By early 1943, Adolf Hitler was an increasingly remote and reclusive figure in Germany. His health had declined due to the stresses of the war and he had begun to suffer from Parkinson’s disease. The Nazi government attempted to suppress the defeat at Stalingrad of the German Sixth Army (which had marched triumphantly into Paris three years earlier), but by February it was announced that the army had been lost, sacrificing itself for the Reich.
The catastrophe, combined with Hitler’s diminished presence became an opportunity for his propagandist Goebbels to increase his role and make a bid to be a de facto wartime leader under the auspices of a new policy ‘Total War’. Goebbels was still deeply loyal to Hitler and whilst he never usurped him, he increasingly became the public face of the regime.
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