May 24: 19 Iyar
It was on this day that Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda minister, along with his wife, followed the example of their Führer, Adolph Hitler, and committed suicide. Before taking their own lives, he and his wife went in and poisoned their six children because they couldn’t bear to think of their children growing up in a world that was devoid of National Socialism.
Goebbels played a very significant role in the anti-Jewish sentiment that was prevalent throughout the Nazi regime. He was involved in many of the attacks against the Jewish people, as well as the development of the so-called “Final Solution.” His primary objective was to present German National Socialism as a positive force while, at the same time, denigrating those that they deemed to be the enemy, particularly, the Jews. How did he do it? How did he get the German people to go along with his propaganda? Here’s the answer in his own words:
“It would not be impossible to prove with sufficient repetition and a psychological understanding of the people concerned that a square is in fact a circle. They are mere words, and words can be molded until they clothe ideas and disguise.”
On another occasion, Goebbels said this:
“The most brilliant propaganda technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly – it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them, over and over.”
Finally, consider this attributed to Goebbels:
“We shall go down in history as the greatest statesmen of all time, or the greatest criminals.”
As it turned out, Goebbels, Hitler and many other high-ranking Nazis went down in history as the greatest of criminals. For a while, they succeeded in carrying out their agenda until it was acknowledged by the entire world that they were, indeed, maniacal criminals. When you consider how evil this man was, along with the rest of the Nazis, it makes you wonder how they were able to get away with what they did. Goebbels told us: they got away with it because people are easily swayed by passion and well crafted words. By and large, people are gullible and fall victim to what sounds good.
If you think about it, that’s what the adversary has done, from the very beginning. He tells people what they want to hear, makes it look good, and then they fall for it – almost every time. In essence, that’s exactly what Goebbels said. Keep repeating the same words over and over again, with a smile on your face and you can convince people that a square is actually a circle. Words have the potential to convince people of what one wishes them to be convinced of. Keep repeating it and tell them what they want to hear.
What are you and I to learn from this? It seems obvious that this same tactic is, presently, being used quite skillfully and quite successfully in our world. It is used by the media, governments and various organizations throughout the world. Consequently, as believers, we must take heed and remember what Paul warned us of so long ago:
“We should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Messiah” (Ephesians 4:14-15)
In other words, we must know the truth, we must speak the truth, and we must live the truth. Our lives and the lives of others depend upon it because, unbelievably, many are still falling victim to the same old lies. There are devious and skillful orators in the world who are continually trying to convince people that a square is actually a circle. Our lives need to be an example of the truth in the hopes that people will recognize the authentic and reject the lie. We must live according to the truth so that some will come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved.