Research topic: Totalitarianism

Totalitarianism is generic term for the idea that a political system should have universal and total control over all individuals and all activities in a society.

Totalitarian regimes suppress all opposition, if necessary with terrorist means. Such regimes demand not only full obedience – they also seek to mobilise large groups of the population to support them and their ideology.

The word itself was originally used to describe Italian Fascism from 1923. But already in the 1930s there were some critics and theoreticians who also applied the concept of totalitarianism to the Third Reich and Stalinism in the Soviet Union. Their general point was that the two regimes had many important features in common, and that these features constituted something new in history. After the outbreak of the Cold War, the concept of totalitarianism was used to describe the Communist regimes in the Soviet Union and other places.

In our own time, there is increasing interest in totalitarian elements in the political ideology of Islamism, triggered not least by the attack on 11 September 2001.


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Published Feb. 5, 2013 2:20 PM - Last modified Nov. 29, 2017 11:18 AM