The Nazi movement was quintessentially male. It was founded on the backs of disaffected servicemen in the years after the First World War. It was consolidated in the carefully choreographed parades led with flags drenched in the blood of fallen heroes. Women were supposed to confine themselves to the three Ks: Kirche, Küche, Kinder, a phrase which, while not invented by Hitler, perfectly expressed his point of view.
For whatever reasons (and speculation on the nature of his sexuality has become increasingly fevered), Hitler remained unmarried. Eva Braun was a shadowy figure hidden away at the Alpine retreat of the Obersalzberg. This left a vacancy for the post of First Lady of the Third Reich, and the woman who filled it – although largely ignored by posterity – was as extraordinary a figure as any of the men in the Nazi Party. She is the subject of Anja Klabunde’s biography.
The only previous study of Magda Goebbels was written in 1978 by Hans-Otto Meissner, who had family connections with her. His father had been State Secretary to Hindenburg and continued to serve throughout the Nazi era; his mother was an acquaintance of Magda’s; as a young man, he himself encountered