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Encyclopedia > Totalitarianism

Totalitarianism is a term employed by some political scientists, especially those in the field of comparative politics, to describe modern regimes in which the state regulates nearly every aspect of public and private behavior. The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Comparative politics is a subfield of political science, characterized by an empirical approach based on the comparative method. ... For other uses, see State (disambiguation). ...


The most influential scholars of totalitarianism, such as Karl Popper, Hannah Arendt, Carl Friedrich and Juan Linz have each described totalitarianism in a slightly different way. Common to all definitions is the attempt to mobilize entire populations in support of the official state ideology, and the intolerance of activities which are not directed towards the goals of the state, entailing repression or state control of business, labour unions, churches or political parties. Totalitarian regimes or movements maintain themselves in political power by means of secret police, propaganda disseminated through the state-controlled mass media, personality cult, regulation and restriction of free discussion and criticism, single-party state, the use of mass surveillance, and widespread use of terror tactics. Sir Karl Raimund Popper CH FRS FBA (July 28, 1902 â€“ September 17, 1994) was an Austrian and British[1] philosopher and a professor at the London School of Economics. ... Hannah Arendt (October 14, 1906 – December 4, 1975) was a German Jewish political theorist. ... Carl Joachim Friedrich (* June 5, 1901 in Leipzig; † 1984)) was a German-American professor of political science. ... Juan J. Linz is the Sterling Professor of Political Science at Yale University, best known for his theories on Totalitarian and Authoritarian systems of government. ... Political Ideologies Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      An ideology is an organized collection of ideas. ... In economics, a business is a legally-recognized organizational entity existing within an economically free country designed to sell goods and/or services to consumers, usually in an effort to generate profit. ... A union (labor union in American English; trade union, sometimes trades union, in British English; either labour union or trade union in Canadian English) is a legal entity consisting of employees or workers having a common interest, such as all the assembly workers for one employer, or all the workers... For the architectural structure, see Church (building). ... Political Parties redirects here. ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... This article is about secret police as organizations. ... For other uses, see Propaganda (disambiguation). ... Popular press redirects here; note that the University of Wisconsin Press publishes under the imprint The Popular Press. Mass media is a term used to denote a section of the media specifically envisioned and designed to reach a very large audience such as the population of a nation state. ... Adolf Hitler built a strong cult of personality, based on the Führerprinzip. ... This article is about the general concept. ... States in which the constitution mandates power to a sole party are colored brown. ... A closed-circuit television camera. ... Terrorist redirects here. ...


Most critics of the concept say that the term lacks explanatory power. They argue that governments that may be classified as totalitarian often lack characteristics said to be associated with the term. They may not be as monolithic as they appear from the outside, if they incorporate several groups, such as the army, political leaders, and industrialists, which compete for power and influence. In this sense, these regimes may exhibit pluralism through the involvement of several groups in the political process.[1] Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Pluralism (political philosophy) This article is about pluralism in politics. ...

Lenin and Stalin monument
Lenin and Stalin monument

Contents

Image File history File links Size of this preview: 498 × 600 pixelsFull resolution‎ (519 × 625 pixels, file size: 136 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File historyClick on a date/time to view the file as it appeared at that time. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 498 × 600 pixelsFull resolution‎ (519 × 625 pixels, file size: 136 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File historyClick on a date/time to view the file as it appeared at that time. ...

Use of the term

The term totalitarianismo, employed in the writings of the philosopher Giovanni Gentile, was popularized in the 20th century by the Italian fascists under Benito Mussolini. The original meaning of the word as described by Mussolini and Gentile (G. Gentile & B. Mussolini in "La dottrina del fascismo" 1932) was a society in which the ideology ern technologies like radio and the printing press, which the state could, and probably would, use to spread its ideology, most modern nations would naturally become totalitarian in the above-stated sense. Giovanni Gentile (IPA:) (May 30, 1875 - April 15, 1944) was an Italian neo-Hegelian Idealist philosopher, a peer of Benedetto Croce. ... (19th century - 20th century - 21st century - more centuries) Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s As a means of recording the passage of time, the 20th century was that century which lasted from 1901–2000 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar (1900–1999... Fascism is an authoritarian political ideology (generally tied to a mass movement) that considers individual and other societal interests subordinate to the interests of the state. ... Mussolini redirects here. ...


While originally referring to an 'all-embracing, total state,' the label has been applied to a wide variety of regimes and orders of rule in a critical sense. Isabel Paterson, in The God of the Machine (1943) used the term in connection with the collectivist societies of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Karl Popper, in The Open Society and Its Enemies (1945) and The Poverty of Historicism (1961) developed an influential critique of totalitarianism: in both works, he contrasted the "open society" of liberal democracy with totalitarianism, and argued that the latter is grounded in the belief that history moves toward an immutable future, in accord with knowable laws. During the Cold War period, the term gained renewed currency, especially following the publication of Hannah Arendt's The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951). Arendt argued that Nazi and Stalinist regimes were completely new forms of government, and not merely updated versions of the old tyrannies. According to Arendt, the source of the mass appeal of totalitarian regimes was their ideology which provided a comforting, single answer to the mysteries of the past, present, and future. For Nazism, all history is the history of racial struggle; and, for Marxism, all history is the history of class struggle. Once that premise was accepted by the public, all actions of the regime could be justified by appeal to the Law of History or Nature. [2] Isabel Bowler Paterson (January 22, 1886, Manitoulin Island Canada -- 1961) was a journalist, literary critic, author, and libertarian advocate. ... Collectivism, in general, is a term used to describe a theoretical or practical emphasis on the group, as opposed to (and seen by many of its opponents to be at the expense of) the individual. ... Nazi Germany, or the Third Reich, commonly refers to Germany in the years 1933–1945, when it was under the firm control of the totalitarian and fascist ideology of the Nazi Party, with the Führer Adolf Hitler as dictator. ... Sir Karl Raimund Popper CH FRS FBA (July 28, 1902 â€“ September 17, 1994) was an Austrian and British[1] philosopher and a professor at the London School of Economics. ... The Open Society and Its Enemies, Volume Two The Open Society and Its Enemies is an influential two-volume work by Karl Popper written during World War II. Failing to find a publisher in the United States, it was first printed in London, in 1945. ... Year 1945 (MCMXLV) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar). ... Year 1961 (MCMLXI) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Liberal democracy is a form of government. ... For other uses, see Cold War (disambiguation). ... Hannah Arendt (October 14, 1906 – December 4, 1975) was a German Jewish political theorist. ... The Origins of Totalitarianism is a book by Hannah Arendt, dedicated to her husband Heinrich Blücher. ... Year 1951 (MCMLI) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... National Socialism redirects here. ... Stalinism is a brand of political theory, and the political and economic system implemented by Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Nazism in history Nazi ideology Nazism and race Outside Germany Related subjects Lists Politics Portal         Nazism or National Socialism (German: Nationalsozialismus), refers primarily to the ideology and practices of the Nazi Party (National Socialist German Workers Party, German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP) under Adolf Hitler. ... Marxism is both the theory and the political practice (that is, the praxis) derived from the work of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. ... The South African Police Crush Another Demonstration by the Shack dwellers Movement Abahlali baseMjondolo, 28 September, 2007 Class struggle is the active expression of class conflict looked at from any kind of socialist perspective. ...


Cold War-era research

The political scientists Carl Friedrich and Zbigniew Brzezinski were primarily responsible for expanding the usage of the term in university social science and professional research, reformulating it as a paradigm for the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin, typically led by a dictator; a system of terror; a monopoly of the means of communication and physical force; and central direction and control of the economy through state planning. Such regimes had initial origins in the chaos that followed in the wake of World War I, at which point the sophistication of modern weapons and communications enabled totalitarian movements to consolidate power in Italy, Germany, and Russia. Carl Joachim Friedrich (* June 5, 1901 in Leipzig; † 1984)) was a German-American professor of political science. ... Zbigniew Kazimierz Brzezinski (born March 28, 1928, Warsaw, Poland) is a Polish-American political scientist, geostrategist, and statesman. ... Josef Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili (Georgian: , Ioseb Besarionis Dze Jughashvili; Russian: , Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili) (December 18 [O.S. December 6] 1878[1] – March 5, 1953), better known by his adopted name, Joseph Stalin (alternatively transliterated Josef Stalin), was General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Unions Central Committee from... A dictator is an authoritarian, often totalitarian ruler (e. ... This article refers to an economy controlled by the state. ... “The Great War ” redirects here. ...


Eric Hoffer in his book The True Believer argues that mass movements like Communism, Fascism and Nazism had a common trait in picturing Western democracies and their values as decadent, with people "too soft, too pleasure-loving and too selfish" to sacrifice for a higher cause, which for them implies an inner moral and biological decay. He further claims that those movements offered the prospect of a glorious, yet imaginary, future to frustrated people, enabling them to find a refuge from the lack of personal accomplishments in their individual existence. Individual is then assimilated into a compact collective body and "fact-proof screens from reality" are established.[3] Eric Hoffer (July 25, 1898 – May 21, 1983) Eric Hoffer was a social and political philosopher who is best known for his book The True Believer (1951). ... The True Believer covers The True Believer: Thoughts On The Nature Of Mass Movements ISBN 0060505915 was Eric Hoffers first and most successful book, published in 1951. ... This article is about the form of society and political movement. ...


Criticism and recent work with the concept

In the social sciences, the approach of Friedrich and Brzezinski came under criticism from scholars who argued that the Soviet system, both as a political and a social entity, was in fact better understood in terms of interest groups, competing elites, or even in class terms (using the concept of the nomenklatura as a vehicle for a new ruling class). These critics pointed to evidence of popular support for the regime and widespread dispersion of power, at least in the implementation of policy, among sectoral and regional authorities. For some followers of this 'pluralist' approach, this was evidence of the ability of the regime to adapt to include new demands. However, proponents of the totalitarian model claimed that the failure of the system to survive showed not only its inability to adapt but the mere formality of supposed popular participation. Its proponents do not agree on when the Soviet Union ceased to be describable as totalitarian. The social sciences are groups of academic disciplines that study the human aspects of the world. ... This article is about political advocates. ... Social class refers to the hierarchical distinctions between individuals or groups in societies or cultures. ... The nomenklatura were a small, élite subset of the general population in the Soviet Union who held various key administrative positions in all spheres of the Soviet Union: in government, industry, agriculture, education, etc. ...


The notion of "post-totalitarianism" was put forward by political scientist Juan Linz . For certain commentators, such as Linz and Alfred Stepan, the Soviet Union entered a new phase after the abandonment of mass terror on Stalin's death. Discussion of "post-totalitarianism" featured prominently in debates about the reformability and durability of the Soviet system in comparative politics. Juan J. Linz is the Sterling Professor of Political Science at Yale University, best known for his theories on Totalitarian and Authoritarian systems of government. ... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Comparative politics is a subfield of political science, characterized by an empirical approach based on the comparative method. ...


As the Soviet system disintegrated in the late 1980s and early 1990s, opponents of the concept claimed that the transformation of the Soviet Union under Mikhail Gorbachev, and its subsequent sudden collapse, demonstrated that the totalitarian model had little explanatory value for researchers. Several decades earlier, for example, Bertram Wolfe in 1957 claimed that the Soviet Union faced no challenge or change possible from society at large. He called it a "solid and durable political system dominating a society that has been totally fragmented or atomized," one which will remain "barring explosion from within or battering down from without." Many classic theories of totalitarianism discounted the possibility of such change[citation needed]; however, later theorists not only acknowledged the possibility but in fact encouraged and welcomed it[citation needed]. Any suggestions of the indefinite stability of states labeled totalitarian among proponents of the term were largely discredited when the Soviet Union fell by the wayside. The 1980s refers to the years from 1980 to 1989. ... For the band, see 1990s (band). ... Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev[1] (Russian: , IPA: ; born 2 March 1931) is a Russian politician. ... Bertram David Wolfe (1896-1977) was an American scholar and former Communist best known for writing Three Who Made a Revolution (1948), a biographical study of Lenin, Stalin and Trotsky and The Fabulous Life of Diego Rivera (ISBN 081281259X). ... Year 1957 (MCMLVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link displays the 1957 Gregorian calendar). ...


In recent work, Slovenian philosopher and critic Slavoj Zizek has aimed at the concept of totalitarianism itself, claiming that its political usage is purely ideologically-driven. In his collection of five essays "Did somebody say Totalitarianism?", Zizek rethinks the usage of this notion and suggests that it functions as a "tamer of free radicals". In other words, to those political processes that we cannot explain or understand from within the logic of liberal democracy, we simply disregard by tagging them as totalitarian. Slavoj Žižek. ... Liberal democracy is a form of government. ...


Political usage

While the term fell into disuse during the 1970s among many Soviet specialists, other commentators found the typology not only useful for the purposes of classification but for guiding official policy. In her 1979 essay for Commentary, "Dictatorships and Double Standards", Jeane Kirkpatrick argued that a number of foreign policy implications can be drawn by distinguishing "totalitarian" regimes from autocracies in general. According to Kirkpatrick, typical autocracies are primarily interested in their own survival, and as such have allowed for varying degrees of autonomy regarding elements of civil society, religious institutions, court, and the press. On the other hand, under totalitarianism, no individual or institution is autonomous from the state's all-encompassing ideology. Therefore, U.S. policy should distinguish between the two and even grant support, if temporary, to non-totalitarian autocratic governments in order to combat totalitarian movements and promote U.S. interests. Kirkpatrick's influence, particularly as foreign policy adviser and United Nations ambassador, was essential to the formation of the Reagan administration's foreign policy and her ideas came to be known as the "Kirkpatrick Doctrine."[4] Also: 1979 by Smashing Pumpkins. ... There are several senses for Commentary: Informed criticism. ... Dictatorships and Double Standards is an article published in the November 1979 issue of Commentary by Jeane Kirkpatrick that criticized the foreign policy of the Carter administration. ... Jeane Kirkpatrick Jeane Jordan Kirkpatrick (November 19, 1926 â€“ December 7, 2006) was an American ambassador and an ardent anticommunist. ... Forms of government Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      An autocracy is a form of government in which the political power is held by a single person. ... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Civil society is composed of the totality of voluntary civic and social organizations and institutions that form the basis of a functioning society as opposed to the force-backed structures of a state (regardless of that states political system) and commercial institutions. ... Various Religious symbols, including (first row) Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Bahai, (second row) Islamic, tribal, Taoist, Shinto (third row) Buddhist, Sikh, Hindu, Jain, (fourth row) Ayyavazhi, Triple Goddess, Maltese cross, pre-Christian Slavonic Religion is the adherence to codified beliefs and rituals that generally involve a faith in a spiritual... Journalism is a discipline of gathering, writing and reporting news, and broadly it includes the process of editing and presenting the news articles. ... UN and U.N. redirect here. ... An ambassador, rarely embassador, is a diplomatic official accredited to a foreign sovereign or government, or to an international organization, to serve as the official representative of his or her own country. ... President Reagan, with his Cabinet and staff, in the Oval Office (February 4, 1981) Headed by U.S. President Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1989, the Reagan Administration was conservative, steadfastly anti-Communist and in favor of tax cuts and smaller government. ... The Kirkpatrick Doctrine was a political doctrine expounded by United States Ambassador to the United Nations Jeane Kirkpatrick in the early 1980s to justify US support for Third World anti-Communist dictatorships in the context of the Cold War. ...


See also

This entry is related to, but not included in the Political ideologies series or one of its sub-series. Other related articles can be found at the Politics Portal.

Political Ideologies Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      An ideology is an organized collection of ideas. ... Forms of government Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      This article applies to political and organizational ideologies. ... Forms of government Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      A dictatorship is an autocratic form of government in which the government is ruled by a dictator. ... Fascism is an authoritarian political ideology (generally tied to a mass movement) that considers individual and other societal interests subordinate to the interests of the state. ... Mind control (or thought control) has the premise that an outside source can control an individuals thinking, behavior or consciousness (either directly or more subtly). ... Nazism in history Nazi ideology Nazism and race Outside Germany Related subjects Lists Politics Portal         Nazism or National Socialism (German: Nationalsozialismus), refers primarily to the ideology and practices of the Nazi Party (National Socialist German Workers Party, German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP) under Adolf Hitler. ... A police state is a political condition where the government maintains strict control over society, particularly through suspension of civil rights and often with the use of a force of secret police. ... This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... States in which the constitution mandates power to a sole party are colored brown. ... For architecture, see Stalinist architecture. ... Total institution as defined by Erving Goffman, is an institution where all the aspects of life of individuals under the institution is controlled and regulated by the authorities of the organization. ...

Notes

  1. ^ Peter Burnham "Totalitarianism" The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics. Ed. Iain McLean and Alistair McMillan. Oxford University Press, 2003. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press.
  2. ^ Dana Richard Villa (2000). The Cambridge Companion to Hannah Arendt. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521645719 p. 2-3
  3. ^ Eric Hoffer, The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements, Harper Perennial Modern Classics (2002), ISBN 0060505915, p.61, 163
  4. ^ Kirkpatrick, Jeane J., "Dictatorships and Double Standards", Commentary, October 1979.

Jeane Kirkpatrick Jeane Jordan Kirkpatrick (November 19, 1926 â€“ December 7, 2006) was an American ambassador and an ardent anticommunist. ... Dictatorships and Double Standards is an article published in the November 1979 issue of Commentary by Jeane Kirkpatrick that criticized the foreign policy of the Carter administration. ... // Commentary, a monthly magazine founded by the American Jewish Committee in 1945, bills itself as Americas premier monthly magazine of opinion. ...

References

Hannah Arendt (October 14, 1906 – December 4, 1975) was a German Jewish political theorist. ... The Origins of Totalitarianism is a book by Hannah Arendt, dedicated to her husband Heinrich Blücher. ... Michel Foucault (IPA pronunciation: ) (October 15, 1926 – June 25, 1984) was a French philosopher, historian and sociologist. ... A neologism invented by Michel Foucault, the term Biopolitics or Biopolitical can refer to several different yet not incompatible concepts: In the work of Michel Foucault, the style of government that regulates populations through biopower. ... Carl Joachim Friedrich (* June 5, 1901 in Leipzig; † 1984)) was a German-American professor of political science. ... Zbigniew Kazimierz Brzezinski (born March 28, 1928, Warsaw, Poland) is a Polish-American political scientist, geostrategist, and statesman. ... Jeane Kirkpatrick Jeane Jordan Kirkpatrick (November 19, 1926 â€“ December 7, 2006) was an American ambassador and an ardent anticommunist. ... Jacob Leib Talmon (1916-1980) was an Israeli historian in the Hebrew University in Jerusalem that studied the Modern Age, especially the French Revolution. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Totalitarian democracy. ... Ludwig Heinrich Edler von Mises (September 29, 1881 – October 10, 1973) (pronounced was a notable economist and a major influence on the modern libertarian movement. ... Slavoj Žižek. ...

External links

  • Dictatorship Watch, putting totalitarianism in perspective

  Results from FactBites:
 
totalitarianism. The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001-05 (554 words)
A totalitarian government seeks to control not only all economic and political matters but the attitudes, values, and beliefs of its population, erasing the distinction between state and society.
Despite the many differences among totalitarian states, they have several characteristics in common, of which the two most important are: the existence of an ideology that addresses all aspects of life and outlines means to attain the final goal, and a single mass party through which the people are mobilized to muster energy and support.
For example, the chaos that followed in the wake of World War I allowed or encouraged the establishment of totalitarian regimes in Russia, Italy, and Germany, while the sophistication of modern weapons and communications enabled them to extend and consolidate their power.
Lecture 10: The Age of Totalitarianism: Stalin and Hitler (5116 words)
The Age of Anxiety, the age of the lost generation, was also an age in which modern Fascism and Totalitarianism made their appearance on the historical stage.
The totalitarian state was based on boundless dynamism.
Totalitarian society was a fully mobilized society, a society constantly moving toward some goal.
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