Dr. Paul Joseph Goebbels (October 29th, 1897 – May 1st 1945):

A German politician and Minister for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda in Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. He was one of German dictator Adolf Hitler's closest associates and most devout followers. Goebbels was known for his zealous, energetic oratory, and virulent anti-Semitism.

Goebbels earned a Ph.D. in Heidelberg University in 1921, writing his doctoral thesis on 18th century romantic drama; he then went on to work as a journalist and later a bank clerk and caller on the stock exchange. He also wrote novels and plays, but they were refused by publishers. Goebbels came into contact with the Nazi Party in 1923 during the French occupation of the Ruhr and became a member in 1924. He was appointed Gauleiter (regional party leader) of Berlin. In this position, he put his propaganda skills to full use, combating the local socialist and communist parties with the help of Nazi papers and the paramilitary SA. By 1928 he had risen in the party ranks to become one of its most prominent members.

After the Nazis gained power in 1933, he was appointed propaganda minister. One of his first acts was to order the burning of books by Jewish or anti-Nazi authors at Bebelplatz and he proceeded to gain full control of every outlet of information in Germany. Following his appointment, his attacks on German Jews became ever fiercer and culminated in the Kristallnacht in 1938, the first open and unrestrained pogrom unleashed by the Nazis.

An early and avid supporter of war, Goebbels did everything in his power to prepare the German people for a large scale military conflict. During the Second World War, he increased his power and influence through shifting alliances with other Nazi leaders. By late 1943, the tide of the war was turning against the Axis powers, but this only spurred Goebbels to intensify the propaganda by urging the Germans to accept the idea of total war and mobilization. Goebbels remained with Hitler in Berlin to the very end, and following the Führer's suicide he was the second person to serve as the Third Reich's Chancellor — albeit for one day. In his final hours Goebbels allowed his wife, Magda, to kill their six young children. Shortly after, Goebbels and his wife both committed suicide.