Joseph Goebbels, born in 1897, aspired to be an author, obtained a PhD from the University of Heidelberg in 1921. He joined the Nazi Party in 1924, After the Nazi seizure of power in 1933, Goebbels' Propaganda Ministry quickly gained and exerted controlling supervision over the news media, arts, and information in Germany. In 1943, Goebbels began to pressure Hitler to introduce measures that would produce "total war", including closing businesses not essential to the war effort, conscripting women into the labor force, and enlisting men in previously exempt occupations into the Wehrmacht. Hitler finally appointed him as Reich Plenipotentiary for Total War on 23 July 1944, whereby Goebbels undertook largely unsuccessful measures to increase the number of people available for armaments production and the Wehrmacht.
As the war drew to a close and Nazi Germany faced defeat, his wife Magda and their children joined him in Berlin. They moved into Hitler's bunker. Hitler committed suicide on April 30, 1945. In accordance with Hitler's will, Goebbels succeeded him as Reichschancellor; he served one day in this post. The following day, Goebbels and his wife committed suicide, after poisoning their six children with cyanide.