You are on page 1of 11

TOTALITARIANISM

WHAT CONSTRITUTES AN AUTHORITARIAN OR SINGLE-PARTY STATE? Only one legal political party A leader often chosen by/from the military following a coup A leader or group who controls the state even though there may, in theory, be other parties FOLLOWING CHARACTERISTICS: Little or no freedom of speech No freedom of assembly No freedom of movement No freedom to travel abroad No independent judicial system All sources of information are censored Any opposition to the regime is harshly punished A leader whose popularity is reinforced by a personality cult 5 MAIN ASPECTS GENERAL TO ANY TOTALITARIANS STATE 1. A distinctive utopian all-embracing ideology which both dominates and attempts to restructure all aspects of society 2. A political system headed by an all-powerful leader, around whom a deliberate cult of personality is create, and in which party, parliament and the state are under control of the leader 3. The deliberate use of censorship and propaganda aimed at controlling all aspects of culture and at indoctrinating (and at time mobilizing) all sections of society, especially the young 4. A systematic use of coercion and terror to ensure total compliance on the part of the people, with all decisions made by the leader and the regime 5. The establishment of absolute state control and co-ordination of the economy, which is subordinated to the political objectives of the political regime

MUSSOLINI
RISE TO POWER LONG-TERM WEAKNESSES OF ITALIAN STATE Process of unification had been largely artificial; only minority of Italians had developed national consciousness Superficial unity, little security Divide between North and South South rural/agricultural North more industrialized, richer Political problems (Constitutional Monarchy) Liberal Regime Mass of Italians had no involvement or interest in the political system prior 1912 Liberal Italy government had reputation of corruption and pursuing narrow class interests Transformismo: welding together large and unlikely coalitions in support of ministries by granting favours to individuals in order to improve own prospects; legislative success but unable to solve political and economic problems Short lived coalition governments dominated politics (unstable) Enemies of Italian democracy Catholic Church: Pope instructed Catholics to boycott election Socialists/anarchists, early communist party Resurgent Nationalism: irredentism: Italian unification = incomplete IMPACT OF WW1 Deepened divide North vs south Church vs state Rich vs poor Economic problems War debts Problems of reconstruction Lira devalued, prices rose 50% Rising unemployment (soldiers returned from war) Intensified North - South divide Mutilated victory Paris Peace Conference, Italy not given all the land she wanted (Dalmatia, Fiume) People wished for a powerful government to strike back POLTICIAL INSTABILITY (1919-1922) Government lost support following the war, Orlando resigned Giolottis reforms: too little too late (gain mass support, keep elites happy, reconcile opposition) Transformismo broke down in new political conditions DAnnunzio took control of Fiume; government didnt stop him Peasants returned from war; took back land from landowners 1919: universal sufferage, and proportional representation introduced, series of weak coalition governments follow; weak and unstable 1920: worker strikes/riots; persuaded to stop by promise for higher wages 2

Events and fear of revolution preoccupied opponents of socialism - feared Bolshevik revolution as in Russia (1919-1922 wave of strikes and land occupations common in Italy, workers occupied factories, peasants took land without compensation) PSI socialist party believed that Italy will rise in revolution, government seemed unable to deal with these threats

APPEAL AND GROWTH OF FASCISM 1919: Began with little support: election disaster, 0 seats, 1920: change of Fascist program, embraced big businesses, the church, landowners, monarchy, farmers, ex-soldiers Fascism no real definition, a mix of ideologies Hopes for revolutionary change to Italys political and economic problems Syndicalism, corporate state Futurism - Italy as a world power need for action Nationalistic upsurge; desire for strong government Fear of socialism threat of communism Middle class and landowners wanting protection from workers and peasants Growth of Ras (local fascist organizations) Local fascist parties, often in agricultural areas Took over local government Black shirts control jobs and unemployment Fascist bosses supported by landowners whose greatest fear was collectivization or nationalization Fascist squad violence Government was unable to controls strikes and violence Big business turned to squadristi for protection from leftists Socialist offices burnt, meetings broken up, leaders beat up Fights against mob leftists; tortures Police usually turned a blind eye because they also hated socialists Political acceptability Mussolini justified violence as necessary; but from 1920 tried to develop more respectable image New program, not revolutionary Personal appearance: suits, not military fatigues, etc. Election 1921: Giolotti invites M to campaign with him, 35 seats (7%) gives stamp of respectability and foothold in parliament Italy slides into chaos Mussolini emerges as the only person able to deal with the collapse Big businesses, middle class, Church, and Monarchy believe Mussolinis promises will protect them from socialism and will be a strong leadership Mussolini manages to keep loyalty of the Ras With Mussolini as leader, Fascists could be represented as a national movement with a new vision for Italy Italians new change was necessary: choice was either Fascism or Communism 27th March 1922 March on Rome: With Italy becoming more unsettled Mussolini used each opportunity to put Fascism forward as the party of order and action 1922: called supporters to March on Rome to seize power, all over Italy black shirts began to gather (40,000 people around Rome) 3

King Victor Emmanuel was afraid civil war would break out so he asked Mussolini to come from Milan to be Prime Minister March was not really a march, Mussolini did always boast of it though 5 REASONS FOR THE SUCCESFUL ESTABLISHMENT OF MUSSOLINIS DICTATORSHIP 1. Seduced different conservative groups (mostly because they all hated socialism) Confindustria and landowners (economic policies suited them) Church (offered financial help and policies to support Catholic Church) King (feared civil war if Fascism was denied power) Army (was unwilling to suppress Fascism by force) 2. Potential opposition groups were badly divided The left was divided into three parties, Communist Party, moderate Socialist party, Socialist party (PSI) The Roman Catholic Popular Party (right wing members preferred Fascism to socialism, left wing sympathies with workers and peasants against Fascism) The Liberals (were ineffective, preferred Mussolini to more radical followers) 3. Fascism was popular with the middle class Little support for institutions that Fascism was destroying Mussolini appeared to be a strong leader Only Fascism seemed capable of making Italy strong abroad 4. Fascist violence intimidated and disoriented political opponents Threatened, beaten up or killed opponents Regular attacks and distruptions 5. Mussolini displayed considerable opportunist political skills Propaganda Kept everyone happy Timely concessions to the establishment (abandom his original socialist aims 1920, decision to enter parliament 1921, willingness to join with Giolotti, Using threat of squad violence to pressure elites (March on Rome) ESTABLISHMENT OF DICTATORSHIP The King remained the head of state, but with Mussolini Italy moved gradually towards dictatorship (not to the same extent as Hitler) Strengthening of position 1922-1924 by: Excluding Socialists from coalition Continuing to attract members (weakening opponents at the same time) Violence against political opponents continued The fact that the Vatican was becoming increasingly pro-Fascist Lack of unity amongst opponents July 1923: Acerbo Law, state that the party of coalition which won an election was to be automatically awarded 2/3 of the seats in parliament (made strong government possible) Winning the April 1924 eletion with 374 out of 535 seats in parliament Use of electoral fraud in the south of Italy (to ensure Fascist victory) June 1924: Matteotti murder Murder of a critic of the Fascists Created anti-Fascist backlash 4

Extreme elements of the Fascist party demanded that Mussolini move towards dictatorship Move towards dictatorship December 25 1924: a law passed complete power in Mussolinis hands and introduced several repressive measures: Political parties banned Trade unions banned Free press ended through takeover of Fascism or censorship Elected local officials were replaced by officials appointed by central government Increased power of arrest and detention without trial Scope of death penalty widended to include action against authorities Setting up of special court to deal with political crimes Creation of special police force OVRA These strengthened Mussolini and the state rather than the Fascists

A TOTALITARIAN STATE? ARGUMENTS AGAINST TOTALITARIANISM The Fascists compromised with non-Fascist interest groups; Church, Monarchy, etc. Mussolini could be dismissed by the King The Church still had considerable influence in sectors such as education (unlike Hitler) Fascism had little influence in the South and despite Fascist propaganda the South remained under Church and powerful landowners influences ARGUMENTS FOR TOTALITARIANISM Italians had to conform to Fascist expectations (enforced by secret police and milita) Public employees had to swear an oath of loyalty to the regime Youth movements ad considerable influence A Mussolini Cult developed In 1938 racial laws enacted, mainly against Jews. There was little persecution until wartime at the urging of Hitler

HITLER
RISE TO POWER WEIMAR PERIOD 1918-1929 After the war Kaiser abdicated November 1918 New German republic declared by Scheidenmann Declaration not planned, no king, parliamentary system Atmosphere of continual strikes, demonstrations and revolutions when Weimar was formed Armed volunteers, free corps appointed to defend provisional government Most right wing ex-soldiers (loyalty was questionable) President had broad powers To suspend constitution in case of a state of emergency and rule by degree (Article 48) Two houses: Reichstrat; no real power Reichstag; real authority, chancellors and ministers answered to it Had fatal flaw: provided proportional representation in the parliament. It created a parliament composed of many political parties and no party had the majority Allowed many small anti-republic parties (Nazis) a place in deciding Germanys law and legislation Many extreme lefts and extreme rights that were against Weimar Much of the public opposed the idea of Weimar Republic and openly denied the regime support LONG TERM POLITICAL PROBLEMS IN GERMANY The republic was handicapped because of its association with the hated Versailles Treaty National hostility towards Republic shown in Kapp Putsch (1920) An attempt to overthrow the government with armed forces First challenge from extreme right Provoked by government order to dismantle free corps Free corps troops entered Berlin and proclaimed new government to be led by Prussian Wolfgang Kapp President Ebert fled the capital Only a strike led by the socialists and trade unions able to defeat Kapp As Kapp Putsch collapsed, republic attacked again by the Red Army (communist); captured several industrial towns in Ruhr uprising crushed by the army Weimar constitution contained weaknesses; proportional representation, given the existence of a large number of parties, made for a series of short-lived coalition governments Constitution also gave President enormous power, particularly through Article 48 SHORT TERM POLITICAL PROBLEMS IN GERMANY Collapse of Grand Coalition in 1930 after the SPD walked out because of an argument with the Centre over cutting unemployment benefit Growing political polarisation in 1930-1933 saw the rise of NSDAP and KPD (17% of votes in Nov. 1932 elections for KPD) 6

Reichstag Fire (February 1933) increased propertied classes fear of a communist revolution

ECONOMIC CONDITIONS Early economic crisis in 1919-1923; many of the middle-class were permanently alienated by a loss of savings during the hyper inflation Invasion of the Ruhr January 1923 End of 1922 Germany fail to pay reparations to France as part of Versailles; French invade Ruhr (one of Germanys most valued industrial and mining area) Campaign of passive resistance was Germanys response and resulted in a decline in industrial productivity affected German economy Weimar government still dedicated to maintain commitment to Versailles ($32 billion reparations) Sparked greatest inflation in history; 1914: $=4.2 marks, 1923: $=25 billion marks German money was valueless causing enormous hardship Real wages declined, life-time savings wiped, people on fixed incomes were poverty stricken Streseman becomes Chancellor in August 1923 Called for passive resistance and began negotiating with the Western Powers (Dawes Plan) leaves Rheinland 1930 Secured powers from Reichstag enabling him to: stop inflation, old currency withdrawn Rentenmark is new one, tax changes, reduction of government expenditure Germany was hit particularly hard by the effects of the Wall Street Crash (1929) causing soaring unemployment HOW WAS HITLER ABLE TO EXPLOIT THE CONDITIONS? Hitler charismatic leadership, oratory Hitler saw after the Munich Putsch (1923) that the way to power had to be by means of legal revolution. Hitler committed to the NSDAP to becoming the largest party in the Reichstag By forming an alliance with Hugenberg and the DNVP from 1929 As a result of the Reichstag Fire, Hitler was able to persuade Hindenburg to declare a state of emergency The Enabling Act (March 1933) gave Hitler the power to make a law without the Reichstag; he used this power to dismantle democracy and create a single party state. RISE TO POWER NAZI PARTY: FOUNDING TO MUNICH/BEERHALL PUTSCH 1923 Founded during chaotic period immediately after WW1; Bavaria was under control of right-wing gov. which sheltered extremists, including Nazis Ideological roots of Nazism Anti-Semitism which grew during the period of depression and from the racial theories of the time Radical right wing politics, in favour of authoritarianism Formed January 9th 1919 under German Workers Party; Hitler joined as propaganda chief in September 1919 7

August 1921: Hitler becomes leader, introduced notion of leader and more centralized system June 1922: now called National Socialis German Workers Party (NSDAP) banned in all states except Bavaria Hitler saw Stresemans chancellorship as the beginning of a communist takeover; plans putsch Hitler convinced leading members of Bavarian government to help him on his mimicked March on Rome (Munich/Beerhall Putsch) November 1923 the Nazis marched on government buildings and were dispersed by gunfire Hitler spent 5 years in prison but was now a nationally known figure

GOVERNMENTS AS HITLER WAS RISING TO POWER Hindenburg as President 1925 National hero Re-elected in 1932 with support of Bruening; two stage election held in March and April Biggest opposition: Hitler and communist Thalmann Hitler was runner up; shows support Nazis were enjoying. Hitler: 13.4 million votes, Hindenburg: 19.3 million votes Heinrich Bruening as Chancellor 1930-1932 Attempted to govern using president emergency powers No support of Reichstag (because of deflationary economic policy and its rule by decree) Bruening dissolved by Reichstag, weakened position; new elections Sept 1930 moderate party lost votes and extreme right and left gained After Communists, Nazis become second largest party (from 12 members to 107) Implemented economic programme using Presidential emergency powers; unemployment rose, March 1930: 2.3 million, March 1932: 6 million Sought to win political support by trying to terminate reparation payments Lot of political thuggery by Naziss SA (Sturm Abteilung) April 1932 decreed the suppression of SA, thought would end Nazi menace; didnt have the support of the army Bruening was forced to resign May 1932 Baron Franz von Papen as Chancellor 1932 Did not possess party support in Reichstag Attempted to break Socialist power to consolidate his power; dismissed government of Prussia (main stronghold) Successfully negotiated an end of reparation payments with western powers Elections July 1932: Nazi gained 230 seats, Papens support in the Reichstag was weakended Papen dissolved Reichtag to avoid a note of no-confidence New elections November 1932; 90% of votes going to anti-government parties, Nazi votes declined to 196 seats Papen, who had no political support, took drastic measures to maintain control. Suggested for constitution to be suspended, ruled by decree and has army backing General Schleichen told Hindenburg that the army could not guarantee control and support if Papen ruled by decree Papen resigned General von Schleicher as Chancellor December 1932 Had great army support 8

Thought Nazis could be used to achieve a workable government Attempted to split Nazi ranks and control Hitler; tried to force Hitler into coalition as a junior partner failed Tried to win support over socialists failed Like Papen, tried to suspend constitution and rule by decree to gain support and control Hitler withdrew support for Schleicher; Schleicher resigned HITLER SECURES POWER NAZIS GATHER POPULAR SUPPORT Germans hate the democratic government Great Depression caused collapse of German economy and mass unemployment Looked or radical alternatives Nazis created immediate jobs Ensured popular support from businessmen and industrialists HITLER AS CHANCELLOR January 1933 Only two options: Papen or Hitler, position of army was critical Hitler appointed Chancellor, Papen vice-chancellor Only two other Nazi leaders in the new Cabinet; no Nazi Reichstag majority Non-Nazi leaders gambled that they could control Hitler in office and could turn him out of office at will Hitler could be dismissed by Hindenburg Hitler was only hope of the right for mass support FROM CHANCELLOR TO DICTATOR 1933-1934 Reichstag Fire February 1933 Parliament building burnt down, blamed on the communists Hindenburg declared a state of emergency and Communist trade unions were arrested Hindenburg passed Decree for the Protection of People and State that allowed Hitler to ignore restrictions on police power, take over power of the German states. Using this Nazis arrested communists and other political opponents Result: Communists were banned, and Nazis coalition with Nationalists obtained a majority March 1933 elections Nazis received generous donations from industrialists (who feared left wing revival Goring (Minister of the Interior) allowed Nazi violence in the campaign to go uncontrolled 44% of seats to Nazis, 8% to Nationalists Enabling Act needed 2/3 majority to change constitution: voted in favour of as Communists were in prison Centred voted in favour once Hitler promised to leave Catholic Church alone Law granted Hitler the right to: make laws without Reichstag approval, make treaties with foreign states without Reichstag approval Hitler now no longer needed support of political parties 9

April: all state governors replaced by Nazis May: trade unions banned June: all parties except Nazis banned July: law passed making Nazi Party the sole legal party Night of Long Knives June 1934 SA demanded that Hitler follow socialist measures as laid down in 1920 Nazi Programme, Sa wanted greater say in party affairs. Wished to replace army with national militia Hitler feared they would lose him the support of non-Nazi right, and the army. The army was the only group with the power to remove him Night of Long Knives: Rhm and other SA leaders were arrested and killed; Hitler claimed they had been planning a Putsch August 1934: Hindenburg dies Hitler combined the office of Chancellor and President powers to instate himself as Fhrer, Reich Chancellor, and Commander-in-chief of the army Army swore loyalty to Hitler

EVALUATION OF NATIONAL SOCIALISM: Failed in the long run and brought disaster to Germany Brought short term benefits (see notes on Economic Problems) Drove to exile Germans who could have contributed greatly for Germany (ie: Einstein) There was strict censorship of art, literature and academic life; which all did not flourish under the Nazis Womens rights suffered Loss of civil liberty Nazi extremism brought about Allied extremism and eventually events such as civilian bombings (ie: Dresden) Some successes: construction of autobahns, establishment of enterprises like Volkswagen, and scientific advances in areas such as synthetics, and rocketry. A DRIVE TO A TOTALITARIAN STATE, MAIN MEASURES OF THE NAZIS: 19341936 Professions are synchronized w/ Nazi beliefs. (i.e.: teachers / judges) Purges of Gov. workers of communist sympathizers, Jews and replacement by party members. Nazis tried to restrict the influence of the Church and the application of the 1933 concordat (allowing the Catholic Church to have its own school & property but to keep out of politics) Nazis took more direct control over the Protestant churchessoon swastikas were displayed alongside the Christian Cross. Membership of one Nazi youth group was obligatory for all Germans until age 18. Toward workers: labor unions abolished, establishment of Strength Through Joy movement which provided subsidised holidays, sporting activities, etc. Creation of Ministry for Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda bringing under control the mass media and using them towards Nazi propaganda. Rapid expansion of the S.S. (w/ Himmler) In 1934 the S.S. became an independent org. answerable to Hitler and Himmler only. Gestapo was placed under its control. Reg. Criminal police merged w/ the S.S. in 1936.

A TOTALITARIAN STATE? 10

ARGUMENTS AGAINST TOTALIRARIANISM Youth policies successful until they became compulsory. Theory was totalitarian successful; practice not so much Had the war not stopped Hitler the distinctive utopian all-embracing ideology would have worked out (anti-Semitism. Aryan race, etc.) Hitler dominated everything but was messy (still dominated though) ARGUMENTS FOR TOTALITARIANISM Single party state All other parties banned by Hitler using powers granted in Enabling Act Trade Unions replaced with state organizations Local governments taken over by Nazis The SS Led by Himmler, controlled the Gestapo Role was to force compliance Arrested political enemies Persecution (to 1939) Untermenschen Nuremberg laws removed rights of Jews Kristallnacht 1936 Reich Church created concordat with Catholic Church Education Nazi curriculum Importance of blood purity and military training Youth Nazi youth groups Military style development Attendance poor: made compulsory 1939 Propaganda Goebbels was Minister of Propaganda Controlled art, literature, music and radio Censorship introduced Cult of personality

11