Hitler And Totalitarianism

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“Nazi Germany gave us a big ungainly word, yet one that we still use: totalitarianism. We may even throw it around too loosely, applying it to a lot of foreign leaders whom we don’t like. But heres what it meant in the context of Nazi Germany: the destruction of all persons and groups that would challenge Hitler’s supremacy. This destruction singled out not only the Jews but also most intellectuals, the Communists and the Socialists, the labour unions, the Catholic Church, parts of the Lutheran ministry and even elements of the Nazi movement itself. Nazism was a revolution, and revolutions tend to devour their own.” The words of Robert Smith Thompson (2003, 141) have just described the crisis that was facing the Weimar Republic in the years 1933-1939. Adolf Hitler had risen to power and the 14 year old democratic republic was about to be eradicated in favour of something more sinister. Totalitarianism can be described as relating to a form of government that permits no rival loyalties or parties, demanding entire subservience of the individual to the state (the Concise Oxford dictionary). A totalitarian state’s ideologies reject existing societies as corrupt, immoral and beyond reform. They demand total conformity of all the people and their ideas and information is displayed through effective use of propaganda (TV, radio, press and education.) Totalitarian states can be applied to most political beliefs (fascism-Hitler, communism-Stalin etc) Fascists and communists may not have much in common on the belief side of things but in order to achieve a totalitarian state, both had to manipulate the key social, economic and political structures of the current government to achieve the rule they wanted. Adolf Hitler was appointed chancellor on the 30 January 1933, by Paul von Hindenburg; the president at that time. When Hindenburg died on August 2nd 1934, Hitler
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