Totalitarianism: a government that takes total, centralized

Totalitarianism Project
By. Pola Shim and Minhyo Moon
Totalitarianism: a government that takes total, centralized state control over every
aspect of public and private life. It challenges the highest values prized by Western
democracies – reason, freedom, human dignity, and the worth of the individual.
Totalitarian Leaders appear to provide a sense of security and to give a direction for the
Key Traits of Totalitarianism: all totalitarianism share basic characteristics
Dictatorship (exercise the absolute authority) and One-Party Rule (Dominates
the government)
Dynamic Leader: The leader becomes a symbol of the government and helps
people to unite toward sharing goals and knowing a common vision.
Ideology (set of beliefs): The ideas that justify the government’s actions and
glorify (exaggerate) the aims of the state.
State control over all sectors of Society
State control over individual: Denying the basic liberties of an individual.
Dependence on Modern Technology: Building up advanced military weapons
and depends on mass communication (radios, newsreels, loudspeakers) to spread
Organized Violence: Uses forces, such as police terror, and targets groups, such
as national minorities and political opponents, as enemies.
Totalitarian leaders:
Hitler (Germany) and Mussolini (Italy)
1920s~1930s: shaping their visions of a totalitarian state.
Moa Zedong (China)
After 1949: used similar tactics to Stalin’s to establish totalitarian control.
Kim Il Sung (North Korea)
1948~1994: ruled over a totalitarian Communist state
Joseph Stalin (Soviet Union)
1922~1927: Stalin began his ruthless climb to the head of the government
1922: as general secretary of the Communist Party, he worked behind the scenes.
He shrewdly moved his followers into strategic government offices.
1924: placed many of his supporters in key positions.
1928: Stalin was in total command of the Communist Party.
 Began taking great strides to build a totalitarian state. He had achieved personal
power and was ready to begin over hauling the economy. Outlined the first of several
Five-Year Plans of the development of the Soviet Union’s economy.
1929: forced Trotsky into exile and became no threat.
 Trotsky: a leader that promoted a worldwide Communist revolution with Lenin.
Also, was one of Lenin’s revolutionary supporters, but became rivals with Stalin
after Lenin died.
 Lenin: a leader that was supported by Stalin and Trotsky, but Stalin became his
Stalin Seizes control of the economy
Command economy: a system in which the government made all economic decisions.
Under this system, political leaders identify the country’s economic needs and
determine how to fulfill them.
Industrial Revolution in Soviet Union:
1928: Stalin outlined the first several Five Year Plans
 for the development of the economy
 The government took drastic steps to promote rapid industrial growth and to
strengthen national defense
The Five Years Plan: set numerous goals to increase the output of steel, coal, oil,
and electricity
 The government limited production of consumer goods. So people had to face
shortages of housing, food, clothing, and other goods.
The government controlled every aspect of the worker’s life
 Officials would choose jobs for the workers and the workers needed
permission of the police to move.
The secret police was standing by to imprison or kill people who did not
contribute to the Soviet economy
 took great toll on people’s personal lives (Many families and marriages broke)
 Five Year Plan fell short at first, but Soviets made impressive gains
1933: second plan was launched
 proved successfully
1928~1937: industrial production increased more than 25%
Agricultural Revolution:
1928: government began to seize over 25 million collective farms
 collective farms: privately owned farms
 government expected that modern technology would boost food production
and reduce number of workers
Between 5 million and 10 million peasants died
 as direct result of Stalin’s agricultural revolution
 more were sent to Siberia
Kulaks: executed or sent by the government
 Kulaks: a class of wealthy peasants
1938: The country produced almost twice the wheat
Life Under Stalin:
Soviet Women
won equal rights
helped the state-controlled economy prosper
 had no choice under the Five-Year Plans but to join the labor force in
increasing numbers
 like men, many women worked in factories and built dams and roads
given new educational opportunities
 prepared for careers like engineering, science, and medicine.
Responsible for housework and child care
 Motherhood was considered a patriotic duty in totalitarian regimes
 expected to provide the country with future generations of obedient citizens
was all controlled by the government
Children learned the virtues of Communist Party
 Teachers who questioned the interpretation history and science of the
Communist Party would lose their job or go to jail
was not merely indoctrination
 Stalin’s economic plans created a high demand for many skilled wokers
Weapons of Totalitarianism:
Police Terror: Dictators started to use Terror as their weapon for totalitarianism
 Great Purge: name given to campaigns of political repression and persecution
in the Soviet Union orchestrated by Jospeh Stalin during the late 1930s, or
basically the campaign of terror. It was directed to eliminate anyone who
threatened Stalin’s power. It resulted in 400,000 people
Indoctrination: Instruction in the government’s belief to mold people’s minds.
 Perfect way to brainwash and make people not to revolt
Propaganda: biased or incomplete information used to sway people to accept
certain beliefs or actions
 Socialist Realism: an artistic style that praised soviet life and communist
Religious Persecution: communists aimed to replace religious teachings with the
ideals of communism
Recent dictators have used Stalin’s tactics and Totalitarianism ideas for seizing total
control over individuals and the state