The Magnet and the Manipulator

The essence of Adolf Hitler’s unique talent as a public speaker (and subsequently as a politician) was in his ability to attract people and to inspire and motivate them to do just about anything he wanted. Which made him essentially a powerful magnet and a no less powerful manipulator.

Ian Kershaw wrote in his biography of Hitler:

When he joined the infant German Workers’ Party in September 1919, he was still, as he himself put it, among the ‘nameless’ – a nobody.1 Within three years, he was being showered with letters of adulation, spoken of in nationalist circles as Germany’s Mussolini, even compared with Napoleon

He was also plain lucky (which, in his opinion, was one more sign of support from the Almighty Providence). He had a perfect timing. His message – unoriginal as it was – was a perfect match for uncontainable sense of anger, fear, frustration, wounded pride, resentment, hatred, and pent-up aggression of the rowdy gatherings in the beerhalls of the Bavarian capital.

Especially hatred – he was highly adept at stoking up the hatred of others (for Marxists, Jews, democrats, etc.) by pouring out on them the hatred that was so deeply embedded in himself.

He possessed one more important talent for a successful public politician – he offered simple solutions to enormous, vital and complex problems that the German society faced at that time. Simplicity and repetition (he could repeat the same message over and over again – dozens of times) were two key ingredients in his speaking armory.

And he delivered these solutions with an overwhelming power of an unshakeable faith in these solutions – and in himself. He had a gift of making his audience believe (and firmly believe) that only his way – and no other – can and will succeed.

These solutions, however, were not unique. But Hitler had a talent (partially natural, partially developed) to advertise unoriginal ideas in an original way, making enormously powerful impact on his audience. Others could say the same thing but make no impact at all. In other words, he had the unique talent for mobilizing the masses and using this mobilization to achieve his political objectives.

Consequently, it is no surprise that in early 1920, barely a year after he joined the party, he was made a chief of propaganda by the party leaders. However, he already wanted more than that. Much more.

He wanted to become the sole and indisputable leader of the party. Its’ all-powerful Führer.


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