Ideology and Terror - Part One Summary & Analysis

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Summary

Hannah Arendt opens her essay by proposing to study what she calls totalitarianism. She claims that totalitarianism is historically unprecedented, in that it is both a political system, and a form of domination. Totalitarianism turned politics, which we usually understand as a compromise between parties or a conflict between classes, into a mass movement. It gave the police total power over the populace and based its foreign policy on world domination. This phenomenon is so extreme that we need new legal, political and moral categories to understand it.

Arendt argues that if we look back at the roots of totalitarianism, we’ll see that the problem isn’t limited to Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia. Instead, the problem of totalitarianism is present in democracy itself. In fact, the problems that caused it might not even become visible until totalitarian systems no longer exist...

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This section contains 2,175 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Ideology and Terror Study Guide
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