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Totalitarianism, in simple terms, is best described as a society where the ruler or ruling group has total control over the governing society. The government controls all private and private aspects of citizens life in a totalitarian society. There have been a few countries under this type of rule; however, the most infamous totalitarian rule to date is Nazi Germany which was led by German dictator, Adolf Hitler and his Nazi regime. Germany was controlled by the National Socialist Nazi Party from 1933 and 1945, also known as the Third Reich, meaning the third empire. This party’s beliefs were that the society would be more optimal by eliminating Jews and other “social undesirables” with the ascendency of the “Aryan” race (Magstadt, 2017). During Hitler’s command over Germany, he and his Nazi party were responsible for the millions of deaths in what is known as one of the largest and grim genocides in history.
Totalitarian leaders have specific strategies to keep control in a country which include scapegoating, propaganda, and violence. A scapegoat is one who takes blame for another’s actions or faults. In Hitler’s case, he used the communists and Jews as his scapegoats. He blamed these groups of people for the economic crisis during his leadership and Germany’s loss in World War I. By placing the blame of the nation’s setbacks on these specific groups, Hitler was then able to form a very strong propaganda campaign against them. As he forced the Nazi beliefs on Germany, he also managed to persuade the Germans to believe that communists and Jews needed to be punished which would lead to a necessary eventual war and German society was in need of a radical transformation. Hitler’s propaganda was also aimed to silence protestors in the public press such as journalists and artists. His control over public protestors soon spread within the school systems. Hitler created, Hitler Youth, for children ages 10 to 18. This system was designed to shape and mold children to uphold the Nazi standards. Hitler’s government disassembled the classical education system and created a system that would turn Germany’s children into compliant subjects rather than independent citizens (Behreandt, 2018). With this propaganda, Nazi Germany soon turned to violence against those who opposed or are not ideal to their way of life. Anti-Semitism and mass indoctrination made it possible for Hitler to implement deadly racial policies that came to a peak during the Holocaust. Anti-Jewish policies were created and followed which allowed for the Nazi party to first identify who was Jewish, isolate them in concentration camps, which ultimately led to the largest documented genocides in history. Hitler’s strong will to fulfill his desire to eliminate the Jewish population lead to the death of millions of innocent people. Those deaths included about 7 million Soviet civilians, 6 million European Jews, 3 million Soviet prisoners of war, 1.8 million Non-Jewish Polish civilians, and many more.
According to Hitler, an ideal citizen of Nazi Germany would be someone of Aryan race who abides by all the rules and is obedient under Nazi control. During Hitler’s dictatorship, one of his main goals was to eliminate everyone who did not fall under his belief of what an ideal Nazi German citizen was and/or anyone who opposed to his government. He was attempting to create what he described as a master race. This totalitarian regime that Hitler created needed to be stopped. In order for that to happen, the German citizens must collectively stand together and use their resources to stand against Hitler and his Nazi Party. The citizens can fight back by resisting propaganda, using political socialization, and civil disobedience. Without the obedience and support from its citizens, any empire will fall. Incorporating government limitations of power is also a course of action citizens can take that can lead to stop of the totalitarian regime. That would prevent all power from being within on single source and allow for equality. When the citizens unite and get involved, they can resist against dictatorship. The chances of a country falling under totalitarianism are significantly reduced when citizens make themselves heard. That is why it is very important that voter apathy is decreased. A country with voter apathy, which is the lack of interest citizens, is ideal for one who is trying to gain sole control over a nation and become a totalitarian society. True prevention comes from within the society and its citizens. There is strength in united numbers.
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