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If the “Means Achieves the End,” Is the Means Always Good?

During the era of Germany's Third Reich, led by Hitler, the German people were flooded with propaganda. They were led by individuals who believed that the “means justifies the end,” even if the government's “means” included inhumane treatment of others.

Trying to convince Germans that the Nazi position was the right position, Joseph Goebbels - the Reich's “Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda” - said: “The essence of propaganda consists in winning people over to an idea so sincerely, so vitally, that in the end they succumb to it utterly and can never escape from it.”

If we take Goebbels' position on “means” and “end” to be his view of the world, what does that tell us about what he was willing to do in order to achieve his objectives?

Assuming that he spoke for the government, what does Goebbels' position on propaganda tell us about the Nazi government?  Were the Third-Reich atrocities predictable? Why, or why not?

What does “Public Enlightenment” mean, to you, in the context of a ruthless government?


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