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239 of 253 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Totalitarianism: Nazism and Communism., October 9, 2002
This review is from: The Origins of Totalitarianism (Paperback)
Hannah Arendt's _The Origins of Totalitarianism_ is a book that takes a hard look at two rival totalitarian movements in the twentieth century, Soviet Communism and Nazism, and traces their historical roots. The book is divided into three volumes focusing on Antisemitism, Imperialism, and Totalitarianism. The first of these volumes is concerned with the historical origins of Antisemitism. Arendt examines some of the ways historians have dealt with the historical roots of Antisemitism. For example, some historians have argued based on a "scapegoat theory" that the Jews were used as an innocent scapegoat for the world's ills. Arendt concludes that such approaches are flawed because they fail to take into account the full historical situation of the Jews. Arendt explores the rise of Antisemitism in the birth of the nation-state, the emancipation of the Jews, the rise of the Jewish financiers, the roles of Jews within society, and the infamous Dreyfus affair. Of particular interest here is the role of conpiracy theories concerning such individuals as Benjamin Disraeli or the infamous forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The idea that the Jews constitute a race or are members of secret societies or clubs played an important role in the historical development of Antisemitism. The second of the volumes in this book is concerned with the rise of Imperialism. Here, a discussion of racism and racial thinking is examined involving such racial theorists as Count Arthur de Gobineau and various forms of Social Darwinism. The role of the Boers in South Africa is looked at and a thorough examination of the lives of such individuals as Cecil Rhodes, who called for the creation of a secret society of aristocratic Nordic elite, is made. The great Pan Movements, Pan-Slavism, Pan-Germanism, and the Pan-Arabism of T. E. Lawrence are dealt with and their subsequent roles in the creation of the totalitarian states is explored. The final volume of this book is concerned with Totalitarianism proper. Here, the role of propaganda and the secret police, as well as terror and the concentration camps are dealt with in their place in Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. Arendt explores each of these issues and shows why they are so particularly disturbing. Arendt contends that totalitarianism sought to annihilate the nature of man completely. Repression and terror abound within the totalitarian state and freedom is virtually nonexistent. Written during the Cold War period and just after the Second World War, this book takes an important look into the minds of such totalitarian leaders as Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin. Their movements of Nazism and Soviet Communism continue to haunt the modern world even though they have been largely extinguished. The book is important today not only for historical reasons, but also because it gives a unique view of the world within a totalitarian society and the unique political danger that such totalitarian movements and institutions causes for the modern world.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 26, 2015 6:15:31 PM PDT
Hi, I was just checking to see if you found problems with the production quality of this kindle edition!
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