For my undergraduate degree at Northern Illinois University, I majored in speech. As part of the program, we studied the great speeches and speakers of the past. My interest has continued ever since. No matter the place or period, political appeals to the masses bear striking similarities. In my personal study right now, I am focusing on Germany and Italy in the years preceding WWII.
I’m convinced that we have absolutely no understanding of Adolph Hitler and his appeal to Germany. Our only contact with his speeches is seeing an occasional black and white film clip in which he rants in German before a gigantic audience. He looks insane and we ask how all those rational people could have taken him seriously? Certainly, we are far too sophisticated to make such an error. This dangerously inaccurate view of Hitler is bolstered by decades of Hollywood clichés mocking the man. Now mockery is fine, certainly, he deserved it. But we’ve taken it too far for our own good.
Perhaps we need to step back and listen to what he said. We need to understand how the deepest, insane evil can utterly crush all truth and rationality to the point where formerly sane people are willing to beat, bludgeon and murder anyone who stands against their fantasy. Here in the U.S., for many people, that is where we are on both the left and the right. Two evil fantasies are now in control of large segments of our population. The followers of each fantasy swear on their souls that their side represents truth, their candidate is our only hope for national salvation. Refusing to believe either side places you in an uncomfortable no-man’s-land where attacks come from every direction. We need to understand that the Zombie Apocalypse is political and we are in it. Those infected spew their disease on the Internet every day. We had better think clearly, because it’s going to get much worse.
Excerpts of a speech by Adolph Hitler given February 15, 1933 at Stuttgart after he had taken power:
“IN FOURTEEN years the system which has now been overthrown has piled mistake upon mistake, illusion upon illusion. And that is also true for our foreign policy… And now (we are told) that Christianity and the Catholic faith are threatened by us. And to that charge I can answer: In the first place it is Christians and not international atheists who now stand at the head of Germany. I do not merely talk of Christianity, no, I also profess that I will never ally myself with the parties which destroy Christianity. If many wish today to take threatened Christianity under their protection, where, I would ask, was Christianity for them in these fourteen years when they went arm in arm with atheism? No, never and at no time was greater internal damage done to Christianity than in these fourteen years when a party, theoretically Christian, sat with those who denied God in one and the same Government.
I would ask whether the economic policy of this now superseded system was a Christian policy. Was the inflation an undertaking for which Christians could answer, or has the destruction of German life…been Christian? . . . When these parties now say: we want to govern for a few more years in order that we can improve the situation, then we say: No! Now it is too late for that! Besides, you had your fourteen years and you have failed. In fourteen years you have proved your incapacity…
We are convinced that the restoration to health of our people must start from the restoration to health of the body politic itself, and we are persuaded of the truth that the future of our people, as in the past so now, lies first of all in the German peasant. If he perishes, our end has come; if he survives, then Germany will never go under. There lie the strength and the source of our people’s life, the source of our renewal. The towns would not exist at all, if the peasant did not fill them with his blood. The dweller in our countryside may be primitive, but he is healthy.
. . . We want, too, to restore to the German intelligentsia the freedom of which it has been robbed by the system which has hitherto ruled. In parliamentarianism they did not possess this freedom. We want to liberate Germany from the fetters of an impossible parliamentary democracy – not because we are terrorists, not because we intend to gag the free spirit. On the contrary, the spirit has never had more violence done to it than when mere numbers made themselves its master.
No, our wish is that responsible folk should once more be brought together so that every class and every individual should be given that authority over those below and that responsibility towards those above which are essential if one is to build up the life of a community. We do not want so to educate the nation that it lives for ideas and artificial constructions; we want to test all ideas and constructions to discover how far they are capable of serving the nation’s life.
I will not build myself a villa in Switzerland, nor will I lay claim to any fund with which to fight criminality in this election campaign. Then after four years people shall judge whether the policy of ruining Germany has come to an end, whether Germany is rising once again.” End of quote.
I look forward to your thoughts.