kind lacht, wenn es Freude hat, und weint, wenn es Schmerz empfindet. Bei beidem, bei Lachen und Weinen ist sein ganzes Herz dabei. Wir sind alle so groß und klug geworden. Wir wissen so viel und haben so viel gelesen. Aber eines haben wir vergessen: zu lachen und zu weinen wie die Kinder.
  • Devotion, fervor, longing! Those are my pillars. We have to be the bridge to the future.
    • Hingabe, Inbrunst, Sehnsucht! Das sind meine Pfeiler. Brücke zur Zukunft müssen wir sein.
  • Dostoyevsky is ahead of his time - a few daring steps. You follow him, dizzying, fearful, incredulous; but you follow. He won't let loose, you have to follow. … You simply have to call him unique. He comes from nowhere and belongs nowhere. And yet he is always a Russian.
    • Dostojewski ist seiner Zeit noch um ein paar gewagte Schritte voraus. Man folgt ihm schwindelnd, bange, ungläubig; aber man folgt. Er lässt nicht locker, man muss folgen. … Man muss ihn einfach als Unikum nehmen. Er kommt von nirgendwo und gehört nirgendwo hin. Und dabei bleibt er doch stets Russe.
  • The night is my best friend. It calms the storm in my soul and it lets the guiding stars rise.
    • Die Nacht ist meine beste Freundin. Sie glättet den Sturm in der Seele und lässt die weisenden Sterne aufgehen.
  • I put down the oars and float endlessly as if to the eternal shore. Blue light of the moon shines on my sail. My boat is gliding to a secure haven. Only silent waves break against it. Deepest silence surrounds me and my soul builds a golden bridge to a star.
    • Ich lege die Ruder ein und fahre endlos, wie einem ewigen Gestade zu. Mondlicht spielt blau auf meinem Segel. Mein Nachen gleitet in einen sicheren Hafen. Nur leise schlagen die Wellen an meinen Kahn. Die tiefste Stille ist um mich, und meine Seele spannt eine goldene Brücke zu einem Stern.
  • We have had much to bear already. And still more will we have to bear. Let us thank God for being young.
    • Viel schon haben wir ertragen. Mehr noch werden wir ertragen müssen. Danken wir Gott, dass wir jung sind.
  • The life is worth living. It's not true, what the tired and reactionary say. We're not on this earth to suffer and die. We're here to fulfill a mission.
    • Denn das Leben ist wert, dass man es lebt. Das ist nicht wahr, was die Müden und Überlebten sagen. Wir sind nicht in diese Welt gesetzt, um zu leiden und zu sterben. Wir haben hier eine Mission zu erfüllen.
  • The fatherland shall one day be like this: We're not all equal, but we're all brothers.
    • So muß das Vaterland einmal werden. Nicht alle gleich, aber alle Brüder.
He who cannot hate the devil cannot love God.
  • That's what the democratic parties personify: business groups! Nothing more. 'Weltanschauung? What kind of reactionary expression is that? Honor, loyalty, creed, convictions? Man, you are living in yesterday!'
    • So sind die Parteien der Demokratie: Geschäftsgruppen! Weiter nichts. Weltanschauung? Was ist das für ein reaktionärer Begriff? Ehre, Treue, Glauben, Überzeugung? Mann, sie sind von Gestern!
  • To be a socialist means to let the ego serve the neighbour, to sacrifice the self for the whole. In its deepest sense socialism equals service. The individual refrains and the commonwealth demands.
    Frederick the Great was a socialist on a king's throne.
    "I'm the first servant of the state." A kingly socialist saying.
    Property is theft – so says the mob. Each to his own – so says the personality.
    • Sozialist sein: das heißt, das Ich dem Du unterordnen, die Persönlichkeit der Gesamtheit zum Opfer bringen. Sozialismus ist im tiefsten Sinne Dienst. Verzicht für den Einzelnen und Forderung für das Ganze.
      Friedrich der Große war ein Sozialist auf dem Königsthron.
      "Ich bin der erste Diener am Staat." Ein königliches Sozialistenwort!
      Eigentum ist Diebstahl: das sagt der Pöbel. Jedem das Seine: das sagt der Charakter.
  • Hypocrisy is the characteristic feature of the dying bourgeois epoch.
    • Die Heuchelei ist das charakteristische Merkmal der untergehenden bürgerlichen Epoche.
  • Every age that has historical status is governed by aristocracies.
    Aristocracy with the meaning - the best are ruling.
    Peoples do never govern themselves. That lunacy was concocted by liberalism. Behind its "people's sovereignty" the slyest cheaters are hiding, who don't want to be recognized.
    • Jedes Zeitalter wird, wenn es historischen Rang hat, von Aristokratien gestaltet.
      Aristokratie = die Besten herrschen.
      Niemals regieren Völker sich selbst. Diesen Wahnsinn hat der Liberalismus erfunden. Hinter seiner Volkssouveränität verstecken sich nur die gerissensten Schelme, die nicht erkannt sein wollen.
Hereafter we all have to be redeemed. The world is pulling with a thousand strings. We sin because of indifference and negligence and heap new guilt on the old original one. Our life is a chain of sin and expiation controlled by a destiny that can not be understood.
  • How beautiful life is! Music and dancing! The violins are sobbing. The first stopper of a bottle of champagne bangs. And now there's a mad singing and shouting. Everybody joins in and sings and shouts! Embracing, friendship, eternal friendship! How beautiful the women are! Dressed in black and red. But you are the prettiest, Hertha! … Hey, you grumblers, the devil shall get you! Music and dancing. The violins are sobbing. Women dressed in black and red. But you are the prettiest, Hertha!
    • Wie schön ist das Leben! Musik und Tanz! Die Geigen schluchzen. Der erste Sektpfropfen knallt. Und nun ein tolles Singen und Schreien. Man singt und schreit mit. Umarmung, Freundschaft, ewige Freundschaft! Welch' schöne Frauen! In schwarz und rot! Und doch bist Du die Schönste, Hertha Holk! … Heda, ihr Miesmacher, der Teufel soll euch holen! Musik und Tanz. Die Geigen schluchzen. Frauen in schwarz und rot. Und doch bist Du die Schönste, Hertha Holk!
  • O this world is beautiful because of you! To love somebody means that we're closer to God.
    • O diese Welt ist schön durch dich! Die Liebe zu einem Menschen führt uns Gott näher.
  • After supper we are sitting close to the church in a quiet spot. As if from a distance we hear prayers and singing. The monks are holding their vesper services. Then it falls silent, wonderfully silent!
    The sun has already set. … We are quiet, too. … A door is closed somewhere. A man's, then a woman's voice. Children are praying! My dear Jesus! Then it falls silent again. Wonderfully silent!
    The night spreads its wide, black wings over the land.
    • Nach dem Abendbrot sitzen wir an der Kirche in einem stillen Winkel. Wie von ferne hören wir Gebet und Singen. Die Mönche halten ihre Abendandacht. Und dann wird es still, wunderbar still!
      Die Sonne ist schon untergegangen. … Auch wir schweigen. … Irgendwo wird eine Tür geschlossen. Eine Männer-, dann eine Frauenstimme. Kinderbeten! Du lieber Jesus mein! Dann wird es wieder still. Wunderbar still!
      Die Nacht legt ihre breiten, schwarzen Flügel auf das Land.
  • Great hour! Spent together, rejoicing and dreaming. Days and years are gathering. We are a still island in the ocean of the world. Beginning and end! Border between life and eternity! Euphoria, fulfillment, existence!
    • Große Stunde! Mit dem zweiten Menschen, dem anderen verjubelt und verträumt. Tage, Jahre sammeln sich. Eine ruhende stille Insel im Ozean Welt sind wir. Ende und Anfang! Grenze zwischen Leben und Ewigkeit! Rausch, Fülle, Dasein!
  • When you stroll through Munich it can happen that you suddenly stand in front of an old house, an idyllically-dreaming church that smiles like a friendly anachronism into our modern time.
    • Wenn man durch München ohne Ziel streift, kann man es erleben, daß man plötzlich vor einem alten Haus, einer heimlich-verträumten Kirche steht, die wie ein freundlicher Anachronismus in unsere moderne Zeit hineinlächelt.
  • That was my longing: for the mountains' divine solitude and peacefulness, for pure, white snow. I got tired of the big city.
    I am at home again in the mountains. There I sit for many hours amid their white virginity and find myself again.
    • Das war meine Sehnsucht: nach göttlicher Einsamkeit und Ruhe der Berge, nach unberührtem, weißen Schnee. Ich war der großen Stadt müde geworden.
      Ich bin wieder zu Hause in den Bergen. Da sitze ich viele Stunden in ihrer weißen Jungfräulichkeit und finde mich selbst wieder.
  • Old Christmas Songs. I feel something like a longing for a lost homeland.
    We are giving gifts to each other. A beautiful, old New Testament from Hertha Holk is my greatest joy. I thank her for being my solace and my strength.
    • Alte Weihnachtslieder. Ich habe etwas wie Sehnsucht nach einem verlorenen Vaterland.
      Wir beschenken uns. Ein schönes, altes Jesustestament von Hertha Holk ist meine größte Freude. Ich danke ihr, dass sie mein Trost und meine Stärke ist.
The night folds her trembling hands over a weary world. Out of a pale blue rises the shining moon. My thoughts are flying to the stars like lonely swans.
  • This city is grey and miserable. The houses are covered with soot, the people grave and taciturn. Black masses move along the streets; meager and pale faces, the necks bend down. Children are sitting at the street corners, begging. In front of the shops women are standing with old, grey faces.
    Night falls. The discharge tubes ignite. Light shines down on misery and filth.
    My heart wrenches.
    Whores and pimps are dragging themselves through the small and narrow lanes. Yonder red lights are glowing. The evening seems to spread black wings over the city. Richness and misery are living close to each other.
    It makes you feel like crying.
    • Grau ist die Stadt und elend. Die Häuser verrußt, die Menschen ernst und wortkarg. Schwarze Massen wälzen sich durch die Straßen; schmale, bleiche Gesichter über gebeugte Nacken. Kinder sitzen an den Straßenecken und betteln. Vor den Läden stehen Frauen mit alten, grauen Gesichtern.
      Es wird Abend. Die Bogenlampen flammen auf. Licht über Elend und Schmutz.
      Das Herz krampft sich mir zusammen.
      Durch schmale, enge Gassen schlurfen Dirnen und Zuhälter. Da brennen rote Lichter. Es ist, als schlüge der Abend schwarze Flügel über die Stadt. Reichtum und Elend wohnen hier nebeneinander.
      Man möchte weinen.
  • The end of the year! I draw the balance. Inquiry of conscience and request to the Spirit for progress and maturity.
    I grew stronger inside of me and I strive for a clearer knowledge and stronger faith.
    • Jahresende! Ich mache Bilanz. Gewissensschau und Bitte an den Geist um Fortschritt und Reife.
      Ich bin stärker im Innern geworden und strebe zu klarerer Erkenntnis und festerem Glauben.
  • Christ is the genius of love and as such the most diametric antipole to Jewry, which is the incarnation of hate. … Christ was the first anti-Jewish opponent of stature. … The Jew is the lie that became flesh. He nailed Christ to the cross, and thus for the first time in history nailed the eternal truth to the cross.
    • Christus ist das Genie der Liebe, als solches der diametralste Gegenpol zum Judentum, das die Inkarnation des Hasses darstellt. … Christus ist der erste Judengegner von Format. … Der Jude ist die menschgewordene Lüge. In Christus hat er zum erstenmal vor der Geschichte die ewige Wahrheit ans Kreuz geschlagen.
  • The Jew is contrary to our being. … He desecrated our people, spit on our ideals, paralyzed the strength of the nation, made our customs rotten, and polluted the morale.
    • Der Jude ist uns im Wesen entgegengesetzt. … Er hat unser Volk geschändet, unsere Ideale besudelt, die Kraft der Nation gelähmt, die Sitten angefault und die Moral verdorben.
  • He who cannot hate the devil cannot love God.
    • Wer den Teufel nicht hassen kann, der kann auch Gott nicht lieben.
  • Hereafter we all have to be redeemed. The world is pulling with a thousand strings. We sin because of indifference and negligence and heap new guilt on the old original one. Our life is a chain of sin and expiation controlled by a destiny that can not be understood.
    • Wir müssen alle einmal erlöst werden. Die Welt zieht uns mit tausend Banden. Wir fehlen aus Gleichgültigkeit und Nachsicht und häufen neue eigene Schuld auf alte ererbte. Unser Leben ist eine Kette aus Schuld und Sühne, darüber ein nach unerforschlichen Gesetzen wirkendes Schicksal waltet.
  • Goethe as an old man: he was so very punctual. At that time he also wrote many things that were very punctual. The rounded thing is boring. Turn it as you may, it remains round and pretty.
    I love the edges, the sharp lines, and fractures.
    I show to him a picture of Dostoevsky. How ruptured, furrowed, tormented!
    He looks like Michelangelo; the face of an endurer and a prophet.
    • Der alte Goethe: er war so pünktlich. Er schrieb damals auch vieles, was sehr pünktlich war. Das Runde ist langweilig. Dreh es wie du willst, es bleibt rund und schön.
      Ich liebe Ecken, Kanten und Risse.
      Ich lege ihm ein Bild von Dostojewski vor. Wie zerrissen, wie zerfurcht und zerhauen!
      So sieht auch Michelangelo aus; ein Dulder- und Prophetengesicht.
One of the most ridiculous aspects of democracy will always remain... the fact that it has offered to its mortal enemies the means by which to destroy it.
  • In the newspapers there is insulting and stirring up hatred. Those irresponsible daubers!
    The people are on the streets -- rampaging and protesting. The magnates are sitting at the green table and calmly finish their game.
    Old Europe is dying.
    Well, it's a crazy world! Thrift, Horatio!
    As if by a mysterious power one feels compelled to go out onto the streets. The thoughts wander outside to the stage which is portraying a drama of world history -- not an edifying one, but still a drama. It gives the earnest observer a lot to think about.
    • In den Zeitungen wird gehetzt und geschimpft. Diese verantwortungslosen Schmieranten!
      Das Volk ist auf der Straße, randaliert und demonstriert. Die Herren sitzen am grünen Tisch und spielen seelenruhig ihre Partie zu Ende.
      Die alte Europa geht in die Binsen.
      Ja, es ist eine tolle Welt! Wirtschaft, Horatio!
      Man wird wie von einer geheimnisvollen Macht auf die Straße gezogen. Die Gedanken sind draußen, wo sich ein Stück Weltgeschichte abspielt -- kein erhebendes zwar, aber ein Stück. Der ernsthafte Zuschauer hat viel dabei nachzudenken.
  • The night folds her trembling hands over a weary world. Out of a pale blue rises the shining moon. My thoughts are flying to the stars like lonely swans.
    • Nacht faltet zitternde Hände über der müden Welt. Aus blassem Blau steigt leuchtend der Mond. Meine Gedanken fliegen wie einsame Schwäne in die Sterne.
  • I believe in God. When everything collapses, we grip the last hold, we look from the secure haven how the godless society of the old, holy Europe falls apart. May the game begin.
    • Ich glaube an Gott. Wenn alles stürzt, fassen wir die letzte Planke und schauen vom sicheren Port, wie die entgötterte Gesellschaft des alten, heiligen Europa zusammenstürzt. Möge das Spiel beginnen.
  • Give your goods to the poor: Christ.
    Property is theft - as long as it's not mine: Marx.
    • Verteile Dein Gut an die Armen: Christus.
      Eigentum ist Diebstahl – solange es nicht mir gehört: Marx.
  • The war we are fighting until victory or the bitter end is in its deepest sense a war between Christ and Marx.
    Christ: the principle of love.
    Marx: the principle of hate.
    • Der Kampf, den wir heute ausfechten bis zum Sieg oder bis zum bitteren Ende, ist im tiefsten Sinne ein Kampf zwischen Christus und Marx.
      Christus: das Prinzip der Liebe.
      Marx: das Prinzip des Hasses.


Misattributed[edit]

  • The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly and with unflagging attention. It must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over. Here, as so often in this world, persistence is the first and most important requirement for success.
  • If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it, and you will even come to believe it yourself.
    • Attributed to Goebbels in Publications Relating to Various Aspects of Communism (1946), by United States Congress, House Committee on Un-American Activities, Issues 1-15, p. 19, no reliable source has been located, and this is probably simply a further variation of the Big Lie idea
    • Variants:
    • If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it.
    • If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth.
    • If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.
    • If you repeat a lie long enough, it becomes truth.
    • If you repeat a lie many times, people are bound to start believing it.
      • Attributed in "The Sack of Rome" by Alexander Stille, p. 14, and also attributed in "A World Without Walls: Freedom, Development, Free Trade and Global Governance" (2003) by Mike Moore, p. 63
Hitler used to spend practically all of his nights, sometimes until four a.m., with Goebbels and his family.

Quotes about Goebbels[edit]

  • This man's rhetoric and ability to organize are unique. There was no situation he couldn’t deal with. The party members followed him with great love. The stormtroopers would have let themselves be shattered to pieces for him. Goebbels, that was like Hitler himself. Goebbels, well that was our Goebbels.
    • Horst Wessel in the 1920s.
      Was dieser Mann an Rednertalent und Organisationstalent aufwies, ist einzigartig. Es gab nichts, dem er sich nicht gewachsen zeigte. Die Parteigenossen hingen an ihm mit großer Liebe. Die S.A. hätte sich für ihn in Stücke schlagen lassen. Goebbels, das war wie Hitler selbst. Goebbels, das war eben unser Goebbels. Source: Ralf Georg Reuth: Goebbels, Munich 1990, p. 114
  • Goebbels must have had a tremendous hatred for the Jews - but not more than Himmler. I have no doubt, at this date, that Goebbels knew of the murder of 5 million Jews, a fact which he kept hidden from me and others at that time.
  • I met him several times. He was clever, fanatic; having a clubfoot he might have suffered a minority inferiority complex, knowing that because of his physical appearance, he knew he never could reach leadership. He was unscrupulous in his propaganda. I always opposed Goebbels. I always tried to have people educated on a broad basis, while Goebbels tried to supply them with knowledge for the moment. Goebbels considered humans as objects to be used for political purposes - for the moment.
  • I always had the feeling that Goebbels didn't respect people as a whole. He was reckless in his contacts in his own office. He had no consideration for anyone. He was only concerned about governing.
Goebbels was the strongest representative of anti-Semitism. He saw his big chance to become powerful by using the press for anti-Semitic reasons.
  • Did I ever tell you about Goebbels? He incurred Hitler's disapproval after that incident with the movie actress for which he was beaten up. That clubfooted fanatic! He forced women to submit to him sexually because of his powerful position. He influenced Hitler to become anti-Semitic more than Hitler had been before. Hitler used to come to my house once in a while for a cup of coffee, and because I led a normal life, he would leave about nine o'clock. I was in the habit of retiring early. However, Hitler used to spend practically all of his nights, sometimes until four a.m., with Goebbels and his family. God knows what evil influence Goebbels had on him during those long visits.
  • Goebbels was the strongest representative of anti-Semitism. He saw his big chance to become powerful by using the press for anti-Semitic reasons. Personally, I think Goebbels was using anti-Semitism merely as a means of achieving personal power. Whether he had any deep-seated hatred against the Jews is questionable. I think he was too much of a thief and dishonest opportunist to have any deep-seated feelings for or against anything. But for years Goebbels had been trying in vain to become a big power. At last he saw his chance. He had whipped up anti-Semitic feelings to such a point by his vicious propaganda that he now thought he could do anything. He probably didn't think about the consequences himself. He was a fanatic of an abnormal caliber. Streicher was a tame man compared to Goebbels, because Streicher is half crazy and stupid, whereas Goebbels was just unscrupulous, clever and dangerous. You couldn't discuss anything with Goebbels. And for the same reason, you couldn't discuss anything with Himmler. Goebbels was so dishonest that it didn't pay to discuss anything with him.
  • There remains the problem of Goebbels' reputation. He wore the title of Big Liar (bestowed by Anglo-Saxon propaganda) and yet he never stopped battling for propaganda to be as accurate as possible. He preferred being cynical and brutal to being caught in a lie. He used to say: "Everybody must know what the situation is." He was always the first to announce disastrous events or difficult situations, without hiding anything. The result was a general belief between 1939 and 1942 that German communiqués not only were more concise, clearer and less cluttered, but were more truthful than Allied communiqués (American and neutral opinion) -- and, furthermore, that the Germans published all the news two or three days before the Allies. All this is so true that pinning the title of Big Liar on Goebbels must be considered quite a propaganda success.
    • Jacques Ellul, "The Characteristics of Propaganda" in Readings in Propaganda and Persuasion: New and Classic Essays by Garth S. Jowett and Victoria O'Donnell, eds., (SAGE, 2006) p. 48, note 47.
  • Among the higher leadership [in the Nazi Party], while there is still a certain unity, personalities are beginning to play a constantly greater part. Hitler is perhaps more powerful than before, but he becomes more and more a figure separated from actualities. He depends a great deal on Hess, who is really his confidential man now and whom it is likely he may make Foreign Minister. Goering and Goebbels still remain good comrades of Hitler and are undoubtedly attached to him, but the difference* between Goering and Goebbels are becoming more evident. Goering is more moderate, while Goebbels, sensing the feeling of the masses and being above all an opportunist is becoming more radical. If It would come to a show-down between the radical and moderate elements, Goering would, however, undoubtedly be likely to be on the radical side as the one having the more chances. [...] If this Government remains in power for another year and carries on in the same measure in this direction, it will go far towards making Germany a danger to world peace for years to come.
    This is a very disjointed and incoherent letter. I am dictating it under pressure as I wish to catch the courier pouch. What I do want to say really is that for the present this country is headed in directions which can only carry ruin to it and will create a situation here dangerous to world peace. With few exceptions, the men who are running this Government are of a mentality that you and I cannot understand. Some of them are psychopathic cases and would ordinarily be receiving treatment somewhere. Others are exalted and in a frame of mind that knows no reason. The majority are woefully ignorant and unprepared for the tasks which they have to carry through every day. Those men in the party and in responsible positions who are really worth-while, and there are quite a number of these, are powerless because they have to follow the orders of superiors who are suffering from the abnormal psychology prevailing in the country.

External links[edit]

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