Sefton Delmer
Denis Sefton Delmer, always known as Sefton Delmer, or ‘Tom’ to his friends, , had been born on 24th May, 1904, in Berlin, being registered as a British citizen by the British Consul General. His father was interned at the outbreak of the First World War but Sefton and his mother remained at liberty. The family were then repatriated in May, 1917.
Winning a scholarship, at Lincoln College, Oxford, Tom read modern history and by the time he left university, his father was working as a local correspondent for a number of British publications. This gave Sefton connections with Lord Beaverbrook’s Daily Express and a chance encounter between Tom and Lord Beaverbrook led to Tom being employed by the Daily Express. He became the Berlin correspondent, in 1928. Bilingual in English and German, he spent five years in Berlin meeting many of the leading Nazis, including Hitler. Transferred to Paris in 1933, he then rose to the position of Chief European correspondent in 1937. In the course of this journalistic employment he witnessed most of the European troublespots and being in Warsaw when that capital was first bombed by the Germans, he escaped to London and for his next assignment became a British war correspondent, attached to the French army.


Further Links: Delmer's full account of the fire
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Ernst Franz Sedgwick Hanfstaengl
Born in 1887 in Munich.  His father, an art dealer, was German, his mother was American. At the age of 18, in 1905, the 6' 7'' tall young man entered Harvard. Later, he run the Fifth Avenue subsidiary of the family business in New York. In 1921, Hanfstaengl returned to Germany.  

Hanfstaegl (left) with Goering and Hitler

A year later, on November 8, 1923, Hitler made his putsch and Hanfstaengl was by his side. During the 11 years that followed, up to 1934, Hanfstaegl was Hitler's personal pianist and his Foreign Press-Secretary for the Third Reich. The piano playing function was very important to Hitler and very much appreciated by him. "You are the purest orchestra, Hanfstaengl", raved Hitler. Hanfstaengl played over and over the Wagnerian staple while Hitler "dozed off" or "whistled and conducted."  Then after the "Night of the Long Knives", in June 1934, and the execution by Hitler of Rohm and 77 leading Nazis plus 100 lesser ones, Putzi Hanfstaengl lost his access to Hitler. 

Further Links:
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Franz Halder
Franz Halder was born in Germany in 1884. He joined the German Army and during the First World War he was a member of the staff of the Crown Prince of Bavaria.

In 1938 Halder replaced General Ludwig Beck as Chief of General Staff. Halder organized the offensive against Poland but warned Adolf Hitler against the Invasion of France. Halder also helped plan the eventually abandoned Operation Sealion and Operation Barbarossa.

After the resignation of Walter von Brauchitsch Halder took over as Commander in Chief of the German Army. He was replaced by General Kurt Zeitzler in September, 1942 after a disagreement with Adolf Hitler. Halder was arrested by the Gestapo in 1944 and accused of being involved in the July Plot. He was sent to Dachau Concentration Camp and was freed in 1945 by the USA Army.

In 1946 Halder gave evidence against leading members of the Nazi Party at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial. His critics have pointed out that Halder's objections to Hitler were based on military differences rather than a rejection of Nazi philosophy. For example, he became involved in the July Plot because he believed that Hitler no longer had the ability to win the war. Franz Halder died in 1972.


Further links From the Third Reich factbook

About Halder's time in Wales and and The Simon Wiesenthal Center


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Rudolf Diels
Rudolf Diels, the son of a farmer, was born in Betghaus, Germany, on 16th December, 1900. Trained as a lawyer, Diels joined the political police in Prussia in 1930. Over the next couple of years he became an expert on building up information that could be used to incriminate political radicals.

When Hermann Goering became minister of the interior in Prussia in 1933 he recruited Diels as head of Dept 1A of the Prussian State Police. Goering was impressed by Diels and made him head of what became known as the Gestapo.

Heinrich Himmler and Reinhard Heydrich became jealous of Diels's power and began to spread rumours about his loyalty to Adolf Hitler. One of these stories claimed that Diels had joined the conspiracy being organized by Ernst Roehm. Without the support of Hermann Goering Diels would have been killed during the Night of the Long Knives.

In April 1934, Goering, under pressure from Heinrich Himmler and Wilhelm Frick, agreed to hand over control of the Gestapo to the Schutzstaffel (SS). As a result Diels lost his position as head of the organization and now became security chief of the Cologne government.

At the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial Diels gave evidence against the leaders of the Nazi Government. As he was considered to be innocent of war crimes he was allowed to serve as under secretary in the post-war German government. Diels published his memoirs, Lucifer Ante Portas, in 1950.

Rudolf Diels, who retired from the German government in 1953, was killed on 18th November, 1957, when he accidentally shot himself with a hunting gun.


Further Links: The Simon Wiesenthal Center
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Marinus van der Lubbe
Marinus van der Lubbe was born in Holland in 1909. His father left home soon after he was born and he was brought up in extreme poverty.Lubbe worked as a bricklayer but after an industrial accident in 1925 he spent five months in hospital. He never fully recovered from his injuries and was now unable to work and had to live on a small invalidity pension.

In 1926 Lubbe joined the Dutch Communist Party (KPH) and worked hard trying to recruit young unemployed workers into the party. He also organized demonstrations and spoke at protest meetings.

Lubbe decided he wanted to live in the Soviet Union but is unable to raise enough money for his fare. However, in 1933 he moves to Germany where he immediately begins protesting against the new government headed by Adolf Hitler.

On 27th February the Reichstag caught fire. When they police arrived they found Lubbe on the premises. After being tortured by the Gestapo he confessed to starting the Reichstag Fire. However he denies that he was part of a Communist conspiracy. Hermann Goering refuses to believe him and he orders the arrest of several leaders of the German Communist Party (KPD).

As well as Lubbe the German police charged four communists with setting fire to the Reichstag. This included Ernst Torgler, the chairman of the KPD and Georgi Dimitrov of the Soviet Comintern.

Marinus van der Lubbe was found guilty of the Reichstag Fire and was executed on 10th January, 1934. Adolf Hitler was furious he rest of the defendants were acquitted and he decided that in future all treason cases were taken from the Supreme Court and given to a new People's Court where prisoners were judged by members of the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP).


Further Links

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Joseph Goebbels
Joseph Goebbels was born in Rheydt, Germany, on 29th October, 1897. A good student he won a Catholic scholarship and eventually achieved a PhD from Heilderberg University.Goebbels joined the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) in 1926.
Goebbels described one of their first meetings with Adolf Hitler in his diary: "Shakes my hand. Like an old friend. And those big blue eyes. Like stars. He is glad to see me. I am in heaven. That man has everything to be king."

Hitler admired Goebbels' abilities as a writer and speaker. They shared an interest in propaganda and together they planned how the NSDAP would win the support of the German people. 

In 1928 Goebbels, Hermann Goering and ten other members of the Nazi Party were elected to the Reichstag. Soon afterwards Goebbels became the party's Propaganda Leader.

When Adolf Hitler became chancellor in January, 1933, he appointed Goebbels as Minister for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. 

During the Second World War Goebbels played an important role in building up hatred for the allies. He had little confidence in the abilities of other ministers in the government and made attempts to have Joachim von Ribbentrop dismissed from office.

When the Red Army made advances into Nazi Germany, Hitler invited Goebbels and his family to move into his Fuehrerbunker. On 1st May, 1945, Joseph Goebbels, his wife and six children, committed suicide.

Adapted from

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Sir Bernard Partridge
Bernard Partridge, the son of Richard Partridge, a teacher of anatomy at the Royal Academy, was born in London in 1861. After being educated at Stonyhurst he entered an architect's office and then a firm of stained-glass designers. Partridge also acted in several plays and for a time he could not decide between the theatre and art as a career.

Partridge was first invited to contribute to Punch in 1891. In these early drawings he concentrated on illustrated reviews of plays. The following year Bernard Partridgewas asked to become a staff cartoonist with the magazine. He initially refused as he still hoped to make it as a serious artist.

Partridge's work reflect his theatrical background and as one critic pointed out, his cartoons often had "a massive figure, coming down to the footlights". In 1901 Partridge replaced John Tenniel as the chief cartoonist at Punch. Bernard Partridge held conservative views and was especially harsh on the trade union movement and the Women's Social and Political Union. Partridge was knighted by Stanley Baldwin, the Conservative Prime Minister, in 1925 and the following year gave loyal support to the government during the General Strike.

Although many critics believe that Partridge was Punch's best ever artist he always doubted his ability. In a letter he wrote in 1897 he told a friend that he considered much of his work to be "second-rate" and that he was "little more than a hack draughtsman." Sir Bernard Partridge died in 1945.


Further Links National Portrait Gallery

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Spartacus Education - John Simkin
Mr. Simkin began teaching history in 1978. He has produced materials that enable active learning to take place. This has included educational computer programs such as Attack on the Somme, Wall Street and the Russian Revolution. The Internet provides the best opportunity so far to make active learning a reality.

Over the last twenty years he has written several school history books including Ghandi (1987), The Vietnam War (1988), Race Relations in the United States (1988), Slavery: An Illustrated History of Black Resistance (1988), Hitler (1988), Stalin (1987), The Roman Empire (1991), Making of the United Kingdom (1992), Expansion, Trade and Industry (1992), The Medieval Village (1996), The Norman Invasion (1996), etc.

In September, 1997 He established the Spartacus Educational website and over the last three years I have produced online material for the Electronic Telegraph, the European Virtual School and the Guardian's educational website, Learn.

Further Links Mr Simkin visits the IST.

A video interview with Mr Simkin conducted on June 8th 2003 at the International School of Toulouse.

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Karl Ernst
Who was he?
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Herman Goering
Hermann Goering was born in Rosenheim, Bavaria on 12th January 1893. The son of a senior army officer, he was educated at a military school and became a member of the Prussian Cadet Corps.Goering joined the German Army in June, 1912.
By the end of the war Goering had achieved 22 victories and had been awarded the Iron Cross and the Pour le Merite for bravery.  After the war, Goering earned his living as a pilot working for the Fokker company based in Holland. While there he met and married Baroness Karen von Fock-Kantzow. 

Goering returned in 1923 and after hearing Adolf Hitler speak joined the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP). He later admitted: "it was political love at first sight". Hitler also admired Goering and appointed him as head of Sturm Abteilung (Storm Section). The SA (also known as stormtroopers or brownshirts) were instructed to disrupt the meetings of political opponents and to protect Hitler from revenge attacks. Captain Ernst Roehm of the Bavarian Army played an important role in recruiting these men.

On 8th November, 1923, the Bavarian government held a meeting of about 3,000 officials. While Gustav von Kahr, the leader of the Bavarian government was making a speech, Goering, Hitler and the SA entered the building. Hitler jumped onto a table, fired two shots in the air and told the audience that the Munich Putsch was taking place and the National Revolution had began. To avoid arrest Goering fled to Sweden. Goering, who lived in Stockholm for the next four years, was in a poor physical state because of his morphine addiction. He also suffered from obesity and weighed 280 pounds.

In 1927 President Paul von Hindenburg granted Goering an amnesty and he returned to Berlin. The following year he was one of the twelve members of the Nazi Party elected to the Reichstag and on 30th August, 1932, became its president. When Adolf Hitler became chancellor in January, 1933, he made Goering a cabinet minister without portfolio. Later he became minister of the interior and prime minister of Prussia. He immediately replaced 22 of Germany's 32 police chiefs with SA and SS officers. He also appointed Rudolf Diels as chief of the political police, the Gestapo.

After the Reichstag Fire on 27th February, 1933, Goering launched a wave of violence against members of the German Communist Party and other left-wing opponents of the regime. He also joined with Heinrich Himmler, head of the Schutz Staffeinel, in setting up Germany's concentration camps. Goering agreed that the Sturm Abteilung (SA) posed a threat to the German Army and in June 1934 arranged the Night of the Long Knives. He also purged Werner von Blomberg and Werner von Fitsch from the high command of the army.

In February, 1938, Goering became head of Germany's armed forces,. The following year he officially became Hitler's deputy and legal heir. After the outbreak of the Second World War Goering was placed in charge of the Luftwaffe and took credit for the quick defeat of France, Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg in the summer of 1940. However, he failed to stop the British evacuation of Dunkirk.

Goering organized the German war effort during the Battle of Britain and made the crucial mistake of changing his tactics and launching the Blitz in September, 1940. He was criticized for the failings of the Luftwaffe during Operation Barbarossa.

When the Red Army made advances into Germany, Goering moved his headquarters to Berchesgaden. After the suicide of Adolf Hitler Goering surrendered to the US Army in Austria on 8th May, 1945.  Hermann Goering was found guilty at Nuremberg War Crimes Trial but avoided execution by swallowing potassium cyanide on 15th October, 1946.

Adapted from 


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David Irving
David Irving was born in Essex, England in 1938, the son of a Royal Navy Commander. After education at London University, he spent a year working in a German steel mill to perfect his fluency in German. 

His first work, The Destruction of Dresden, was published in 1963, when he was twenty-five years old. This was followed by many other books, including The Mare's Nest: The Secret Weapons of the Third Reich, published in 1964, The Rise and Fall of the Luftwaffe, The German Atomic Bomb, The War Between the Generals and The Trail of the Fox, a best-selling biography of Field Marshall Erwin Rommel. Several of his books have appeared in various languages, and several have been serialized in periodicals including the Sunday Express, the Sunday Telegraph and Der Spiegel.

Mr. Irving has a track record of uncovering startling new facts about supposedly well-known episodes of history. Much of his effectiveness is due to his extensive reliance on original source materials, such as diaries, original documents and so forth, from both official and private sources. 

In June of 1989, David Irving published a British edition of the Leuchter Report . He told the journalists there that the infamous extermination gas chambers at Auschwitz and Majdanek did not exist, except perhaps, as the brain-child invention of Britain's war-time propaganda bureau, the Psychological Warfare Executive. More than 100 members of the British House of Commons, signed a statement condemning the Irving edition of the Report as "evil." Irving has been famously quoted as saying:

"I don't see any reason to be tasteful about Auschwitz. It's baloney, it's a legend. Once we admit the fact that it was a brutal slave labour camp and large numbers of people did die, as large numbers of innocent people died elsewhere in the war, why believe the rest of the baloney?" Irving said. He added, "I say quite tastelessly, in fact, that more women died on the back seat of Edward Kennedy's car at Chappaquiddick than ever died in a gas chamber in Auschwitz." He went on, "Oh, you think that's tasteless, how about this? There are so many Auschwitz survivors going around, in fact the number increases as the years go past, which is biologically very odd to say the least. Because I'm going to form an Association of Auschwitz survivors, survivors of the Holocaust and other liars, or the ASSHOLS."

Further links David Irving's website Historical revisionist website




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