November 16

This Day in History

World War II

Nov 16, 1941:

Goebbels publishes his screed of hate

On this day in 1941, Joseph Goebbels publishes in the German magazine Das Reich that "The Jews wanted the war, and now they have it"—referring to the Nazi propaganda scheme to shift the blame for the world war onto European Jewry, thereby giving the Nazis a rationalization for the so-called Final Solution.

Just two days earlier, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, having read more than a dozen decoded messages from German police which betrayed the atrocities to which European Jews were being subjected, had written in a letter to the Jewish Chronicle that "The Jew bore the brunt of the Nazis' first onslaught upon the citadels of freedom and human dignity... He has not allowed it to break his spirit: he has never lost the will to resist." And active Jewish resistance was increasing, especially in the USSR, where Jews were joining partisans in fighting the German incursions into Russian territory.

But it was proving too little too late, as Goebbels, Himmler, and the rest of Hitler's henchmen carried out with fanatical glee the "elimination of the Jews," using propaganda and anti-Bolshevik rhetoric to infuse SS soldiers with enthusiasm for their work. As Goebbels wrote in Das Reich: "[T]he prophecy which the Fuhrer made... that should international finance Jewry succeed in plunging the nations into a world war once again, the result would not be the Bolshevization of the world...but the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe. We are in the midst of that process... Compassion or regret are entirely out of place here."

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