The Rhetoric Of Hitler's Battle Analysis

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The Mass’s Psychology of Fascism

“The Rhetoric of Hitler's Battle" has been recognized as an exemplar of rhetorical criticism and as one of the most acclaimed works by Kenneth Burke in 1939, which offered a rhetorical analysis of Adolf Hitler's rise to power in Germany in the 1930's. Through an analysis of Mein Kampf, Burke exposits the construction of Hitler's ideology of fascism and shows how an “exasperating, even nauseating" book served to instigate and inspire a mass movement. Hitler’s atrocities and the reaction of the public in this specific time and setting not only regard as an individual talent of Hitler on language or as an isolated and special historical incident, but also represent some rules of social ideology since the phenomenon
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Hence, the feminine masses might is a group of people who were dejected, weak, and dependent and who “desired” a strong mainstay. Obviously, “a dominating male…as orator” indicated Hitler. Specifically, he put himself at the position of a “dominating male” and accordingly the masses were characterized as “feminine” who followed every words of him. Burke also uses simile to emphasize how strong the gravity is, which Hitler, as the “orator” as well as the “dominated male” had posed on his “feminine” by “wooing” them, “winning” and “commanding” them. Particularly, Burke uses the personified verb “woo” to stress that the obedience of the feminine to the “dominated male” is somehow unavoidable and reasonable because occasionally, people in love always lose their minds and will do anything for their beloved ones. Now, Hitler was able to tell them what to do and believe, and he could start to build a fascist empire. It is easy for us to see the evil trick Hitler played on ruling and brainwashing his people and why the Germans engaged themselves into fascism without through consideration and even continued creating chaos and misfortunes to the world, especially to the Jewish people without any ethical reflection. Besides, Burke also implies us the potential social order at …show more content…
As Burke stated, “For as Russell pointed out years ago, an important ingredient of unity in the Middle Ages was the symbol of a common enemy. Men who can unite on nothing else can unite on the basis of a foe shared by all” (193). The statement emphasizes Hitler built a common enemy for the dejected, war-ravaged, and poverty-stricken Germans, and allows them to realize their supremacy as an "Aryan". Next, according to Hitler’s racial doctrine, Jews were an inferior race that was poisoning Germany and so did not belong in the community. At the same time, anti-Semitism was also prevailing in Europe. In order to win the control of the minds of the masses, Hitler selected to create Jewish people as the “common enemy” to Germans and a great symbol that would lead Germans to defeat it, Hitler himself. Burke says "Irrational it is, but it is carried out under the slogan of reason” (199). Hitler used impressive words and rhetoric to tell the masses that all ideas about anti-Semitism were reasonable. Since the fragile Germans who had just suffered from the pain of WWI and the collateral economical crisis, were so desperate in searching for a strong hope that can unite and prosper the whole nation again. As a result, they easily place their trust in Hitler’s anti-Semitism as well as its explanation, Germanic, which relays to the superiority of the German under the feverous propaganda.

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