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12. Nationalsozialistische/faschistische und kommunistische Agitationsrhetorik

Detlef Grieswelle

Abstract

In this chapter agitation is conceived as a specific type of rhetoric and is assigned to totalitarian ideologies, movements and state systems. In spite of the differences in the terminology used in political propaganda in fascism, National Socialism and communism there are so many features regarding their persuasive mass rhetoric that they have in common, that it seems justified to speak of political agitation in all cases, however different their ideas and systems may be. Ideological obsession, dogmatism and apodicticity, the claim to sole representation, fanatical intolerance towards opponents, thinking in categories of friend or foe, missionary zeal, cruel persecution of opponents, the belief in finding salvation in the doctrine, the radical struggle against the existing order, the idea of a dual world of good and evil, the aim of a complete renewal, the hope of salvation by a leader. All these can be found in the rhetoric of agitation. After an introductory discussion of basic concepts of analysis such as extremism and totalitarianism, the different definitions of the terms “agitation” and “propaganda” are dealt with, then the essential contents and patterns of argument of political agitation, as well as the linguistic means, are described. Finally, leaving aside the many features they have in common, the existing differences between the fascist, National Socialist and communist rhetoric of agitation will be indicated.

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