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Total dominance is described as totalitarianism in the book ‘The Origins of Totalitarianism” by Hannah Arendt. She described totalitarianism as a system of total dominance by state over its citizens. Totalitarianism was seen as a destructive movement that dehumanized human beings.
Arendt concentrated on the Nazi regime of Hitler and Stalin’s Soviet Union. The totalitarian movement was as a result of disoriented people because the world that they lived was destroyed by inflation, revolution and unemployment. Jews were the most affected by the bad regime (Arendt 25).
Total domination is a major theme in the book of Hannah Arendt. The book has the following subjects: Totalitarianism, Nazism and Stalinism. The book is written in English and it’s a non-fiction. It was written in 2006 and the publisher is Bedford/St Martin.
Hannah Arendt was born on October 1906 and died on December 1975. She was a political theorist and her works dealt with totalitarianism and power. She was an American who came from Germany. The book is of interest to people because it is an indirect study of totalitarianism by the Nazi regime.
There are other authors with the theme of totalitarianism. In 1923, Giovanni Gentile described totalitarianism as the control of citizens by the states.
The states had goals that they used to guide their citizens. Richard Pipes argued that totalitarianism aimed at mobilizing people to support the state’s ideology and activities. He further argued that totalitarianism did not support activities that were not the state’s goals like religion, labor unions etc.
Arendt described totalitarianism as a system which was governed by ideologies and employed its powers on its citizen. Totalitarianism was caused by radical and ambitious people. Arendt concentrated on the Nazi regime of Hitler and Stalin’s Soviet Union. Totalitarianism was seen as a destructive movement that dehumanized human beings. Totalitarianism was a system of total dominance by state over its citizens (Arendt 27).
There were experiments done in concentration camps. The concentration camps were termed as laboratories to exercise total domination. The totalitarianism of the Nazi regime was aimed at making human beings gain the characteristics of animal species.
Nazism practiced total terror mostly inside the camps so as to intimidate people and make them feel less human. This facilitated total dominance. Nazism also believed that human beings could only be totally dominated if they were converted into animal species.
Stalin and Hitler were both racists. They believed that a certain race had to die. The Nazism movement believed in racial supremacy. Totalitarianism was practiced politically, economically and socially. It also aimed at making human beings superfluous (Arendt 32). People followed receptive ideologies of the Nazism and Stalinism regime.
Causes of Totalitarianism
Arendt argued that imperialism led to totalitarianism. The military, political upheaval and economic status of Germany led it to conquer other countries for capitalist expansion. This led to a country that was not stabilized both politically and socially. Therefore, the totalitarian movement resulted from disoriented people as the world that they lived in was destroyed by inflation, revolution and unemployment.
The Jews lack of citizenship was another factor that promoted their killing. The author explained that this was a totalitarian way of approach. Jews were not German citizens and, hence, could not claim any rights. They were seen as a nuisance and had to be killed. Racism and lack of citizenship of the Jews was a major factor that contributed to Nazism (Arendt 42).
The Lessons of Totalitarianism
Arendt described totalitarianism as futile and destructive. She also said that it could not last for long due to its dictatorial nature. Unemployment, political upheaval and overpopulation led to totalitarianism. Both Stalinism and Nazism committed same crimes and their activities were horrifying.
They also practiced communism. Totalitarianism should not be practiced because it is ridiculous. People were tortured so as to be kept in line. The totalitarian governments could not exercise their control without the concentration camps. This is mentioned by Arendt when she said that the camps were centers for totalitarian regimes.
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One controversial thing is Arendt’s view of murder in concentration camps. She argued that the murderer did not take someone’s existence with them even if they took his or her life. Murder was murder even if the Nazi people did not take away someone’s existence with them or they just killed one person.
There were also exterminations at the concentration camps in the Soviet Union (Armstrong 29). They used these camps as laboratories for research in their totalitarianism belief of anything is possible.
The Nazi in Germany and the Communist Russia were different from monarchical regimes. Arendt described autocratic regimes as wanting to have political power only over their citizens while totalitarian regimes wanted to take control of every dimension of people’s lives. Totalitarianism was mostly marked by a single party, personality cultism, restrictions in giving speeches and use of mass surveillance.
In conclusion, totalitarianism was a system of total dominance by the state over its citizens. Nazism practiced total terror mostly inside the camps where the Jews were secluded. It was practiced politically, economically and socially. It also aimed at making human beings superfluous.
Arendt, Hannah. Total Domination.7th ed. New York: Bedford/St Martin, 2006. Print.
Armstrong, John. The Politics of Totalitarianism New York: Random House, 1961. Print.