Europeans thought that they were progressing, at a high point in civilization (zenith). There was a
pretention that we were bettering the world, ex) the Titanic, the Eiffel Tower.
Totalitarians justified their actions by reasoning that they in fact were progressing and leading towards a
future of utopia.
Congress of Vienna (1815) ended the war of 1812 – started a century of peace.
Crimean war (1850s, three years, claims 400 000 lives)
Franco-Prussian war (1870-1871, 140 000 lives, property that fuels ww2 stems from here “lands taken”)
this is peaceful compared to future.
WW1 – 9 million people die (about 5 million civilians)
WW2 – 40 million people die (most are civilians)
There is a difference in how war is fought – why are civilians a primary target in ww2?
Totalitarianism – why is the term controversial?
Historical regimes are different – not one thing
Label is used loosely – thrown around presently but means something different in history
Take the typology of totalitarianism as stated in your textbook and apply it to the regimes we
Mussolini centralizes the power, takes away common, basic rights. Not all dictatorships are totalitarian.
Way of governing
Uses force or terror
Takes rights or freedoms
To achieve national prosperity
Ruled by a small group of individuals (elite)
Controls every aspect of life (attempted)
Louis the 14th – autocratic, absolute monarch, absolutism, divine right – well before Mussolini, Hitler,
Everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state – Benito Mussolini
Rulers had very little control (superficial only) over the population. There is something different about
the 20th century. Some people could go their whole lives without ever seeing the monarch. They
believed in him, were patriotic and would pray for him but he never participated in their lives. The
government begins to creep more and more into peoples’ lives. There were spheres of peoples’ lives
that Louis, for example would never get into (or care to get into).