* war and social upheaval: World War II -- Totalitarian Political systems

World War II: Totalitarian Political Systems

NAZI totalitaritarianism
Figure 1.--NAZI pagentry gives the impression that it was a political movement concentrated in the big cities. In fact there was considerable resistance to the NAZIs in the cities, in part because the Socialists and Communists had developed strong ties to the German working class. Berlin in particular proved difficult for the NAZIs. The NAZI had deep roots in rural and small town Germany. Here a NAZI big-wig stops in a small town for an improtu speech.

The 20th century was noted for the emergence of two totalitarian political systems in the aftermath of World War I and the disolution of the three great European empires (Austria-Hungary, Germany, and Russia). They were normally depicted as left and right--the two extremnes of the political spectrum While there were significan differences between the two systems. In fact there were great imilarities, most notably the absence of the rule of law and importance, militarism, and the debegration of the individual. Power in both lay in the hands of an individual or elite which dictated to the general public. The end result ws mass muder on an unbelieveable scale. A notable concomatant was a steroile society without cultural achievement. A much more reasoned way of viewing the 20th century is a struggle between the totalitarians (both left and right) and the democracies. Britain'sPrimeminister Churchill was correct when he painted the struggle as repudition of Western Civilization and the imposition of a new Dark Age.


The social and state systems of Russia, Yugoslavia, and other Eastern European countries need to be considered by HBC, both the impact of the Communists when they seized power and the aftermath of the fall of Communist regimes. Communism as a social force was founded by Karl Marx in his land mark work Das Kapital. The first Communist state was of course the Soviet Union. The Revolution was a reaction to the privations of World War I (1914-18), in which the Russian people, suffered greviously. The Bolshevicks emerged victorious against a democratic Provisional Government (1917). This led led to a distructive Civil war between Reds and Whites (1918-22). The Bolshevivks proceeded found not only a socialist economy, but a repressive police state under Lenin and more importantly Stalin. It is now recognized by most authors that Stalin's ruthless policies including engineering a famine in the Ukraine resulted in more deaths that even Hitler's Holocaust and other genocidal policies. Stalin at the outbreak of World War II at first entered a partnership with Hitler, but then was invaded (1941). The Great Patriotic War waged by the Russian people was the key factor in the defeat of the German Army (1945). It also left Stalin in control of the countries of Eastern Europe. The result was the Cold War with American and the European democracies. The internal contridictions and efficencies of the Communist system and the desire of natuonal groups for indepence led to the unraveling of the Stalin's Soviet empire, first in Poland (1989) and finally the Soviet Union itself (1991). The Communists without a maket economy are of course not noted for their fashion sence and fashion industry. There were some ideological constraints on fashion. Often clothing manufacturers just copied Western styles, but there were clothing industries in these countries and fashion developments. Some countries had specialized school fashions and uniforms and the Young Pioners were formed with uniforms.


Fascism is a totalitarian political system centered on nationalism. The first Fascist state was created by Mussolini in Italy which gave its name to the movement as a whole. A core element of Fascism was opposition to the rise of Communism or even Democratic Socialism. Although not a strong element in Italian Fascism, the importance of the Germamn NAZIs in European Fascism made race, escpecialy anti-Semitism a majoe element. The promotion of the nation through a strong state which put the promotion of the nation above any individual rights. A tightly controlled political party is used to mobilize mass support for the state. The Party rules without meaniful elections. There are no individual rights or the rule of law. All organizations such as labor unions, professional organizations, are placed under Party control as well as the police. The state controls the educational sydtem and youth movement. The state also controls all media so a carefully controlled version can be presented to the public. Fascism varied from country to country. This was primarily bevcause of the nature of the nationalist movement. German NAZIism had a central racial theme mixed with messianic and mythological elements. Fascist states also differed in their relation to religion. The NAZIs took measures to undermine churches whereas Italian Fascists reached an accomodation with the Catholic Church. Spanish Falangests strongly supported the Church. Facists had no faith in democratic elections and sought to govern by a preminant leader and strong ruling party. Fascists were prone to use force in both domestic and international affairs.


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Created: 8:13 PM 1/1/2009
Last updated: 8:13 PM 1/1/2009