Totalitarian Governments: A Literary Analysis

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Totalitarian governments, such as Nazi Germany, and their use of controversial techniques in order to rise power are significant influences on literature, creating parallels between it and novels such as 1984 by George Orwell. The system deployed by the Nazi regime in order to rise to power was undoubtedly, while immoral, very effective in eliciting the results desired by its enforcers. State sponsored murder or execution, prevalent in both Nazi Germany and 1984, were utilized by the government to incite hatred within its citizens. Big Brothers overbearing presence in the citizens lives strikingly resembles the relationship that dictators such as Adolf Hitler held with countries through implementation of similar propaganda techniques seen in…show more content…
This theme of hatred is illustrated in the novel 1984 with the hate rallies. During the Two Minutes Hate not only was one “obliged to act a part, but... it was impossible to avoid joining in”. (Orwell 18/19) This strategy of unified hatred of a crowd creates the optimal environment for group acceptance of a scapegoat. Once a scapegoat is firmly established, propaganda campaigns effectiveness are increased significantly. Just as Nazi Germany blamed the Jews, handicapped, gays, and other minorities for the tragedies that the country were trying so desperately to overcome; the Oceania government used whichever society, Eastasia or Eurasia, they felt like. Constantly switching between the two and feeding Oceanias inhabitants lies about the others. Once this “groupthink” (Psychological Aspects Behind the Causes of the Holocaust) is widely tolerated something “can go from being wrong or weird to acceptable and normal very quickly” (Psychological Aspects Behind the Causes of the Holocaust) . There is a domino effect and people begin to fall in line so to speak. It is easier to agree with what seems to be the majority than it is to disagree. This, arguably vulnerable, psychological concept coded into humans is taken advantage of by these corrupt governments to plant ideas within massive numbers of people. In…show more content…
The consistent forced unification of humans over a mindless and primal emotion is dehumanizing at its core. Massive rallies held in Germany resemble Hate Week and are certainly a contender for influence. Will Self wrote about mob mentalities affect on humans. Claiming that “we are perfectly prepared to believe that the crowd “dehumanises”; that when we find ourselves in a stampeding herd of crazed people, we ourselves may lose our reason and thereby our very individuality” (Self). Humans can easily understand that their voice is one when they voluntarily participate in a mob. The problem lies within situations when the synthesis is prolonged and more importantly forced. The difference is when participation is voluntary, people are allowed to retreat to singular ideals whenever desired or perhaps required. The ability to express individualism is an option whereas when these interactions are forced for prolonged periods it becomes increasingly more difficult to differentiate the crowds motives, thoughts, and morals from those of its residents. Self discussed a rather interesting concept which is more applicable, certainly in the case of citizens in 1984, stating “what we find it harder to accept is that we may be who we are at all solely by virtue of the crowd” (Self). When taken away from the crowd, a human is no longer either efficiently functioning or perhaps even significant. When significance
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