How did totalitarianism lead to World War II

Totalitarianism and Literary Dystopia in the 20th Century

Table of Contents

1 Introduction

2 Research on totalitarianism in the 20th century
2.1 The development of totalitarianism research in the 20th century
2.1.1 First phase: 1922-1930
2.1.2 Second phase: 1930-1945
2.1.3 Third phase: late 1940s-1965
2.1.4 Fourth phase: late 1960s and 1970s
2.1.5 Fifth phase: after 1989
2.2 The classic work of totalitarianism by Carl J. Friedrich
2.2.1 The general characteristics of totalitarianism according to Carl J. Friedrich An ideology One party A monopoly of influencing the masses A terrorist secret police A gun monopoly A centrally managed economy
2.2.2 Criticism of Carl J. Friedrich's concept of totalitarianism

3 Totalitarianism and literary dystopia in the 20th century
3.1 The concept of dystopia
3.2 Totalitarianism in Huxley's and Orwell's dystopian works
3.2.1 Totalitarianism in Huxley's dystopian work "Brave New World" Content Reception The manifestation of the totalitarian characteristics in Huxley Interpretation of the results
3.2.2 Totalitarianism in Orwell's dystopian work "1984" Content Reception The manifestation of the totalitarian characteristics in Orwell Interpretation of the results

4 conclusion

1 Introduction

What would a layperson answer if asked what he associates with the term “totalitarianism”? The answer would probably not be particularly difficult for him / her: fear, horror, hunger, permanent control, concentration camps, mass killings and terror ... a lot of terror. People, however, who are involved in totalitarianism research 1 would have hesitated to answer. You would have already recognized that the terms “totalitarianism” or “totalitarian” are very controversial and the answer to the question of what constitutes totalitarianism depends on the concept that one would use. There is no such thing as “the” totalitarian theory (cf. Lothar 2004: 232). There is a “legion” of different approaches to totalitarianism (cf. Jesse 1999: 16).

The vast amount of research can be traced back to the fact that so far researchers from various disciplines have devoted themselves to this subject, which is called “totalitarianism”. Research on totalitarianism has so far attracted scientists from political science, sociology, history and psychology, but also from other research disciplines (cf. Gerschewski 2008). But this is also related to the fact that the terms “totalitarian” and “totalitarianism” stand in the field of tension between an analytical and a consciously politically evaluative use. The terms are viewed as being so ideologically burdened that many researchers advise against using them at all (cf. Seidel and Jenkner 1968: 26).2

It can be observed, however, that after the end of the Cold War the number of works on “totalitarianism” has drastically reduced. The reason can be assumed to be that after the end of the East-West conflict, the global end of totalitarian political systems was proclaimed (cf. Gerschewski 2008). In fact, only the largely isolated North Korea is currently viewed as a totalitarian system - and even that is controversial. The political scientist Tibi (2004) also recently caused a stir, who portrayed politicized Islamism as the latest variant of totalitarianism in the 21st century - but his thesis is also not unequivocal (see Gerschewkski 2008).

So was that it? Are works on the phenomenon of totalitarianism to be regarded as “unnecessary” due to the abundance of already available material and to be regarded as “anachronistic” due to the fact that the topic is not topical? Hardly likely. On the one hand, because although it was announced 25 years ago that democracy had finally won the great ideological battle against autocratic regimes (under which totalitarian systems are mostly counted), current studies such as those of the Freedom House (2018) show that At the international level, democracy is weakened and “non-free states” (ibid.) are increasing. On the other hand, because although it can be said that few phenomena have unleashed more passionate debates over the decades, such as that of totalitarianism - the subject has not yet been analyzed from all possible aspects (cf. Laqueur 1986: 9).

The processing of the phenomenon in the field of literature is, for example, a research area that has received too little attention so far. And this despite the fact that “totalitarianism” has been taken up several times in literature. A literary genre that is particularly associated with totalitarianism is that of utopias or dystopias. The latter is a special kind of utopian literature that emerged in the 20th century and in which, according to Saage (1991: 4), “images of fear in the community” (ibid.) Are portrayed.

The most famous literary dystopias include Aldous Huxley's “Brave New World” (original: “Brave New World”, 1932) and George Orwell's “1984” (original: “Ninety Eighty-Four”, 1949). Both achieved millions of copies and became textbook reading. In addition, both works are still burning topicality. Huxley appears regularly when current issues relating to genetic engineering, stem cell research, high-tech medicine, etc. are discussed (cf. Ottmann 2010). Orwell, on the other hand, is repeatedly referred to when it comes to critically reflecting on government surveillance measures (such as those recently revealed by the PRISM affair). Moreover, the literary dystopias have something else in common: They are both continuously associated with totalitarianism - in the sense that it is said that both Huxley and Orwell would portray totalitarian systems of rule in their literary dystopias (cf. Ottmann 2010).

So far this has remained an assertion. Numerous researchers stated that the systems presented by Huxley and Orwell had totalitarian characteristics or were totalitarian, but there was no connection between totalitarianism research and the dystopias mentioned (cf. Howe 1956: 197; Schmerl 1962: 328; Adorno 1973: 316 ; Thiel 1980: 73; Lange 1982; Courtine and Willett 1986: 69; Saage 1991: 8; Bode 1993: 55; Möll 1998: 370; Bracher 2003: 38; Ballestrem 2004: 216; Hasenbach 2008: 93-94; Ottmann 2010 ; Arnold 2013: 7; Farag 2016: 58; Schölderle 2017: 132). Only Smith (2006) made this reference to the knowledge of the author. In his rather little-noticed article “Beyond Totalitarianism” the researcher took Hannah Arendt's totalitarianism concept, which is considered a “classic” of totalitarianism research and which was first published in 1951, as a theoretical analysis framework and used it to check whether Huxley had actually described a totalitarian state. Mainly due to the finding that Huxley had omitted the terror, he came to the conclusion that it would be "inexact" (Smith 2006: 171) to describe Huxley's world state as totalitarian. Regarding Smith's work, however, it can be said that, in the opinion of the author, the author worked scientifically "unclean" - in the sense that he did not reproduce the elementary performances of Arendt's "essence of totalitarianism" in order to examine them precisely to what extent the totalitarian characteristics according to Arendt manifested themselves in Huxley's work. This is attributed here to the fact that Smith used a concept that is descriptive and does not provide a clear definition of totalitarianism.

This work tries to “circumvent” these difficulties by using a concept of totalitarianism which provides a clear definition of totalitarianism and which is strictly and systematically structured: that of the German-American political scientist Carl J. Friedrich (1957).34 Based on this concept, the research question is to be answered here, whether and to what extent totalitarian features manifested themselves in Huxley's “Brave New World” and Orwell's “1984”. By answering this question, the author claims to close the “gap” in research that was addressed above.

This work is divided into three parts. The first part (Chapter 2) deals with totalitarianism research. First, their development is shown in Chapter 2.1. Then, in Chapter 2.2, Friedrich's concept of totalitarianism is examined. In the second part (Chapter 3) the dystopias are dealt with. First, in Chapter 3.1, essential aspects relating to the utopian or dystopian genre are examined and it is explained which premises are assumed when “literary dystopias” are mentioned. Chapter 3.2 forms the actual investigation. Friedrich's concept of totalitarianism is "applied" to the dystopias of Huxley and Orwell - with the aim of answering the research question. The third part (Chapter 4) presents the conclusion.

2 Research on totalitarianism in the 20th century

The sequence of this chapter was briefly outlined in the introduction, but it makes sense to clarify it at this point. Chapter 2.1 is about tracing the development of totalitarianism research in the 20th century. This means that the changes that have taken place in the research area are outlined and that different perspectives are listed. The tracing of the development is pursued here for the following reasons: Firstly, to explain why it is not possible to speak of “the” totalitarianism theory in an undifferentiated manner (cf. Söllner 1997a: 12). Second, because such a presentation is helpful in order to be able to explain later why Friedrich's concept of totalitarianism is being taken into account here.

The various works are presented in chapter 2.1 in chronological order without evaluation. It should be noted, however, that the transitions are fluid. Occasional overlaps, such as with authors who have published several papers over the years, cannot be avoided. It must also be emphasized that the representation in no way claims to be complete. The attempt to outline the entire complex of totalitarianism research would be futile and would not enrich the research work significantly.5 Accordingly, only some of the most famous works from the 20th century6 listed. At this point, however, it should be noted that numerous (individual) analyzes, for example from Soviet and Nazi research and especially from neighboring social science research disciplines of political science, are inevitably disregarded in the performance.

Chapter 2.2 is given greater weight here because it contains Friedrich's concept of totalitarianism and thus represents the theoretical reference point of the work. The aim here is to work out what Friedrich understood by “totalitarianism”. First of all, in the first part (2.2.1), the essential features that the author viewed as the general characteristics of totalitarianism are examined. It should be emphasized that Friedrich modified theses on totalitarianism and in particular his "catalog of features" several times over the years. However, the claim to illuminate all changes cannot be made here.7 Therefore, only essential modifications are pointed out, primarily with regard to the general characteristics - because in principle these are elementary for the later investigation. Finally, the author dedicates the second part of chapter (2.2.2) to the criticism of Friedrich's concept of totalitarianism. Despite critical reflection on the concept, she explains here why it makes sense to use Friedrich's concept of totalitarianism.

2.1 The development of totalitarianism research in the 20th century

The diverse perspectives in totalitarianism research are presented here, as announced, in chronological order. Merkel's five-phase classification (2004: 185-188) is adopted (purely formally).8

2.1.1 First phase: 1922-1930

The origins of the totalitarianism discussion go back to the 1920s and go back to Italian anti-fascists. The liberal Giovanni Amendola was apparently the one who introduced the term "totalitarian",9 when in 1923 he accused Benito Mussolini of wanting to introduce a "sistema totalitario" (Amendola 1960, quoted here from Petersen 1996: 20), which strives for "absolute and uncontrolled rule" (ibid.). Amendola had no doubt that the totalitarian system of the fascists10 something new. Lelio Basso also saw new characteristics in this (cf. Wippermann 1997: 10). The socialist, who appears to be the first to use the noun "totalitarian", wrote:

“The fascist state [...] denies the existence of independent and opposing movements [...] (He) tries [...] to destroy them relentlessly. [...] All state organs [...] become instruments of a single party, which is about interpreters of the popular will, of indiscriminate totalitarianism. ”(Basso 1925; quoted here from Petersen 1978: 120-121).

The fascists did not reject the allegations, but even admitted them. In doing so, they overlooked the fact that their opponents also used the term “totalitarian” to point out similarities with the Russian communists - which was meant negatively (cf. Wippermann 1997: 10-11). Here too, Amendola started, who declared in 1925 that there were two political conceptions "which threaten to overturn the foundations of modern political life for more than a century, communism and fascism" (Amendola 1951, quoted here in Petersen 1996: 22). This parallelization was also adopted by Luigi Sturzo, who described the “communist dictatorship” as “left-wing fascism” and fascism as a “conservative dictatorship” and “right-wing Bolshevism” (Sturzo 1926: 201-202, 225).

Such comparisons were made across Europe in the 1920s - especially by Social Democrats. In this regard, reference is made to Wippermann (1997: 12-15). However, after a more detailed study of the totalitarianism discussion in the 1920s - compared to here - the author found that during this period parallelism between fascism and communism "was based less on theoretical considerations than on political calculations" (ibid .: 13 ).

2.1.2 Second phase: 1930-1945

For the first empirical comparisons between the communist, 11 The fascist and now also the National Socialist systems of rule only came about in the second phase (cf. Merkel 2004: 185). Initially, the analyzes aimed to determine whether such parallelizations, which in this phase began to become a basic component of the totalitarianism discussion, were even permissible (cf. Wippermann 1997: 18).

The first systematic investigation was evidently carried out by Max Lerner in Minneapolis in 1935, where a conference on modern dictatorships was taking place (see Schlangen 1976: 38-39; Wippermann 1997: 16). The American journalist distinguished between three types of dictatorship: the “constitutional”, the “counterrevolutionary” and a new basic pattern. According to him, the latter was represented by communism and fascism - two systems which he saw in common (cf. Lerner 1968: 30-48). Lerner turned to this third type and developed the stages of its construction. Hans Kohn, also present at the conference, put forward 1935 in his comparative study on the communist and fascist dictatorship12 showed that the two systems had such important affinities that they could be considered two types of modern dictatorships. Kohn (1968: 54) called both systems “mass movement dictatorships” (ibid.) Because, according to him, they could not only rely on terror but also on the masses (cf. ibid .: 49-56).

When the next important scientific conference took place in Philadelphia in November 1939 - now explicitly about the "Totalitarian State" - the question of whether comparisons between Communism and National Socialism were permissible was not up for debate. According to Wippermann (1997: 18) and Vollnhals (2006: 23), the Hitler-Stalin pact signed three months earlier was seen as confirmation of a kinship. Accordingly, the discussion at this conference revolved around the question of whether the dictatorships that had emerged were actually something “new” and whether they could be analyzed with the existing research instruments. The answers to these questions by researchers are not discussed here.13 Instead, some works should be named that stand out from the final phase of this period.

Franz Borkenau's "The Totalitarian Enemy" (1940) should be mentioned here.14 In his comparative work on the dictatorships of Hitler and Stalin, the émigré explained that the two systems had a wealth of things in common: the “Führer principle”, the rule of a classless society, the greatest victims of the civilian population, the suppression of resistance with violence, the Complete subordination of the economy to political considerations, the pressure to expand, the necessity of enemy images and the allegedly identical political systems of the countries (cf. Borkenau 1940: 198-232, quoted here from Enzmann 1996: 187). Borkenau (1940: 11) militantly called for this “totalitarian enemy” to be confronted (here quoted from Wippermann 1997: 19). His writing was quickly overtaken by history when liberal powers allied themselves with a “totalitarian enemy”: the Soviet Union. According to Wippermann (1997: 19) and Vollnhals (2006: 23), the alliance of the anti-Hitler coalition had the consequence, for obvious political reasons, that the comparative analyzes between the communist and the Nazi system immediately disappeared. “The singularizing view of totalitarianism, which was based exclusively on National Socialism, gained the upper hand” (Backes and Jesse 1992: 11).

The works of Ernst Fraenkel's “The Dual State” (1941) and Franz Neumann's “Behemoth” (1942, 1944) - both large-scale studies, which, however, represent individual analyzes because their authors limited themselves to the investigation of the Nazi dictatorship and "Carefully avoided all comparisons with the Soviet Union" (Wippermann 1997: 19).15 Only Sigmund Neumann's “Permanent Revolution” (1942) was an exception among the major studies of the final phase. Although his work was strongly related to Germany, it took a comparative perspective, as the Soviet Union and Italy were also included. In this paper, Sigmund Neumann stated that Stalinism and National Socialism were basically the same systems of rule without any historical model (cf. S. Neumann 1942, quoted here from Ooyen 2014: 164). Assuming fundamental equality, Neumann provided, according to Friedrich (1968a: 179), "the first comprehensive presentation of general problems of the totalitarian dictatorship" (ibid.) And included the promise of economic and social security, the priority of action over program, quasi-democratic justifications, a war psychology and the “Führer principle” together (cf. S. Neumann 1942, quoted here from Vollnhals 2006: 23). However, Neumann's work was not well received. Söllner (1997b: 53) described it as a "forgotten classic".

2.1.3 Third phase: late 1940s-1965

If “classical works” are understood to mean those works that have achieved predominance in the “Champions League” of the field in terms of rankings and citation analyzes and that have an impact over time, then they are on an international level or in the West16 the “classical works” on totalitarianism emerged in the third phase (cf. Bleek and Lietzmann 2005: 11, 15). This period is seen as the “high point” (Merkel 2004: 185) in the emergence of nuanced, analytical concepts of totalitarianism, as well as the phase in which the primary concern was the unique character of totalitarian rule and “the equality of communist rule 17 and National Socialist rule from the point of view of their parallelism ”(Seidel and Jenkner 1968: 2-3).

Almost everywhere and despite the criticism to which it is exposed, the work of Friedrich is regarded in the research literature as the most influential work in totalitarianism research (cf. Stammer 1968: 422; Wippermann 1997: 4; Mampel 2001: 36; Maier 2002: 361; Lietzmann 2005: 185). However, since the entire chapter 2.2 is dedicated to this concept, it will not be discussed here. On the other hand, other works are presented, which apparently also achieved "classic status".

Hannah Arendt's “The Origins of Totalitarianism” (1951) should be mentioned above all others.18 In this work, the émigré dealt with the elements and origins of total domination. 19 For them the origins lay in the "decline and disintegration of the nation state and the anarchic rise of modern mass society" (Arendt 1986: 16). In the first two parts of her work, the author traced back in great detail the elements, namely anti-Semitism and imperialism, which, according to Arendt, were set free in this process of disintegration and which were of fundamental importance for the emergence of totalitarian movements (cf. ibid.). These historical treatises are not discussed here in depth. Only the third part of the work will be dealt with. This part deals with the nature of total domination - but one looks in vain for a clearly formulated concept of totalitarianism.20

In any case, Arendt (1986: 944) stated that she saw “total rule” as an “unprecedented form of government” (ibid.). It is important to bear in mind that for them the German Reich had been totalitarian since 1938 and the Soviet Union since 1930 (cf. Arendt 1986: 16, 867). So your image of the essence of total domination was shaped by these two examples. With regard to these two systems and on the assumption that for Arendt differences between them were “of a purely technical nature” (ibid .: 153), she stated that for the totalitarian movements the seizure of power was only a means to the actual goal “Namely, the constant and all-encompassing domination of every single person” (ibid .: 702). Following the goal of total control of the individual, also “from within” (ibid .: 701), for Arendt total domination is aimed at “organizing all people in their infinite plurality and diversity as if they were all together just one represented only people ”(ibid .: 907).

To ensure this and so that all people can be integrated into the system, total mobilization is necessary. Moreover, total masters would use ideologies. For Arendt, these are primarily characterized by the “claim to a declaration of the world” (Arendt 1986: 964). Total domination pretends not only to be the only one to know reality, but also to be capable of “infallible, omniscient prediction” (ibid .: 740). In order to “translate their ideological fiction into reality” (ibid .: 766) a “total organization” (ibid.) Is necessary. Therefore, total masters would create forms of organization that are of unparalleled originality. For Arendt (1986: 766-767), total organization is only one side of the coin, propaganda is the other.

Before totalitarian movements gain power, they are still forced to use “ordinary” propaganda (cf. Arendt 1986: 729). After the seizure of power, however, this form of government mostly replaced propaganda with indoctrination and strived to use propaganda methods only in their foreign policy. Propaganda, however, always remains an "indispensable component of psychological warfare" (ibid .: 731) and is characterized by a remarkable contempt for facts (cf. ibid .: 742). This contempt and the propaganda method of infallible prediction are closely linked to the claim to total domination for world domination (cf. ibid .: 743).21

The preceding, rough summary describes the nature of totalitarian rule according to Arendt. What is still missing, however, is what the author identified most with totalitarian rule: terror. The very fact that total domination locked people “into the iron bond of terror” with unprecedented violence (ibid .: 958) was for Arendt “the true essence of total domination” (ibid .: 731). The terror, which is essentially exercised by the “executive of the government” (ibid .: 891), the secret police, and which has reached its “perfection” (ibid .: 731) in the concentration camps, will soon be directed against everyone and become that “Specifically total form of government” (ibid .: 727). What is significant is Arendt's assertion that true terror only begins when the political opponent has been defeated (cf. ibid .: 640, 874). It is therefore an end in itself and therefore, among other things, a “terror of a new kind” (ibid .: 634) with which total domination succeeds in realizing its ideological fiction (cf. ibid .: 874).

Arendt's fixation on terror was the main reason why she only viewed the Nazi dictatorship as totalitarian and the Soviet Union only under Stalin (with the interruption of the war years) and why she advised “to use the word 'totalitarian' sparingly and carefully” ( Arendt 1986: 636) (see ibid .: 16, 632, 647). The fact that after Stalin's death the author spoke of a “dismantling of total rule” (ibid .: 647) was ultimately for many evidence that Arendt's concept was “changeable” (Wippermann 1997: 32).

But now briefly to the other “classics”, which, however, received less reception in totalitarianism research than Arendt's and Friedrich's works (cf. Wippermann 1997: 20). We are talking about the historical derivations of totalitarianism22 by Karl Popper, Erwin Faul and Jacob L. Talmon. Karl Popper's "The Open Society and Its Enemies" (1992) is a large-scale work that appeared in two volumes and in which Popper laid down the spiritual roots of totalitarian thought in antiquity - especially on Plato. However, according to Popper, other philosophies such as those of Hegel and Marx also promoted totalitarian systems. Above all, their (supposed) doctrine of the regularity of history (“historicism”) was at the center of Popper's criticism. Erwin Faul, on the other hand, focused exclusively on Machiavelli in his work "Modern Machiavellism" (1961) in order to explain the emergence of totalitarian movements - because for him such movements were nothing more than "exaggerated Machiavellism" (Faul 1961: 13). Finally, in his trilogy “History of Totalitarian Democracy” (1961, 1963, 1981) to explain the emergence of totalitarianism, the Israeli historian Jacob L. Talmon covered a wide arc in the history of ideas - from Rousseau to Saint-Simon to “Totalitarian Polarization in the 20th Century” (Talmon 1981).23

2.1.4 Fourth phase: late 1960s and 1970s

In the fourth phase, the older concepts of totalitarianism - especially those that assumed communism and National Socialism were essentially related - were decisively questioned (cf. Merkel 2004: 187-188). There was talk of a crisis in totalitarianism research (cf. Kielmansegg 1974: 312). The most common allegations made at this stage were the following.

First of all, that “totalitarianism” would always represent a political and instrumentalized term (cf. Merkel 2004: 188). The German political scientist Peter Graf Kielmansegg (1974: 311-312) summarized the exact allegations as follows: In the 1930s, the concept of totalitarianism was to be shaped by the fact that Russian communism, fascism and National Socialism appeared to the western democracies as opponents of their way of life. During the Second World War, due to the alliance with the Soviet Union, people turned exclusively against National Socialism and Fascism. In the late 1940s and 1950s, research on totalitarianism, again emphasizing the relationship between communism and National Socialism, would be influenced by East-West contrasts.

However, according to Kielmansegg (ibid.), The turning point in the 1960s, where the concepts of totalitarianism originating from a kinship were caught in the crossfire, showed that the discussion was still politically motivated, because research in this period was allegedly shaped by the policy of détente. The de-escalation resulted in the claim that it was inadmissible to throw communism in the same "pot" as National Socialism24 - especially after the era of Stalin, since for many the rule in the communist states changed after his death in 1953. This assertion is linked to another accusation - expressed in the fourth phase: that totalitarian rule in the older concepts of totalitarianism remains trapped in a “static view” (Merkel 2004: 188). 25

Taking into account these points of criticism and others, researchers tried in this phase to eliminate the (supposed) analytical weaknesses of the older totalitarian concepts and to design their own. A well-known attempt comes from Kielmansegg, whose concept of totalitarianism became particularly important in Germany. The political scientist presented his concept in 1974, which was based on general, interdependent characteristics of totalitarian systems of rule. According to Kielmansegg (1974: 324), totalitarian rule is ideally typical and with a view to the structures of rule when - roughly summarized - the following combination of characteristics is present:

“Monopolistic concentration of the chances of influencing in a command center; in principle unlimited scope of decisions of the political system and in principle unlimited scope of decisions of the political system and in principle unlimited intensity of sanctions (more precisely: in principle unlimited freedom to impose sanctions) ”(ibid.).

Another respected work from this phase comes from Juan J. Linz (“Totalitarian and Authoritarian Regimes”, 1975). What was innovative about the Spanish political scientist's concept of totalitarianism was that he named criteria by means of which the (he regarded) basic forms of political systems - democracy, totalitarian dictatorship and authoritarian dictatorship - could be distinguished.26 He set the following as standards: the degree of directed political mobilization, the degree of political pluralism and the degree of ideologization. According to Linz (1975, quoted here from Kailitz 2007: 241), totalitarian rule is characterized by mass mobilization, monism and an exclusive ideology.

2.1.5 Fifth phase: after 1989

With the collapse of the communist systems and the renewed deterioration of East-West relations, the term “totalitarianism” experienced a remarkable renaissance (cf. Backes and Jesse 1992: 12; Buchstein 1997: 239). The term, previously taboo in the East, was recognized in the post-communist states as an adequate description of the system of rule that had been overcome, which, according to Fischer (1997: 285), helped it flourish again in the West. In the course of this, the older concepts of totalitarianism (especially those from the second and third phases) were no longer rejected because of their (alleged) political connotation and were examined for their scientific viability (cf. Kailitz 2007: 132).

According to Merkel (2004: 188), the term “totalitarianism” once again became a political catchphrase in this phase. 27 Eastern Europeans in particular applied it “indiscriminately” (ibid.) To various regimes, such as Husak's regime in Czechoslovakia, János Kádar's system in Hungary or, for example, the communist rule of Poland in the 1980s. During this phase, research was also carried out into whether the GDR was totalitarian. Among them, the study by Eckhard Jesse (1994), in which the author devoted himself to the question of whether the GDR was totalitarian or authoritarian in the 1980s, gained importance. Applying the concept of totalitarianism from Linz (1975), Jesse came to the conclusion that the GDR under Walter Ulbricht was totalitarian, but under Erich Honecker it lost this character and developed into an authoritarian system. So the type of rule would have changed. In order to give a concrete answer to the research question, the German researcher introduced a new term: In the 1980s, the GDR was “autonomous” (Jesse 1994: 20-23).

Overall, Chapter 2.1 has made it clear why it is not possible to speak indefinitely of “the” totalitarianism theory. It became clear how dependent the formation of terms and concepts was on the historical circumstances, the growing constellations of politics and the researchers' own political views. In addition, it became apparent that scientists who have dealt with the phenomenon in totalitarianism research (not to mention related fields of research) have focused on different accents - be it the conceptual reconstruction of totalitarianism, its historical roots or its characteristics. It also became clear that researchers determined different characteristics of totalitarian rule - depending on which regime they viewed as totalitarian and vice versa.

On the basis of these findings, the following can now be said: If a research project is about whether and to what extent a (fictional) state can be described as totalitarian, then it is imperative to use a certain concept from totalitarianism research as an analytical framework. As already mentioned several times, Friedrich's concept was chosen here. The next step is therefore to examine your concept in detail.Only after this has been done and only after the criticism has also been listed can it be argued in an understandable way why Friedrich's concept of totalitarianism represents the theoretical framework of this work.

2.2 The classic work of totalitarianism by Carl J. Friedrich

In his long-standing preoccupation with the phenomenon of totalitarianism, Carl J. Friedrich undertook the “modest” attempt “to sketch the general model of the totalitarian dictatorship and the society it created” (Friedrich and Brzezinski 1965) on the basis of generally known and recognized facts : ix). Like Arendt (1986), the political scientist who teaches at Harvard and Heidelberg wanted to research “the essence of the totalitarian dictatorship” (Friedrich 1957: 7).

The definition of the totalitarian states (for him) was not derived from the historical or the history of ideas28 Reconstruction, but first of all through a phenomenological demarcation from autocratic forms of government,29 to which the totalitarian states were assigned a priori and within the framework of which the totalitarian state type was later subjected to a closer examination (cf. Christova 2007).

Friedrich was more precise in his publications on the phenomenon of totalitarianism (Friedrich 1954, 1957, 1964, 1968a, 1968b, 1968c; 1969; Friedrich and Brzezinski 1956, 1965, 1968a, 1968b)30 tries to shed light on the political systems of the “totalitarian dictatorships” - with regard to their dominant structural characteristics. His concept of totalitarianism, which is therefore to be called “structural theory”, he based on three apodictic assertions, which he himself called “hypotheses” (Friedrich 1957: 15). Specifically, since the great totalitarianism conference in Boston in 1953, Friedrich was in favor of “that the totalitarian dictatorship is historically unique and sui generis” (Friedrich 1957: 15) (cf. Friedrich 1954: 47-60). He also claimed in all of the publications mentioned that "totalitarian dictatorships are essentially the same, i.e. that they are more similar to one another than to other systems of state order" (ibid.). Friedrich did not mean - and he emphasized this again and again - that the systems mentioned completely be the same, because there are differences, such as with regard to their intentions or “in what historically precedes them”. 31 Nevertheless, these political systems should be viewed as so essentially similar that they could be contrasted with older autocratic systems (cf. Friedrich 1957: 17). The hypotheses of the uniqueness and essential simile of the totalitarian dictatorships are allegedly linked with one another and linked to a third hypothesis: “That the totalitarian dictatorship as it developed was not wanted by its creators” (Friedrich and Brzezinski 1968a: 601).32

Friedrich (1957: 12) attempted to corroborate these three assumptions in his writings "from the factual material" (ibid.) And the essence of the totalitarian dictatorship with a real-typical procedure - in the Max Weberian sense -33 (cf. Friedrich 1961: 19-20; Lietzmann 1997: 175). It should be emphasized, however, that the author actually focused his interest on the second hypothesis and tried to show why the totalitarian dictatorships were "basically alike" (Friedrich and Brzezinski 1965: 15). He did this by filtering out and illuminating the decisive traits which the totalitarian dictatorships of history supposedly had in common and which would make up the shape of the totalitarian dictatorship (cf. Friedrich and Brzezinski 1968a: 609). These features will now be discussed in detail in the next step.

2.2.1 The general characteristics of totalitarianism according to Carl J. Friedrich

As already mentioned at the beginning of the second chapter, Friedrich has made many changes over the years with regard to his "catalog of features". The general characteristics of totalitarianism (which it viewed) changed from edition to edition, from publication to publication.34 It should also be mentioned, however, that the number of systems of rule that Friedrich identified as totalitarian increased over time. While the author spoke of totalitarian systems of rule only in relation to Italy, Germany and the Soviet Union in the 1953 conference, he also added "a considerable number of satellite states" in the later editions35 (Friedrich and Brzezinski 1968b: 618-634) as well as China, Argentina and Castro's Cuba (cf. Friedrich and Brzezinski 1965: 32, 383-384).36 In addition, Friedrich's phrase about the catalog of characteristics as a “syndrome” (Friedrich and Brzezinski 1968a: 610) is to be regarded as an important development. By introducing this term, according to Lietzmann (1999: 141), he took a decisive step towards a normative concept of totalitarianism, although Friedrich himself always understood it as descriptive (von Beyme 2010: 117). Finally, the following change by Friedrich is significant: the author initially gave each characteristic “exceptional importance” (Lietzmann 1999: 131) - in the sense that each individual characteristic should have a defining character for the totalitarian dictatorship. In the books of 1956 and 1957, however, he admitted that some of the features can also be found in constitutional states (cf. Friedrich 1957: 19). That is why since then it has been said in his publications that only the functional relationship or the combination of the characteristics (listed in each case)37 would determine the totalitarian dictatorship (cf. ibid.).

Without these explanations about Friedrich's modifications being able to claim completeness, 38 should only have become recognizable by the fact that the theoretical foundation is different, depending on which publication Friedrich is used. In order to have a starting point for the later investigation in Chapter 3, a specific publication by Friedrich must be selected. In this work, the German edition of the book about the “Totalitarian Dictatorship” (1957) was made as the basis. First, because this text is the most detailed formulation of Friedrich's concept of totalitarianism and, second, because Friedrich was officially responsible for this book alone.

In the edition of 1957, Friedrich spoke out in favor of the fact that the decisive traits of which it can be said "that they are common to all totalitarian dictatorships and define their shape" (ibid .: 19) are the following six: an ideology, a party, a monopoly of influencing the masses, a terrorist secret police, a weapons monopoly and a centrally controlled economy (cf. Friedrich 1957: 19-20).39 These traits are now to be examined individually. An ideology

The ideology is one of the characteristics that is constantly reflected in Friedrich's publications. The fact that the author - in contrast to the 1956 edition for which Friedrich and Brzezinski were jointly responsible - put the ideology chapter at the beginning of “his” 1957 edition can be seen as an indication that he wanted to secure particular attention to this characteristic (cf. Lietzmann 1999: 162). It should also be noted that Friedrich (1957) found an extremely precise formulation of what he understood by “ideology”. The accuracy and detail of his presentation about it surpasses that of other traits clearly.

Friedrich (1957) initially dealt with the term “ideology” in general and revealed that for him ideologies are systems of ideas that would require a certain course of action (cf. ibid .: 28). He defined the term “ideology” as a “corpus of ideas [...] about how to change and improve an existing society, with a view to a more or less detailed criticism of what is in the existing or dominant society is wrong ”(Friedrich 1957: 27). For Friedrich, whether ideologies contain “true” or “false” statements is not decisive. For him, “mere” ideologies are already committed to their reformism, or at least to reform intentions ”(Lietzmann 1999: 158). From this the specific characterization of totalitarian ideologies could be derived for Friedrich: “A totalitarian ideology would then be one that is aimed at the total destruction and total reconstruction of an existing society and which therefore, typical of the ideology, accepts violence, since it is the only possible means for such a total change in society. To be more precise, one could define that a totalitarian ideology is a reasonably coherent corpus of ideas that starts from a total criticism of the existing society and aims to totally change or rebuild a society ”( Friedrich 1957: 27).

The totalitarian ideology thus differs from the “mere” ideology in that it is connected with a (total) criticism of society, which means that it encompasses all important areas of human life. The differentia specifica of totalitarian ideology is also that it redeems the significant peculiarity of ideologies, the will to change or reform, “totally” (cf. Friedrich 1957: 19). To put it another way, totalitarianism in Friedrich's concept was determined by the scope or radicality of its criticism and the resulting total will to change and revolution. This two-stage development logic of “destruction-reconstruction” was the actual core of Friedrich's concept of ideology40 and the reason why he characterized totalitarian ideology as "essentially utopian" (Friedrich 1957: 22). The use of force is part of the criticism and is the necessary means to bring about the changes - but, as Lietzmann (1999: 162) correctly recognized, it does not necessarily belong to the totalitarianism of ideology.

According to Friedrich (1957: 28), totalitarian ideologies could be grouped in terms of rationality and thus as rational or irrational get ranked. According to the author, the ideology of the Soviet dictatorship is more rational than the ideologies of the dictatorships of Mussolini and Hitler. While the Soviet ideology is based on the scientific results of Marx and Engels, the fascist and national socialist ideologies have “a very personal face determined by the dictatorship” (ibid.). As a further type of typology, Friedrich named that according to the intended purpose or whether it was a universal or particular Ideology act (ibid .: 29). The author argued that the Russian ideology should be viewed as universal because it addressed the proletarians around the world, whereas the ideologies of the fascists and National Socialists should be viewed as particular because they were aimed at a certain people. According to Friedrich (ibid .: 30), world domination is in the extreme case the highest value for the fascists and National Socialists.41 Mostly, they are concerned with “the strength and health of a certain nation” (ibid.).


1 “Research on totalitarianism” is understood here as the field of research in which one deals with the “scientific analysis of totalitarian systems of rule” and “research into sub-areas of totalitarian power complexes” (Stammer 1961: 97). As will be seen later in the work, since the 1930s comparisons and parallelizations between totalitarian systems (especially the Soviet Union under Stalin and the Hitler regime) have been a fundamental part of totalitarianism research.

2 The extent to which the concepts were politically motivated will be examined in the course of this work.

3 It should be noted at this point that the author assigns the concept to Friedrich, but it is the case that his colleague Zbigniew Brzezinski was co-author in several of the author's publications on totalitarianism. This decision is based on the following reasons: First, the edition from 1957 is used in this work, for which Friedrich was solely responsible. Second, Brzezinski distanced himself from the concept over time. Why, becomes visible in the course of the work.

4 There are other reasons for this decision. These are set out in detail in Section 2.2.2.

5 The anthologies by Seidel & Jenkner (1968) and Söllner et al. (1997). Möll (1998) is also recommended, who in a demanding attempt to grasp the diversity of the phenomenon, used concepts from different research fields and classified them systematically, i.e. according to the criterion of interpretation.

6 Respected works after the year 2000 - such as by Merkel (2004) or Tibi (2004) - are therefore completely disregarded. The author advocates the thesis that just as literary works mostly reflect the current situation, scientific works are also products of their time. That is why it makes sense to go into scientific papers from the same century as the “Brave New World” and “1984”.

7 Lietzmann (1999), who devoted his 326-page book primarily to the development of Friedrich's concept of totalitarianism, is suitable for this.

8 At this point, however, the following should be pointed out: As will be seen later, Merkel saw the fifth phase "since 1989" (ibid .: 188), ie from 1989 until the time when he published his work (2004). It should be remembered that the author restricts herself here to research work up to the end of the 20th century.

9 Since the partially parallel usage often causes confusion, it should be noted that the term “total” or “totality” is much older. For more information, see Schlangen (1976: 11).

10 It should be pointed out that while Amendola clearly meant the Italian system of rule under Mussolini by “fascism”, the term has been used by many as a generic term for all extremely nationalist systems of rule since the 1920s - including National Socialism (cf. Linz 2003 : XXVIII). In this work, “Fascism” is understood exclusively as the Italian under Mussolini (1922-1943) as well as under the collaboration regime of the fascist republic of Salò (1943-1945) occupied by the German Reich - to avoid confusion and because the term was used for National Socialism is very controversial.

11 At this point, the term refers to the Soviet system of rule under Josef Stalin.

12 It should be noted that Kohn (1968: 49-63) also meant the Nazi system by “fascist dictatorship”.

13 Paradigmatically, one should refer to Hayes (1960), who advocated the novelty of the new dictatorships.

14 It should be mentioned that two years earlier Erich (i.e. Eric) Voegelin delivered a noteworthy work with “Die Politische Religionen”, where he tried to analyze the character of the political mass movements of fascism, national socialism and communism as collective salvation religions.

15 Both writings have meanwhile advanced to become the "standard literature" of Nazi research.

16 In the (Communist) East, the term “totalitarianism” as well as side-by-side representations between Communism and National Socialism / Fascism were taboo for obvious political reasons.

17 From this point on, it is primarily, but not exclusively, to be understood as the ruling system of the Soviet Union, because the ruling systems of the "Eastern Bloc states" were also examined by researchers from now on with regard to their (supposed) totalitarian character.

18 The author not only names Arendt's work in the first place, she also pays more attention to it. It does this because - as will be seen below - Arendt provided a great historical writing in her writing, but in the third part of her work she also described what a totalitarian rule should be like. Since Arendt's writing is also - apart from Friedrich's work - probably the best-known “classical” work, it makes sense to go into it in more detail.

19 The original edition was published in 1951, but the following statements are based on the German edition from 1986. The original edition was not yet complete.

20 It must be repeated here that Arendt's concept in the third part is descriptive and that there is a subjectively assessable conception of totalitarian rule. Since Arendt did not provide a systematic, unambiguous concept of totalitarianism and because the author cannot undertake a detailed analysis here, no claim to completeness can be made in the following.Even with the inferred properties of totalitarian rule, a certain degree of subjectivity cannot be ruled out by the author.

21 According to Arendt (1986: 743), they reveal "more than any other totalitarian propaganda trick that dominating the globe is the necessary ultimate goal of the totalitarian movement". "Because only in a completely controlled and ruled world can the totalitarian dictator despise all facts, turn all lies into reality and make all prophecies come true" (ibid.).

22 It should be noted that, according to Möll (1998: 174), most of the literature on totalitarianism is devoted to the search for its spiritual origins.

23 With regard to the third period, the following should be stated: If the focus in this chapter were exclusively on Germany, other writings would also have to be dealt with at this point - for example Karl D. Bracher's "The Dissolution of the Weimar Republic" (1957). Martin Draht's “Totalitarianism in the People's Democracy” (1968) and Richard Löwenthal's “Totalitarian and Democratic Revolution” (1960/1961) should also be performed. Since the author had to limit herself to the presentation, she only dealt with those works that gained the greatest importance - also outside of Germany.

24 It was particularly criticized that a parallelization would mean the denial of the singularity of the Holocaust (cf. Wippermann 1997: 83). Those who stuck to the comparisons were also accused of being “cold warriors” or anachronistic contemporaries (cf. Backes and Jesse 1992: 12).

25 It should be noted that this reproach was directed primarily at Friedrich's concept of totalitarianism. The author comes back to this topic in chapter 2.2.2.

26 It should be pointed out here, however, that in later works Linz differentiated between the following modern political forms: democracy, totalitarianism, post-totalitarianism, authoritarian regimes in all their variants and sultanic regimes (cf. Linz 2003: XXXIV).

27 “The term“ totalitarian ”(found) more or less tacitly found its way into the representations of numerous authors [...] without the choice of words always corresponding to an analysis of totalitarian systems of rule” (Backes and Jesse 1992: 13).

28 In contrast to Popper, Faul or Talmon, Friedrich considered it fundamentally inadmissible to single out an alleged representative of any totalitarian aspect and to hold him “responsible” for the emergence of totalitarianism. (cf. Friedrich and Brzezinski 1968a: 193, 605).

29 According to Friedrich (1957: 13-14) there were many types of autocracies, such as monarchical despotism, tyranny in the Greek city-states, their counterparts in the Renaissance and absolute monarchy in the 17th and 18th centuries in Europe. For Friedrich (1957: 14) it is characteristic of all autocracies "that the ruler (Autós) is not responsible to anyone for what he does." this is characterized by the fact that he is responsible to a “hetero” (cf. Friedrich 1957: 14). "Today constitutional democracy has become the predominant type among constitutional states, but one must not forget that in the past there was a constitutional monarchy like aristocracy (Venice)" (ibid.). The differences and similarities between the totalitarian dictatorship and the aforementioned forms of government are not discussed here. In this regard, the author refers to Friedrich (1957: 13-15). However, she emphasizes that Friedrich made very brief and general comments about this and that he turned entirely to the totalitarian form of government in his writings.

30 It should be emphasized here that these were not the only publications by Frederick on totalitarianism. However, since not all writings can be analyzed here, the author refers to Lietzmann (1999), who examined all of Friedrich's publications on the subject.

31 It should be noted here that Friedrich (1957: 17) dealt quite vaguely with differences and did not substantiate his theses. With regard to the alleged different historical genesis of the totalitarian dictatorships, he asserted, without further information, that the fascist movements arose as a response to communism. He stated that there were other differences that he would not list.

32 This third hypothesis was only added by Friedrich and Brzezinski in the 1956 edition. It was linked to the thesis that the totalitarian systems actually “came into being in the course of overcoming a series of crises” (Friedrich 1957: 16).

33 The differentiation between real types and ideal types introduced by Max Weber (1922) can today be described as "a central basis for empirical type formation [...]" (Schmidt-Hertha and Tippelt 2011: 25). Since the author is based on the familiarity of this typology, she does not claim to sketch it in detail and restricts herself to the following rough information: The ideal type represents a conceptual construction or an idealized theoretical model that represents the essential features of a social structure emphasizes and summarizes to an inherently contradicting ideal image, whereby "insignificant" is disregarded. The ideal types determined in this way form methodological aids in theory formation as means of interpretation and explanation, but cannot be found in reality in this “pure” form. The real type, on the other hand, is a type formation based on empirical material or empirically actually existing and identified variations of a phenomenon (Weber 1988, quoted here from Janoska-Bendl 1965).

34 This does not mean, however, that Friedrich repeatedly changed all the characteristics. As will be seen in the following, some traits remained the same.

35 Friedrich meant the Eastern European satellites of the Soviet Union - namely Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. But because Frederick paid very little attention to these states and focused his analyzes on the systems of Italy, Germany and the Soviet Union, it cannot be shown here exactly when he saw these countries as totalitarian. Friedrich only spoke of the time after the Second World War (cf. Friedrich and Brzezinski 1968b: 619). With regard to the satellite states, however, it should be noted that the author referred to the study by Brzezinski "The Soviet Bloc" (1960).

36 The fact that Friedrich used the word “totalitarian” less and less “sparingly” over the years, as Arendt (1986: 636) demanded, should, however, be traced back more to his view of historical and political developments and less to the modifications of his "Catalog of characteristics".

37 Here, however, the following should be noted: With regard to the Soviet Union and Germany, Friedrich (1957: 256) said that they had only assumed a totalitarian character from 1936 - and that although these states had long before the combination of the characteristics of totalitarianism for the author exhibited. It was not until 1936, however, that these states were completely gripped by the spirit of totalitarianism for Friedrich and had developed their totalitarian character (quoted here from Lietzmann 1999: 141). At this point it should be mentioned that Friedrich stated that the point in time at which the totalitarian state arises was “the point at which the leadership is forced to use force openly and without legal pseudo-justification, in order to oppose the internal [. ..] to maintain opposition ”(Friedrich and Brzezinski 1968b: 620). This thesis is remarkable because, as already mentioned, Friedrich actually pleaded that a totalitarian state existed if the combination of essential characteristics was present.

38 The modifications listed above relate to Friedrich's catalog of features in general. In the further course, where the essential features are listed individually, attention is briefly drawn to further changes - this time in relation to the individual essentials.

39 At this point it should be mentioned that Friedrich (1957: 20) does not rule out that other features could also constitute the totalitarian dictatorships. He claimed, however, that the six characteristics mentioned “are generally recognized as characteristics of the totalitarian dictatorship, and not only by Western writers, but also by the totalitarian people themselves” (ibid.).

40 It should be pointed out that Friedrich's concept of ideology thus had a different core than that of Arendt. For him, the logic of development of “destruction-reconstruction” is the central totalitarian characteristic and not the claim to an explanation of the world or the proclaimed infallible ability to predict.

41 Later, however, Friedrich (1957: 92-102) came back to the subject of the will to expand and stated that the total claim to world domination is present in almost all totalitarian movements and is inseparable from their ideology: “(The will to expand) arises from that passion for the unanimity that does not tolerate any disagreement about what the movement has proclaimed as truth and therefore has to submit to the world ”(ibid: 98). At this point the question may arise as to why Friedrich refused to include the will to expand as a feature in his concept - as, for example, Borkenau (1940) and, implicitly, Arendt (1986: 743) did. This is probably because the author did not believe that all totalitarian dictatorships would be expansionist. More precisely, small totalitarian states such as Tito's Yugoslavia supposedly do not have this right. In addition, Friedrich (1968b: 55) considered the inclusion of this feature in his “catalog” to be problematic for the following reason: If such a system were to establish itself worldwide, according to the author, it would lose its nature if it could no longer expand (cf. . ibid.). As will be made clear later, Friedrich did not really believe that a totalitarian system could lose its nature without annihilation by war, so he did not include this feature.

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