Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Goebbels’s Invocation of the Miracle of the House of Brandenburg

Goebbels was thrilled when learned about Roosevelt’s death on 12 April 1945. He instantly telephoned Hitler, who was sunk in depression in the Reich Chancellery bunker. “My führer!” Goebbels said. “I congratulate you. Roosevelt is dead.” With the objective of raising Hitler’s spirits, he said, “It is written in the stars that the second half of April will be the turning point for us. This Friday 13 April is the turning point.” 

For many days Goebbels had been trying to pull Hitler out of gloom by reading to him from Carlyle’s book, History of Friedrich II. of Prussia, Called Frederick the Great. He had also read to Hitler the passage where Frederick was contemplating suicide when he was at the lowest point of the Seven Years War. Frederick was stopped from taking his own life, when he suddenly received the news of the death of Russia’s Tsarina Elizabeth. Elizabeth’s nephew Peter III, who succeeded her on Russia's throne, was Frederick’s admirer. 

Goebbels said to Hitler: “The miracle of the House of Brandenburg has come to pass.”

Frederick had used the phrase “the miracle of the House of Brandenburg” to describe the failure of Russia and Austria to follow up their victory over him at the Battle of Kunersdorf in August 1759, during the Seven Years War. This phrase symbolizes Russia’s switching sides in the war in 1762, saving Prussia from a certain defeat. Goebbels was suggesting to Hitler that history might repeat itself in 1945: Russia could switch sides again.

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