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The Rise of
Totalitarianism
Rise of Totalitarianism Activity
Step 1: Once you have received your assigned reading,
review the reading silently.
Step 2: Reread the assigned reading out loud as a
group. Be sure that every group member reads at
least one paragraph aloud. Answer the following
questions below when you have finished reading:
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–
–
–
–
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Who is the leader of the totalitarian regime?
What is the name of the party?
What are the party’s/leader’s major beliefs?
Why did citizens support these regimes?
What tactics did they use to gain power?
What tactics did they use to maintain power?
EQ: 11/20
• EQ: Do you believe that people take
advantage of the government's
willingness to help individuals? How
does that make you feel? What
specifically should be done to curb
the abuse?
Totalitarianism
• Government by a dictator
who demands absolute
loyalty to the authority of
the state
• Methods used:
– One political party
– State control of the
economy
– Use of secret police to
enforce state policy
– Strict censorship of media
– Use of propaganda
– Unquestioning obedience
Vladimir Lenin
• First Leader of the U.S.S.R
• Leader of the Bolshevik
Revolution
• One-party Socialist state
– Everything belongs to
government
• Admirers view him as a
champion of working
people's rights and welfare
• Critics see him as
totalitarian and founder of
civil war and human rights
abuse
The Soviet
Union
Stalin Replaces Lenin
• After the USSR began
experiencing serious
economic problems, Lenin
had begun backing away
from full communism
• When Lenin died suddenly
in 1924, however, Josef
Stalin won a power
struggle to replace him as
leader of the state and
returned the Soviets to
communism
Stalin Quotes
• “The people who cast the votes don't decide
an election, the people who count the votes
do.”
• “I trust no one, not even myself.”
• “In the Soviet army it takes more courage to
retreat than advance.”
• “Ideas are more powerful than guns. We
would not let our enemies have guns, why
should we let them have ideas.”
Stalin’s Five-Year Plans
• In order to industrialize,
Stalin set aggressive shortterm quotas for factory
production
• Those who met their goals
were rewarded, while those
who fell short were harshly
punished
• The end result was a focus
on quantity over quality,
leading to the ability to
manufacture large numbers
of low-quality goods
Farm Collectivization
• Stalin forced all farmers to
surrender their land and
livestock to the state
• Unhappy peasants resisted
by killing their livestock and
burning crops
• Stalin responded with force,
sending tens-of-thousands
of peasants to gulags (labor
camps) in Siberia or even
just having entire villages
executed for treason
The Great Purge
• 1934-1938
• Stalin eliminated anyone
whom he considered a
threat to his personal
power, including
Communist Party officials,
military leaders, and
government bureaucrats
• In total, over 4 million
“enemies of the state”
were purged through
either execution or exile
to the gulags
Stalin the Dictator
• Established the KGB (secret
police force) to eliminate
political dissidents
• Used propaganda to give his
people a false impression of
Soviet “successes” and
Western “failures”
• Attacked the Russian
Orthodox Church by seizing
church property, destroying
churches, and arresting and
exiling priests
• Eliminated millions of ethnic
“undesirables”
Why Did Anyone Support Stalin?
• Loyal Communist Party
officials received special
benefits like better
housing, easier access
to goods
• Everyone received free
education, free medical
care, free child care,
and cheap housing
• Women were treated as
absolute equals
Italy
Post-WWI Problems
• Italy was dissatisfied
with the Treaty of
Versailles because prewar promises of
territory were not kept
• War veterans found
little work and a poor
economy
• Communist, socialist,
and anarchist radicals
plotted revolution
Fascism
• Form of totalitarianism
• Extreme nationalism
which glorifies the
military, discipline, and
loyal service to the state
• Rejects democracy
because of the “self
before state” mindset
that can lead to
corruption
Benito Mussolini
• 1883 – 1945
• Created the Fascist
Party in 1919 with the
goal of recreating the
Roman Empire
• By 1922, he had enough
political influence to
coerce the king into
naming him prime
minister
Quotes by Mussolini
• “Democracy is beautiful in theory; in practice
it is a fallacy. You in America will see that
some day.”
• “Let us have a dagger between our teeth, a
bomb in our hands, and an infinite scorn in our
hearts.”
• “The history of saints is mainly the history of
insane people.”
Black Shirts
• Most loyal supporters
of Mussolini
• Used violent tactics
• Mussolini used the
Black Shirts to
suppress his rivals,
censor the press, rig
elections, and murder
his critics
Gender Roles
• Men: become warriors for
Italy (either through
military service or
through factory or farm
production) under the
Fascists’ “Believe! Obey!
Fight!” motto
• Women: stay home and
have babies – women
who had 14 or more
children were rewarded
as heroes of the state
Young Fascists
• Boys were encouraged
to join the Young
Fascists where they
were taught military
discipline, the glory of
ancient Rome, and how
to obey without
question
• Followed the official
motto “Mussolini is
always right!”
Germany
Post-WWI Problems
• Germany was VERY
unhappy with the terms of
the Treaty of Versailles,
which had led the country
into a deep economic
recession and massive debt
• The new “Weimar”
government was too weak
to fix problems, stand up to
foreign pressures, or
suppress political unrest
from socialists, communists,
and anarchists
Economic Woes
• To pay its debts,
Germany simply printed
more money, making
their currency worthless
• Massive inflation
caused prices to soar
• The US provided aid,
but then the Great
Depression struck
Nazism
• The National Socialist
German Workers’
Party
• Form of fascism that
focused on racism,
anti-Semitism, and the
superiority of the
Aryan “master race”
of pure Germans
Adolf Hitler
• 1889 – 1945
• WWI veteran, high school
dropout, and Austrian
immigrant who quickly
rose to leadership of the
disorganized Nazi Party in
1920
• Built his power by
creating squads of “storm
troopers” to spread Nazi
ideals through
propaganda and
intimidation
The Beer Hall Putsch
• In 1923, Hitler tried to
seize power by
launching a rebellion in
the German city of
Munich
• The revolt failed and
Hitler was sent to
prison for treason, but
ended up serving less
than a year
Mein Kampf
• While in prison, Hitler
wrote and published
Mein Kampf (My
Struggle)
• The book laid out his
personal belief in the
superiority of the German
race and presented
arguments for the
elimination of “inferior”
races, especially the Jews
Hitler’s Rise to Power
• Once released from
prison, Hitler rebuilt the
Nazi Party and carefully
consolidated his power
through the effective
use of propaganda and
his personal charisma
and speaking ability
• In 1933, he was elected
as chancellor of
Germany
Hitler as Dictator
• Once in power, Hitler
suspended most civil
rights, and abolished all
rival political parties
• Hitler established the
Gestapo (secret police)
to root out his enemies
• Hitler also began
rebuilding Germany’s
military, in violation of
the Treaty of Versailles
Nazi Purification
• Changed all school curricula
to reflect their ideals
• Created a Hitler Youth
program similar to Italy’s
• Banned modern art, jazz,
and other “impure” art
forms
• Promoted book burnings for
blacklisted books
• Closed all Catholic schools
and churches and combined
all Protestant sects into one
state-approved church
The Nuremberg Laws
• Passed in 1935 to place
severe restrictions on
Jews
– Legally defined Jews as a
“race” rather than religion
– Prohibited marriage or sex
between Jews and nonJews
– Denied Jews protection as
citizens
– Jews could not serve in
government, hold jobs in
law, medicine, or teaching
Kristallnacht
• After the murder of a Nazi
official by a Jew who was
angry over the
Nuremberg Laws, Hitler
ordered the Gestapo to
instigate mob violence
against Jewish businesses,
synagogues, and
neighborhoods
• On the “Night of Broken
Glass” (Nov. 9, 1938), 91
Jews were killed,
thousands of businesses
looted, and over 200
synagogues destroyed
Concentration Camps
• Nazis began detaining
enemies of the state,
including Jews, as early
as 1933
• As Nazi power grew,
more and more people
were sent to the camps,
with prisoners
eventually numbering in
the millions
China and Japan
Chinese Turmoil
• In 1925, Chinese
president Sun Yixian
died and leadership of
China passed to General
Chiang Kai-shek
• Chiang immediately
found himself forced to
deal with the growing
Communist Party in
China
Chinese Civil War
• 1927 – 1949
• Nationalist Chinese, led
by Chiang faced off in a
bloody war against the
Communists, led by
Mao Zedong
• Communists won the
popular support of the
peasants, but Chiang
controlled China’s
wealth and the military
The Manchuria Incident
• Japanese industry needed
more natural resources, so
elements within the military
high command decided to
take advantage of Chinese
disorder and fake an attack
on Japanese troops in Korea
by the Chinese
• This fake attack tricked the
Japanese Diet (legislature)
into approving military
action against China
Japan Invades
• In 1931 Japan seized the
Chinese province of
Manchuria
• By 1937, Japan had also
taken the Chinese capital
of Beijing
• Nationalists and
Communists both fought
against the Japanese
occupation, but found it
almost impossible to root
them out of Chinese
territory
Rape of Nanjing
• Japanese violence in China
peaked in December 1937
with the slaughter of over
200,000 Chinese civilians in
the city of Nanjing
• The city had refused to
surrender to the Japanese,
trying unsuccessfully to
defend itself, thereby
infuriating the Japanese
High Command who then
turned their troops lose to
rape and pillage the city
Japan Condemned
• Japan’s invasion of
Manchuria was
condemned by the
League of Nations
• In response, Japan quit
the League
• The League’s failure to
take any real action
made it appear weak
and ineffective
Japanese Militarism
• Japan’s military pressured
the Diet to pursue further
expansion
• After the mysterious deaths
of some vocally antiwar
politicians, fears grew that
the military would
overthrow government if
they did not get what they
wanted, so the Diet caved
• Japan then signed military
alliances with Germany &
Italy