In this ground-breaking work, Christopher Hutton demonstrates that an important component of European fascist thought was derived from linguistics, not least the notion of an Aryan people with an original language and homeland. In Nazi Germany, linguistic fascism took the form of a cult of the mother-tongue, expressed in a horror of linguistic assimilation and a xenophobic assertion of German language rights. Jews were considered to lack a healthy relationship to the German language and therefore to threaten the bond between the Germans and their language. Linguistics and the Third Reich presents an insightful account of the academic politics of the Nazi era and analyzes the work of selected linguists, including Jost Trier and Leo Weisgerber. Hutton situates Nazi linguistics within the policies of Hitlers state and within the history of modern linguistics. Drawing upon a wide range of unpublished and published sources, he attacks long-standing myths about the role of linguistics within the Nazi state and about the relationship of linguistics to race theory.
This is the first single-volume guide to the linguistics of the Third Reich and fills a large gap in the literatur on National Socialist ideology. Huttons research makes a remarkable contribution to the understanding of links between linguistics and the development of European racial theory and to the field of the history of linguistics.