October 8, 2012

The Flipside

The Rhetoric of Hitler's "Battle" was one of the more intriguing texts that I have come across. Since I began learning about WWII, I always wondered how such a horrible person ended up in position of high power. Hitler's use of the common word allowed for people to be persuaded into thinking he was the leader Germany needed. It wasn't his stature or his appearance that placed him in power, it was his rhetoric. We find more often than not a "casual" spin on a term or a phrase can say one thing but in reality mean another- unfortunately this form of Rhetoric has severe consquences.

Burke, on page 193, says,"As a whole, and at all times the efficiency of the truly national leader consists primarily in preventing the division of the attention of a people, and always in concentrating on a single enemy."An incredibly powerful statement dripping with truth. Hitler had many people fooled into thinking that he was the leader who was able to bring together a divided Germany; he drew all of their attention into a better Germany. With that picture in mind, the German people would do what was needed in order to form a perfect Germany even if it meant joining together against a "common enemy" (Burke 193)

Political and economical leaders, even in our day, use this tactic to get votes on a ballot. Political figures are notirious for serving words on a silver platter that look so good in theory but in action fall terribly. Our political figures, in some respects, are no different than Hitler. In fact, they are just as much of rhetoricians as he was however he how he chose to lead his people was unforgiving and brutal. Burke continues to dissect "Mein Kampf" and takes notice of the devices Hitler uses to prey upon his people. As mentioned above, Hitler placed a certain "spin" on his words that allowed for a small interepretation from those reading his book. Hitler planted the seed however it was up to the mind of the reader to decide whether or not his words were truthful and/or worth taking into consideration.

Many times in multiple classes, we have discussed the beauties of Rhetoric. How it allows for our words and meanings to grow however it is very rare that we take a look at the dark side of Rhetoric - the flipside. "Mein Kampf" is a perfect example of how Rhetoric can be used in a harmful way.

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