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Josef Goebbels: Master of Propaganda

Distributed by Films for the Humanities and Sciences, PO Box 2053, Princeton, NJ 08543-2053; 800-257-5126
Produced by BBC Worldwide Americas, Inc.
Director n/a
VHS, color, 50 min.
College - Adult

Reviewed by Michael J. Coffta, Business Librarian, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania


This documentary of the Nazi Minister of Propaganda strikes a good balance between biography and filmography. It offers abundant examples of Goebbels's film propaganda in movies and newsreels, illustrating Goebbels's conviction in using mass entertainment for political propaganda. "Goebbels almost never tried to change the Germans' views . . . his secret was to reinforce previously held prejudices in an entertaining way." In addition to entertainment films, such as movies of Aryan women romancing Nazi soldiers, Goebbels made films to stimulate German nationalism. He made newsreels of hypnotic marches of soldiers, crowds of Germans saluting the Fuhrer, and pseudo-histories that implicitly compared Hitler to great German figures, such as Bismarck. Subtitled interviews with key Nazi figures are used throughout the documentary.

The biographical portions of this documentary dwell on his motivation in supporting the Nazis, his numerous love affairs, and his disagreement with Hitler on the production of the films The Triumph of the Will and The Eternal Jew. This film is recommended for academic collections that support advanced undergraduate or graduate courses on the Third Reich.