"The Origins of Totalitarianism"
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This paper examines a chapter from Hannah Arendt's "The Origins of Totalitarianism" in which she theorizes about the composition of and relevance of the masses in totalitarian regimes. It looks at how her definition of 'masses' does not include specific classes or citizens, but incorporates the section of the population that does not belong to a class or any other kind of social group. It also discusses how many of the first critiques of the book, first published post World War II, were negative and how more recent texts have seen Arendt's work in its historic context, i.e. as an important piece of post war, totalitarianism historiography.
From the Paper:"A Classless Society appears in the third section of the Origins entitled Totalitarianism. In this chapter, Arendt theorizes about the masses - the people who followed Hitler and Stalin unquestioningly. The masses are politically indifferent or disillusioned men, who had become isolated due to the disintegration of the class system, who did not belong to any professional or social organizations, and who had become atomized, lonely individuals. Arendt claims that this atomization occurred 'naturally' in Germany but that in Russia, Stalin created an atomized society 'by the skillful use of repeated purges' that eliminated social groups who appeared to be stable and therefore threatening to his regime. As Canovan points out, this suggests that while certain
'natural' circumstances led Hitler to totalitarianism, Stalin deliberately anticipated totalitarianism, or perhaps he was merely fulfilling his (Hegelian) historic role."
Cite this Essay:
"The Origins of Totalitarianism" (2006, January 08) Retrieved May 23, 2022, from https://www.academon.com/essay/the-origins-of-totalitarianism-63208/
""The Origins of Totalitarianism"" 08 January 2006. Web. 23 May. 2022. <https://www.academon.com/essay/the-origins-of-totalitarianism-63208/>