Sieg Heil, The Nonverbal Effect of Hitler's Salute.

Sieg Heil
As I prepare for the Discovery Channel Documentary Series on Hitler I am watching Videos
There is a video I have watched of hundreds of soldiers holding their hand in the Sieg Heil salute.
Sief Heil, which means, "Hail Victory!" The salute was created by holding the right arm up to at least eye level and straightening out the arm and hand. It was used as originally as a greeting then chanted on public occasions. In the video I am watching the soldiers keep the hand up in the salute. This salute is particularly interesting as it keeps the arm above the waist, we typically raise our hands above the waist when we feel elated and or victorious.  So keeping the hand raised like that can raise the energy level of the group. This relates to what I call UP body language which I describe below.

 Keep your body language “up” - Up body language includes, keeping your shoulders back, your head up (not bent over your electronic device) your gestures up. The location of your hands also affects other nonverbal behavior. Put your hands at your sides and your energy goes down your voice lowers and can become more monotone, and you tend to move less and show fewer facial expressions. Bring your hands to the level of your waist, and you become calm and centered. Bring your hands up high to the level of your upper chest or above, and your voice goes up; you become animated.

Hitler gave the Sieg Heil salute in two ways. When reviewing his troops or crowds he generally used the traditional stiff armed salute. When greeting individuals he used a modified version of the salute, bending his right arm while holding an open hand towards those greeted at shoulder height. 


Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at Also check out Patti's YouTube channel at