The Rise of Authoritarian Governments

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Austin Lutchmansingh DBQ Essay 2/17/12 PD5

During the interwar period (1919-1939), many new authoritarian governments began to spring up and gain lots of popularity. For example, Hitler’s Nazi Germany, Mussolini’s fascist Italy and Stalin’s communist Russia. People became dissatisfied with their democratic governments because their countries had lost recent wars and because their country’s economies were falling apart. They felt as if their government had failed them so they turned to new totalitarian governments. All three of these governments helped their countries “bounce back” economically and militarily so people were more willing to have their individual freedom’s taken away for the good of the state. This motivated authoritarian governments to take control and “redeem” their countries for past embarrassments.

For instance, Document 1 talks about the gruesome scenes of violence from World War I like “Twelve million bodies cover the gruesome scenes of imperialistic crime. The flower of youth and the best man power of the peoples have been mowed down.” These German revoultionaries talk about some of the horrors of World War I. This is one of the reasons that people in places like Germany, Italy, and Russia tuned to new governments. It was because they felt that their old government wasn’t doing its job well enough. The new governments were promising people peace and order which is what people wanted after the mess of war that had just taken place. However, this is not what the new totalitarian governments actually gave their people. According to the French philosopher, Paul Valery in Document 2, the war disturbed the economy, the life of the individual but it most importantly; it hurt the minds of people: “The mind indeed has...
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