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The Man Behind Hitler
More about the film The Man Behind Hitler

Portrait of Joseph Goebbels A symbol of Nazi cruelty and a master of cynical propaganda, Joseph Goebbels was the mastermind behind Adolf Hitler's disturbing success.

Goebbels, called the "genius of spin" and the "Reich-Liar-General," was a complicated man whose attitudes fluctuated between extremes of self-pity and grandiose excess. This American Experience program, produced by Lutz Hachmeister and Michael Kloft, shows how Goebbels constantly reinvented himself through the years of his greatest success, and allows the man to speak for himself through the diaries he kept. Actor Kenneth Branagh reads the diary excerpts, revealing a chilling personality whose words justified racism, the Holocaust, and total war.

Rare historical footage from German archives traces the path of the second most powerful man in Nazi Germany, exploring his initial attraction to the Nazi party, his adoration of Hitler, his wild extermination fantasies, and, ultimately, his tragic self-delusions and suicide in 1945.

Film Description
A synopsis of the film, plus film credits.

The program transcript.

Primary Sources
Read four Nazi propaganda speeches.

Further Reading
A list of books, articles, and Web sites relating to the program topic.

Closed Caption Logo

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE is closed captioned for deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers by The Caption Center at WGBH.

Descriptive Video Services Logo

A special narration track is added to the series by Descriptive Video Service® (DVS®), a service of WGBH to provide access to people who are blind or visually impaired. The DVS narration is available on the SAP channel of stereo TVs and VCRs.

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The Man Behind Hitler American Experience