Adlof Hitler Speaks before a Receptive Audience

Let me be clear about why I'm including this clip. There are, unfortunately, groups in this country and elsewhere that still glorify and even idolize Adolf Hitler and what he stood for. It is one of the tragedies of the modern world that otherwise normal, reasonable people could embrace an ideology that was one of the most hateful ever conceived by man. How did he manage to capture the loyalty and enthusiasm of the very nation that producedJohann Wolfgang Goethe, Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Schiller, Beethoven, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Friedrich Nietzsche, Thomas Mann, Gotthold Lessing, Friedrich Schiller, Richard Wagner, Gottlieb Daimler and countless other brilliant artists and thinkers?

There are many complicated reasons behind the answer, but most of them could have led onto a different path of produced a different kind of leader. Hitler succeeded in large part because he was a captivating, charismatic speaker. His speeches, carefully crafted and delivered with emotional intensity, could bring an audience to its feet with thunderous applause and rousing cheers. He turned skeptics into believers, believers into enthusiasts, and enthusiasts into fanatics. His dramatic style was to begin a speech softly, in a matter-of-fact tone, and gradually increase volume and intensity until he reached a fever pitch of his own, which in turn brought his audience to the same heights. He used this remarkable ability for evil; others have used the ability to speak like that to do good.

I am including here an example of one speech given by Hitler before a receptive audience. I don't expect you to listen to all of it, but perhaps after hearing three or four minutes of it you will see how he could use his power of rhetoric to move a people in the direction in which he wanted them to go.

Back to World War II Background Page