Essay: Hitler as a Master Manipulator

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Hitler as a Master Manipulator

Hitler's reign of terror is probably one of the most intriguing in all of history, considering the effectiveness with which he used his oratory abilities in his struggle to shape other people's thinking. The former German leader developed a complex understanding of the human mind and thus experienced little problems in inducing a series of thoughts into the minds of the German public. He discovered that as long as he put special emphasize on a lie or an action, the respective concepts evolves into certainty in the thinking of individuals he was interested in controlling.

Hitler meticulously prepared his strategy over manipulation and delivered it over a prolonged period of time, as he most probably knew that it would take a significant amount of effort in order for him to be able to connect with the public to a higher level. To a certain degree, Hitler was an opportunist, as he took advantage of the critical condition Germany was in consequent to the end of the First World War and concentrated on raising public awareness regarding the attitudes the country needed to take with regard to the rest of the world (Weinberg 1996, p. 30).

By observing how he behaved toward individuals who were close to him, one can gain a more complex understanding of Hitler's manipulative strategies. "The 'tough love' methods he used to overawe the impressionable Goebbels provide a graphic example of the skill with which he played on the emotions of those around him." (Cross 2013) Depending on the situation he was in, Hitler would take on behaviors that he considered most effective in influencing audiences. During one-on-one conversations Hitler would apparently stop during his speech and look over his shoulder in a theatrical way. He would explain that this was a habit he got while he was in prison. In contrast, when standing in front of an audience Hitler would provide a perfect speech accompanied by most important elements of public speaking: "a slow, quiet beginning, the dramatic use of hands, savage wit directed at enemies, the inexorable build-up to a spine-tingling climax." (Cross 2013)

A speech would start calmly and quietly and would even contain some ironic humor in order to reach out to individuals in the audience who might have been hesitant about whether or not they should have continued to listen to the orator. As the speech progressed however, Hitler would speed up and being to bring on a series of scapegoats he typically referred to with the purpose of having audiences feel that it was perfectly normal for them to develop hostile attitudes toward these respective scapegoats. "He raised his voice louder and louder, he waved his hands, and, at times, he moved his whole body to emphasize his arguments." (Rogers 2004, p.32) While seemingly random and even thought on the spot, each of his gestures was carefully calculated with the purpose of inducing feelings related to resentment and offense into his listeners.

Hitler's personal photographer actually managed to capture the former Nazi leader in situations when he would prepare to meet his audiences. It appears that he would rehearse poses for long periods of time with the purpose of making sure that his speech would send the right message to his audiences. He would choose what he considered to be the perfect poses and attitudes only consequent to careful inspection. Clothes also played an important role when considering the image he wanted to project, as he chose garments that were in accordance with the type of the public he would be addressing (Cross 2013).

People in Germany were in a critical stage during the 1930s and this meant that they were vulnerable to being exploited by someone who knew to speak with regard to the right ideas. All of Europe experienced an economic crisis at the time and people were inclined to blame their governments for the suffering they were experiencing. Germany in particular was in a more delicate situation because it also experienced economic hardship as a consequence of losing the First World War. The Treaty of Versailles took a huge toll on the German economy and led to the German public expressing deep resentment with regard to the government and to other European countries. The Nazi party was among the government's most passionate critics and this influenced the masses to join Nazi meetings and to develop a liking for National Socialism. In addition to the party's appeal, the fact that Hitler predicted the economic crisis even before it happened contributed to people expressing particular interest in appreciating his leadership abilities (Nazi Economic Policy 1933-1939).

Nazi economic policies involved a wide range of strategies that, in spite of installing more controlling legislations, actually benefited the German economy and reduced unemployment rates. In spite of the fact that economic conditions in Germany improved throughout the 1930s, the government had gathered a significant amount of debt and it seemed that it was more concerned about investing resources in the military rather than directing most of them to the German public. "According to a declaration by the Reich Credit Bank (Reichkreditkasse) on July 10, 1944, Germany had amassed almost 29 billion marks in debts to occupied, allied, friendly, and neutral states as of 30 June of that year." (Aly 2008, p. 82)

Hitler intended to repay most of the government's debts through the resources the Nazis would loot as a result of their presence in the Soviet Union. However, by 1944 it became obvious that this was no longer possible and that the 1941 plan needed to be revised. This led to a series of issues and to the German central bank having to devise divisive strategies with the purpose of continuing to have access to resources and in order to provide the military with the feeling that it could still operate with little to no problems.

Hitler's use of propaganda was one of the principal reasons why he eventually managed to persuade Germans to occupy a large part of Europe. In addition to being especially experienced in shaping the thinking of individuals in Germany, Hitler also developed a particularized ability to provide individuals in occupied countries with values they would eventually come to appreciate. By developing a strategy that would involve providing occupied countries with junk he perceived as being interesting for them, Hitler believed that he would present an answer to their problems and that he would make occupation easier as a consequence (Aly 2008, p. 117).

In addition to manipulating a great deal of Germans, Hitler also led a policy of persecuting all persons who did not agree to his actions. Political opponents and practically everyone who expressed the slightest evidence of being against Nazism were treated harshly and sent to camps where they were either killed or left with no option but to accept their fate without expressing any type of rebellious thoughts.

While many tend to criticize Hitler for getting Germans to embark on a conflict that they had a limited understanding of and for his foreign policies, the reality is that previous German governments expressed somewhat similar attitudes. Hitler probably inspired from German leaders before him at the time when he decided to persecute Jewish individuals and to extend Germany's influence over Europe. He was well-acquainted with the fact that Germans would be supportive with regard to foreign policies that they identified with and thus became unhesitant about presenting them with his customized version of such strategies (Dailey & Webb 2012).

Some of Hitler's initial actions consequent to the outbreak of the war make it possible for analysts to observe that he considered the degree to which these respective acts would influence important international players. "An example of this would be the reoccupation of the Rhineland, where it is clear that he… [END OF PREVIEW]

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