The Cold War as Rhetoric: The Beginnings, 1945-1950

The Cold War as Rhetoric: The Beginnings, 1945-1950

The Cold War as Rhetoric: The Beginnings, 1945-1950

The Cold War as Rhetoric: The Beginnings, 1945-1950

Synopsis

The rhetoric that immediately followed World War II created the political environment that resulted in a new world order, and in this work Hinds and Windt examine how this national and international reality developed. They study the process that led to perceptions of threat, and subsequent policies based on these perceptions, by exploring the pre-existing set of rhetorical beliefs as well as the speeches and addresses that built upon them. Among the topics covered are Churchill's Iron Curtain speech, the Truman Doctrine, and Marshall's speech announcing the Marshall Plan.

Excerpt

Those of us from the discipline of communication studies have long believed that communication is prior to all other fields of inquiry. In several other forums I have argued that the essence of politics is "talk" or human interaction. Such interaction may be formal or informal, verbal or nonverbal, public or private but always persuasive, forcing us consciously or subconsciously to interpret, to evaluate, and to act. Communication is the vehicle for human action.

From this perspective, it is not surprising that Aristotle recognized the natural kinship of politics and communication in his writings of Politics and Rhetoric. In the former, he establishes that humans are "political beings [who] alone of the animals [are] furnished with the faculty of language." And in the latter, he begins his systematic analysis of discourse by proclaiming that "rhetorical study, in its strict sense, is concerned with the modes of persuasion." Thus, it was recognized over two thousand years ago that politics and communication go hand in hand because they are essential parts of human nature.

Back in 1981, Dan Nimmo and Keith Sanders proclaimed that political communication was an emerging field. Although its origin, as noted, dates back centuries, a "self-consciously cross-disciplinary" focus began in the late 1950s. Thousands of books and articles later, colleges and universities offer a variety of graduate and undergraduate coursework in the area in such diverse departments as communication, mass communication, journalism, political science, and sociology. In Nimmo and Sanders's early assessment, the "key areas of inquiry" included rhetor-

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