June 27, 2013
The Social Downfall of Nazi Germany
George Orwell writes in Politics and the English Language, "Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful, murder respectable, and to give appearance to solidity to pure wind." Language that has been manipulated to corrupt the thought of the public is what makes the social fabric of society crumble. The individual elected has abused the power of language for their own personal gain. The way that Nazis employed language as a tool of indoctrination toward a specific group of people was prominent to the downfall of the social order in Germany during World War II.
Fascist Germany exemplifies how language is manipulated. The use propaganda was implemented to bring a dictator into power. Propaganda was used to create “…blind, instant, unquestioning obedience.” (1) The Nazi’s were able to disparage other political groups with “name calling” (1) which made the listener form a judgment without knowing all the facts. The Nazi’s used propaganda to provoke fear by painting “communism in terms so lurid as to horrify even the skeptical.”(1) Hitler and the Nazis convinced the public that communism “had been forced on them by ‘degenerate’ and ‘malicious’ cabal of ‘alien enemies’. (1) To better enforce this fear, Hitler surrounded himself with “good Germans” who “promised to protect his people by waging relentless war on the “enemies of Germany.” He tried to convince the German people that he would bring Germany up out of the shadows of communism. He and the Nazis would invoke a crowd by “supercharging words with feeling and emotion in order to give them greater force in name calling” (1) Meaning, they would always demonstrate conviction when addressing the public, expressing care and concern for the people always “…with the intent to deceive.” (3) Hitler would appeal to emotions attempting to be “a man of the people” (1) or appeal to the “plain folks.”(1) In Hitler’s address to Reichstag he declared:
“There shall be no privations in Germany which myself will not immediately endure. My whole life from now on belongs still more exclusively to my people. I now do not want to be anything but a soldier of the German Reich.” (1) Hitler tries to connect with the people in this address. He expresses the idea of togetherness and in that he exists for the people, however, being a soldier of the German Reich meant supporting racism and killing Jewish people. Hitler acted on his racism with “military aggression and the use of or elimination of others.” (2) Hitler justified his murder of the German Jews in a variety of ways. When addressing the public he would use a phrase. This would prove Orwell’s statement that “instead of being a single word…a verb becomes a phrase.”(3) Statements were made like “forced removal of the Jews” (2) or “expulsion” (2) and how German had to “settle accounts with the Jews” (2) Also, according to “German racist principle” (2) of “blood and soil,” (2) The Jews of Germany were described as “aliens to the German folk.” These statements gave “air of scientific impartiality to biased judgments” (3) In addition to the German militia introducing racism toward the Jews, they also “introduced specific language changes and controlled language usage by means of numerous binding regulations.”