Emil Ludwig

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Emil Ludwig

Emil Ludwig (January 25, 1881 – September 17, 1948)) was a German-Swiss author, known for his biographies and study of historical "greats."


  • Die Entscheidung, sich zum ersten Mal zu küssen, ist die wichtigste in jeder Liebesbeziehung. Es verändert die Beziehung von zwei Menschen wesentlich stärker als letzendlich die Kapitulation; denn dieser Kuss trägt die Kapitulation schon in sich.
    • The decision to kiss for the first time is the most crucial in any love story. It changes the relationship of two people much more strongly than even the final surrender; because this kiss already has within it that surrender.
    • Of Life and Love (2005), p. 29 [Über das Glück und die Liebe, 1940]

Three Portraits: Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin (1940)[edit]

Adolf Hitler
1939 address in Danzig
  • Hitler's technique of oratory is largely the result of... mass psychology... He declared to his small, new party that everything depended on fascinating the crowd. Above all... restore to the German people, deprived of an army, their flags, bands and songs. ...He invented every emblem himself, except the swastika, designed his own flag, and prescribed every collar and button for the slowly-growing party troops.
  • Hitler's aim was to attract attention to himself. ...[H]e personally arranged all the lighting effects and spotlights, as well as his entry into a hall with fanfares. He trained crowds to salute with the right arm, taught them his songs, and transformed the audience from an apathetic mass into active collaborators in his festivities.
  • As a stage manager and advertiser, he gave proof as real genius. In his book... "The Entente," he writes, "won the war simply and solely by its propaganda." A crowd is ready to believe anything, "true or false," provided it is constantly reiterated; one only has to say the same thing often enough.
  • He is past-master in the technique of platform speaking, and he can be humorous, grave, witty, tragic and cynical as the occasion requires.
  • His effect, in complete contrast to Mussolini's... he juggles with mystical notions such as Honor, Blood, and Soil, and thus wraps his audience in that cloud of mysticism which the Germans love far more than mere prosaic logic.
  • [H]e works to create the single great impression that here is a prophet whose heart is bleeding for the fate of his people. ...[H]e is sly enough to use an arrangement on his speaker's desk through which, by pressing a button, the spotlights are switched on to him so that the ecstasies can be properly filmed for the news reels. A similar combination of ecstasy and artifice can be observed in other actors.
  • [H]e commanded over a hundred of his armed adherents to make an open attack on the armed police force. The latter met the rebel's attack... Shots were fired. Fourteen men lay dead on the Munich pavement. ...Hitler vanished ...The fourteen heroes of the Nazi movement were later eulogized... by the leader who had abandoned them in danger.
  • He realized that he could rise only through the support of the discontented and utterly disillusioned middle class. All he did later was to subjugate it. Rauschning describes in detail Hitler's intense hatred of Germany's laboring masses.
  • The pyramid familiar to the Germans... in which each individual carries another on his back but makes up for it by standing on somebody else, was set up anew by Hitler.
  • The Germans, who love order more than freedom, and whose ruling passion is obedience, rejoiced in their release from an uncomfortable equality into new ranks of superiors and inferiors. This is the second source of Hitler's success.
  • As a man without religion, without philosophy, without principles, he balked at nothing. ...[H]e concealed... his desire for self-aggrandizement, and... believes in his own idealism.
  • Since the banks and the big industrialists wished to rid themselves of the Socialists, with their wage demands and strikes, they contributed generously to this popular party. ...Hitler's speeches constantly promised the masses a renewal of the soldier-spirit, a new army and new victories.
  • Hitler, who had made his way to power by his great gifts as a stage manager and speaker, introduced into the Reichschancellory all that browbeating noise which the Germans are so prone to take for greatness. ...Immediately after his appointment as chancellor, Hitler resolved to prove to the world that he had come, a new Saint George, to slay the dragon of communism. While the German Reichstag was burning, he accused the Communists of the guilt... This trial he lost... for its sole result was to expose the guilt of the Nazis.
  • The Germans were wretched so long as they had no sword. ...Only a world once more trembling before the gigantic juggernaut of a German army could do... [A] genuine idealism ...inspires the German Nazi youth. It is bellicose... and looks forward to a hero's death... they believe in the superiority of the German race and its right to rule the world.
    Their new leader... began to turn it into reality... The technique of government by advertisement... has enabled a ruler... to attain his aims by sheer propaganda and bluff...
  • That is the language of a gambler—of a man who stakes his all in one card... when the other players simply refuse to call a bluff, he may safely risk his stake.
    And yet, with the great triumphs Hitler has flaunted, with the increase in power and population... how are we to explain the apathy shared by... Germans, with exceptions of the few thousand commandeered to function at processions? They do not revolt, yet they are neither happy nor content... the enthusiasm wanes... as it has been since the third year of the Hitler régime...
  • The appointment of ignorant young men by the Party to high places in the German universities and clinics... has caused profound depression in the country... A country which no longer recognizes a written constitution, a country in which the Minister of Justice proclaims as his guiding principle, "Right is what is useful to Germany," a country in which the police force... watches with sympathetic interest any crime which is committed to the Party's advantage—is a country where none can feel safe. Even the free can hardly take much pleasure... where more than 100,000 souls are imprisoned... Any German who has not risen to wealth and position through the Party feels less free... Millions are ashamed because they are no longer citizens of a constitutional State.
    Meanwhile their Führer sits in his villa... and here he entertains his friends. ...As he talks ceaselessly and seldom listens... business cannot be settled.


  • Debate is the death of conversation.
    • In Lilless McPherson Shilling, Linda K. Fuller, Dictionary of Quotations in Communications (1997), p. 13. Most likely a variation of "Argument, again, is the death of conversation, if carried on in a spirit of hostility", William Hazlitt, Table Talk: Opinions on Books, Men, and Things (1846), p. 126

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External links[edit]

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