It is a generally accepted assumption that no good can come from evil, however, such provincial thinking can lead to large oversights that can withhold us from learning new insights. One example of this occurrence is Hitler. He was a terrible, despicable, abominable man, and left a horrible scar upon this world. He was not, by any means, a good person. But after clearing that up, his accomplishments are often overlooked, such as the amazing artist, or the loving husband he was.
Most especially, his leadership skills. The tactics Hitler applied in Germany, such as appealing to the people’s emotions, giving the people someone to hate and feel superior to, and creating a sense of nationalism within the people, were all qualities that helped Hitler be an effective leader.
Truly, Hitler’s ability to appeal to the emotions of the people greatly enabled him to lead the German people. After World War I, Germany was in an economic depression. The people were poor, and struggling to make ends meet.
Hitler came from the same humble beginnings. “In his public portrayal, he was a man of the people, his humble origins emphasizing the rejection of privilege and the sterile old order in favour of a new, vigorous, upwardly mobile society built upon strength, merit, and achievement” (Kershaw, The Hitler Myth). As an adult, he applied to make it into art school, but was rejected and instead resolved, for a time, to make a living drawing postcard sized replicas of painting which he sold in taverns.
This was not the life career path for Hitler, and he soon moved on to give support for the country he loved by joining the army, where he went through triumph and heartbreak. His political views were strengthened there, as well as his frustration. He was at no loss for what many Germans had been through, unlike many politicians of the time. His style of speaking was original as well as invigorating, especially compared to the other boring and unoriginal competing politicians. “Hitler presented himself as one of the people and spoke with spellbinding fervor and sincerity” (Schlesinger, pg. 38). Like a puppeteer pulling the strings of his puppet, he had a talent for invoking whatever emotions in the people he wanted. He gave a voice to the suffering, frustration, and anger that the people felt, and they loved him for this, giving him an even larger follower base.
With this in mind, Hitler was able to guide this ability to know what people want, into giving them someone to blame. “What Hitler gave [the people], with burning intensity, was a focus for their resentment, someone to hate and blame for their nations problems. (Schlesinger, pg. 39)” Hitler pulled the natural man out of the German people; the inherent human that excludes to feel included. When in trouble, everyone likes a scapegoat, and Hitler provided that to them. “…the injustice of Germany’s defeat, which he blamed on the Jews, were received with wild enthusiasm by demoralized desperate, inflation-ridden Berliners” (Kershaw). This discrimination and blame extended beyond the Jews to include all groups that were different, wierd or foreign. It was an easy way for the nation to let its anger out in scathing intensity. Thus, causing Hitler to gain more followers, and become even more popular.
Lastly, Hitler created a sense of nationalism within the people. As a soldier, he had noticed the lack of loyalty and enthusiasm that had caused Germany to fail, and this frustrated him immensely. Hitler had grand and feverish speeches that would attract people in droves. “The unity of all the Germanic people was one of Hitler’s favorite themes. Only as a single people, he felt, could the Master Race rule the earth, and argued this point with his usual passion” (Schlesinger, pg. 34). As a loner himself, he knew how important it was to give people a sense of belonging to make a united people. He created the Hitler Youth Group and the League of German Girls. According to the Holocaust Encyclopedia, “[t]he Hitler Youth and the League of German Girls were the primary tools that the Nazis used to shape the beliefs, thinking, and actions of the German youth” (Indoctrinating Youth). He used these organizations to essentially brainwash the kids into loving him and all he was doing. For the girls, there were beautiful dances in large venues, so that instead of the usual cliques, there was a feeling of belonging everywhere. For the boys, there was military training that had a similar effect as the girls’ dances.
Now, some may argue that Hitler was more of a manipulator than a leader. Though this is true that manipulation was a key factor he used to gain followers, this does not detract from his leadership mastery. Not unlike the American revolution, the people were primed to want something new, something drastic, something to take a stand for themselves again. In another time, Hitler may not have become the leader that he did. Nonetheless, he came in the time Germany needed him the most, and helped the people regain their footing. Like his father’s expectations of himself, Hitler expected unfailing loyalty, and held Germany in an iron clad fist. He pulled Germany from a state of economic depression, and brought his country together. He did what nobody else could have done at the time.
In conclusion, Hitler was an effective leader, even if he was a terrible man. Through his ability to relate to the people, discriminating to bring unity, and creating a sense of nationalism, he was able to cast a shadow across the entire world during his reign. He was not someone to be trifled with, and was loyal to Germany to the bitter end. He gave Germany the firm leading hand it needed to be able to walk again.