Its circulation grew from 500,000 in October 1940 to over 1,400,000 by 1944.
Aside from a weekly editorial, Goebbels was not involved in the publication. Most, but not all, of his articles after 1940 appeared in it. In the 1930s his articles had appeared in Der Völkische Beobachter but then he wished to target a more sophisticated and intellectual readership. From May 1940 he wrote 218 editorials.
The paper contained news reports, essays on various subjects, book reviews, and an editorial written by Goebbels. Some of the content was written by foreign authors. With the exception of Goebbels’ editorial, Das Reich did not share the tone of other Nazi publications.
Among other topics, it covered the uncertain casualty lists from Stalingrad, distinguished between German and Allied invasions to suggest the latter would be unsuccessful, discussed the bombing raids and the V-1, deplored American culture, portrays American morale as poor (though not suggesting they would give up because of it), and finally declared that Berlin would fight to the end.
Goebbels's editorials covered a wide range of topics. His first bragged of the accomplishments of Nazi Germany, which was then conquering France. He spoke with continuing confidence as France fell, of the opportunities the "plutocracies" had missed for peace. Later he issued vitriolic anti-Semitic articles, argued against listening to enemy propaganda. encouraged them for total war declared England bound to lose the war, attacked the still neutral United States, discussed the significance of its entry into the war, talked about prospects for a new year, presented German radio as a good companion (when, in fact, he hoped to lure them from enemy propaganda broadcasts), professed to be delighted that Churchill was in command in Britain, discussed cuts in food rations and severe treatment for black market dealings, urged that complaints not get in the way of the war effort, accused Douglas MacArthur of cowardice (ineffectually, as the Germans knew he had been ordered to leave), talked of the Allied bombing, describes the sinking of Allied ships by German U-Boats, explained Soviet resistance in Sevastopol as product of a stubborn but bestial Russian soul, decried the United States as having no culture, urged that Germans not allow their sense of justice be exploited by their enemies, urged commitment to war, and claimed that the Allies were as weary as the Axis.
His final article called for last-ditch resistance.
The circulation reached 1.4 million.