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   Course Title    Introduction to the 20th Century Totalitarianism
Lecturer    Vsevolod Bashkuev
Institution    Komsomolsk on Aamur State Pedagogical University
Country    Russia


This Syllabus is intended for the students of History. The academic background demanded for studying the course in question includes basic knowledge in the historiography of Europe and the national history of Germany and Russia in the 20-th century. Students should be familiar with the main problems of ideology as science, as well as the classification of ideological doctrines.

The syllabus describes a special course in comparative historiography of two countries - Germany and Russia, namely comparative description and analysis of two totalitarian ideologies - national-socialism (Germany) and communism (Russia). It is a kind of appendix to the main syllabus " Modern World History of the 20-th Century."

The course to be proposed deals with terms representing the concepts on which the ideologies in question were constructed. These terms dont cover the entire totalitarian world-picture reflected by national-socialism and communism, but they are used by both ideological systems. The linguistic signs used are similar but their contents are different. These circumstances predetermine the similiarities and peculiarities of both totalitarian ideological terminological systems.

This course fits also into the curriculum of the Foreign Languages Department and may be used as a compliment to the course "comparative sociolinguistics" as a profound study of certain sub-languages (terminological systems).

The course is to be delivered in the 9-th term of the curriculum.

Academic Aims:

To acquire knowledge about terminological systems representing two totalitaraian ideological doctrines shaped by leading ideologists of the NSDAP and CPSU.

To research the transformation of content of the nuclear ideological terms used by both totalitarian ideologies.

To introduce the students to the linguistic mechanisms for manipulating mass consciousness and measures of linguistic control as a kind of ideological political protection.

Learning Outcomes:

To acquire skills of analysing original texts (publications by totalitarian leaders) containing the main terms which are used and mentioned in both ideologies. To cultivate tolerance and respect for the opponents opinion.

Course Detail:

Topic 1: The correlation of the concepts of totalitarianism - ideology - politics. The problems of their nomination (one lecture) - (2 hours)

Totalitarianism is defined by academic dictionaries as a form of political domination which appears in the 20-th century. Totalitarianism is an evolution of authoritarian power and its transformation. The authoritarian power is functioning within the spheres of internal and foreign policies and doesnt tresspass these boundaries. The totalitarian power expands its claims on political, social and private life, i.e. self-awareness of a person and his or her consciousness.

The concept "totalitarianism" is embodied in the semantic field of policy language. The politology distinguishes between three aspects: 1)polity (form), 2)politics (process), 3)policy (contents). Totalitarianism correlates with a linguistic sign "polity".

Totalitarianism represents no unified ideological form. It makes use of all types of ideologies which are at its disposal - complementary, concealing, mobilizing, justifying -to reach its strategical aim, i.e., total power.


A. Mandatory

  1. Stra ner E. Ideologie - Sprache - Politik. T bingen, Max Niemeyer, 1987
  2. Stadler P. Karl Marx. Ideologie und Politik. G ttingen 1966

Reference books

  1. Brockhaus Enzyklop die, Mannheim, F.A.Brockhaus Bd.10 1989 S.374-376; Bd.17, 1992; Bd.22 1993 S.268-269.
  2. Mayers Enzyklop disches Lexikon, Mannheim / Wien / Z rich, Bibliographisches Institut, Bd.23 1973 S.605 - 607.

B. Recommented books

  1. Friedrich K. Totalit re Diktatur. Stuttgart, Kohlhammer V-g, 1957, -315S.
  2. Geier R. Linguistische Untersuchungen zur Bedeutung und zur Verwendungsweise des Wortes "Ideologie" (einschl. der Komposita und Derivate) in der DDR und in der BRD. Diss. (masch.) Leipzig , 1975 -190 S.

Topic 2: Analysis of the theoretical works regarding the totalitarian ideologies - national-socialism and communism - (2 hours)

In the 2nd part of the 20-th century the subject of the theoretical discussions among the linguists and literary men was totalitarian language and its influence on the social life and national language as a whole. The world-famous novel "1984" by G. Orwell was a kind of impetus for American and European linguistics. NS-language (1919-1945) and GDR-language (1949-1990) was investigated first of all by German linguists and American authors. Soviet language (1903-1991) was a research subject until 1991 for some European and American linguists and historians. Some such investigators include the French linguists P. Seriot, Fr. Thom, L. Papadima, and Russian investigators leaving the USSR before 1991 (I. Zemtsov, M. Heller). After 1991 all hindrances were also eliminated for russian linguists researching problems related to language, policy and ideology in the former Soviet Union.

Linguistic questions are closely connected with historical and philosophical aspects of totalitarianism as a scientific problem. This phenomenon exists from the beginning of the 20-th century. Not all the problems and polemical questions are solved in similar ways by scientists. Different opinions among historians and philosophers cause various explanations of the concept by linguists.

A. Recommended books

1.Young J.W. Totalitarian language. Orwells Newspeak and its Nazi and Communist antecedents. London, Charloottenville, 1991

2. Sprache der Diktaturen und Diktatoren. Heidelberg, C.Winter Verlag 1995


1. Lecture : The Concepts Freedom and Labour (2 hours)


National-socialism: Freedom is explicated in the context of the following concepts: 1.personality, 2.prestige, 3.soul, 4.race, 5.type ( A. Rosenberg. Myth of the 20-th century). The freedom of personality (figure intended for a great mission) consists in the requirement of this selected person to form the community. This community is called type. Type is determined by race dominant and its surroundings where real freedom actualizes. A. Hitler is more straight forward. He denies inner freedom absolutely. "There only can be one freedom, the freedom of the nation. This freedom can be garanteed if everybody is ready for self-sacrifice".

Communism : For communism the class attitude is typical. Such attitude eliminates inner freedom as a state of the soul. The "realm of freedom" by K. Marx is penetrated by the atmosphere of the penitentiary. Freedom as the state of a person is expressed in the following definition: "Freedom is a necessity which one becomes aware of". It is given to a person as an absolute truth from the outside and must be accepted with no objections. Freedom is dangerous for both national-socialism and communism.


National-socialism: Labour is a goal-directed exhertion of spiritual or physical efforts for a deed (creation) which serves the people. Such moments as coersion into work (coercive character of labour) was excluded from the concept "labour". The orientation to success as a purpose of labour was also withdrawn. This concept was intepreted first of all as a process, condition, as purpose for itself. Success and productivity were left out of the discussion.

Communism: The features of labour are similar in the communist ideology. The communist power does its best to make this concept noble and sacred. "Labour, for the benefit of the community, is a sacred duty of every person. Labour, both physical and mental, for the common good is respected and honored." (CPSU Program p.8). "Free labour" is considered to be a linguistic invention of the communist system. It does not exist in reality, but looks plausible. This illusion is reached by expelling from Russian speech such terms as capital, surplus value, value, exploitation.


A. Mandatory

  1. Rosenberg A. Mythus des 20. Jahrhunderts. M nchen, Hoheneichen Verlag, 1943 S.528-531
  2. Hitler A. Reden. Schriften. Anordnungen. Februar 1925 bis Januar 1933 Band II, / 1. Teil: Juli 1926 - Juli 1927. M nchen, London, New York, Paris, K.G. Sauer, 1992
  3. Goebbels J. Von der Unendlichkeit der Freiheit // Der steile Aufstieg. Reden und Aufs tze aus den Jahren 1942/43. M nchen, Franz Eher Nachf., 1944 S.430-437.

Reference books

  1. Brockhaus Enzyklop die , F.A. Brockhaus, Mannheim, 1988, Bd.7
  2. Mayers Lexikon Leipzig, 8. Jg., Bd.1, Bd.4 1936

2. Lecture: The Concepts Leader (F hrer), People (Folk), Comrade ( 2 hours)

Leader (F hrer)

Leader (F hrer) is one of the important concepts of both totalitarian ideologies. The ideological approach of national-socialism to the concept "leader" is national and race. As to communism it is a class approach. But the semantic content of the concept remains the same.

Leader (national-socialism)

Leader (communism)

1.self-selected leader

1.self-selected leader

2.leader of the people

2.leader of the working people

3.leader & teacher

3.leader & teacher

4.absolute authority

4.absolute authority

5.leading - society ("Leader

demands - we follow")

5.leading - people (control

and governing over them)



To be led is a characteristic feature of German people according to national-socialist ideology. It is a type of living. The term "leader" identifies with the personality of A. Hitler and approaches in German the proper name. The term "leader" in Russian identifies not only with the personality of the General Secretary (J. Stalin and so on) but with communist party itself and the proletariat as a leading class of society.


National-socialism strives to unite german society into a homogeneous community (Volksgemeinschaft). One of the main problems in creating a "new community" consists of the veiling of social differences. National-socialist propaganda solves this problem by appealing to national unity, national revival and national strength. The people or folk are regarded as a social, ethnic and also a "biological" organism.

Communism explains the concept "people" from the class approach: "People, i.e., the social community, including those strata and classes of society within various periods of history that are capable according to their objective position to take part in the solution of the goals of progressive development of society; the creator of history, leading force of the main social transformation" (W.Lenin). Marxism-Leninism declares that the bourgeoisie and the adherents do not belong to people.


National-socialism: The German word Genosse - comrade - takes the leading positionsin in the totalitarian language of national-socialism. There are three compounds with the component "genosse": race comrade (Rassengenosse), folk comrade (Volksgenosse) and party comrade (Parteigenosse). The first compound reflects the gender concept which covers two folloing ones. Race comrade correlates with the representation of all races & nations. Folk comrade is only a person of german blood. Jew is not a folk comrade and is not allowed to be one. This is the most characteristic feature. The term party comrade (Parteigenosse) functions as an accost to a person. In this case there is a joining point with the Russian word tovarishtch.

Communism: the Russian word tovarishtch (comrade) received two new meanings during the Soviet era. Comrade is first of all a human being of a new Soviet society, a Soviet human being. Men were called comrade as well as women, irrespective of gender. The Russian equivalent lost the female gender in the soviet totalitarian language. The word begins to function as a substitute of an accost to a person. It is obliged to demonstrate the unity and cohesion of members of a "new" society. On the other hand, it conceals the social inequality.


A. Mandatory

  1. Hitler A. Mein Kampf in 2 B nden. M nchen, Franz Eher Nachf., 1939 -782S.
  2. 3.Bartholmes H. Das Wort "Genosse" samt seiner Zusammensetzungen im Sprachgebrauch der deutdchen Arbeiterbewegung. - Muttersprache 78 Jg. 1968 S.193 - 222.
  3. Seidel E., Seidel-Sloty I. Sprachwandel im dritten Reich (eine kritische Untersuchung faschistischer Einfl sse) Halle (Saale) V-g Sprache und Literatur 1961 -174S.
  4. Schmitz-Berning C. Das Vokabular des Nationalsozialismus. Berlin, New York de Gruyter, 1998 -710S.

Reference books

1. Brockhaus Enzyklop die F.A. Brockhaus, Mannheim, 1988 Bd.7

2. Mayers Lexikon Leipzig 8. Jg. 1936 Bd.4

B. Recommended reading

  1. Mommsen W. Deutsche Parteiprogramme. Deutsches Handbuch der Politik. Bd.1, M nchen, Isaar Verlag, 1960, - 807S.

3. Lecture: The Concepts Revolution, Movement ( 2 hours)


National-socialism: There are 7 extra-lingual events correlating with the term revolution.

  1. a social movement for the transformation of a present political situation in the state
  2. the historical event of 30.01.1933 - "gaining the state power
  3. a short period in the history of NSDAP-Germany from 5.03.1933 (election day to the Reichstag) till 6.07.1933 (Hitler declares the national revolution to be finished)
  4. putting into practice a global social idea (national-socialism) and a syncronization (Gleichschaltung) of all members of society to a state ideology
  5. a philosophical abstraction embodying the so called spiritual birth act which occurs at the moment when the social tension reaches its climax
  6. war as a social revolution among many collisions of the world
  7. world revolution: The essence of todays world revolution consists in the awakening of race types (Rassentypen) all around the world

Communism: The term revolution is interpreted as a long historical process which is full of illness, battles, tortures. Revolution is first and foremost, a class battle which can not avoid the civil and other kinds of war. The main opposition between a national-socialist revolution and a communist one is the following: the national-socialist revolution is a spiritual rebirth, the communist revolution is a revolt against society.


The words Bewegung and dvizhenije (movement) may be used in both languages as political terms. Movement is defined in the languages of NSDAP and CPSU namely: the existence form of an idea in action. Movement in German has a national orientation. Movement in Russian has a national orientation, as well as a mundane meaning. The national character of movement determines its boundaries in space and time in both languages.

The content of the national-socialist movement is characterized by the absence of social stratification. The movement is syncretic, i.e. the whole nation, folk is involved in the movement.

For the communist national movement the stratification in classes, strata is typical. There are some small and short time movements which are united in one general movement. The 2nd international orientation of the communist movement determines the unrestrictiveness of the movement in space and time.; the content of the international movement is formed by so-called "whole progressive mankind".


A. Mandatory

  1. Bullock A. Eine Studie ber Tyrannei. D sseldorf, Dr ste Verlag, 1961 -838 S.
  2. Cincera E. Deutsch nach Marx oder Sprache der Politik. Lugano, Athenaeum Verlag, 1983
  3. Goebbels J. Der geistige Arbeiter im Schicksalskampf des Reiches.Rede von 9.7.1943. M nchen, Franz Eher Nachf. GmbH, 1943 -29 S.
  4. Rauschning H. Gespr che mit Hitler. Wien, Europaverlag, 1973 -280 S.
  5. Rosenberg A. Mythus des 20. Jahrhunderts. M nchen, Hoheneichen Verlag, 1943 -712S.
  6. Der F hrer spricht zur deutschen Jugend (5 Reden). Hrsg. von D rkop H. Wittenberg (Bez. Halle), R. Herroses V-g 1935, -20 S.

4. Lecture: The Concepts Homeland, Socialism. (2 hours)


This concept includes the following constituents: 1) the geographical factor ( birth place of a person), 2) the historical factor (place of birth and living of ancestors), 3) the ethnic factor (belonging to a definite ethnic group), 4) the linguistic factor (having the complete command of a native language), 5) the cultural factor (acknowledgment with the traditions of the countrymen), 6) the religious factor (belonging to a definite religious confession).

National-socialism: In German two lingustic signs are functioning - Vaterland and Heimat. The first word was forbidden by the government because it was "infected" by Jewish spirit according to the national-socialist ideologists.

Communism: In Russian three linguistic signs are at ones disposal: Rodina, Ottchizna, Otetchestvo. They function as synonyms but all these linguistic signs have been distorted by totalitarian power. They were used by communist ideologists for the purposes of compromising opponents.


National-socialism: in German the term Socialism exists as a compound National-socialism. The leading meanings of the term are: a)social community, b)national unity, c)common historical and national destiny.

Communism: in Russian the term socialism is interpreted as a first stage of the communist social formation. As a moral category socialism associates with the totalitarian and post-totalitarian consciousness with fairness and equality. Nowdays the word socialism, although widely used by various political forces, has lost its content and is not valid as a term for scientific discussions.


A. Mandatory

  1. Berning C. Vom Abstammungsnachweis bis zum Zuchtwart. Wort-schatz des Nationalsozialismus. Berlin, de Gruyter 1964 -225 S.
  2. Rosenberg A. Blut und Ehre. Ein Kampf f r deutsche Wiedergeburt. Reden und Aufs tze von 1919 - 1933 hg. von Thilo von Throtha . Fr. Eher Nachf. M nchen, 1934 -381 S.
  3. Nationalsozialistische Weltanschauung. Bielefeld, Leipzig, V-g Belhagen & Klasing 1933 -182S.
  4. Hitler A. Reden. Schriften. Anordnungen. Februar 1925 bis Januar 1933 Band II, / 1. Teil: Juli 1926 - Juli 1927. M nchen, London, New York, Paris, K.G. Sauer, 1992

B. Recommended reading

  1. Bartholmes H. Zum Stiwandel in der kommunistischen terminologie, aufgezeigt an den Adjektiv-Attributen. - Mitteldeutsche Vortr ge H.1 1965
  2. Journal "Europ ische Ideen ? 24/25 1976
  3. M ller S. Sprachw rterb cher im Nationalsozialismus. Stuttgart, 1994
  4. Swoboda H. Wo liegen die grenzen des europ ischen Kontinents? - Rheinischer Merkur von 03.4.1992 in : Deutsche Trib ne ? 77 von 10.4.1992 S.5-6.



1. Lecture : The Appreciations of the Concept of God by ideological opponents (2 hours)

The concept of God is of tremendous value in the spiritual and scientific life of society. This concept is shaped by theologists, philosophers, poets and scientists. But at the level of everyday perception the concept God becomes a primitive one and this occurance is unavoidable.

National-socialism: The concept of God is also widely used in one way communication (leader - people) but as a word with high positive connotation with the goal to achieve certain mass reaction. The positive connotation of the term is carefully protected and supported.

Communism: The communist regime unleashed ideological persecutions against the concept of God from the very beginning. This campaign was started by Lenin himself and continiued by the communist party in the years that followed. The term was as an unscientific illusion which should be struggled against as a dangerous infection. Now the concept of God is being rehabilitated in the post-communist consciousness; many communicants hold some distance with this word and prefer the less definite substitutes.


A. Mandatory

  1. Fischer, H gli, Ischi, Sch rer, Nationalsozialismus. 12 dunkle Jahre deutscher Geschichte. Bonn, Inter Nationes, Nachdruck 1987
  2. Heer Fr. Der Glaube des Adolf Hitler. Anatomie einer politischen Religiosit t. M nchen & E lingen, Bechtle Verlag, 1968
  3. Rauschning H. Gespr che mit Hitler. Wien, Europaverlag, 1973 -280 S.

2. Lecture: The Concepts Nationalism and Internationalism ( 2 hours)


National-socialism: Nationalism is the main social, moral and psychological value for the national-socialist ideology. It is its corner-stone. A. Hitler represents nationalism as an introverted, sentripetal phenomenon, deprived of any aggressive spirit. Nationalism is a moral category implying the self-sacrifice and readieness to help.

Communism: The international communism (the russian also) regards nationalism as its rival and enemy and brings disgrace upon the ideological counterpart. All definitions of nationalism in the soviet dictionaries have a specific feature. They contain two meanings of the term which are contradictory to each other (paradoxal autonamy- Ullmann). The communists attitude to nationalism is characterizing by such reasons as profit, acceptability, intellectual and moral unscrupulousness.


National-socialism: In German the linguistic sign internationalism has an extremely negative character and means "anti-german", homelandless, subversive, concerning the Jew coup. National-socialist ideology fights against internationalism as a worldwide evil.

Communism: Soviet dictionaries define this term as an international unity and solidarity of the proletariat in the struggle for overthrowing the capitalism and building communism. Lenin counterposes internationalism against bourgeois nationalism (Lenin doesnt accept any other kind of nationalism). In Russian the term gains a sacred character and is used in ceremonial cases.


A. Mandatory

  1. Rosenberg A. Mythus des 20. Jahrhunderts. M nchen, Hoheneisen Verlag, 1943
  2. Hitler A. Reden. Schriften. Anordnungen. Februar 1925 bis Januar 1933 Band II, / 1. Teil: Juli 1926 -Juli 1927, Dok.160 - M nchen, London, New York, Paris, K.G. Sauer, 1992
  3. Hitler A. Mein Kampf M nchen, Fr. Eher Nachf. 1939
  4. Goebbels J. Kommunismus ohne Maske. M nchen, Fr. Eher Nachf. 1943

3. Lecture: The Concepts Marxism and Bolshevism ( 2 hours)


National-socialism: Marxism is an ideological enemy of national-socialism. It is characterized as a race struggle against Europe. "Marxism is neither a real German nor West European freedom movement" (A. Rosenberg). Marxism is considered to be a Jewish theory, it represents the interests of international financial circles (Jews).

Communism: Soviet dictionaries define marxism on the basis of Lenins quotations. "Marxism is the system of Marxs viewpoints and his theory". "Marxism is a theory of liberation movement of the proletariat". "The theory of Marx is omnipotent because it is true". CPSU proclaims marxism as the only right theory and opposes it against other non-marxist doctrines calling them reactionary, unscientific and false.


National-socialism: Bolshevism is widely used by national-socialist leaders as a marking of an inimical communist ideology. The linguistic sign mainly accentuates the subversive activities of Jewish ethnos worldwide. Bolshevism is regarded as an incarnation of an alien world view reception (materialism). National-socialist leaders speak also about bolshevisation of Germany and the world as a great menace for national security.

Communism: According to Lenin "bolshevism exists as a political thought and political party since 1903". Linguistic dictionaries define the term as the revolutionary theory of the imperialist epoch and the tactic of class struggle. Bolsheviks are regarded as the party members and its sympatizers.


A. Mandatory

  1. Hitler A. Reden. Schriften. Anordnungen. Februar 1925 bis Januar 1933 Band II, / 1. Teil: Juli 1926 - Juli 1927. M nchen, London, New York, Paris, K.G. Sauer, 1992
  2. Hitler A. Mein Kampf in 2 B nden. M nchen, Fr. Eher Nachf. 1939; S.185, 351.
  3. Rosenberg A. Mythus des 20. Jahrhunderts. M nchen, Hoheneisen Verlag, 1943; S.85, 540, 541, 556, 644-645.
  4. Rosenberg A. Blut und Ehre. Ein Kampf f r deutsche Wiedergeburt. Reden und Aufs tze von 1919 - 1933 hg. von Thilo von Throtha.(S.109-110) M nchen, Fr. Eher Nachf. 1934 -381 S.

B. Recommended reading

  1. Nationalismus. Dokumente 1933-1945 hg. von Hofer W. Frankfurt am Main. Fischer B chrei, 1957, -398S.

4. Lecture: The concepts Idealism and Materialism ( 2 hours)


National-socialism: Materialism is considered to be a moral concept rather then a philosophical one. Leading ideologists condemn materialism as a moral and spiritual sin which is inherent in Jewish ethnos. Materialism is represented as an ideological infection destroying the healthy national organism and Germanic soul.

Communism: The linguistic sign "materialism" functions in the Soviet totalitarian language as a philosophical term and is one of the key-words in the communist ideology. The main ideologists Lenin and Stalin paid great attention to this concept as the only adequate reflection of the objective world. The word is not used in the soviet Russian language as a moral category, though signed in linguistic dictionaries.


National-socialism: Idealism is not a philosophical term, but closely connected with world view problems. This word designates the essence of German (also Germanic) character but not the perception of the world. Idealism means the readiness to sacrifice oneself to the benefit of the entire community.

Communism: All academic sources define the term "idealism" as a philosophical trend which is unscientific and inimical to materialism. Idealism originates in the Soviet totalitarian language from the word "idea". The linguistic connection with the word "ideal" is torn up. The concept is discredited and condemned by official power.

Pedagogical approaches

by delivering lectures:

  1. using the original materials (linguistic dictionaries, academic encyclopedias, historical documents, original sources (works by Hitler, Goebbels, Rosenberg, Lenin, Stalin, Marx, Engels, Trotzky), using quotations on visual aids.
  2. introducing comparative semantic diagrams

by holding discussions:

  1. translation of fragments of original sources, 2) comparative (conceptional) analysis of terms according to the following scheme: general categorial schemes - identificational schemes - differential (specifying) schemes, 3) carrying out linguistic appraisal of the original discources by experts.

by using computers:

  1. gathering linguistic/conceptinal information about definite terms. (For a example: a student finds on Internet a certain original source ( Rosenberg A. "Myth of the 20-th century"), chooses a definite ideological term in a register of the book, opens the book on the required page, reads the contents of the page where the term is mentioned, makes copy of the page). Every student receives an assignment to acquire some information about one political term which is to be found in a definite original source.
  2. making virtual field trips around historical museums and archives.

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