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Summary Of Hannah Arendt's Ideology And Terror: A Novel Form Of Government

575 words - 2 pages

In her excerpt "Ideology and Terror: A Novel Form of Government" from her book The Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt reveals that terror is at the core of a totalitarian government, and that this terror is based upon ideology. This type of terror exceeds fear. Totalitarianism dominated many governments during the twentieth century. Unlike other forms of government that oppress its people; a totalitarian form of government escapes the boundaries of definition. A totalitarian government is commonly mistaken as a tyranny or dictatorship. Arendt explains that this is because it must begin as a tyranny to lift the boundaries of the laws. Arendt uses two particular governments as examples to help clarify the nature of a totalitarian government; fascist Germany and communist Russia. According to Arendt, the totalitarianism that rose in Germany was based upon the ideology of racism. It was propagated by Hitler and enforced by the Nazi regime. This form of totalitarianism led to the ultimate form of terror: human cruelty and death. Arendt compares that in communist Russia the focus was not race, but class. The ideology being that in order for a class to survive and progress, they must destroy the weaker, less progressive class. Arendt explains that the ultimate power of a totalitarian government is the acceptance of the ideology being propagated. The laws that are put into place in totalitarian government are not to empower the people and protect their rights. Instead, the laws tell the people what they must do, not what they must not do. Arendt tells how the law of nature is the foundation for Hitler's Nazis, and the law of history for...

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