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TOTALITARIAN RULE The concept of totalitarian rule cannot be determined by purely logical means It was explained and clarified only by those who went through the bitter experience of this form of government As late as the end of the 1920s the word totalitarian was used to designate any state which was governed in an authoritarian rather than a parliamentarian manner The London Times for example on November 2 1929 spoke of a reaction against parliamentarism in favor of a totalitarian or unitary state whether Fascist or Communist the quotation marks and the explanatory phrase or unitary state prove that at the time the concept was still fairly unusual In the 1930s and 1940s the experiences of the Third Reich and Stalinist Russia added to the definition the criteria of the synchronization and conformation of life political police and concentration camps and aIl the other horrors disseminated by these regimes But admitting that in our century open terror has assumed particularly inhuman forms such terror is nevertheless not confined to totalitarian rule and therefor is not sufficient to define it From time immemorial despots have imprisoned their opponents under particularly cruel conditions they have tortured them dishonored them debased and executed them The suppression of freedom has always assumed the same forms what Tacitus wrote in his biography of Agricola concerning the despotism of the Emperor Domitian was experienced as reality by the high school students of Hitlers Germany Not only the writers but their very books were objects of rage and the triumvirs were commissioned to burn in the forum those works of splendid genius They fancied forsooth that in that fire the voice of the Roman people the freedom of the Senate and the conscience of the human race were perishing while at the same time they banished the teachers of philosophy and exiled every noble pursuit that nothing good might anywhere confront them Certainly we showed
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