corruption of words
Victor Klemperer, a professor of Romance language who was fired from his teaching position in Dresden in 1935 because he was Jewish, and spent the war years with his "Aryan-born" wife writing daily in his diary, recently published as the two-volume I Will Bear Witness. He methodically recorded what he called "LTI"Lingua Tertii Imperii (Language of the Third Reich)in his entries and, after miraculously surviving the war, managed to publish a volume with that title. Klemperer raises the question of what was Hitlers most powerful propaganda tool. He argues that it was not Hitlers and Goebbels incendiary speeches. Instead he makes a passionate argument that language was the most lethal weapon in the Nazi arsenal:
American authors of a 1944 dictionary for decoding Nazi language concurred. They saw Nazi language as characteristic of totalitarian regimes (as opposed to democratic ones). It calls such language "an instrument of social control"
Certain words appear especially
frequently in Nazi discourse and text: ewig (eternal), historisch (historical),
einmalig (unique). Their repetition made people feel part of an unparalleled
enterprise of particular importance. Who wouldnt want to help
build an eternal, historically unique society? The words seduce the
listener into participation, but the listener inevitably makes an active
decisionconscious on some level--to heed the message of the words.