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The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951)

by Hannah Arendt

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Origins of Totalitarianism (1-3)

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2,894283,840 (4.19)42
"How could such a book speak so powerfully to our present moment? The short answer is that we, too, live in dark times, even if they are different and perhaps less dark, and "Origins" raises a set of fundamental questions about how tyranny can arise and the dangerous forms of inhumanity to which it can lead."   Jeffrey C. Isaac, The Washington Post Hannah Arendt's definitive work on totalitarianism and an essential component of any study of twentieth-century political history The Origins of Totalitarianism begins with the rise of anti-Semitism in central and western Europe in the 1800s and continues with an examination of European colonial imperialism from 1884 to the outbreak of World War I. Arendt explores the institutions and operations of totalitarian movements, focusing on the two genuine forms of totalitarian government in our time--Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia--which she adroitly recognizes were two sides of the same coin, rather than opposing philosophies of Right and Left. From this vantage point, she discusses the evolution of classes into masses, the role of propaganda in dealing with the nontotalitarian world, the use of terror, and the nature of isolation and loneliness as preconditions for total domination.… (more)
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» See also 42 mentions

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Klassík. Umfjöllun Arendt um mótun, eðli og hugmyndafræði einræðisstjórna er grundvallarrit fyrir alla sem hafa áhuga á að kynna sér þversagnir einræðisríkja. Hvers vegna t.d. stjórnir Þýskalands og Sovétríkjanna hófu miskunnarlausa eyðingu margra hópa í eigin samfélagi sem olli þeim um leið ómældu efnahagslegu tjóni. Arendt rekur lógík einræðisríkjanna fyrir ofsóknum, skrefin sem tekin voru til að öðlast alræðisvald og hvernig valdaelítan varð svo öflug. ( )
  SkuliSael | Apr 28, 2022 |
ترسُّخ الشمولية في المجتمع هو مؤشر إلى ابتعاد الناس عن الفكر التحليلي والسياسي. الشيء الوحيد المهم داخل المجتمع الشمولي هو رؤية القائد للمستقبل. وإذا ما تم تقديم دليل واقعي لدحض تلك الرؤية أو طرح بديل قابل للتطبيق، فإنه دائماً ما يُلوى ليظهر كمحاولة من قبل العدو هدفها تضليل الجماهير.

لا يسيطر الجماهير الخاضعون للأيديولوجيا الشمولية على حياتهم، بل يتصرفون في الواقع بإرادة القائد. وهذا هو السبب في استحالة إجراء مناقشة معقولة وطرح أسئلة منطقية على أحد هذه الجموع، لأن ذلك يتطلب التفكير الحر والتحليل المنطقي. وعندما يتخلى الناس عن حقوقهم ومسؤولياتهم في اتخاذ قرارات واعية مستنيرة يصبحون غير قادرين أو غير راغبين في النظر إلى أفعالهم بعين الناقد وتقييم الأمور على حقيقتها.

يعتبر الكثيرون هذا الكتاب أهم أعمال المؤلفة، الذي تتتبّع فيه جذور معاداة السامية وأصول الإمبريالية وصولاً للشمولية المعاصرة في أوروبا.
بدءاً من صعود الدول القومية الأوروبية في القرن السابع عشر، تكشف أرندت عن الأدوات التي مكنت النازية والستالينية في أوائل القرن العشرين من تثبيت دعائمهما وإقصاء الديمقراطية وتغييب الفكر الحر. بالإضافة للوسائل الممكنة لتجنب قيام شموليات مشابهة مستقبلاً. ( )
  TonyDib | Jan 28, 2022 |
I found this very dense and complex, drawing conclusions about 20th century fascism and racism from swathes of 18th & 19th century European politics, philosophy, and culture that to me didn't necessarily follow. I'm sure that to academics this is a useful piece of political analysis, but to a lay-person it like me it is incomprehensible, hence the 1-star review. DNF @ 22%. ( )
  SChant | Nov 11, 2021 |
It’s a testament to Arendt’s presence on the page that I’m giving her magnum opus a 3ish, seeing as its Odyssey into abstract theory left me quite seasick. It was an endless gush of philosophical conjecturing that drowned me whole. The first third of the book that formed her thesis on antisemitism was, I thought, off-the-mark: The idea that Jews had established a special relationship with the nation-state in order to survive which, by the end of the 19th century, rendered them a superfluous possessor of wealth, and thus an easy target for the masses to amass against, struck me as a corollary to the Great Man Theory of history, and slightly blame-the-victim-y at that. Could all of modern antisemitism be pinned on the Rothschilds? Then the tie-in to the second third of the book on Imperialism may, also, have been grasping at straws, though most likely too opaque for me to grasp myself. Sure, imperialism was a result of the accumulation of superfluous wealth and the natural next step in the perpetual hunger for growth inherent to capitalism, but I still don’t get the connection to Jews? Finally, yes, the third section was illuminating in its discussion of the mechanics of totalitarianism — the duplication of state agencies and the sublimation of the state by the movement, propaganda, constant purges, arbitrary terror, concentration camps, the isolation and loneliness of all subjects — but Arendt makes it hard to follow when she pontificates without structured references to the Nazi and Soviet regimes’ totalitarianism, like Benjamin Hett does in this very lucid depiction of the Nazis’ rise to power: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36149074-the-death-of-democracy
( )
  Gadi_Cohen | Sep 22, 2021 |
This inspirational and well-crafted informational text takes the reader through Temple Grandin’s diagnosis of autism to her becoming a scientist and professor of animal science. Appendix, Selected Bibliography and Resources, Photo Credits, Index.
  NCSS | Jul 23, 2021 |
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» Add other authors (21 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Arendt, Hannahprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baldunčiks, JurisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Blumbergs, IlmārsCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jakobsson, JimTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
May, NadiaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Power, SamanthaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"How could such a book speak so powerfully to our present moment? The short answer is that we, too, live in dark times, even if they are different and perhaps less dark, and "Origins" raises a set of fundamental questions about how tyranny can arise and the dangerous forms of inhumanity to which it can lead."   Jeffrey C. Isaac, The Washington Post Hannah Arendt's definitive work on totalitarianism and an essential component of any study of twentieth-century political history The Origins of Totalitarianism begins with the rise of anti-Semitism in central and western Europe in the 1800s and continues with an examination of European colonial imperialism from 1884 to the outbreak of World War I. Arendt explores the institutions and operations of totalitarian movements, focusing on the two genuine forms of totalitarian government in our time--Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia--which she adroitly recognizes were two sides of the same coin, rather than opposing philosophies of Right and Left. From this vantage point, she discusses the evolution of classes into masses, the role of propaganda in dealing with the nontotalitarian world, the use of terror, and the nature of isolation and loneliness as preconditions for total domination.

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