Goebbels, Reich and Art


Magda and Joseph Goebbels with children, Photo Credit: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-1987-0724-503 / CC-BY-SA

On the 29th of October 1897,  Joseph Goebbels was born in Rheydt, Germany. He was one of the closest associates of Adolf Hitler and a zealously devoted propagandist of National Socialism in Nazi Germany. Between 1933 and 1945 he held the position of Reich Minister of Propaganda and contributed significantly to the initial success of the Nazi Party. 

Goebbels was a weak and frail child. Suffering from many illnesses he eventually ended up with one of his feet paralyzed. This experience had a big impact on young Joseph and contributed to developing a rather introverted nature. In his diaries he recalls his childhood as painful and solitary. His inner need to be heard and seen would later manifest itself in great speeches, which in their oratorical skill and theatricality were not far from those of…

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The anti-Nazi gangster: ‘Bugsy’ Siegel and the plot to assassinate Göring | History Today

Originally posted on History Today.

Göring and Mussolini in September 1937. bpk-images

Göring and Mussolini in September 1937.

In the 1991 film Bugsy, Warren Beatty portrayed Benjamin ‘Bugsy’ Siegel as a man with an obsession, not only to build a fabulous resort casino in Las Vegas, but also to murder the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. In one scene a swaggering Siegel tells his paramour, Virginia Hill, that he must do so because ‘the whole world is being destroyed by Hitler and Mussolini’. In a later exchange with his life-long friend, Meyer Lansky, Siegel explains, with stunning hubris: ‘Mussolini and Hitler have to be stopped. They’re trying to knock off every Jew on earth. If I don’t do something about it, who will?’ Siegel is frustrated when, later in the film, the Italian people have eliminated their dictator and deprived him of the opportunity.

The juxtaposition of Siegel plotting the deaths of the leaders of the Axis powers, while also imagining and constructing the Flamingo Hotel would, in reality, have been impossible, since his involvement with the hotel project did not begin until 1946 when both dictators were already dead. Nonetheless, Bugsy offered a variation on this oft-told tale about Siegel going to Italy with the Countess Dorothy di Frasso, seeking to persuade Mussolini to purchase a new explosive, the development of which Siegel and di Frasso were financing. According to the seemingly improbable narrative, Siegel and di Frasso encountered Hermann Göring and Joseph Goebbels at di Frasso’s spectacular Roman home, Villa Madama. Hating Nazis and their treatment of Jews and angered that Mussolini had removed him and di Frasso from the villa so the German leaders could stay there, Siegel wanted to kill them both. Di Frasso, however, persuaded him not to do anything so rash, fearing the repercussions for her husband, the Count Carlo Dentice di Frasso. Remarkably, there is a good deal of evidence in support of much of this seemingly…

via The anti-Nazi gangster: ‘Bugsy’ Siegel and the plot to assassinate Göring | History Today.

Hitler’s American deejay: The strange story of Mildred “Axis Sally” Gillars. | www.seanmunger.com

Originally posted on www.seanmunger.com

This week is the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe, and a lot of noteworthy things happened during the fall of the Third Reich. One of them is not nearly as well-known as the others, but still fascinating in its own right. On May 6, 1945, a woman with an American accent made a broadcast on a crackly, static-choked feed from Berlin, which had just fallen to Soviet troops. The broadcast was pro-Nazi, but it hardly mattered anymore; Hitler was dead, many other Germans had committed suicide and the Nazi regime was on the verge of surrendering unconditionally to the Allied powers, which they did two days later. The woman, quite familiar to many American radio listeners, was known as “Axis Sally.” The May 6 broadcast was her last. When it was over she vanished fading into the chaotic backdrop of Berlin that was now a pile of rubble under Soviet occupation, still full of the dead and the dying remnants of Hitler’s regime.

“Axis Sally’s” true name was Mildred Elizabeth Gillars, and she had a fascinating life story. She was born in New England, studied at Ohio’s Wesleyan University in the late 1910s and early 1920s, and wanted to be an actress or musician. She studied piano and tried to get a career going in vaudeville, eventually moving to New York City. During the late 1920s and 1930s she drifted between the U.S. and Europe. She came to Berlin in 1934 and eventually fell in love with a…

via Hitler’s American deejay: The strange story of Mildred “Axis Sally” Gillars. | www.seanmunger.com