How can persuasive language be used in a positive and negative way to influence people ?Similar to what happened with the Nazis and Hitler.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In its own right, language is a powerful element.  History has demonstrated that when words are articulated into certain settings, they can have great impact on individuals, nations, and civilizations.  We can see this with great orators and writers.  To a large extent, we can also see this with Hitler and the rise of Nazism in the 1930s.  Hitler utilized persuasive language as a method to tap into a reservoir of anger and frustration along wit a perceived sense of unfairness that many Germans felt, but could not articulated.  Persuasive language attempts to do this, as it hopes to speak a shared or common experience that will build bonds between speaker and audience.  In the case of Nazism, this solidarity was formed at the expense of demonizing "the other."  Hitler and the Nazis were able to persuade people by appealing to Germans' national sense of identity and honor, and articulating a vision of an idyll setting when compared to the dire condition of post War Germany.  Through the use of idealistic and persuasive language, Hitler and the Nazis were able to convince Germans that they were the victims of conspiracy and manipulation in order to advance their own agendas.  Persuasive language is most effective when it is able to articulate the painful predicament of a group of people, and then offer a way to evade such an agonizing condition.  Certainly, in this way, Hitler and the Nazis were able to galvanize the people of Germany to actively endorse and support the Nazi ideology.

Persuasive language is exactly that- persuasive.  It can mobilize and motivate individuals to accept a vision from a leader or person in the position of power.  Hitler and the Nazis were an example of how this can be done for malevolent purposes or intent.  There are situations where persuasive language resonates in the mind's eye of history as it appeals to a transformative notion of reality that posits what can be as opposed to what is.  Certainly, Hitler and the Nazis and their followers would suggest that this was their end in the utilization of persuasive language.  However, history, as well as the many individuals who died as a result of such language, might have a different opinion on this.

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