Book Chapter

Beyond the delusion: New histories of totalitarian dictatorship

D Baratieri, M Edele, G Finaldi

Totalitarian Dictatorship: New Histories | Routledge | Published : 2014


Totalitarianism is dead: even those who admit that the word might be “useful” are still adamant that the theory is “defunct.”2 The concept’s “utility for propaganda purposes” obscures “whatever utility” the term may once have had,3 and its “limitations” are “more obvious” today than when the theory was formulated in the shadow of the Second World War.4 Specialist studies of Nazism have “emphatically questioned” the monolithic nature of the state implied by the theory of totalitarianism,5 and the model is inadequate to “account for the diff erences between Nazi Germany and the Stalinist USSR.” The “total control of totalitarianism was never that total,” and the fact that the Soviet Union “did..

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