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Totalitarianism

  • Course: History 3328
  • School: Langara College
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Totalitarian is stated as a political authority widely used to describe the kind of state and society engineered by Joseph Stalin. Historians on Soviet politics recognize the two theories focused on the totalitarian model. Basically, there are two totalitarian models- “an operational one that tried to describe the existing Soviet society and a developmental one that focused on the origins of totalitarianism and on the responsibility of Marxism-Leninsism for Stalinism.”1 According to Marxist theory, only through a modern industrialized economy could a true proletariat class be developed, as Marx makes no mention of a peasant class. Marxist theory aside, the need to industrialize was also a pragmatic matter of self-defense that was rooted on ideology; in a sense, it called for a totalitarian authority to successfully pull off the grandiose project.2 This paper argues that while there is much discussion about the heavy industrialization and rapid collectivization done during Stalin’s reign, there is evident indications that it was during this time that Soviet Union truly became a totalitarian state. In a totalitarian authority, there is an evident indication of a dominant leader and a one-party state. There is also the presence of brutal crushing of internal opposition. “The state not only monopolized the instrumentalities of coercion but also dominated the means of mass communication;”3 totalitarianism allows “no challenge to the single official ideology.”4 Those who actually publicly oppose the leader are then faced with brutal suppression. The period during Stalin’s reign was perhaps the most transformative period of Soviet history. He consolidated his grip on power and used this to actively transform the culture and economic policies of the time. It was during industrialization that the Soviet Union became truly totalitarian. Industrialization was the key element of Stalin’s revolution. Rejecting the prior Bolshevik conviction with the bourgeois...