Michael (novel)

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Michael: A German Destiny in Diary Form (ISBN 0941693007) is a semi-autobiographical novel authored by the German propagandist Joseph Goebbels and published in 1929. It is a three-part work of which only Parts I and III have survived.[1] The novel is a combination of Goebbels' own thoughts and the life of his best friend Richard Flisges who had actually fought in World War I, and later ended his college studies to work in a mine where he died in an accident. That is what happens to the novel's protagonist Michael who meets his "sacrificial death" on 30 January 1921.

Michael was a significant popular success, going through seventeen printings.[2]


In a diary form the story follows the journey of Michael, a fictional character who represents a young Joseph Goebbels. At the beginning of the novel Michael has just returned home from service in the Great War. He finds a new democratic Germany which invokes feelings of both love and hate. Throughout the novel Michael wrestles with this mix of nationalist pride and anger towards Weimar Germany and he explores his personal philosophy and belief system.

Political commentary[edit]

The book emphasises the socialist ideals held by Goebbels early in his political career.

Religious commentary[edit]

In the novel Goebbels gives praise to Christianity, and describes Jesus as one of the finest men to have ever lived. He also demonstrates his early socialist sympathies when he stated that Germans had to be "something like Christ Socialists" [3] The book also explores nature of God and the contemporary man: "modern man...is intrinsically a seeker of God, perhaps a Christ-man."[4] It was written before Goebbels gradually lost his Catholic faith.[5]

Historical analysis[edit]

Joseph Goebbels' biographer, the historian Joachim Fest (who was also Hitler's biographer), suggests that Michael sheds light on Goebbels' state of mind and self-image: "The very name of the hero, Michael, to whom he gave many autobiographical features, suggests the way his self-identification was pointing: a figure of light, radiant, tall, unconquerable," and above all "'To be a soldier! To stand sentinel! One ought always to be a soldier,' wrote Michael-Goebbels."[6]


  1. ^ Longerich, Peter (2015). Goebbels: A Biography. New York, New York: Random House. p. 16. ISBN 978-1400067510. 
  2. ^ Hicks, Stephen (2010). Nietzsche and the Nazis, Ockham's Razor Press ISBN 978-0979427077
  3. ^ Michael, Joseph Goebbels, Amok Press, 38-40
  4. ^ Michael, Joseph Goebbels, Amok Press, 48-59
  5. ^ Evans, The Third Reich in Power (2005), p. 249, says "Goebbels’s religious beliefs retained a residual element of Christianity" as opposed to the paganism of Alfred Rosenberg and Richard Walther Darré.
  6. ^ Fest, The Face of the Third Reich, p. 88

External links[edit]