Can a Democracy and a Totalitarianism Coincide in One Society

Topics: Government, Totalitarianism, Democracy Pages: 3 (921 words) Published: February 15, 2007
Totalitarianism and Democracy

Can a democracy and a totalitarianism coincide in one society? Are the two governments similar, or will democracy fight against totalitarianism? Before any of this can be answered, one must first know the definitions and true differences that lie between the two. Totalitarianism can be described as a system driven by an ideology, that seeks direction of all aspects of public activity, political, economic and social uses to that end. The national D-Day museum defines Totalitarianism as "a form of government that exercises complete political, economic, social, cultural, and spiritual control over its subjects. A charismatic leader, or dictator, who controls the one allowable political party, usually heads it. This form of rule requires complete subordination of the individual to advance the interests of the state. People are made dependent on the wishes and whims of the political party and its leader." Arendt characterized totalitarianism as "one built upon terror and ideological fiction. Where older tyrannies had used terror as an instrument for attaining or sustaining power, modern totalitarian regimes exhibited little strategic rationality in their use of terror. Rather, terror was no longer a means to a political end, but an end in itself." Arendt thought the biggest appeal of totalitarianism was their capacity to mobilize populations to do their bidding.

Nazi Germany was an example of a Fascist, totalitarian state. Its ideology included a racial theory that persecuted, and murdered "non-Aryans," particularly Jews. The use of secret organizations to repress conflict and terrorize opposition ensured complete compliance. Information and ideas were effectively spread out through government controlled propaganda campaigns using radio, the press, and education at all levels. Writers, speakers, actors, composers, and poets were licensed and controlled by the government. The controlled economy enabled the government to control...
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