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The Goebbels Diaries, 1939-41 Hardcover – 4 Nov 1982
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The impact of reading this part of "The Little Doctors" diaries is that it is written in the first person, about events and personalities we are now used to dealing with as history, most disconcertingly as though they are happening now. References to Hitler and the whole despicable regime in this context make for uncomfortable reading.
This edition runs from January 1942 through to December 1943 (with some missing or then lost entries), it is all the more immediate because the translator, Louis P Lochner, was an American journalist working in Germany during the Nazis rise to power and the years running up to the start of hostilities. Lochner came into personal contact with Goebbels during this time and his introduction and translation of the diaries was only written a few years after the end of the war in 1948.
The vitriolic anti-semitism of Goebbels and the regime is brought very starkly to life. It is hard to understand how such sentiments were committed to paper bearing in mind the intended publication of Goebbels diaries for "posterity". Perhaps it is this that is so disturbing and brings the policy of the "Final Solution" into stark reality for later generations. The gross arrogance that readers of the future will not question these sentiments, that Goebbels had no doubts about the rightness of the Nazi policies or that they could still win the war as late as 1943, is breathtaking.
There are intances that show what living in a totalitarian state would be like, for example when Goebbels is frustrated by the legal system he simply gets Himmlers state within a state to deal with the "problem" and by-passes the the law.
These diaries should be read by everyone living in a democracy, no matter how flawed democracies can be, such an example of totalitarian power is chilling.
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