New Militarism, Massacre-Speak and the Language of Silence

March 2, 2007 • Ethics and Quality • by

Ethical Space, Nr. 1/2. Vol 2, 2005, pp. 39-45


This paper explores the links between George Orwell’s concept of newspeak as outlined in his novel Nineteen Eighty Four and Paul Chilton’s notion of nukespeak. This, Chilton argued, was a specialised vocabulary for talking about nuclear weapons which was neither neutral nor purely descriptive but ideologically loaded in favour of the nuclear culture. The paper goes on to trace the evolution through nukespeak to massacrespeak. It argues that with the demise of the Cold War a New Militarism has emerged in the US and UK, with the dominant vocabulary, best described as massacrespeak, now serving ideologically to silence critical perspectives and the horrors of “humanitarian” conflicts

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