1942: Back row: Hildegard "Hilde" Traude, Helga Susanne. Front row: Helmut Christian, Hedwig "Hedda" Johanna, Magda, Heidrun "Heide" Elisabeth, Joseph and Holdine "Holde" Kathrin. The young man in the back row is Harald Quandt, Magda's son from her first marriage to Günther Quandt.
Magda once described the temperaments of five of her children to her sister-in-law Eleanore (Ello) Quandt by describing how each would react to learning they had been deceived by their spouse:
Helga: Would seize a revolver and shoot the unfaithful husband out of hand, or at least try to.
Hilde: Would collapse altogether, sobbing and weeping, but would soon appear to be reconciled if her husband expressed remorse and swore to be faithful in future.
Helmut: Would never believe that his wife would deceive him
Holde: Would never quite get over the infidelity, but would be too proud to reproach her husband. Finally, through the breach of confidence on the part of her husband she would go to pieces altogether.
Hedda: On the other hand, would give a peal of laughter and say "Come here you rascal and give me a kiss"
In April 1945, as the Soviet Army entered Berlin, the Goebbels family moved into an underground bunker. Magda wrote to her son Günther who was in a POW camp in North Africa:
My beloved son! By now we have been in the Führerbunker for six days already — daddy, your six little siblings and I, for the sake of giving our national socialistic lives the only possible honorable end ... You shall know that I stayed here against daddy's will, and that even on last Sunday the Führer wanted to help me to get out. You know your mother — we have the same blood, for me there was no wavering. Our glorious idea is ruined and with it everything beautiful and marvelous that I have known in my life. The world that comes after the Führer and national socialism is not any longer worth living in and therefore I took the children with me, for they are too good for the life that would follow, and a merciful God will understand me when I will give them the salvation ... The children are wonderful ... there never is a word of complaint nor crying. The impacts are shaking the bunker. The elder kids cover the younger ones, their presence is a blessing and they are making the Führer smile once in a while. May God help that I have the strength to perform the last and hardest. We only have one goal left: loyalty to the Führer even in death. Harald, my dear son — I want to give you what I learned in life: be loyal! Loyal to yourself, loyal to the people and loyal to your country...
Read more on Magda here, and what her children suffered.
Our Western society quite openly embraces war as a means of solving problems and for quite some time now has fashioned its entire social and economic structure around the preparation for war.
Most of our important scientific innovations come, either directly or indirectly, through research into the creation of new weapons. Our media relentlessly praises and cartoonizes war and violence, blithely indoctrinates millions of children a day into the possibilities of military combat with video games and toy guns. We house an utterly insane percentage of nonviolent criminals in jails. And when a fringe presidential candidate named Dennis Kucinich announced plans to create a “Department of Peace,” he was almost literally laughed off the campaign trail.
We’re a society that believes powerfully in the divine right of force, but that doesn’t mean we don’t like to think of ourselves as being peaceful. And indeed, there are times when we actually do turn to peace and diplomacy to solve our problems. Usually this is because all other avenues of action have been exhausted first, or because it just happens to be the right logistical move at that particular moment.
Like for instance, we invade Iraq for whatever asinine reason was actually behind that decision, we stay there for, oh, seven years or whatever, and eventually it starts to occur to us that this is an extraordinarily expensive activity, pisses off everyone involved, destabilizes a whole region, and to boot puts the lives of countless innocent Iraqis and young Americans at risk, though of course this is the last consideration. Moreover the plan to gain permanent access to Iraqi oil reserves through the establishment of a friendly “democratic” regime with (let’s say) a “flexible” attitude toward foreign investment is turning out to be problematic at best.
So eventually someone will make the decision that this whole Iraq war thing is stupid, benefits no one, not even politically in the short term, and moves will be made to wrap up this idiotic business and bring everyone home. At which point someone making this dreary logistical decision will get nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and that someone will probably win it, allowing us all to bask in the glow of our “peace-loving” values which prevailed in the end over hate and violence.
That’s how this thing works. We ebb toward war most of the time. But sometimes, out of necessity, or when we run out of bullets, we ebb the other way. And it’s then that we give ourselves awards for our peace-loving behavior.