|October 27th, 2009||#1|
Tips, Tools and Techniques: Speaking and Speaker Training
Background: The Nazis faced a significant problem after taking power in 1933. Their speakers had been tested by hard political conflict. Once Hitler was in power, some of the drive went out of the system. How was the enthusiasm of the early years of the movement to be maintained, and where would new speakers come from? This 1936 essay from the party monthly for propagandists reports on an effort to meet both goals. It shows the importance Nazism put on constantly presenting the population with its views
The source: Hans Rieß, "Ein Wort zur Reichsrednerschule," Unser Wille und Weg, October 1936, pp. 17-20.
A Word on the Reich Speaker School
by Hans Rieß
In the course of the last year as part of the reorganization of the party's speaker staff, the Reichspropagandaleitung has established a Reich Speaker School to train the most suitable and capable speakers. The Reich Speaker School is a so-called traveling school, since it does not have a fixed geographic location, but rather moves from Gau to Gau. This has the advantage of freeing participants from the usual necessity of traveling to and from the school, saving them much time, not to mention money. The establishment of the Reich Speaker School has been warmly welcomed by speakers and propagandists. Interest in the new establishment was so strong from the beginning that a large number of applicants had to be turned down by the Reichspropagandaleitung. This alone proves how valuable the work of the Reich Speaker School is. Still, there were a few cases in which speakers thought participation in the Reich Speaker School was not important, since they had been active as party speakers for years and had addressed hundreds of meetings successfully, without ever having gone to a speaker school. It makes no sense to train old and experienced speakers like them.
Others see the need for a speaker school, but do not think that the Reichspropagandaleitung needs to establish one. There are Gau schools, educational establishments, etc., and they do not understand why speakers do not attend existing schools. Since these objections might surface again, or may have already surfaced, it may be appropriate do refute these prejudices, for that is what they are.
The Kampfzeit [the Nazi term for the period between 1919 and 1933 when the party fought for power] was undoubtedly the best school for National Socialist fighters, and National Socialist speakers in particular. All our familiar Reich, Gau and Kreis speakers came out of that hard school, and they are still the party's leading political speakers. However, here and there it must be admitted that there are political speakers who did well during the Kampfzeit, indeed who were often among the best speakers, yet today they do not do well because they have not moved with the times, because they keep playing the same old record from the Kampfzeit in their meetings. After the three years of positive National Socialist constructive work that is behind us, such rhetorical activity is at least negative, in no way up to the increased expectations for a political speaker today. It is no longer sufficient for a speaker to attack our opponents and expose the mistakes of the past. Rather, he has to perform positive political work. He must address the events and questions of today. He should present his audience with the National Socialist worldview, and should help form the new German person in the way we want him to be formed and educated according to our worldview. If a speaker is to do this creatively, he must understand the factors that influence the life of a people. He must be familiar with the history of his people. More than that, he must be familiar with the vital questions and things that influence the fate of our people at present and in the future. Comprehensive knowledge is the essential equipment of a speaker. Although it cannot be the task of the Reich Speaker School to provide the speaker with such theoretic knowledge, it can give him practical advice in using his knowledge. It will make the speaker aware of common mistakes and give him advice for writing his speeches, and for his practical activity.
The most important task of the Reich Speaker School, however, is to give the speaker new drive, to give new fuel to the fires of his enthusiasm. It should help to preserve the revolutionary force of the Kampfzeit and to maintain the strength that will enable him, just as in the years of struggle, to inspire the hearts of his audience with enthusiasm, both today and in the future.
Given what has been said about the special tasks of the Reich Speaker School, having speakers participate only in regular training courses is not a happy solution. It cannot be beneficial to have the tried and tested speakers of the party participate in training courses with other course participants who have to start by learning the most basic elements of National Socialism. The National Socialist speaker, based on his years of rhetorical activity, already knows a great deal about political, economic, cultural and social matters, which can be used as a foundation by the Reich Speaker School. In the discussions that follow each talk between the speaker and the participants, false ideas and impressions can be discussed and set right. In these exchanges of ideas, all of life's questions can be considered from the standpoint of the National Socialist worldview, which contributes to the absolutely necessary building of a unified worldview on the part of the whole speaking staff. The speakers certainly should not become identical mechanical speaking machines, but rather thinking men with their own ways of expression and organization.
On the question of expert speakers, it is advisable to bring in leading experts from around the Reich, not from the Gau in which the course is being held. The likely experts from within the Gau are likely to be known by the speakers. It is understandable that even if they are extraordinarily capable in their area, they will not be as interesting as experts from somewhere else in the Reich. Participants have regularly expressed the understandable desire to hear another expert on the subject, preferably a leading figure who deals with the matter on a daily basis.
It has also been valuable during Reich Speaker School courses to include visits to institutions, factories, etc., which provide the participants with practical impressions that are more valuable and enduring than any theoretical training.
The Reich Speaker School is also extraordinarily important for training the next generation of speakers. This is a problem that daily becomes more pressing, as the circle of experienced old speakers from the Kampfzeit diminishes, and it is of great importance to find suitable people to replace them.
In the past, those who might become new speakers studied National Socialist writings to train themselves. But a command of the material does not in itself make a National Socialist fighter. This gives the Reich Speaker School a major and important task, but a satisfying one. It must prepare the next generation of speakers through intensive preparation and education, training the political speakers of tomorrow. Its courses will present National Socialist thinking in vivid form to the young National Socialist fighter. Here he will learn the qualities and characteristics of the speaker of the Kampfzeit, and here he will find the strength that will enable him to fulfill his mission, to go out to the people as the bearer and proclaimer of a new age.
Last edited by Alex Linder; October 27th, 2009 at 10:33 PM.
|October 27th, 2009||#2|
Background: The Nazis put enormous effort into public speaking, both before and after they took power. This essay, taken from the party's monthly for propagandists, explains why the spoken word has more power than the written word. At the end, the author compares Nazi rhetoric to religious rhetoric. Frauenfeld was a Nazi Gauleiter.
The source: A. E. Frauenfeld, "Die Macht der Rede" Unser Wille und Weg, August 1937, pp. 16-21.
The Power of Speech
by A. E. Frauenfeld
When coming generations look back on the period of struggle and development of the National Socialist movement, one of the most interesting and significant conclusions they will draw is that seldom in the history of the German people, indeed that of humanity itself, did the spoken word, that direct personal contact between the leader of a young and rising movement and the whole people, have such importance as in this significant period in the history of the German people.
It is very remarkable that although Adolf Hitler used the most modern achievements of science and technology for his struggle, he always viewed them only as instruments, never making compromises with technology that contradicted his knowledge. He was never tempted to devote himself to them, to become subordinate to them!
We must remind ourselves that the printing press released a flood of printed words, and that the spoken word seemed a relic of the Middle Ages over against the strength and force of technology that brought the printed word to the masses of the people. A dreadful collapse of the rhetorical art followed. National Socialism in no way rejected the possibilities that modern technology provided in the area of printing, but it also recognized the importance of the spoken word as the messenger of a movement that came out of the feelings and experiences of the people. It used the spoken word in a way unparalleled in the past, and that will remain exemplary in the future.
To endure in the age of the printed word, the help of technology was needed. The loudspeaker, the radio, the motor vehicle, and the airplane provided opportunities to reach a broader circle than ever before with the spoken word.
If we ask why Adolf Hitler put such great significance on the spoken word, we must conclude that the written word in no way equals the spoken word in intensity and impact.
But one does not rule out the other. They supplement rather than replace each other. The problem here is the same one that we encounter in the arts. Why do people go to the theater when there are movies, which are cheaper and less complicated, and which use the most modern technical methods? Why do people attend concerts when they could listen to the radio or turn on the record player in their homes, and hear the same thing? Why do people take on the challenges, the costs and the economic burdens of travel, when they can see splendid films with precise details about every part of the world?
All of these instances prove that even the most modern and perfect reproductions of music, words, or pictures can never replace personal experience. The feeling we have when walking through the streets of a foreign city cannot be conveyed by the most perfect picture, the best travel description. A reproduction, however perfect, will never have the same effect as the actual work of art.
Personal experience is always primary, reproduction in whatever form is secondary. It is most effective when presented to a person who has directly experienced what is shown, who is then reminded of what he once experienced. Memory and imagination must be combined with secondary art forms in order to come close to communicating the primary experience of art!
He who hears an opera on the radio, but has never seen it on stage, will get only an imperfect impression, whereas he who has experienced the work will be reminded of the whole magic of the direct experience of the work of art.
He who reads a speech by the Führer but has never heard him speak will have a different and incomplete impression compared to him who has often heard the Führer. While he reads, his own imagination is active and he hears the words that he reads in his mental ear.
We see then that every indirect presentation is somehow incomplete if the memory of previous experience does not help our imaginations to unite our past experiences with the secondary form of reproduction.
The printed word is abstract. It is impersonal. It is not rooted in memory, but slides away. We connect the spoken word with thoughts of the person who spoke it, with his appearance, the sound of his voice, the persuasiveness and passion with which he spoke the words. And then there is the environment. Reading is usually done alone. Speaking is communal; many hundreds or thousands share the enthusiasm. All of this allows the spoken word to pass from the level of simple understanding to the depths of our feelings and drives!
Science records its knowledge in books. Confessions of faith have always favored the spoken over the printed word. National Socialism proves this through the significance that the spoken word had in its struggle. From the beginning, it fought on the spiritual level and it spoke rather than wrote its words because it wanted to reach people's hearts, because it wanted to win!
We can distinguish four various forms of speaking:
1. The meeting
2. The mass meeting
3. The ceremony
4. The talk
5. The lecture
A meeting is a gathering of a number of people who have come together to be instructed by a speaker about a certain topic. It is usually not particularly formal. Meetings generally are held in rooms in restaurants, and drinks are served during the talk. This is the simplest form of bringing one person's thoughts and opinions to a larger audience.
A mass meeting is a step up from a meeting. It usually includes a larger number of listeners, music, flags, etc., which contribute to the atmosphere. Where possible, one will avoid tables in a mass meeting. Rather, one prefers halls that can be decorated to elevate the mood and, since there are only chairs, it is easier for the audience to concentrate on the speaker.
The highest level is in ceremonial gatherings. Here there is an artistically unified program with music, the entrance and exit of flags, and in the center of it all, a speech. The individual parts join to form a whole. This developed from the ceremonies that National Socialism created in its meetings during the struggle for power, and that have now been adopted in mass meetings and ceremonies.
During the years of struggle, there was great joy in battle and an enthusiasm that did not look to the surroundings, but rather from overflowing hearts and sacrificial devotion created a devotion that made each meeting an experience, despite the modest surroundings and primitive conditions. Now that we possess power, we need exterior decorations and finery to bring alive the feelings of those days once more.
The opposite of this form of rhetoric is the talk and the lecture. A mass meeting intends to be an experience, whereas the talk transmits knowledge, directing itself to the mind of the hearer. It wants to teach, to say something new, to educate. Its purposes are in the realm of the understanding.
The meeting is different in every regard. The attendee of a mass meeting would be disappointed by a scientific lecture, no matter how elevated and educational, because he came to the meeting with other expectations. Being taught goes against his wish to be motivated, to be swept along. We see here two kinds of speaking: the talk, which above all aims at the mind, and the meeting speech, which reaches the heart. In the talk what one says is primary, whereas in the speech it is above all a matter of how one says it. The audience of a meeting or mass meeting does not want to be taught (at least not in an obvious way), but rather motivated. Our language proves it. We say that listeners were "captivated" by a speaker, that the speaker "held them in his spell," that his "gripping" speech had "suggestive" power.
A lecturer presents his hearers with things new to them, or illuminates them from new angles, whereas the speaker has the task of saying that which the audience feels, but is unable itself to say in clear and proper form. The words of a lecturer can be stolen, in a book, for example. A speaker cannot be plagiarized. His greatest triumph is when his thoughts and words are repeated by his hearers who have made his words their own, because they think that they are expressing their own thoughts in using the words of the speaker.
A lecturer stands behind his words, in the shadow of his thoughts, so to speak, but for the speaker the word is the means through which he expresses the power of his personality and gives it force. The speaker becomes for many listeners the incarenation of the idea that he represents. For many hearers, the thought of the idea is bound to the thought of him who presented the idea, who with the force of his personality overcame the internal resistance of his hearers.
All of this makes it clear that the outward aspects of a meeting, its surroundings, the way in which a speech is given, are not minor matters that one can do without, but rather necessary preconditions if a meeting is to fulfill its purposes, if all the effort that went into it is not to be in vain.
Now and again, one still encounters the completely wrong idea that since National Socialism has taken power, meetings and speeches no longer have the same significance as they did when we were fighting for power. He who as a result wants to reduce the number of meetings, or take less care in holding them, thereby proves that he has never understood the nature of the National Socialist movement. Just as a religion or a church can never stop preaching and explaining the faith in a thousand ways from the pulpit, no more can National Socialism surrender the direct and powerful effect of the speech, which ever and again strengthens the faith of the movement and provides new power for the never-ending struggle. Ever so many newspapers, magazines, and books can at most only make this enormously important task easier!
|October 27th, 2009||#3|
Background: The following essay was published in the Nazi monthly for propagandists. The author, Erich Fehlberg, is identified as an official in the Hitler Youth national office. The essay outlines the Hitler Youth speaker system.
The source: "Redner der Hitler-Jugend," Unser Wille und Weg, 7 (1937), pp. 38-41.
Hitler Youth Speakers
by Erich Fehlberg
The growth of the movement and its seizure of power on 1 January 1933 [sic], when men of the NSDAP became the sovereign rulers of the state, are in large part thanks to its speakers.
Today it is just as necessary to maintain constant and close contact between the leadership of the party and state with the people, which is still done most effectively through the spoken word.
That makes it necessary to develop new speakers who will later be capable of speaking clearly and persuasively on questions of importance to the party and state. Just as future members of the press, radio, and film are being trained in the HJ, so also the future speakers of the party are being trained in the Hitler Youth. This has taken concrete form during the past year. An office for the speaker system was established in the department of propaganda of the Reich Youth Office. It is responsible for organizing, assigning, and training speakers. By agreement between the Reichspropagandaleitung and the press and propaganda Office of the Reich Youth Office, the Hitler Youth received official permission to establish its own speaking staff, which organizationally is part of the expert speaker system of the NSDAP.
The HJ speaker, the "expert" speaker, has understood National Socialism, and knows the thinking of the movement. He knows perfectly the positions of the HJ on cultural and political questions. He knows the importance of representing the Hitler Youth to the public. He receives, upon recommendation of the Reich Youth Office, a speaking license from the RPL that allows him to speak to the public as long as the questions being handled fall under the purview of the HJ.
HJ speakers are divided into three groups, Reich, regional, or unit (Bann) speakers. Placement depends on a variety of factors which are laid out in detailed guidelines. Most important are ability and date of joining the party or the HJ. The resources of the RPL are at the disposal of the HJ for speaker education and training. The smallest unit of the speaker system is the speaker circle, which includes those speakers living in a political region. The speaker circles primarily exist to provide continuing political education, but also for getting to know other speakers and exchanging ideas and experiences useful in speaking.
Besides the training of HJ speakers in Gau speaker schools, the best and most capable HJ expert speakers attend the RPL's Reich speaker school.
There are also occasional courses held by the Reich Youth Office or by its subordinate offices.
It is clear that the speaker circle and speaker school cannot have the major part in training good speakers, but they do provide encouragement and confirmation of the knowledge and ability of speakers. Only hard work, thorough knowledge, a broad understanding of National Socialist literature, and constant reading of the daily press, magazines, and important and current books can complete the speaker's training.
The speaker information material that HJ speakers receive from the Reich Youth Office focuses on the varied work of the HJ, while the speaker service of the speaker's office provides material for particular campaigns. For example, the best HJ speakers participated for the first time in this year's NSDAP Winter Campaign. A speaker service was published that was not critical for the construction or impact of speeches, but which nonetheless provided material that saved speakers considerable work in gathering material. Similar material was published for the HJ meeting place campaign that began this year.
The various speaker material produced by the organizations of the party and the HJ give HJ expert speakers help in becoming trained speakers. The degree to which they seek to master their tasks and the extent to which they understand them determines the quality of the speaker. In the final analysis, it depends on the young speakers themselves whether they reach a better than average level of ability, or whether they can be used in meetings and mass meetings only as secondary speakers. The best speakers of the HJ are already good enough to join the corps of party speakers. Until now, only a few have been both expert HJ speakers and speakers of the NSDAP. After the 1936-1937 Winter Campaign, however, the best of the 100 expert speakers will join the ranks of party speakers. The best speakers of the National Socialist youth organization will emerge from one campaign after another, ensuring that the movement will be able to refresh itself with the best of the youth, those who demonstrate their skills as speakers of the people by maintaining contact between the party and the people, between the state and the people.
There are 550 Hitler Youth speakers today who are certified by the Reichspropagandaleitung. Many stood behind the speaking platform and preached National Socialism even before 1 January 1933. These experienced HJ speakers are the foundation of the HJ speaking staff. The number of young speakers is constantly growing. The youth who do their first speaking to a group of their comrades or in a membership meeting will in the course of time learn to speak logically, giving their material persuasive impact.
Their service in the Hitler Youth, their organizing of membership and parents' meetings, will be the foundation of their later mastery of the spoken word. The HJ is establishing the foundation for reaching the people through the enthusiasm and conviction of the spoken word. The HJ will not only guard this inheritance for the movement, but will also develop it even further.