I'm a student of science and new to History StackExchange. I'm trying to understand the idea and meaning of a totalitarian administration through historical examples.

Can someone provide me with some well-known instances and/or characters from history? The dictionary meaning doesn't help much unless it can be understood w.r.t some examples from history.

Apologies if the question is unsuitable for this site.

  • Examples? Soviet Union. – Alex Jul 8 '17 at 21:40

Wikipedia defines the term Totalitarianism

Totalitarianism is a political system in which the state recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible.[1] A distinctive feature of totalitarian governments is an "elaborate ideology, a set of ideas that gives meaning and direction to the whole society"

There were many characters and countries who used Totalitarian administration process. For instance

Joseph Stalin – In the Soviet Union, after the conclusion of Civil War, Stalin took over the country and began executing any people who were not in alignment with the goals of the state.

Benito Mussolini – Having seized power in Italy in 1922, Mussolini become the leader of the nation and immediately began to rule in a totalitarian manner.

Adolf Hitler – Notorious for his reign in German, Hitler employed totalitarianism as a means to attempt to achieve an obedient nation that was his personal vision for the country.

North Korea – North Korea has been ruled by the same family since 1948. The family has been running the country based on the concept of self-reliance. However, severe economic declines have contributed to the country's struggle to maintain totalitarianism.

Mao Zedong – From 1949, when he established the People's Republic of China, until his death in 1976, Chairman Mao lead China in a way in line with the concepts of totalitarianism.

  • Was totalitarianism invented in the 20th century? What about, say, the Inca empire? – bof Jul 9 '17 at 4:06
  • 1
    The Wikipedia page describes the very first use of Totalitarianism. Giovanni Amendola first used this in 1923. Inca Empire was also described as >"feudal, slave, socialist (here one may choose between socialist paradise or socialist tyranny)." But the term totalitarianism wasn't in use. – Explorer Jul 9 '17 at 4:54
  • The answer might be flavored by the effectiveness of the regime. Just because the government claims to be totalitarian doesn't mean that is what is happening at the street level. Does the effectiveness of the regime impact the question? For example, Stalin's regime was totalitarian, but it had to be deployed in stages over many years for it to impact most people. – Smith Jul 10 '17 at 21:21
  • @Smith, All of the above regimes took its time to develop. Like Stalin's regime was from 1922-1953. So it took that much of time in deployment as well as the development of Stalinism. – Explorer Jul 11 '17 at 3:21

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