In This Review

The Goebbels Diaries, 1939-1941
The Goebbels Diaries, 1939-1941
By Edited and translated by Fred Taylor
Putnam, 1983, 384 pp

A compulsive diarist, convinced apparently that his diaries provided "a picture of my entire life and our times." Neither is correct, but this new selection does give a morbidly fascinating account of the Nazi State at war, of rivalries within the Reich and of total subservience to Hitler. Goebbels shared Hitler's obsessive hatred of the Jews; he crowed over London experiencing "the fate of Carthage" and Bolshevism collapsing like a house of cards. But he was also realistically, almost too apprehensively, attuned to German public opinion and incipient unrest, and proved to be a media genius who manipulated news and moods. Churchill was the most detested and yet admired enemy, without whom Germany would have won the war, and whose stark calls for sacrifice Goebbels finally began copying beginning in 1943.