Class 4.1

Demagogues and Democracy


Adolf Hitler’s Closing Address to the Nazi Party Congress in September, 1934: DailyMotion (alternatively, non-subtitled version, text translation here). Don’t take notes, just watch. Then reflect. Then write down what you found most striking about this filmed speech, creating a list of 10 key qualities that contribute to its oratorical impact. Post one of them in reply to the appropriate comment below (and if someone else has already posted yours, post a different one).


An excerpt from The Ethics and Politics of Speech, a history of the rise and eventual transformation of rhetoric as an academic field during the 20th century. Pat Gehrke’s account of the “Hitler Problem” neatly captures the issue I want to see you debate and deliberate in the essay for this week.

After reading, in reply to the appropriate comment below post a short 1-2 sentence quotation from Gehrke that captures his central thought. If someone has already posted your top choice, find a different one to post, something that’s still important for understanding the historical context for the debate over Hitler’s oratory.

[spoiler title=’The Problem of Translation’] Three Translations of the Sep 8, 1934, speech, compared.[/spoiler]

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