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 their anger and vulnerability.
He also placed the “fear of God” into the hearts of his listeners to ensure that
they realized 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.