MussoliniIt has been shown above how in consequence of the analogous roles of the French Revolution of 1789 and the Russian Revolution of 1917 the Napoleon type as the conqueror of revolutions has been reincarnated in Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler and how Napoleonic phrases, methods, and measures have filtered through Mussolini to Hitler. It must not be forgotten that since Hindenburg’s death in 1934, Hitler has surpassed his former master Mussolini by becoming himself a de facto Emperor, by playing to an end the role of confiscator of liberties. Thus the year 1804 when Bonaparte made himself Emperor and the Midsummer 1934 correspond to each other. Both these years brought the confiscation of all powers of the State, of all liberties of the individual. In both of these years, there was none to resist; it was as though all other solutions had been tried in vain. However, just as Mussolini was surpassed, so was Napoleon in his turn. The reason is that while Napoleon only had his army to rely upon, Hitler in addition to that is in full control of a nationwide Gestapolitan network and Party bureaucracy.

When Napoleon said ‘Moral sentiments are for women and little children – and ideologists’ he yet was far from toeing a $-100 dictator. Hitler has gone further than Napoleon. He has refused to make a concordat with the Churches or rather he has made it and refused to fulfill it. He has declared a total xi-oral moratorium. If Hitler is reminded, that such a course constitutes a violation of solemnly given promises and of the Party program of 1923 he answers in almost Napoleonic phraseology: ‘We must not be weak and literary. We must act with solidity and precision which we owe to our holy national mission. I must follow my star’. This frequent favorite allusion to his star ‘Mein Stern’, to his destiny ‘Mein Schicksal’, and to Providence ‘Die Vorsehung’ is anything else but purely rhetorical imitations of the Napoleonic jargon.

AH PosterThey are a thing in which Hitler believes profoundly or rather a thing in which he has accustomed himself to believe. Dr. Sedgwick asked him in 1923: ‘What will you do, Herr Hitler if something should happen which would prevent you from fulfilling your duties as Fuehrer? After all, you could fall sick? Hitler retorted ‘If that should be the case or if I should die it would only be a sign that my star has run its course and my mission is fulfilled. A striking parallel and one which became clearer and clearer with every year is Hitler’s distrust and contempt for so-called ‘born kings’. Napoleon used to refer to them as the ‘hereditary asses’ when he spoke for example about the Bourbons. With Hitler who started when young with a solid contempt for the Hapsburgs, things have run a similar course.

In the degree of his rising powers the Wittelsbachs, the Wettins, and the Hohenzollerns followed suit. ‘There is no one among them who could have been his own ancestor’, Hitler says occasionally, using almost the identical phrase of Napoleon. Today the return of the Monarchy is in Germany an almost dead issue – that is as long as Hitler lives. His successor (Goering ?) might possibly feel obliged to restitute the Hollenzollerns. However, whether he would follow the direct line of descendants appears somewhat doubtful in Dr. Sedgwick’s excellent memory there was a strong tendency as far back as 1934 to choose possibly somebody from a collateral side, a descendant of the Kaiser’s only daughter, the Duchess of Braunschweig.

Both, Napoleon and Hitler, never cease to fear legitimate monarchists. That is why both of them so frequently refer to the fact they are flesh and creatures of the masses, that they are in fact identical with the broad masses of the people. Both of them rose with the rabble and will fall with the rabble because they are usurpers. To stay on top both of them use identical levers, interest, and fear. In pursuing this course there is a further similarity. It is well known that Napoleon considered himself the ‘flagellum Dei’. That Hitler as early as the summer of 1923 began to talk of himself as the scourging Messiah of this world has already been indicated previously.

AH PropagandaHitler Speech-Making Technique
Peparation of Speech

Time and time again Dr. Sedgwick has been asked how Hitler makes his speeches. Almost everyone he has talked to seems to have the idea that others write all his books such as ‘Mein Kampf’. This is absolutely wrong. The fact is that Hitler suffers none in the room when he is working on a speech. In olden times (1922 – 1923) Hitler did not dictate his speeches as he does today. It took him about four to six hours to make his plan on a large foolscap sheet about ten or twelve in number. On each page were only a few words to be used as a cue. Not more than, fifteen or twenty words at the most. Hitler knew too well the danger of too copious notes for free delivery. While Hitler undoubtedly used to read many books, he rarely, if ever consulted them when laying out a speech. Often Dr. Sedgwick visited him when he was at work on a speech to deliver him some special message. In the streets outside the red billboards would be covered with Hitler’s giant posters announcing the meeting. He would be found in his room, as usual, wearing a simple brown jersey and thick-soled gray felt slippers. No books were on the table, and no papers were on the desk. Once in 1923, Hitler made an exception to this rule. It was in the middle of July and he was to address crowds of visiting German ‘Turners’, who had come from all over Germany to attend the ‘Deutscher Turnertag’ in Munich. Hitler wanted to make a special effort. To do so, he obtained a thick volume of von Clausewitz and fell so in love with it that he took the book along to the Circus Krone.

It was a disastrously hot day. The circus was stifling, like an overheated animal house in a zoo. In the middle of the speech, when Hitler was just engrossed in exposing the importance of the National enthusiasm and the fanatical zest of a people for an army, he pulled out his volume of von Clausewitz and began to read one – two – three- and four pages. It almost seemed as though he had forgotten the audience which became more and more restive. When Hitler returned again to his own speech the entire contact had to be reestablished anew. Realizing this, Hitler immediately started the rhapsodic movement and saved the day with a brilliant ten-minute finale. Since this experience, Hitler has never taken a book again with him on the platform.

AHWhen the hour of the meeting approaches, he walks up and down the room as though rehearsing in his mind the various phases of his argument. During this time, telephone calls come pouring in. It was often Christian Weber, Max Amann or Hermann Esser, who would tell Hitler how things were going in the hall. Hitler’s typical question on the telephone would be: ‘Are there many people coming’?, ‘What is the general mood’? and ‘Will there be any opposition’?. Then Hitler would give directions concerning the handling of the meeting while they were waiting for him. Then, he would hang up the telephone and resume his walk, sometimes listening in an absent-minded way to some conversation in the room. Then the telephone would ring again only to repeat a similar conversation to the above. Half an hour after the opening of the meeting Hitler would ask for his overcoat, whip, and hat and go out to his car preceded by his bodyguard and chauffeur. Even if Hitler wears civilian clothes, his appearance has a military bearing. He has nothing of the over-familiar style of certain demagogues. He takes no notice of anyone on the way in as he strides through the crowd to the podium. He keeps his eyes on the SS and SA formations with the flags. The sole exceptions to this since 1932 are when some child is shoved in his way to hand him a bouquet of flowers. He will take the flowers with his left hand and pat the child on the cheeks. The whole thing takes him only a few seconds. Then he passes the bouquet to Schaub or Brueckner and passes on.


Any interruption on the way in or on the way out which does not involve mother and child is apt to arouse Hitler’s ire. Woe to the unlucky SS Commander, who is responsible for such, a leakage. Dr. Sedgwick remembers that in 1932 near Koenigsberg Hitler was on his way out of a stadium and a middle-aged hysterical woman suddenly blocked his way knelt down before him and tried to thrust into his hand a scroll of revelations she claimed to have received from the other world. Hitler shouted at Brueckner in a furious way: ‘Get this crazy woman out of the way’. Hitler was in a bad temper the whole of that evening.

Hitler-a01Posture – Speech

Quite often somebody makes a speech to fill in the time until Hitler arrives. Hitler does not care who talks before him but he absolutely refuses to have anybody talk after him. There is always inspiring martial music both before and after his speeches. When Hitler stepped forward he used to place his sheet of notes on a table at his left and after he looked at them he would lay them over on a table on his right. Each page used to take him from ten to fifteen minutes. When he was finished he slowly placed it on the other table, took a new leaf, and started on. His usual time for a speech was from two to two and a half hours, even three hours was not unusual. That was before his throat trouble started and he used even to drink beer from a mug from time to time, which in Munich was always the signal for some special applause. Dr. Sedgwick who has sat behind Hitler on innumerable occasions watching him closely and only a few feet away from him observed that he starts in a position of military attention. This posture is maintained for some fifteen-twenty-twenty-five minutes as the case may be. All this time the heels of his boots remain firmly together. There is not a second of relaxation. The whole figure is one of absolute firmness, including the shoulders and head. Hitler’s hands are clasped behind his back and his arms are stretched while he draws a caustic and chastising exposition of the past and present.

AHIt is the style he probably acquired in 1919 and following years when serving as a non-commissioned instructor at the Munich barracks. It is a period of discipline for himself and the audience and corresponds in many ways to the tradition among concert pianists to open their programs with a few selections from Bach. After twenty minutes of outcomes, the foot for the first time, and gestures follow with the hands. From then on things begin to liven up. Compared to a piece of music Hitler’s speeches consist of two-thirds of March time growing increasingly quicker and leading into the last third which is a matter of fact with increasingly ironic sidelights. As is well known he suffers no interruptions or heckling. Knowing that a continuous presentation by one speaker would be boring he impersonates in a masterful way an imaginary Hitler – often interrupting himself with a counter-argument end then returning to his original line of thought after he has smothered completely this imaginary opponent. This furnishes the audience with a little special drama, often interrupted by volleys of spontaneous applause, yet Hitler does not strictly speak seek applause. He seems often to be wanting only to convert the people to his ideas and is resentful of any premature noise, which interrupts him. If the applause goes on too long in his opinion he will check it and cut it short, sometimes even at its inception, by a motion with a trembling hand.

All enthusiasm must be saved up for the third part of his speech, which he sweeps from exhortation, promise, and dedication into the Rhapsody finale. The tempo livens. Staccato outbursts become more frequent and the speech converges toward its apotheosis. Hitler has already been shown as a Narcissus type who regards the crowd as a substitute medium for the woman he cannot find. Once this is understood, that speaking for him represents the satisfaction of some depletion urge, the phenomenon of Hitler as an orator becomes intelligible. With Hitler, it is a double process of depletion and parturition. His arguments are the depletion element of the applause, homage, and Ovation of the audience are the children that are born. In the last, eight to ten minutes Hitler’s oratory resembles an orgasm of words. It is almost like the throbbing fulfillment of a love drama, Liebestod. It has often been said by people who read Hitler’s speeches: ‘Why that is old stuff, we have heard that before’ if these same critics hear him in person they would say: ‘It is remarkable that when one heard Hitler all seems as though it were new and said for the first time. And yet one knows that one has heard it before, but somehow it seems new and has a new meaning. There is undoubtedly something in common between Hitler’s speech and Wagner’s music. Infinite variations of known leitmotivs repeated over and over producing a new ear appeal.

AHHitler has a quality which no German orator has hitherto possessed. He uses the two half-truths of Nationalism and Socialism simultaneously just as a composer will use melody and base to produce the complete contrapuntal picture. This gift is given to none of his rivals or opponents. He simultaneously appeals to the ideal and mystical sphere and to the concrete animal sphere. The truth is that the greatness of an orator like that of a poet must, in the final analysis, be judged by what he does not say and yet does not leave unsaid. This gives a chance for the audience to feel the unexpressed, the inexpressible, themselves. This is what Wagner in a letter to Matilda Wesendonk has called ‘the art of sounding silence’. Frau Magda Goebbels in a mixture of truth, affectation, and flattery once said to Hitler: ‘You were wonderful again yesterday. It makes me feel so ashamed of myself. I always think that I am a National Socialist and yet when I hear you I feel that I haven’t been a National Socialist all this time – that I am just beginning to be one. It all seems so new to me, as though it were my first conversion from my former life. This conversation took place at the luncheon table in the Reichskanzlei in 1934. At the time, Dr. Sedgwick took it as a piece of shameless and nauseating flattery which was swallowed avidly by Hitler. Since then Dr. Sedgwick feels that contains a grain of truth if analyzed in the spirit of the letter of Wagner quoted above.

AHSpeaking of Hitler’s technique of arguing publicly with himself he once said to Dr. Sedgwick the following: ‘We must never forget that words and their meaning are two subtly distinct things. The word remains the same but the meaning changes. If, for instance, you repeat a word a number of times the human mind refuses to reproduce the same thought picture’. The human mind indeed insists on verifying that thought picture sometimes even to a degree of the absolute opposite. Quite aside from this fact, we can notice every day that familiar words which are used in the argument have almost ceased to convey a plastic idea. There is a special type of educated German lingo that is almost entirely made up of such words. That type of out-of-date professorial German (Professoren-Deutsch) is the cause of the lacy of bourgeois parties like the Hugenberg Party. ‘The crowd is not only like a woman, but women constitute the most important element in an audience. The women usually lead, then follow the children – and at last, when I already have won over the whole family – follow the fathers’. A speaker may never take for granted that the understands what he says. Like an architect who must draw a ground plan, as well as an elevation, a speaker who wants to be really understood by the broad masses must supplement his statement that a thing is so and so (thesis) with a further argument which shows in which way the thing described, is not so and so (antithesis). This second inverted and negative presentation furnishes the necessary complementary colors to the argument picture #1. The result is that the whole thing stands out in dramatic relief. The masses grasp the idea and it has become their own (synthesis).

Needless to say, part No. 2 is the most difficult section of a speech. If it is done in a dry way the speech becomes a sermon and will bore the people. It is therefore advisable to treat this part in the form of ironical sidelights, naively put in, almost in a dialogue fashion. The effort of the audience is to make them understand without effort and the speaker can proceed with confidence to the next subject.

AH‘Some people say that I repeat myself so often’, said Hitler. I tell you one cannot repeat a thing too often. That presupposes that a speaker is really a speaker and understands the art of endlessly verifying the main point. In that aspect, Wagner is my model. Besides people forget that even the story of Christ, which was certainly sold to the world public, was reported by four evangelists in very: much the same way. The slight difference here and there is substance and temperamental coloring far from bewildering and tiring the listener have helped to convince him.

End of Speech

Hitler said: ‘To end a speech well is the most difficult thing to accomplish. You must know what you want to say, you must know what you do not want to say. It is always a new experiment, and one must know exactly by feeling the reaction of the audience when the moment has come to throw the last flaming javelin which sets the crowd afire and sends it home with a leading idea buzzing in their heads. One can see exactly how far the audience has become fascinated if the heads in the gallery and elsewhere move back and forth. This is a sign that the speaker has as yet no grip on his audience. One sees that a lot of that is one of the reasons I cannot listen to other people speak. (The only man Hitler can bear to listen to speaking is Goebbels).

Avoidance of Names of Personages

While speaking Hitler carefully avoids mentioning the names of personages either dead or alive. For instance instead of saying: ‘Bismarck once said …’ Hitler will say ‘The Iron Chancellor …’. Instead of saying: ‘This is a debt we owe to General Ludendorff’, Hitler will say: ‘To Germany’s Great Quartermaster of the World War we owe …’. Schiller and Goethe are never referred to by name but always as unnamed great poets. The only exception he makes to this rule is Richard Wagner.

Exit Technique

When Hitler’s speech reached its orgiastic end, the final stage which might be termed the apotheosis of the meeting takes place. The band plays the national anthem (Deutschland uber Alles)(Nationalism) followed by the Horst Wessel song (National-Socialism). Without waiting Hitler salutes to the right and left and leaves during the playing. He usually reaches his car before the singing is over. Whether consciously or unconsciously done this sudden withdrawal has a number of advantages. In addition to facilitating his exit unmolested to his car, it prevents the exaltation of the crowd from going to waste. It saves him from unwelcome interviews and leaves intact the apotheosis picture that the public has received from the end of his speech.

Hitler once said to Dr. Sedgwick: ‘It is a great mistake many speakers make, to hang around after their speech is over. It only leads to an anticlimax and sometimes it might even happen that arguments arise which could completely undo the hours of oratorical labor’.

Then turning to a comparison with the theater he said: ‘I never liked it when actors after finishing their roles took curtain calls. It murders the illusion when Hamlet or Tristan who has just died magnificently on the stage reappears to smile and bow to the applause of the audience. Of course, professional actors will tell you that they live by this applause and the number of encores determines their standing in their profession. Richard Wagner was dead right when he prohibited all encore curtain calls for the Festspielhaus performances in Bayreuth. It is and remains a profanation.’

Hitler’s theory was that one must always have the courage to leave any gathering as soon as one feels that the climax is reached; never, never wait to see what impression has been made which is a sign of inner cowardice and lack of confidence. Hitler’s habit of leaving the hall abruptly during the first moments of the ovation has helped to shroud him with an almost mystical quality of unearthliness. The roan without a home, the Flying Dutchman, Lohengrin’s exit in shining armor, and the untouchability of Pelleas, transforms the various women types in the audience into so many longing Elsas, Sentas and Melisandes.

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