At the beginning of the 20th century, political regimes appeared in the USSR, Germany, Italy, Spain, some countries of Eastern Europe, and even Asia, which had similar signs of a totalitarian regime. After promising an end to the past and a bright future, these regimes actually introduced terror, repression and war into their countries.
Totalitarianism is a complex, multifaceted, diverse phenomenon that cannot be put into a simple enumeration of its features, no matter how extensive it may be. Especially since the totalitarian regime has undergone a certain evolution over several decades of its existence, adapting to new social organisms like an inveterate disease-causing microbe.
The majority of people grew up under totalitarianism, so it is still difficult for us to see in the conditions of our lives, the usual way of recent political existence, the harsh features of totalitarianism, which are similar to the fascist systems of Germany, Italy, Spain, and modern Russia, the aggressor country against Ukraine. Life shows that the totalitarian system cannot be changed, only destroyed.
Conditions for the emergence of totalitarianism
The conditions for establishing totalitarianism in different countries are similar. These are:
1. Poverty of the main population. Rich and developed countries are not totalitarian.
2. The general idea of danger that unites the people.
3. Society's dependence on life (natural resources, water, food).
All the conditions and situations of the emergence of totalitarian states mentioned here were present to a greater or lesser extent both in the Soviet Union and in fascist Germany. Both in the USSR and in Germany (with various changes and amendments for the era) there was a low level of consumption and low demands of the vast majority of the population. Both in the USSR and in Germany, people could be united by external danger and hostility coming from Europe. Both the USSR and Germany came out of the revolution, the USSR to some extent continued to remain a revolutionary country, even during the period of Stalinist repressions. Both nations were inspired by a common idea (the German – the idea of revenge, the Soviet – the reconstruction of its society, which would set an example for other nations, as well as the idea of victory in the future war). All these were the conditions that led to the establishment of totalitarianism.
Features of modern totalitarianism
A totalitarian regime not only takes control of state administration and the apparatus of violence, but also the thoughts and souls of ordinary people. Propaganda in the system of coercion plays a significant role, totalitarianism in the form of propaganda affects people's thoughts and feelings, instills a totalitarian consciousness in people.
Under a totalitarian regime, the role of the church is important. The church is an older institution than political parties and has a great influence on society. The church has strong traditions, it stands between the person and the state, and it was the church that did not allow totalitarianism to completely take over an individual personality. In those countries where the church was strong and stood on its positions (Italy, Spain), the consequences of totalitarianism were not as sad as where the church was pushed aside by the ruling power (Germany). People can observe all these features and conditions in the Russian Federation.
Over time, the totalitarian regime begins to rot from the inside. At first, individuals opposed to the regime emerge from the ranks of the political elite. Dissidents are alienated from the regime, then broad sections of the population. The crown of the destruction of totalitarianism is to give up strict control over the economy. Totalitarianism is replaced by authoritarianism.
Under totalitarianism, one center of power with a single leader seeks to put all aspects of society under control in the name of achieving a common goal. In this, everything individual is subordinated to the general. The experience of history has shown that the system of power, which is built on the fact that a single ideology prevails, as well as political institutions corresponding to the structure, cannot adapt to changes in complex societies. It is an internally closed totalitarian system that operates according to the laws of self-isolation.
Problems of totalitarianism
In the world, totalitarianism is unable to ensure either the development of market relations, or the combination of forms of ownership, or the support of entrepreneurship and the economic initiative of citizens. This is a politically non-competitive system of government.
In the case of the modern world, its internal sources of decomposition are connected with the collapse of economic priorities and social foundations of self-preservation. A totalitarian regime does not need to raise the social status, for example, of the intelligentsia, because it acts only by mobilization methods. The tension that has developed in these societies, uncertainty about the future, fear of the repressive apparatus weakens the support of this regime, it does not have the ability to find the right answers to the challenges of the time.
Fear and terror cannot always haunt people. The loosening of repression leads to the growth of oppositional sentiments in society, rejection and indifference to the official ideology, lack of loyalty. With a certain commitment to the dominant ideology, people begin to live by double standards. Dissidents appear, whose oppositional ideas are gradually spreading to the masses and are aimed at undermining the monopoly ideology of the ruling party.
Therefore, only a democratic form of government can guarantee the protection of citizens from state arbitrariness. Democracy really creates the best opportunities for individual and social development, the realization of humanistic values: freedom, equality, justice, social creativity for those peoples who are ready for individual freedom and responsibility, limiting their own selfishness, respect for the law and human rights.