The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt – Book Report/Review Example

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The paper “ The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt” is a  potent example of a book review on politics. Totalitarianism can be defined as the state of economic, political and social activities of a nation by the national government. It is the state whereby the state has utmost and total authority over the society and it seeks to take full control of all the aspects of the lives of the citizens to be they publicly or privately. Totalitarian leadership is one that does not give room for parties that have differing opinions from those of the people in power.

It exercises full and utmost control over the will's thoughts and the freedoms of the others. The concept of totalitarianism became famous and more prominent in the political discourse of the West communist nations before, during and after the Cold War era. It sought to compare the similarity in traits between the Fascist States, the Nazi Germany regime and the Soviet Communist party states. The Origins of Totalitarianism, which was published in the year 1951 was the first major book written by Hannah Arendt.

By the time the book, the former German leader, Adolf Hitler was already dead by then. She intended to create in her readers a sense of actuality that existed in the phenomenal stage and in the world at large and its form in the new government form eminent in the world with new styles and different forms of leadership structures from those that existed earlier. She sought to define the concept and how it has affected the whole of mankind’ s existence so far. The effects of the form of government can also be traced in her works.

She also points out that the system seeks at the changing of the humankind and ways and a shift in systems and the strategies used. The effects of the rule on the man’ s way of life have also been stated. It sought to trace the roots of Stalinist Communism and Nazism in both the Anti-Semitism and imperialism. It was subject to criticism by many due to the fact that it introduced two opposing movements which were as equally tyrannical. She also went ahead contending that in the Holocaust, Jewry was not the leading operative factor but rather a proxy of convenience.

She does not fail to state that truth lies in the statement that the aspect of totalitarianism can be developed through a check of the former history of places and the effects in the political scene which is commonly referred to as troubles of the century. The ending similarly states that in the end, in Germany, totalitarianism main theme was not on the eradication of the Jews but rather in the creation of consistency and megalomania.

She also contends that the crisis eminent is not just an outside threat from some policies of other countries exampled by either Russia or Germany. She also continues that this will not just be forgotten if Stalin dies or if the regime of the Nazi in Germany comes to an abrupt end. She further states that the problems witnessed in the modern days will be converted to their recent form which is at times very displeasing but only with the conversion of totalitarianism to a past thing or event.

As pointed out by Arendt, who was a German-American political theorist, she claimed that totalitarianism aims at the transformation of human nature itself. She says that totalitarianism strives to obliterate humanity and the very conditions required to lead a human life in the right manner. She gives an example of the Nazi crimes which she insists are crimes against humanity. She even goes ahead to describe it as radical evil. Many reasons can be attributed to this stand she developed. She emphasizes this by saying that the victory of the totalitarian concept and governance in the global conquest has coincided with the destruction of humanity.

This has been evidenced in the places where it has taken place where the essence of humankind has been destroyed.


Arendt, H1966, The origins of totalitarianism. New York, Harcourt, Brace & World.

Schapiro, L1972, Totalitarianism. New York, Praeger.

Friedrich, C1964, Totalitarianism. New York, Grosset & Dunlap.

Curtis, M1979, Totalitarianism. New Brunswick, N.J., Transaction Books.

Arendt, H1968, Totalitarianism. New York, Harcourt, Brace & World.

Cernak, L2011, Totalitarianism. Edina, Minn, ABDO Pub. Co.

Thurlow, C2004, Totalitarianism, Harlow, England, Pearson Education.

Drucker, P1939, The end of economic man: a study of the new totalitarianism, New York, The John Day Co.

Halberstam, M1999, Totalitarianism and the modern conception of politics, New Haven, Conn, Yale University Press.

Aaron, R1969, Democracy and totalitarianism, New York, Praeger.

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