Angela Merkel's coronavirus address hailed as "Speech of the Year"

Angela Merkel's coronavirus address hailed as "Speech of the Year"

A panel of experts have selected Angela Merkel’s televised address on March 18 as the “Speech of the Year” for 2020. 

Merkel’s coronavirus speech hailed as model of rhetoric

The panel of rhetoric experts from Tübingen University said that Merkel’s landmark address, during which she urged the German population to take coronavirus seriously and respect the government’s measures, was a model of rhetoric. 

In a statement, they said that, in her speech, “Merkel demonstrates in an impressive manner … how reason, helped by rhetoric, can prompt action, and how good rhetoric can foster community feeling and cohesion.” 

They said that the “historic”, “vividly-written and well-structured” speech had been a key component of Germany’s successful management of the first wave of the pandemic. “This televised address probably directly influenced the German population in a way that almost no other speech of the past years has done.” 

Speech drew international acclaim

The rhetoric experts also compared Merkel’s speech favourably with those made by other European leaders. For example, they said that Emmanuel Macron, the French president, made use of “authoritarian pronouncements and sweeping wartime imagery” in his first coronavirus address, while British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had used his speech to downplay the danger to the public. 

Merkel, on the other hand, had drawn upon her scientific background to impart objective information and make a scientifically-founded case, expressed in mild and persuasive language, the panel said. The speech - like many of Merkel’s other speeches on the topic - went on to receive widespread recognition and acclaim. 

You can watch the speech, with English subtitles, below.





Abi Carter

Managing Editor at IamExpat Media. Abi studied German and History at the University of Manchester and has since lived in Berlin, Hamburg and Utrecht, working since 2017 as a writer,...

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