Both for Germany and the US, 1933 became a turning point in history since each country received a new political leader. The new Chancellor of Germany, Adolf Hitler, and the new President of the US, Franklin D. Roosevelt, came to the power in quite a difficult time. The two countries, as well as many other states of the world, were striving to cope with the losses of World War I and to overcome the aftermath of the Great Depression. Roosevelt’s and Hitler’s ruling strategies were rather dissimilar. However, their inauguration speeches given in 1933 had many points in common. This paper provides an insight into the opinions expressed by the two leaders on some of the greatest problems faced by their countries, as well as on the ways of managing these difficulties.
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In the initial part of each speech, the discussion of the causes of the country’s problems is offered. Roosevelt (1933) considers these to be trade difficulties and financial instability: “taxes have risen,” people’s capability of paying “has fallen,” and values have diminished “to fantastic levels” (para. 2). Also, the US President draws attention government issues: “the savings of many years in thousands of families are gone,” “the means of exchange are frozen in the currents of trade,” and the government faces a “serious curtailment of income” (Roosevelt, 1933, para. 2).
In turn, Hitler blames the Treaty of Versailles for Germany’s difficulties. The Chancellor does not state this fact directly but refers to the historic event using the date: “more than fourteen years have passed” since “the unhappy day” when the people of Germany were “blinded” by promises and lost their “honor and freedom” (Hitler, 1933, para. 1). In Hitler’s (1933) speech, the Treaty is referred to as “the day of treachery” (para. 1). Also, the Chancellor frequently remarks that as an outcome of signing the Treaty, the country lost its unity, and people’s opinions became confused.
Roosevelt and Hitler express their intentions to manage the most severe problems existing in their countries. When analyzing unemployment rates, Roosevelt suggests that they may be decreased through “direct recruiting by the Government itself” (Roosevelt, 1933, para. 10). Also, the President finds “accomplishing greatly needed projects to stimulate and reorganize the use of our natural resources” a necessary measure (Roosevelt, 1933, para. 10).
In Hitler’s (1933) speech, the idea of dealing with unemployment is associated with “compulsory labor-service” (para. 9). In regard to the banking system and the economy, Hitler (1933) suggests preserving farming and promoting employment. Roosevelt (1933) promises to put an end to speculation with other people’s money and “a strict supervision of all banking and credits and investments” (para. 12).
Agriculture occupies a prominent place in both politicians’ speeches. According to Hitler (1933), it is possible to provide Germany with its necessities with the help of a “back-to-the-land” policy, which he sees as a determinant of the country’s success (para. 9). The US President emphasizes the need to “raise the values of agricultural products” by preventing the foreclosure of farms and homes (Roosevelt, 1933, para. 11). The fourth crucial aspect discussed in the inauguration speeches is foreign policy. Hitler’s (1933) opinion is that overcoming ” the destroying menace of communism” is the most effective way of improving the country’s foreign affairs (para. 13). Roosevelt (1933) suggests implementing the practice of being a “good neighbor” that has respect towards others and oneself.
In both leaders’ speeches, the common issue is that they have a strong belief in their countries’ patriotic feelings and integrity. In regard to the power of their position, Hitler’s and Roosevelt’s vision is that people’s lives should be improved and through this the depression should be overcome. Both leaders are confident in their people’s support and express the hope that with God’s help, they will attain the goals they set.
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Hitler, A. (1933). Berlin: Proclamation to the German nation. Web.
Roosevelt, F. D. (1933). First inaugural address. Web.