The main difference between totalitarianism and fascism is that totalitarianism involves a form of government where the state possesses unlimited power and authority over every single aspect of the private and public life of its citizens, while fascism is a combination of the extreme aspects visible in both totalitarianism and authoritarianism.
Totalitarianism and fascism are forms of government that involve a strong central power that attempts to control all aspects of citizens.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Totalitarianism
– Definition, Characteristics
2. What is Fascism
– Definition, Characteristics
3. Similarities Between Totalitarianism and Fascism
– Outline of Common Features
4. Difference Between Totalitarianism and Fascism
– Comparison of Key Differences
What is Totalitarianism
Totalitarianism involves a form of government where the state has unlimited power and authority over every aspect of the private and public life of the citizens. This includes financial matters, political aspects, the socio-cultural belief system, and attitudes and morals.
Totalitarianism is a concept developed by Italian fascists during the 1920s. Back then, Italian fascists tried to interpret the concept of totalitarianism positively by highlighting what they believed to be totalitarianism’s “positive goals” towards the betterment of society. One key feature of any totalitarian state is the presence of an implied or explicit national ideology that is expected to provide a sense and a direction to the whole society.
Some of the key characteristics visible in a totalitarian state may involve the rules and regulations implemented and enforced by a dictator, the existence of a single political body, the state’s extreme or complete control and authority over media and press, obligatory military service by all citizens, prohibition of practicing certain religious and taking part in political groups or continuing any form of anti-government criticism and law enforcement by military bodies or secret police forces. Generally, rulers with these principal features of a totalitarian state aim to harbor fear among people towards their government. It is through this fear factor that totalitarian governments attempt to ensure citizens’ cooperation. The rule of Germany under Adolf Hitler and Italy under Benito Mussolini are two of the best examples of totalitarian states.
What is Fascism
Fascism is another form of government that combines the extremist aspects of both authoritarianism and totalitarianism. The concept of fascism has been less visible in the world since the end of World War II in 1945. Fascism is mainly recognized for its infliction of dictatorial power, the state’s authority and control over commerce and industry, the suppression of opposite parties through force and violence, and the laws enforced by the military or secret police forces.
The sense of ultranationalism and the belief of the people that a particular nation must be somehow saved or “reborn” are the two key factors that make up the foundation of fascism. Fascist rulers reroute the citizens’ focus and earn their corporation by promoting the idea of a necessity for a national rebirth into a fundamental religion instead of functioning towards finding permanent solutions for existing socio-economic and political crises in the country. Consequently, fascist leaders whip up the blooming of cults in the name of racial purity and national unity.
Similarities Between Totalitarianism and Fascism
- Both totalitarianism and fascism involve two forms of governments that implement unlimited power and control over every single aspect of the citizen’s life through suppression and coercion.
- Power and control are two key factors visible within both totalitarianism and fascism.
- In both coercion and repression, there exist two main parties: the rulers and the citizens. Moreover, within both systems, the power of authority lies in the hands of the rulers.
Difference Between Totalitarianism and Fascism
Totalitarianism involves a form of government where the state possesses unlimited power and authority over every single aspect of private and public life. On the other hand, fascism is a form of government that is a combination of extreme aspects visible in both totalitarianism and authoritarianism.
Totalitarian states give an equal priority to both economic and military planning. But fascist states focus more on military planning than economic planning.
Generally, a totalitarian regime causes fear among people. Moreover, it is through this fear factor totalitarian governments attempt to ensure citizens’ cooperation. Fascist rulers, on the other hand, reroute citizens’ focus and earn their corporation by promoting the idea of the necessity for a national rebirth.
In conclusion, the main difference between totalitarianism and fascism is that totalitarianism involves a state that possesses unlimited power and authority over every single aspect of the private and public life of its citizens, while fascism is a form of government that is a combination of extreme aspects visible in both totalitarianism and authoritarianism.