Onglets principaux

MOORHOUSE Roger - Totalitarian Ideologies and Dictatorships in Twentieth-Century Europe (20h)

The emergence of totalitarianism – the ideology of state control of every aspect of the individual’s life – is one of the hallmarks of the early twentieth century in Europe.  Although it reached its fullest expression in Nazi Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union, the totalitarian idea was first formulated in Mussolini’s Italy; where it was summarized as “Everything within the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State”.

This course will explore the ideological origins of totalitarianism, and examine its development as practised by its primary exponents – Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.  It will analyse the main pillars upon which the totalitarian state rested: propaganda and the state control of the media, the political primacy of “the Party”, the use of coercion and terror against opponents, the harnessed economy and the importance of the charismatic ‘leader’ – as well as the limits of its ambition.  Additional themes will include the various human responses to the totalitarian state – from enthusiastic acceptance to ‘internal migration’ and active opposition – as well as the importance of positive appeals – the idea of the Volksgemeinschaft, or of the Italian free-time organisation Dopolavoro – and of the significance of an all-embracing, ‘progressive’ ideological framework. The course will emphasize contrasts as well as similarities between these three dictatorships, and culminate in an examination of the topic’s complex and not uncontroversial historiography. // ECTS Card

Professor: Roger MOORHOUSE