Totalitarianism is a term developed in the twentieth century to capture the essence of a new kind of political regime opposed to the pluralism of liberal democracy. The term was first used, in Italy, when applied to Benito Mussolini’s fascism. After the end of World War II, which revealed the horrors of Nazism, and the start of the Cold War, which soon brought to prominence horrors under communism, the term was harnessed by both political theorists and political scientists for more general application. Although the predominant tendency is to synthesize a common concept from these various works, and certainly, there is agreement on some points, important disagreements remain. It is agreed that the general term—totalitarianism—applies to pervasively authoritarian regimes both of Left and Right and ...

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