Totalitarianism Essay Research Paper TotalitarianismThe focus of

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Totalitarianism Essay, Research Paper Totalitarianism The focus of this paper will examine the political and cultural phenomena of totalitarianism, mass production death and institutionalized genocide or the extirpation of ones personality in a concentration camp or gulag setting. There was a driving force towards this absolute social and political control known as totalitarianism. It first began as Fascism as Walter Laqueur’s points out in his book Fascism: Past, Present, and Future where he writes, “It rose and spread quickly, because of the ravages of World War I and the political and spiritual vacuum they had left behind. The continent had been shaken by violent political and economic convulsions, and in half of Europe the old conservative order had disappeared but a

new one had not been accepted. The moral certainties of the world of yesterday had vanished and the middle classes had become impoverished. To some, the last vestiges of civilization seemed threatened by a new, mysterious, highly contagious phenomenon – Bolshevism. Those who believed that a strong leadership and a new order were needed but who found Communism unacceptable in view of its internationalism and egalitarianism craved a political alternative.” Most apply the term Fascism primarily to the NAZI and Italian regimes during the decades from the 1920s to the 1940s. By incorporating the Stalinist period of the 1930s to the 1950s the term totalitarianism is more applicable. The resources used to show how some European countries and the Soviet Union incorporated

totalitarianism are Sources of the Western Tradition, by Perry, Peden, and Von Laue, Alain Resnais’ film Night and Fog, Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. The latter two will be used to show the effect of totalitarianism and the relationship of the film to the novel. It will be necessary to see how the European countries and the Soviet Union came to this point of totalitarianism before you can understand the power that the ruling class had over the masses. The Sources of the Western Tradition will be used to establish this historical background and corroborative evidence on totalitarianism. The seeds of totalitarianism were planted in the closing decades of the nineteenth century. It was then that a new breed of thinkers rejected “the

Enlightenment belief in the essential rationality of human beings.” Friedrich Nietzsche, a writer of this period led attacks on democracy, universal suffrage, equality and socialism. He “called for the emergence of the overman or superman, a higher type of man who asserts himself, and lives life with a fierce joy. The overman aspires to self-perfection. He was critical of the Western rational tradition. Another man of this period who supported irrationalism and social thought was Gaetano Mosca. Mosca believed that “a class that rules and a class that is ruled” characterize all societies. Those that ruled believe they have the “right to its privileges and power, and the masses become resigned to their lowly station.” The minority rulers who took power seemed to have a

high level of organization, while the masses they controlled were unable and powerless to unite against the ruling class. These thoughts came from Mocsa’s principal work Elements of a Political Society, which was later, translated under the title The Ruling Class. Vilfredo Pareto, a countryman of Mosca also believed in nonrational politics. It was his belief that throughout history that those in power spoke to the people not about the reality of a situation, but in a way that what get them what the rulers wanted in they end. He focused on the elitists of society. “The elite exists in all societies and governs them even in cases where the regime in appearance is highly democratic.” He believed that men could not governed by reasoning, without the use of force. That force is