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Totaltitarian Germany And The Trial Essay

1847 words - 8 pages

During Europe’s period of economic advancement, industrialization, and militia power Franz Kafka crafted a novel that perfectly exemplified what was to become of the country in the following years. Written by Kafka in 1914, The Trial contained numerous totalitarian representations, mocking the form of government in which the citizens are bound to the absolute rule of an autocratic authority. The book was not published and exposed to the world until the initial introduction of despotism in the late 1920s. Kafka did not plan to and was not intentionally mocking the totalitarian state of Eastern Europe, but it is vividly shown through the setting in an impoverished city that is forced to live ...view middle of the document...

Kafka was not confident with his work so he asked his close friend Max Brod to destroy all of his unpublished novels, including The Trial. His friend did not follow his orders, though, and instead published his unfinished work after Kafka’s death in 1925 (“Kafka”).
As Kafka’s life came to an end due to his tuberculosis illness, the life of the German Worker’s Party developed. The party was led my Adolf Hitler and soon became known as the Nazi Party. The Nazi Party was the most terrifying totalitarian regime that ruled over Germany until the end of World War II. “By 1928, the Nazi Party now had 100,000 members and Hitler had absolute control.” As Germany’s economy began to fall in the 1930s, Hitler won the citizens over with strong economic and military plans. “Hitler moved quickly to establish a dictatorship. He used terror to gain power while maintaining an air of legality throughout.” He abolished freedom of speech and freedom of assembly in Germany so he could control every facet of the individual Germans lives. The totalitarian government structure spread throughout most of Central and Eastern Europe, leaving Czechoslovakia the only liberal country by 1938. Joseph Stalin was also a prominent autocratic leader at the time. “Stalin's aim was to create a new kind of society and a new human personality to inhabit that society: socialist man and socialist woman.” Strong political forces were established in both regimes to enforce the beliefs of the ruler. Exile and execution were a commonplace for those who went against the ‘popular’ conviction ("Lecture 10: The Age of Totalitarianism: Stalin and Hitler").
“For many, The Trial is read as a spot-on critique of totalitarian governments such as Joseph Stalin's Soviet Union or Nazi Germany” (Shmoop Editorial Team). The first indication of the parallel between Kafka’s work and authoritarian regimes was the setting of The Trial. Joseph K. lived in an unnamed European city. Much of the city was impoverished and there were many places that Kafka positioned into the awkward setting. The most astonishing set is the courtroom and the court offices that were on the top floor and in the attic of a penurious apartment building in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city. This is ironic because one would think that government buildings would be in a setting of power and authority, but it is instead placed in the exact opposite. Kafka uses the setting to embody the government as concealed and devious. In addition, that location was used by Kafka to express the conformity and the lack of free will allowed by the government. He made the apartment building a microcosm of society. The difference in the air served as a way to separate the world of the typical citizens and the world of the court officials. When Joseph K. went from the lower level of the apartment building to the upper level where the court officials’ offices were, the air became stuffy and unbearable. “He felt he was on a ship rolling in heavy...

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