Words as Weapons: A Discourse Analysis on the Weaponization and Mobilization of Language
Within the past hundred years, rhetoric has been often used to push agendas that can become divisive and dangerous. Such was the case with Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany, Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM) in the Rwandan genocide, and former U.S. President Donald J. Trump. While all agents utilized numerous rhetorical strategies, a close analysis of speeches, transcripts, and broadcasts reveal language styles and rhetoric had implicit meanings that influenced audiences/supporters and resulted in direct ramifications. Built on a Burkeian framework of rhetoric, this analysis argues that the previously mentioned agents weaponized language as well as mobilized their audiences into action. The analysis focuses on both complex and simple styles of language not focused on in previous literature.