THE GOEBBELS DIARIES 1939-1941 by Joseph Goebbels
Kirkus Star


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In his brief foreword, John Keegan neatly parallels Speer's memoirs and Goebbels' diaries as inside views of Nazidom--the one for the larger picture, the other for closeups. The present volume, no less a simmering cauldron than its predecessors of earlier and later date, starts with ominous, just-wait references to Poland and concludes with German forces deep inside Russia and nightly British bombing raids on the Reich. As propaganda minister, Goebbels keeps close watch on the public mood--guarding against ""over-optimism,"" expectations of peace (""People still hope that the war will end soon""), a ""sentimental mood"" at Christmas. (Servicemen are not to have leaves; evacuated children ate not to come home.) He also monitors what's said and printed abroad--to gauge morale and respond accordingly. It's here, too, that the downfall of Churchill--which the Germans still hoped, in October '39, to engineer--is said to ""mean more than the sinking of two battleships."" ""Midday with the FÃœhrer,"" on a regular basis, brings admiring recaps of Hitler's thinking, Goebbels exults in ""the first genuine anti-Semitic film"" (Jud SÃœss); on the other hand, the coal shortage grows from ""serious"" to ""worse"" to ""desperate."" Larger events materialize (though many months, regrettably, are missing from the diaries): ""Appalling news Comes. . . . Hess, against the FÃœhrer's orders, has taken off in a plane and has been missing since Saturday"" (May 13, 1941); ""Hess has landed by parachute in Scotland"" (May 14); ""The Hess Affair has caused appalling damage"" (May 15). And, May 31, 1941: ""Operation Barbarossa""--the Russian invasion--""is on the move. We shall now begin launching the first big deception. . . . The England invasion theme will slowly be brought to the forefront."" (""I shall suffer a loss of prestige."") The annotation is sparse, but the diaries in fact need little elaboration.

Pub Date: Feb. 18th, 1982
Publisher: Putnam