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JOSEPH GOEBBELS: The man behind Adolph Hitler

Goebbels could rarely disguise that he walked with a limp. But how did he acquire this disability? There is certainly no truth in the rumour he himself spread that it stemmed from a wartime injury. He was rejected by the German armed forces because of poor health, merely serving as an army clerk for a few months in 1917. But neither was he born with a club foot. This was a myth spread by his political enemies, who mocked that a member of the vaunted 'master race' was congenitally a weakling. Almost certainly the problem stemmed from the poliomyelitis he contracted as a child.

Goebbels was perhaps the only person in the Third Reich who could smile and laugh with Hitler around and get away with it.



.....for it was he who skilfully propagated the idea that Hitler was some sort of superman-saviour who would rescue Germany from humiliation and return her to greatness. His most important achievement, he said, was the 'Hitler myth': it was he who gave Hitler 'the halo of infallibility'. Hugh Trevor-Roper once judged that, had Hitler's other lieutenants not existed, Nazism would have been much the same; but Goebbels was 'an impresario of genius', without whom Nazism would have been very different.

Yet this consummate cynic --who insisted in his diary that 'Life is shit' -- was in fact a closet romantic.

Initially Goebbels and Hitler had different political views and ambitions and were not at all friends or allies. But Hitler immediately understood that Goebbels could be very useful to him because of his experience as a writer and his talent for distributing propaganda.

Joseph Goebbels relationship with Hitler before, and during the war was not always rosy. His position within the Nazi Party changed several times depending upon alliances and changes of fortune. Hitler intervened in Goebbels personal affairs in regard to his wanton womanizing which infuriated Goebbels.

"When Goebbels learned that Hitler had committed suicide, he was very depressed and said: 'It is a great pity that such a man is not with us any longer. But there is nothing to be done. For us, everything is lost now and the only way left for us is the one which Hitler chose. I shall follow his example'."



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After several unsuccessful tries by Stauffenberg to meet Hitler, G├Âring and Himmler when they were together, he went ahead with the attempt at Wolfsschanze on 20 July, 1944. Stauffenberg entered the briefing room carrying a briefcase containing two small bombs. The location had unexpectedly been changed from the subterranean F├╝hrerbunker to Speer's wooden barrack/hut. He left the room to arm the first bomb with specially-adapted pliers, a task made difficult because he had lost his right hand and had only three fingers on his left. A guard knocked and opened the door, urging him to hurry as the meeting was about to begin. As a result, Stauffenberg was able to arm only one of the bombs. He left the second bomb with his aide-de-camp, Werner von Haeften, and returned to the briefing room, where he placed the briefcase under the conference table, as close as he could to Hitler. Some minutes later, he excused himself and left the room.

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