The quote, "accuse the other side of that which you are guilty" is often attributed to Joseph Goebbels.

For example this meme and it also appears in me.me and memegenerator.net.

I have looked for it in the wikiquote entry about him. I have also checked this article about "Fraudulent Nazi Quotations". None of them mention it.

Did Goebbels say this?

  • It's not really a profound thing to say... – fredsbend Sep 17 '17 at 0:44
  • Plus, context matters. One would seem to think it was attributing it as an excellent strategy for evil-doers, where, in the examples below, he's leveling it as an accusation against political enemies, framing his people as the victims of such actions. – PoloHoleSet Dec 1 '17 at 17:51
  • 2
    @PoloHoleSet the same has happened with Big lie: when the Nazis used the term, it was to complain about their opponents supposedly using that tactic. – Andrew Grimm Dec 1 '17 at 23:13
  • @fredsbend It is interesting for some though, as it seems to be a tactic used in UK political arguments. – nsandersen Dec 5 at 18:30
  • @nsandersen My thinking is that every school child exhibits this tactic on the playground. The common refrain is "No, you!" – fredsbend Dec 5 at 20:00
up vote 27 down vote accepted

I was unable to find anything resembling this quote in either German or English.

The closest quote is one from the Nurenberg rally in 1934:

The cleverest trick used in propaganda against Germany during the war was to accuse Germany of what our enemies themselves were doing.

While this isn't proof that Goebbels didn't also say the quote in question, a complete lack of any sources at least indicates that someone may have loosely paraphrased him to get a more fitting quote.

The earliest date that the quote appeared on the internet seems to be in this relatively recent tweet from May 2015.

  • 13
    I find it somewhat ironic that the two quotes most commonly associated with Goebbels (this one and the lie repeated 1000 times quote) are fake. – Andrew Grimm Apr 1 '17 at 23:35
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    Well, that second quote has been repeated so many thousands of times it must be true by now. :p – Rekesoft Sep 19 '17 at 10:13

Above is correct. The quote in question is probably a paraphrase of the quote mentioned by tim above.

In this speech, Goebbels was referring to the use of propaganda against Germany by its enemies during World War I, and how Germany itself was defenseless on the information front in the neutral states because they had no propaganda apparatus themselves. He was justifying the use of the Third Reich's propaganda and praising the tactics, so when taken in context, it could be argued that his message was ultimately that Germany should be prepared to do the same, which means that while the quote is not directly attributable to him, it is still more or less an accurate paraphrasing. For more context, here's a larger block of that speech:

"We learned the consequences of our neglect all too clearly during the World War. While the enemy states produced unprecedented atrocity propaganda aimed at Germany throughout the whole world, we did nothing and were completely defenseless against it. Only when enemy foreign propaganda had nearly won over the greater part even of the neutral states did the German government begin to sense the enormous power of propaganda. It was too late. Just as we were militarily and economically unprepared for the war, so also with propaganda. We lost the war in this area more than in any other. The cleverest trick used in propaganda against Germany during the war was to accuse Germany of what our enemies themselves were doing."

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protected by Community May 27 at 15:14

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