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  #1  
Old 01-15-2008, 10:55 PM
Lumpy Lumpy is offline
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Fanatical regimes throughout history

For all that Hitler and the Nazis have been regarded as the epitome of evil, and the struggle against them near-apocalyptic, the fact remains that the Nazi party ruled Germany for twelve years. In the span of centuries and millennia, twelve years is a blink of the eye. Yet if the Nazis could be so infamous in their day, how many other fanatical, murderous, psychotic regimes have come and gone through the ages? I vaguely recall reading about various heresies in the Middle Ages that had cultlike followings for a few years, there was the Tai Ping rebellion in China, and much further back, a brief Chinese dynasty that was proto-totalitarian. Can anyone cite some good examples?
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  #2  
Old 01-15-2008, 11:15 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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I think real totalitarianism is a modern phenomenon. Prior to the twentieth century, a regime had only limited ability to apply its power over an entire society. Caligula may have wanted to be an absolute dictator but his actual reach really didn't extend much further than a few miles. He could order people killed in his court but how much effect did he really have in Gaul or Dalmatia or Egypt?

Robespierre and the Committee of Public Safety were probably the first regime to really make a serious attempt at taking over every aspect of a society but the reality was their impact was pretty hit or miss. Some regions were changed but other regions basically ignored what Paris wanted.
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Old 01-16-2008, 12:48 AM
WoodenTaco WoodenTaco is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Nemo
I think real totalitarianism is a modern phenomenon. Prior to the twentieth century, a regime had only limited ability to apply its power over an entire society. Caligula may have wanted to be an absolute dictator but his actual reach really didn't extend much further than a few miles. He could order people killed in his court but how much effect did he really have in Gaul or Dalmatia or Egypt?

Robespierre and the Committee of Public Safety were probably the first regime to really make a serious attempt at taking over every aspect of a society but the reality was their impact was pretty hit or miss. Some regions were changed but other regions basically ignored what Paris wanted.
Yes, this gets to the often-ignored difference between authoritarianism, control of a ruler over their own power and authority, and totalitarianism, the total control of a ruler over all aspects of society. Totalitaranism is relatively modern for lots of reasons, not the least of which is mass media. It's tough to brainwash a population when all propaganda has to be sent on horseback.
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Old 01-16-2008, 10:23 AM
muttrox muttrox is offline
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Also, we don't usually care so much about totalitarian regimes. When they try to extend their power to other countries, that's when the world really notices. Nazi Germany tried to take over the world, that was kind of a big deal.
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Old 01-16-2008, 10:25 AM
twickster twickster is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muttrox
Also, we don't usually care so much about totalitarian regimes. When they try to extend their power to other countries, that's when the world really notices. Nazi Germany tried to take over the world, that was kind of a big deal.
There's also the little matter of where they're trying to flex their muscles. In Europe, "we" get concerned; in Africa, not so much.
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