4 November 2012
The Origins of Totalitarianism Book Report
Note to TA: I downloaded the book onto my iPad and got the digital copy, so the page numbers might possibly be different from that of the paperback. “Totalitarian movements are mass organizations of atomized, isolated individuals.” (Chapter 10, page 547) “It was recognized early and has frequently been asserted that in totalitarian countries propaganda and terror present two sides of the same coin.” (Chapter 11, page 573) “Totalitarian propaganda raised ideological scientificality and its technique of making statements in the form of predictions to a height of efficiency of method and absurdity of content because, demagogically speaking, there is hardly a better way to avoid discussion than by releasing an argument than from the control of the present and by saying that only the future can reveal its merits.”(Chapter 11, page 579) “The most efficient fiction of Nazi propaganda was the story of a Jewish world conspiracy.”(Chapter 11, 591) “The true goal of totalitarian propaganda is not persuasion but organization – the ‘accumulation of power without the possession of the means of violence.’ ”(Chapter 11, page 600) “The Leader’s absolute monopoly of power and authority is most conspicuous in the relationship between him and his chief of police, who in a totalitarian country occupies the most powerful public position.”(Chapter 12, page 659)
Totalitarian movements are mass organizations of atomized, isolated individuals To start off, I will elaborate the context behind the first quote about “atomized, isolated individuals.” I believe that the statement resembles the state of an atomized mass that Bolshevik rulers created in Soviet society, where social and family ties had to be destroyed in order to isolate the individuals. “The purges are conducted in such a way as to threaten with the same fate the defendant and all his ordinary relations,” causing strains...