Like so many of his contemporaries who experienced the historical calamity of the Third Reich, Heinrich Böll had ample opportunity to witness the physical and psychological coercion deployed by the National Socialists in establishing and maintaining their criminal regime. Moreover, as a writer, he possessed an acute understanding of the key ideological role which language played in manufacturing consent for Hitler's racist tyranny, not least via the insidious and all-embracing propaganda of the state-controlled media. It was the historical example of German fascism, therefore, which convinced Böll that ideology was pervasively present in language and that the written and spoken word could be used as an instrument of control and indoctrination, with quite literally "murderous" consequences.



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