Totalitarianism is a form of government which began to show its presence after the First World War. After the war, countries tried to set up democratic governments such as the Weimar republic. Everyone in the country would have a right to speak, to vote and to form new political parties. This sudden freedom gave way to a negative reaction, causing the collapse of governments such as the Weimar. In its place, countries were ruled by the totalitarian form of government.
Pros and Cons
Having only one political party can stabilize a turbulent situation in any country, as can be seen in the case of Germany, but the freedom of people is to a certain extent compromised. As all forms of media and communication in the country are controlled by the government, propaganda is prevalent. When citizens keep hearing only pro-government material, it makes them more patriotic to a certain extent
From the word “totalitarianism”, it is obvious that this form of system wants to have “total” control over their people. Unlike democratic rule, under totalitarianism, people have no right to speak, form political parties, or even choose their religion. Totalitarianism restricts what people think and their wants. There can only be one political party ruling the country. Like in Germany, from 1933 to 1945, Nazism took over the country and all political parties were banned except for their own German Nationalist Party, in short Nazis. This ensured that the ruling party would always be in power, but the citizens had no rights to vote who they wanted and they had to follow what the orders of the government. Some examples of totalitarianism states are Russian, a communist state, Germany and Italy which were both Fascist states.
Impact on Society
Totalitarianism has a big impact on technology and science, scientists in the country have restrictions as to what to invent. Like in Germany, Jewish inventions were rejected. They faced many ethnic challenges when they wanted to do certain kinds of projects. Scientists in totalitarian government were less free to do the research they wanted than other democratic countries. And the state had the right to use the products of the scientists in any way they chose.
Under Hitler's reign, Germany was under Totalitarianism
The features of totalitarianism are defined to be different from authoritarianism and dictatorship. There are several features defined by political scientists. The first feature is that there is only one political party in the country. The rest of them are either brought under the control of the government or eliminated. Including all companies and agencies, they belong to the state. The second is control over all means of communication; this serves to solidify the ideologies proposed by the government. That is, making the people to hear what the government wants them to hear. The third is having control over the weapons to prevent any revolutions. By controlling the weapons, the rulers can effectively make sure that no one is able to stage a revolt. And having weapons can stop any revolutions if there are. The fourth is to have control over the economy. As the government already has the control over all companies, this feature ensures access to the resources needed by the state for any projects. And it also makes the citizens become dependent on the state for jobs, any objections or complaints about the state will cause them to be fired.
The final feature is that the country uses terror to rule the country like the Nazi Germany which had the SA and SS to impose fear. They eliminated any threats to their rule, including any autonomous organization or parties. Even members of the ruling party are sometimes not excluded from being investigated by the police. Any members deemed as threats to the government would be eliminated. For example, the ruthless “Night of the Long Knives”, where the loyal members of Nazi Government were killed, so as to prevent them from going against him.
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Barington, L. (n.d.). Totalitarianism | Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics. Retrieved March 22, 2008, from http://www.bookrags.com/research/totalitarianism-este-0001_0004_0/.
Poon, H. W. (n.d.). Totalitarinism in Europe. Retrieved March 22, 2008 from , Web site: http://www.thecorner.org/hist/total/total.htm