Histoire-géographie internationale/H2

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Course outline[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

Introduction[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

  1. Defining totalitarianism: a challenge
  2. The context and the access to power of three totalitarian regimes
    • Russia
    • Italy
    • Germany
  3. Thesis of the lesson

Lesson[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

  1. I. Ideology and control
    1. A. The role of ideology in the consolidation of power
      • The national fascist revolution
      • Nazism: the purification of the “master-race”
      • From soviet socialism to Stalinism
    2. B. The goal of a total political control
      1. The role of the charismatic and uncontested leader
      2. The establishment of political control: Legal power
    3. C. Coercion and control of society
      1. Propaganda
      2. The dream of creating a “New Man”: control of the society
      3. The use of laws to control society
    4. D. Economic interventionism
      • In Germany and in Italy, the goal of the re-organization of the economy is to achieve self-sufficiency (Autarky).
      • In the USSR, a planned economy
  2. II. Violence and Policies of Terror
    1. A. The omnipresence of violence
      1. Political violence
      2. Political police, violence and deportations
    2. B. Resistance and repression
      • In the USSR
      • In Germany
    3. C. The exercise of large-scale terror in the USSR and the Third Reich
      1. The Great Purges (1937-38) and the “archipelago of the Gulag” (USSR)
      2. The Kristallnacht and the persecution of Jews – Case study
  3. III. Totalitarianism and the European balance
    1. A. Totalitarian regimes are oriented towards war
      1. Germany: revenge on the Versailles Treaty
      2. Italy’s overseas expansion: renewed imperialism?
      3. Alliances between dictatures
      4. The changes of tactics of the Comintern
    2. B. The rise of totalitarian regimes in international relations
      1. The Spanish War (1936-39): a rehearsal (Case study)
      2. The weakness of democraties in front of totalitarian regimes
      3. Pacts towards war


Introduction[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

Defining totalitarianism: a challenge[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

There are some disagreements over the definition, but we can remember that a totalitarian regime:

  • has a unique political party, which answers the command of one worshipped leader, controls society and policies of terror
  • is geared/organized against democracy and/or motivated by a hatred of democracy
  • considers that the State is everything and the individual is nothing

Definition: Totalitarianism is a form of government in which the state’s power is unlimited and controls virtually all aspects of public and private life, largely using terror. This control extends to all political and economic matters as well as the attitudes, morals, and beliefs of the people.

The context and the access to power of three totalitarian regimes[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

Commonly, three dates of beginning:

  • 1917 Russian revolutions/1924 death of Lenin, rise of Stalin/1927 Stalin holds all powers
  • 1922 Mussolini and the Black shirts march on Rome, 1925 Mussolini dictator
  • 1933 Hitler chancellor

Remember: there were political (the Versailles diktat), social (urbanization), economic (cf. H1, the Great Depression) crises after WWI in Russia, Germany, Italy.

  • From Russia to USSR:
    • The October Revolution (which held in November !) in 1917 made Lenin the new leader of Russia.
    • 1917-1921: Civil War in USSR, war communism before peace (peace was one of the promises of the communists to the people) in 1918.
    • Mass nationalizations
    • Propaganda and education
    • Creation of the USSR in 1922
    • Death of Lenin in 1924 then rise of Stalin, which took full power in 1927 (elimination of political opponents, including Trotsky)
  • Italy: re-birth of the country under fascist leadership?
    • multiple crises
    • recent democracy
    • an ambitious man: Benito Mussolini
    • 1922: March on Rome
    • The basic concept of Fascism, as elaborated by Mussolini, was that the State was absolute before which individuals and groups were all relative. "Everything within the state, nothing against the state, nothing outside the state." -- Mussolini
  • Germany: the failure of the Weimar Republic
    • consequences of WWI, diktat of Versailles, humiliation
    • economic crisis, mass unemployment
    • the Nazi rise to power: NSDAP founded in 1920, sturdy growth in the 20's and 30's.
    • Hitler is appointed Chancellor by Hindenburg by fear of the Communist
  • Common point: the use of violence, but different methods of access to power

Thesis of the lesson[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

  • In the aftermath of WW1 and of 1929’s crisis, Totalitarian regimes disrupted traditional political regimes and societies to invent new forms, practices and degree of state violence.
  • Totalitarian regimes have common features, but present major differences in their ideological project and in the degree of violence they displayed.

Summary of the course[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

I. Ideology and control[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

A. The role of ideology in the consolidation of power[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

Ideology: a set of beliefs or principles, especially one on which a political system, party, or organization is based (Cambridge Dictionary)

1. The national fascist revolution[modifier | modifier le wikicode]
  • The State should be run by a well-disciplined party, elite, under the guidance of an unquestioned leader
  • Mussolini condemned Marxism for dividing the nation into classes and causing class war
  • Mussolini founded fascism on a double movement of reference to the past and the cult of modernity. The Italian people, united, must put their energy at the service of a project of national magnitude.
  • Mussolini also adopted a racist ideology in Italy to “protect” the Italian race
2. Nazism: the purification of the “master-race”[modifier | modifier le wikicode]
  • The Nazi ideology is mainly based on the ideas expressed in Mein Kampf
  • Mankind divided into two groups: the Aryans (the master-race, Germans, destined to rule the world) and the non-Aryans (the slave races).
  • Jews: responsible of the defeat of WWI. Jews: “the most vicious of the slave races”
  • Nazis would nationalize the big business, provide employment for all workers
  • All this enabled by a unique leader (Führer) → parliamentary government should be replaced by Nazi rule - the rule of an elite who accepted orders from Hitler alone.
3. From soviet socialism to Stalinism[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

B. The goal of a total political control[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

C. Coercion and control of society[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

D. Economic interventionism[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

II. Violence and Policies of Terror[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

A. The omnipresence of violence[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

B. Resistance and repression[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

C. The exercise of large-scale terror in the USSR and the Third Reich[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

III. Totalitarianism and the European balance[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

A. Totalitarian regimes are oriented towards war[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

B. The rise of totalitarian regimes in international relations[modifier | modifier le wikicode]