Date of Award


Document Type



Political Science


Elizabeth Amato


While many scholars have examined the rhetoric of President Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler individually, there is a void of scholarly work that highlights the similarities between the two leaders’ use of grandiloquent language to stoke the passions of their perspective nations. In the past one hundred years, rhetoric and propaganda have been employed to push political agendas that are divisive and dangerous. Trump’s incendiary vocabulary–“enemy of the people,” “vermin,” “retribution,” etc., employed frequently throughout his campaign and presidency, in many ways echoes Hitler's speeches and declarations. While their political strategies ultimately differed greatly, a close analysis of their speeches, transcripts, and broadcasts reveals comparable language styles and rhetoric that have implicit meanings that influence audiences/supporters and result in direct ramifications. The similarities of their styles –written and spoken– are readily apparent and, therefore, seamlessly permit analysis.

This study argues that Trump and Hitler ascended to power in very similar ways, but primarily through a variety of rhetorical exploitations and appeals. To corroborate this claim, this work will dissect historical events, speeches, and actions associated with each leader and their respective time and circumstances. The research suggests that both leaders relied on assertions that positioned them as outsiders; and each boldly claimed, as outsiders, only they could fix a broken and corrupt government. Additionally, an explosion of misinformation and propaganda became paramount to maintaining power and control. This work intends to contribute to the historical and political conversation regarding rhetoric, and its relation to obtaining and preserving power.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License