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A Totalitarian State When Adolf Hitler and his National Socialist Party took power in 1933 a wave of terror was begun which led to the genocide of millions of people and the destruction of much of the European continent While the reign of the National Socialist regime has been universally recognized as a horrible time period in history different arguments have been presented to explain how such a regime could take power in modern society Current debates have included comparisons of the National Socialist regime to other forms of dictatorships and tyrannies while other arguments have been made that National Socialism represents an entirely different type of regime Specifically Hannah Arendt maintains that the Third Reich was a totalitarian regime established by a totalitarian movement The argument has been made that between 1933 and 1934 such a regime was established with the rise of the National Socialist party to power and the subsequent elimination of all political enemies of the Nazi party However after evaluating Hannah Arendts definition of a totalitarian regime established by a totalitarian movement that may not be the case Although a totalitarian movement had indeed been created in National Socialist Germany a complete totalitarian regime according to Arendts definition was never achieved Totalitarianism differs from other forms of political oppression such as dictatorships or tyrannies in that wherever it rose to power it developed entirely new political institutions and destroyed all social legal and political traditions of the country Ardent p 158 Compared to governments such as democracy in which positive laws are needed to translate and realize standards of right and wrong for a framework of stability totalitarian rule replaces these positive laws with total terror A Totalitarian regime uses terror not only as an instrument to suppress opposition but once free of opposition terror is employed to ensure the movement of the regime As Arendt contends if lawfulness is the essence of non-tyrannical government and lawlessness is the
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