Thursday, December 12, 2013

Adolf Hitler: A Rhetorical Analysis

by G. Jack Urso

The Berlin Sports Palace Speech
February 10, 1933
Adolf Hitler is well-known as a master rhetorician; however, most clips of Hitler’s speeches usually feature just a few seconds of him frothing at the mouth. Compelling enough, but they don’t allow the viewer the grasp the broader aspects of his ability as a public speaker. Hitler’s success as a public speaker was not due to his ability shout louder than everyone else, but rather that he scientifically broke down his performance, analyzing gestures and postures, modulating tempo, learning to read the audience and respond accordingly.

The following video clip is from Hitler: The Whole Story (1989 Cine-Art/Munich), which aired on the Discovery Channel in 1990. The speech featured took place at the Berlin Sports Palace on February 10, 1933, not long after Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor. The clip shows extended cuts from the speech without English overdubs which allows us to more fully appreciate the original performance. Also discussed are the techniques Hitler used to improve his performance and maximize his hold on the audience, as well as the psychological motivations behind Hitler’s extraordinary public speaking ability.
Seventeen days after this speech, on February 27, 1933, the German Reichstag building was burned down. Hitler blamed the communists and used the opportunity to centralize power in his hands, eliminate his political opponents, and clear the way to war.

This video clip is presented as part of an educational article on a non-profit blog that accepts no advertising. As such, it meets the definition for Fair Use as established by the U.S. Copyright Office.

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