* 29.09.1897 in Rheydt (Rheinland)
† 01.05.1945 in Berlin
Goebbels was one of six children and grew up under rather reduced circumstances. He suffered from an illness in early childhood which left his one foot crippled for life. At the start of the First World War, Goebbels tried to enlist, but was refused entry due to this handicap. Goebbels studied German and History from 1917 - 1921 in different German cities. In 1921 he received a doctorate in German at the Bonner University. From 1921 - 1924 he tried in vain to find work as a journalist or in dramaturgy. Several renowned publishing houses also turned him down. On 21 August 1924, he founded a branch of the National Socialist Freedom Movement of Great Germany in Mönchengladbach; a camouflaged organization of the NSDAP, which had been prohibited after the attempted Hitler-coup. From 1 October 1924 - 20 January 1925, he was secretary of the weekly paper "Völkische Freiheit" and in March 1925 he became a member of the "Vorstands des Gaus Rheinland-Nord der NSDAP". In September he became the Gau - Manager and secretary of the "Nationalsozialistischen Briefe", which functioned as an organ of the anti-capitalist wing of the NSDAP that Gregor Strasser and Otto Strasser used to criticize the centralist party leadership of Adolf Hitler. In 1926, on a Leadership conference in Bamberg, Goebbels subordinated himself to Hitler unconditionally, and so turned against the Strasser-brothers . In October the same year, Hitler named Goebbels as Gauleiter of Berlin-Brandenburg. In July 1927 the first edition of "Der Angriff", the National Socialist propaganda newspaper founded by Goebbels, appeared. Goebbels was a member of the Reichstag from 1928 - 1945. In 1930 he was named as Reich Propaganda leader. Goebbels's main function was the preparation of propaganda for the Reichstag elections in 1930 and 1932. In 1931 Goebbels married Magda Quandt (born Behrendt) in Berlin, with Hitler, among others, as witness. Their marriage, in which Quandt was responsible for the housekeeping and the upbringing of their six children, was held up by the media as an exemplary union. In 1932 Goebbels organized the "Deutschlandflüge" of Hitler in conjunction with the upcoming elections, which lead the "Führer" across 50 states of the reich within one month. Goebbels took over the "Reichsverband Deutscher Rundfunkteilnehmer für Kultur, Beruf und Volkstum" founded in August 1930, by the Deutschnationalen Volkspartei (DNVP) and "Stahlhelm", and governed exclusively National Socialistically from March 1932. Goebbels became leader of the newly constructed "Reichsministeriums für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda" in March 1933 and so became the youngest minister in the cabinet. He focused himself on film and radio broadcasting as instruments for mass influence. In the same year Goebbels organized the boycott campaign against Jewish businesses in Germany from 1 - 4 April. The speech made by Goebbels was the instigation for the violence against the Jewish population during the "Kristallnacht". On 26 May 1940 the first edition of the weekly newspaper founded by Goebbels, "Das Reich", appeared. As Reich Propaganda Minister he wrote several leading articles, which was specifically aimed at the educated classes, both at home and abroad. On the 18th February 1943 Goebbels called for a total declaration of war in his speech at the Berlin Sports Palace. The attempted coup of 20 July 1944 was decisively prevented by the quick reaction of Goebbels. He announced the failure of the attack on radio and conveyed Hitler' telephone conversations with the previously indecisive Major Ernst Remer. Hitler named him to Reich plenipotentiary for the total war effort shortly afterwards. In 1945 he moved with his family to the " Führer Bunker " to be at Hitler's side, and was a witness at Hitler's marriage to Eva Braun on 29 April. After the arrest of Göring, Hitler declared Goebbels as his successor in the Reich Chancellor's Office. On the 1st of May, at the request of Magda Goebbels, the SS-doctor Helmut Kunz drugged their six children. After killing their children with poison as they slept, Joseph Goebbels and his wife committed suicide in the garden of the New Reich Chancellery in Berlin.