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Lecture 2

History 1401E Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Giovanni Amendola, Benito Mussolini, Italian Fascism

Course Code
HIS 1401E
Nicolas Virtue

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Totalitarianism: a centralized and dictatorial system of government requiring subservience to
the state - oxford dictionary
- Not very concise
- L’etat c’est moi
- Louis xvi
History of the term:
- first use in 1923 to describe mussolini's rule in italy
- Giovanni Amendola describes italian fascism as totalitarian
- By 1925 the fascist don't mind the term, it summarizes their political beliefs
- Giovanni Gentile uses this term to go against individualism
- Benito Mussolini “everything in the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the
state” (1925)
- Louis didn't care about people's thoughts as long as taxes and rules were
obeyed, fascism focused on people's beliefs
- Nazi regime did not like the term because they wanted to be seen as unique
- Stalinism did not use it either so not to draw parallels between italy and themselves
Totalitarian model:
- Hannah Arendt wrote a book defining totalitarianism
- Its a modern and original form of government, not just a lust for power
- Movements were driven by an irrational faith in an ideological driven utopia,
made them self-destructive because they would pursue their belief in non
traditional rule
- movements and regimes thrived on chaos to mobilize the masses, want to
impose a sense of order
- All three used a combination of propaganda and terror to transform society to
change the way ordinary people thought and behaved, and stipped people of
thier identity (propaganda told people they were only important in terms of
society, and terror forced people to not use free will)
- Carl friedrich and Zbigniew Brzeziński developed a typology for totalitarianism regimes
(6 main points):
- Extraordinary powers of the leader
- Regimes were highly dependant on personality of the leaders
- Exclusionist ideology
- Central part
- Directly excludes certain groups from society
- Class, race, gender, sexuality
- Single mass party
- Helps situate concept in a modern framework
- Offered common form of organization
- Secret police utilizing terror
- Monopoly of communications and education
- Determination to change basic social values
- Transforming people's beliefs and thought control
- Some think of it as a cultural revolution
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