Saturday, September 14, 2019

Another Misattributed Goebbels Quotation

A visitor to my site asks about this quotation, allegedly by Goebbels, which is cited often on the Internet:
There was no point in seeking to convert the intellectuals. For intellectuals would never be converted and would anyway always yield to the stronger, and this will always be “the man in the street.” Arguments must therefore be crude, clear and forcible, and appeal to emotions and instincts, not the intellect. Truth was unimportant and entirely subordinate to tactics and psychology."
Goebbels didn’t say it.  It is instead taken from Hugh Trevor-Roper’s introduction to  Final Entries 1945: The Diaries of Joseph Goebbels (New York, Putnam’s, 1978), p. xx.  It is a reasonable summary of Goebbels’s views— but he never would have put it in that way. As I’ve observed before, in public he always maintained that propaganda had to be truthful.