Goebbels's Speech at the Sportpalast in Berlin (February 18, 1943)
On February 18, 1943, Joseph Goebbels delivered the most famous speech of his career at the Berlin Sportpalast. The speech came shortly after the German capitulation at Stalingrad. In it, he praised the German dead of Stalingrad as heroes and emphasized that their sacrifice had not been made in vain. (He had nothing to say, however, about the tens of thousands who had been captured.) Goebbels urged Germans to commit anew to an all-out war effort – or what he described as “total war.” The members of Goebbels’s carefully chosen audience responded to the speech with fanatical enthusiasm. This photograph shows the interior of the Sportpalast during Goebbels’s speech. The banner in the background reads: “Total War – Shortest War” (“Totaler Krieg – Kürzester Krieg”). Photo by Ernst Schwahn.