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Hitler's Rhetorical Efficacy

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Elaine Carpenter

on 2 December 2013

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Transcript of Hitler's Rhetorical Efficacy

Hitler's Rhetorical Efficacy
Puzzling Question
How was Hitler able to create such inspirational speeches that gave way to the rise of the Third Reich, even though, his ideological standpoint was so radical?
A Natural Orator
“I followed every word of the speaker. I felt as though he was addressing me personally. My heart grew light, something in my breast arose.”
“Highly emotional and at times [spoke with] hysterical manner.”
“He falls into fits of passion and will listen to no advice.”
“More frequently subject to fits, in the course of which he foams at the mouth and becomes very violent.”
Primary Source Material
1. Proclamation to the German Nation (February 1, 1933)

2. Policy Statement on the Enabling Act (March 23, 1933)

3. Triumph of the Will (1934)

4. Speech Inaugurating the "Great Exhibition of German Art" (July 18, 1937)

5. Speech at the Berlin Sports Palace (January 30, 1941)
Aristotle's theories of rhetorical efficacy
Confrontation Theory
Projection of unification
Utilization of imagery/metaphor
Pathos (emotional appeals)
Pathos/Emotional Appeals
“By appealing to the feelings of the audience, the addressees are often more easily ready to accept, believe and act upon to propagated information without thorough coherence checking”
“Power of speech which can move people, make them enthusiastic, or touch them to passionate hate and struggle, this ability cannot be learned; one is born with it”
Emotions/values used by Hitler:
Proclamation to the German Nation
“Every class and every individual must help us found the new Reich”

“Unity is our tool”
Policy Statement on the Enabling Act
“The honor of the nation, the honor of our Army, and the ideal of freedom—all must once more become sacred to the German Volk! The German Volk wishes to live in peace with the world!”
Triumph of the Will
“With the cooperation of everyone, make it the highest embodiment of National Socialist thought and spirit, will the Party be an eternal and indestructible pillar of the German people and of our Reich.”
Speech inaugurating the “Great Exhibition of German Art”
"National-socialism has made it its primary task to rid the German Reich, and thus, the German people and its life of all those influences which are fatal and ruinous to its existence.”
Speech at the Berlin Sports Palace
“This German Volk is sworn to me—I know this, and I am so proud of it— it will go through thick and thin with me. A spirit has come to life…a spirit which accompanied it during long periods of the past: this fanatic willingness”
Full transcript