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On February 10, 1933, Adolf Hitler delivered his first radio address, dubbed Proclamation to the German Nation. On this historic night, the audience – a nation of disillusioned people that had been suffering and thrown into economic turmoil – were anxiously awaiting deliverance by their newly appointed Chancellor (of Germany): Adolf Hitler. Hitler gave his Proclamation to the German Nation, not only to thousands of enthusiastic supporters in Berlin but also to the millions of citizens who were desperate for a change.
Hitler delivered this speech just days after becoming the Chancellor of Germany in 1933, and the primary message he expressed was how he and his party were going to help Germany while condemning the previous leaders. He knew exactly what the German nation wanted to hear and he used that to his advantage to manipulate and encourage the beaten down German people. The German people were disappointed by their previous government, so there was an unrelenting spark of hope that their new leader would save their country.
Hitler used various techniques to appeal to his suffering audience. The primary audience was the vulnerable German people who at this point were willing to accept the leadership of anyone who offered a better future. And he used this to his advantage by making vague promises and giving the German people reasons to hope. There was purpose in his pathos-infused speech — to praise his audience and terrify them. He does this by taking his audience on an emotional roller coaster ride — from despair, to fear to hope — which allowed him to position himself as Germany’s new leader and savior. In an effort to make himself appear to be the solution to the, he established his character by comparing himself to Germany’s previous leaders. He not only does this to remind his audience who caused Germany’s loss of power but to also create an idea of “us versus them.” He relates to the citizens by expressing that he too has been betrayed and disappointed with the legacy of the previous fourteen years. Hitler relies mostly on pathos-driven claims to convince his audience that with his help, Germany can once again become prosperous. In an attempt to emotionally connect with the citizens, he uses references to family, culture, and faith, thus making him relatable. In addition to connecting with the audience on an emotional level, he also mentions that the fault for Germany’s downfall lies with those who formerly held leadership positions. Hitler uses this strategy to show the audience that the previous leadership betrayed and deceived the citizens of Germany and Hitler is on their side. He uses empty rhetoric to manipulate his listeners and makes vague promises—that Germany will once again become a robust and uncompromising nation.
Hitler knew the Germans were desperate for change and he carefully tailored his speech to successfully gains the trust of the audience. He used an empathetic tone and provided the German citizens with hope for the future by tapping into the anger and helplessness felt by the German citizens. He also struck fear into the hearts of his listeners to ensure that they realize Germany’s biggest enemy was the democracy. By placing the “fear of God” in them, it allowed him to portray himself as the leader the German people needed to overcome the strains of poverty and war.
In conclusion, I can see how Hitler was able to rise to power so quickly and can identify with what the audience may have felt during the time of Hitler’s address. He knew the German citizens already lacked confidence in their weak government and he attracted the German people by promising them a new and glorious Germany. Given the circumstances, I probably would have also been manipulated to believe that Hitler was the savior that Germany needed. I think it’s important to note the consequences due to the chaos and resentment of Germany was experiencing at the time.
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