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The Man Behind Hitler
Joseph Goebbels' Diary return to index

Denying Defeat, 1943-44

Quotes The German war effort was failing in early 1943. The Nazis had been defeated at Stalingrad and in North Africa. They had lost their Italian allies. British prime minister Winston Churchill was demanding unconditional surrender. Yet Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels denied defeat and launched a home front mobilization.

On June 6, 1944, over 160,000 Allied troops and 30,000 vehicles crossed the English Channel, landed on the north coast of France, and began fighting Nazi defenders on the beaches. Goebbels wrote that Hitler had predicted the location of the D-Day invasion, but the Nazis still struggled to repel the Allied invaders. At the end of the year, the Nazis launched a surprise offensive, and the bloody Battle of the Bulge unfolded in the frigid snows of Belgium and Luxembourg, ending when the Allies regained the territory they had lost at the end of January 1945.

February 19, 1943
Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler review SS troops in Nuremberg ... The atmosphere recalled a wild mood of mass hysteria. ... I was, I believe, in very good speaking form and elevated the rally into a state of total, spiritual mobilisation. ... The rally ended in tumultuous chaos. The Sports Palace has never experienced such scenes, not even before 1933. The German nation is prepared to sacrifice everything for the war and our victory. I will make sure that total war does not remain pure theory.

November 24, 1943
I got an overview of the situation in Berlin, which is depressing indeed. I just can't work out how the English have done so much damage. The Propaganda Ministry was spared, for the most part. The scene confronting me at Wilhelmsplatz was one of utter desolation.

June 7, 1944
Yesterday: During the night, the first reports started arriving about the Allied invasion in the West. The Führer was in an exceptionally lively mood. The invasion is taking place exactly where we had anticipated it. Unless absolutely everything goes wrong, we should be able to cope. Unfortunately the enemy has already sent some tank units into action; but we will be mobilizing our reserves. Two top-rate tank divisions have already left. The Führer is convinced that we will expel the enemy units that have landed, and wipe out their paratroops.

July 7, 1944
Enthusiasm has subsided dramatically. Both the V1 and our attempts to repel the invasion in the West have been disappointing. Nor is anyone holding out much hope in the east. Our information management has come in for severe criticism in the press and on the radio. Our journalists and presenters have again been shooting their mouths off too much, something I have always criticised. The people don't want any more glossing over of problems, they want to hear the truth and nothing but. Haegert believes we could harness the slogan [coined by British prime minister Winston Churchill] "Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat" for our own ends. A slogan like that would render us immune to any setbacks.

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