Language and power go
hand in hand and if used correctly can become a great combination especially in
an inspirational speech where the audience is a country of large number of
people such as France. Charles De Gaulle has actually asserted a great deal of
power over many people by the way he speaks and the language he uses including
his diction in his speech. Gaulle uses rhetorical devices to his benefit to pass
on the message clearly to the audience. It is a joy to listen to such a speech
by Gaulle as it not only inspires you but also drives you towards the goal he
is talking about in his speech.
In his speech, Gaulle has
used a number of rhetorical devices and persuasive techniques that make his
speech come to life and influence the audience that is the people of France.
His strong and bold language is the aspect he had in him and the people of France
needed a person with these aspects to deliver a speech at that war situation.
He wins the hearts of the nation and the people by using assertion.
such example in his speech is:
But has the last word been said? Must hope
disappear? Is defeat final? No!
This is the assertion he provides to the audience which
conveys to the audience why to believe in him and also shows the boldness of
his statements as shown in the entire speech.
In Gaulle’s speeches, the inclusive pronouns of “us”, “you”
and “we” are used much more than other, exclusive pronouns such as “she”, “he”
or “they”. This is the usage of plain folks where the person tries to show that
he is the part of the audience. This actually makes the audience feel that they
also are a part of the nation and they are the ones chosen to do the job. He
also says “For France is not alone! She is not alone! She is not
alone! She has a vast Empire behind her.” This tone of reassurance shown by him
in his speech is a subtle way by which he brings the audience to listen to him
and reassures to them that they are not alone as he refers to France as the
people of France.
Gaulle’s confidence is brought out in the tone he uses
every time he addresses the public. It fluctuates from sensitive to bold. His
tone modulation makes the audience believe in him and give them the belief that
he is correct. He says, “Vanquished today by mechanical force, in the future we
will be able to overcome by a superior mechanical force.” He uses the word
‘will’ in his statement, which is a very strong word, which provides the
promise to the audience, creating belief in the audience in him. He also says,
“Whatever happens, the flame of the French resistance must not be extinguished
and will not be extinguished.” Here as well he pledges to the audience that the
flame of the French resistance will not be extinguished and also calls upon the
people of France to help him as he says the flame must not be extinguished. The
use of strong words helps him in influencing the target audience by the diction
that he uses in his speech. He expresses his sureness as he compares France
with the other neighboring country that is England to express to the people of
France that the nation can follow the ways of England to get out of this
The type of method used by Gaulle in his speech helps
him to actually get the attention of the audience. People respect him for the
kind of person he appears to be because of the language that he uses. He not
only talks about the positives of France as a country but also talks about its
shortcomings. He says, “It is true, we were, we are, overwhelmed by the
mechanical, ground and air forces of the enemy. Infinitely more than their
number, it is the tanks, the airplanes, and the tactics of the Germans which
are causing us to retreat.” He has admitted to the problems the nation is facing
due to the Germans.
By now Gaulle has actually made the nation believe in
him by his words. He also places France as the main focus as the country is
what they have in common and also is the love for France. He tries to talk to
the people keeping in mind what they have in common so that he can keep the
connection between him and the audience going throughout the speech and he also
speaks in simple terms that can be understood by the audience. The people of
the nation are very happy to have a leader like Gaulle with them at this moment
of crisis. This is the way, Gaulle convinces the entire country to cooperate
with him and keep belief in him and work with him.
He also states that this war is not limited to the
unfortunate territory of France instead this war expands to the whole world.
This war is a worldwide war. After the negative thoughts he talks positive
giving hope to the people that come what may we will crush our enemies one day.
His confidence shown in this statement provides confidence to the listeners as
well as gives a lot of inspiration to the target audience. This is the method
used by him to persuade his target audience throughout the speech.
The togetherness he has shown in his speech by showing
the oneness between him and the people of the nation. He shows that he is one
of them and the problems that the people of the nation are facing are also his
own problems. He shows the much strong bond between the members of the nation.
Therefore, due to the language and power shown by Gaulle in his speech the
nation will unite as one and work together with Gaulle towards the future.