Political Languages in the Age of Extremes

Paperback | November 4, 2012

EditorWillibald Steinmetz

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The short twentieth century was an age of total wars and aggressive ideological struggles. It was also an age of growing linguistic awareness in the political sphere. Communist, fascist, and Liberal regimes fought each other with violence as well as words, and verbal warfare becameincreasingly sophisticated. The regimes were supported by propaganda experts and took advantage of new mass media which facilitated the interplay of words, images, and sounds. Leaders and their propagandists used language to persuade followers, terrorize opponents, and annihilate enemies. Knowing how to adapt one's own use of language to changing political situations was of vital importance for everyone. In the Age of Extremes words could wield political power, but atanother moment even a whisper could endanger one's life. This volume explores the ways in which language served to create, uphold, subvert, or deflect political power in the Age of Extremes. The book is unusual in encouraging its readers to compare totalitarian and democratic regimes under this aspect. Moving beyond propaganda studies the book opens up avariety of perspectives. While some authors take a look from above and show how those in power succeeded, or failed, in policing the boundaries of what could be said, others investigate the strategies of those who attacked the rules of the powerful by promoting alternative concepts andcounter-discourses. Finally, there are also essays on the experiences of those who simply tried to stay alive by presenting themselves in a flexible manner or preserving their own private languages in diaries, poems, or secret conversations.

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The short twentieth century was an age of total wars and aggressive ideological struggles. It was also an age of growing linguistic awareness in the political sphere. Communist, fascist, and Liberal regimes fought each other with violence as well as words, and verbal warfare becameincreasingly sophisticated. The regimes were supported ...

Willibald Steinmetz is Professor of Modern and Contemporary Political History at the University of Bielefeld.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:416 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.07 inPublished:November 4, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199663335

ISBN - 13:9780199663330

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Table of Contents

Part I. Introduction1. Willibald Steinmetz: New Perspectives on the Study of Language and Power in the Short Twentieth Century2. Angelika Linke: Politics as Linguistic Performance: Function and 'Magic' of Communicative PracticesPart II. The Rise of the Dictators and the Semantics of Leadership3. Emilio Gentile: Fascistese: The Religious Dimensions of Political Language in Fascist Italy4. Judith Devlin: Visualizing Political Language in the Stalin Cult: The Georgian Art Exhibition at the Tretyakov GalleryPart III. Mind your Words! Policing Linguistic Boundaries (1920s-40s)5. Igal Halfin: Revolutionary Selves: The Russian Intelligentsia from Old to New6. Isabel Richter: Faced with Death: Gestapo Interrogations and Clemency Pleas in High Treason Trials by the National Socialist Volksgerichtshof7. Sian Nicholas: Policing Tonal Boundaries: Constructing the Nazi/German Enemy on the Wartime BBC8. Olaf Stieglitz: Keep Quiet . . . But Tell!! Political Language and the 'Alert Citizen' in Second World War America9. Heidrun Kamper: Telling the Truth: Counter-Discourses in Diaries under Totalitarian Regimes (Nazi Germany and Early GDR)Part IV. The Growth of Linguistic Awareness in the Cold War Era10. Thomas Mergel: The Unknown and the Familiar Enemy: The Semantics of Anti-Communism in the USA and Germany, 1945-7511. Ralph Jessen: Semantic Strategies of Inclusion and Exclusion in the German Democratic Republic (1949-89)12. Martin H. Geyer: War over Words: The Search for a Public Language in West Germany13. Gareth Stedman Jones: The Return of Language: Radicalism and the British Historians 1960-9014. Ruth Wodak: Suppression of the Nazi Past, Coded Languages, and Discourse of Silence: Applying the Discourse-Historical Approach to Post-War Anti-Semitism in Austria