Monday, July 12, 2010

The Hitler's Technique of Saying a Political Speech

Reading "The Coming of The Third Reich" by Richard J. Evans I found a very curious paragraph dedicated to Hitler's technique of saying a speech during his early years as a politician (that means, the technique which brought him to success). Even if this short historical analysis is important to understand how Hitler influenced through his speech some millions of Germans and many other millions around the world in that moment of history, it is also an interesting example of speech technique as simple as that, and more, it is written in a very practical way by Evans, so, very functional for actors and orators as well (if you don't have some moral and political issues from past decades, of course):

"While conventional right-wing politicians delivered lectures, or spoke in a style that was orotund and pompous, flat and dull, or rough and brutish, Hitler followed the model of Social Democratic orators such as Eisner, or the left-wing agitators from whom he later claimed to have learned in Vienna. And he gained much of his oratorical success by telling his audiences what they wanted to hear. He used simple, straightforward language that ordinary people could understand, short sentences, powerful, emotive slogans. Often beginning a speech quietly, to capture his audience's attention, he would gradually build to a climax, his deep, rather hoarse voice would rise in pitch, climbing in a crescendo to a ranting and screaming finale, accompanied by carefully rehearsed dramatic gestures, his face glistening with sweat, his lank, dark hair falling forward over his face as he worked his audience into a frenzy emotion. There were no qualifications in what he said; everything was absolute, uncompromising, irrevocable, undeviating, unalterable, final. He seemed, as many who listened to hi early speeches testified, to speak straight from the heart, and to express their own deepest fears and desires. Increasingly, too, he exuded self-confidence, aggression, belief in the ultimate triumph of his party, even a sense of destiny. (...)" (Page 172.)

Of course today that "school" of speech technique is absolutely recognizable and very bad received if used in similar way, it was the summit and the final of its kind (as powerful as it was), but it is still a theatrical technique, a way to produce some reactions from spectators through voice and gestures. A colorfoul analysis should be done it that sense, but not by me, I only wanted to share this curiosity.

As many have said before me, theatre and their techniques can be used to transform real life over and over again, but remember that they are theatre techniques at the end.

Note: I'm not embedding any video of Hitler speeches because all of them are propaganda edited by the Nazi government or by actual followers, so it wouldn't show the technical line Evans wrote about. 


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