A brief overview of the rejections of liberalism before getting into extreme rejections.
As in the USSR
The change desired is a move toward the far left side of the economic spectrum and a complete rejection of political and economic traditions of the past
As in Nazi Germany
The change desired is a move toward an idealized past and an acceptance of economic inequality (accepting the belief that some people are naturally better than others.)
• Government establishes complete control of all aspects of the state (political, military, economy, social, cultural)
Highly nationalistic (flags, salutes, rallies, uniforms)
Strict controls and laws
Military state (secret police, army, military)
Censorship (opposing literature and ideas)
Propaganda (media – radio, newspapers, posters, movies)
One leader (dictator); charismatic
Total conformity of people to ideas and leader
Terror and Fear
No pure types but these regimes had totalitarian elements:
• Nazi Germany, 1933-1945
Stalinist Soviet Union, 1925 to 1953
China under Mao Zedong, 1949 to 1970
Cambodia (Kampuchea) under Khmer Rouge, early 1970s
• Creating a perfect society out of imperfect human beings requires a high level of coercive control of every facet of life.
• In contrast, authoritarian governments are not interested in creating a utopia but maintaining control over existing society. Coercion only used against perceived enemies of the state.
1. The cult of the leader. Leader must be supreme and autonomous - Hero worship. The Leader is perceived as wise, paternal, charismatic.
2. Radical ideology: official, total, comprehensive.
It exploits popular fears and prejudices. The ideology inspires and legitimates a revolutionary break from the past:
▫ a.) provides a scapegoat for past wrongs
▫ b). explains present sacrifices
▫ c.) promises a future of peace & plenty
To kill Jews, Gypsies, Religious Leaders and other Dissenters, Homosexuals,
Disabled People, and all non-whites
3. organization. A single political party serves the leader in promoting the ideology. The party initially might be powerful, but it becomes subservient to the leader. In time, no dissent permitted even among party elites.
Demonstration of support for the party, controlled participation and absolute loyalty
“The ends justify the means.”
4. mass mobilization & indoctrination. Fanatic followers make any sacrifice. Regime mobilizes against internal enemies (opponents, scapegoats, counterrevolutionaries) and external enemies.
Use aggressive warfare (that is, wars without justification, not in self-defense) to keep the people mobilized.
One sided information designed to persuade its audience
One sided information designed to persuade an audience
5. use of secret police. All sovereign states monopolize armed services and police, but totalitarian states also use secret police and informers to monitor and control the citizenry.
6. central control of all organizations, including schools, the arts, clubs, news media, labor unions, universities, churches, the economy. No separate organizations; no civil society.
7. use of terror and violence:
To smooth the way to a takeover. Creates an atmosphere of crisis and political instability.
Dramatizes inability of old government to provide security.
• To maintain control afterward. Keeps the population too terrorized to dissent.
GULAGS – SOVIET FORCED LABOUR PRISONS
• Totalitarian leaders may become so obsessed with total control that they eliminate not just enemies but loyal deputies who could become rivals. Some even imagine enemies where none exists & conduct bloody purges.
• Examples from Hitler, Lenin, Stalin and Mao
Violence can be useful to dictators.
• 1. enhances leader’s status.
2. brings economic gain (confiscating property of victims).
3. punishes political opponents and thereby discourages future dissent.
4. destroys a group completely. May help solidify support among the other groups.
Terror useful in the short term. It is arbitrary and unpredictable.
Goal: to produce an extreme fear in populace to paralyze them into an utter lack of resistance. Terror creates an emotional and psychological state. Where violence is a reaction to resistance, terror seeks to prevent resistance from ever forming.
• They consider the existing society in need of a complete transformation
▫ Radical : as in the Soviet Union, a complete rejection of the political and economic traditions of the past, move to a classless society with state ownership
▫ Reactionary : as in Nazi Germany, where the change desired is move toward an idealized past and an acceptance of economic inequality
Both in Nazi Germany and the USSR totalitarianism was an attempt to hold off and reject the beliefs and values of liberalism
▫ Authoritarianism in both Russia and Germany
▫ Communtarianism in Russia
▫ Defeat of Germany in WWI
Both communism and fascism used totalitarian governments
On the USSR’s flag hammer = industrialization scythe = collectivized agriculture
On the Nazi’s flag
Swastika – ancient symbol denoting luck
Since Hitler, to most Westerners it denotes evil
• Totalitarianism – use of government to exert complete control over EVERY aspect of people’s lives
New technologies made totalitarianism possible and allowed rulers to maintain an extreme degree of control over their populations
Turned away from the individual and away from limited democratic governments
Both had one party rule (no other political parties allowed)
Both favored a collective, all-powerful state