An intimate look at the mind of the master propagandist Joseph Goebbels, who shaped German popular opinion throughout the Nazi rise to power and subsequent fall, THE GOEBBELS EXPERIMENT unfolds through diary excerpts spanning the years between 1924 until Goebbels's grisly death at the close of WWII. Narrated by Kenneth Branagh, the text is accompanied by archival photographs and early films taken from the period, and includes many instances of Goebbels himself at the podium, such as his famous "Total War" speech. More interesting is the insight into the evolution and inner workings of Goebbels's character. He tells of his early illnesses, which left him paralyzed, and a youth that "held little joy." Diminutive, clubfooted, and deeply pessimistic, he describes his early literary pursuits, reading Mann and Dostoevski, and the unhappiness and loathing he experienced while working in a bank in Cologne. Searching for meaning in his life, he finds purpose in the Third Reich, and pledges utter devotion to Hitler. Later, this unqualified adoration is beset with paranoia and petty squabbles, and the inner sanctum of the Nazi party is shown from Goebbels's perspective to be a bickering clique of ladder climbers. Goebbels's personal life is equally fraught, as he remains painfully single until he enters his 30s, and then becomes an unqualified womanizer. The artistic and film criticism on offer in the diaries is illuminating, as Goebbels critiques Sergei Eisenstein for being "too propagandistic," and delivers a harshly misogynist view of Leni Riefenstahl. This remarkable view of one of the most notorious, cold-blooded figures to populate the 20th century sheds light of one of the darkest points in history itself.
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