Totalitarianism: The Inner History of the Cold War

Paperback | January 1, 1997

byAbbott Gleason

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Totalitarianism offers a penetrating chronicle of the central concept of our era--an era shaped by our conflict first with fascism and then with communism. Interweaving the story of intellectual debates with the international history of the twentieth century, Gleason traces the birth of theterm to Italy in the first years of Mussolini's rule. Created by Mussolini's enemies, the word was appropriated by the Fascists themselves to describe their program in what turned out to be one of the less totalitarian of the European dictatorships. He follows the growth and expansion of the conceptas it was picked up in the West and applied to Hitler's Germany and the Soviet Union. Gleason's account takes us through the debates of the early postwar years, as academics in turn adopted the term--most notably Hannah Arendt. The idea of totalitarianism came to possess novelists such as ArthurKoestler (Darkness at Noon) and George Orwell (whose Nineteen Eighty-Four was interpreted by conservatives as an attack on socialism in general, and subsequently suffered criticism from left-leaning critics). The concept entered the public consciousness still more fully with the opening of the ColdWar, as Truman used the rhetoric of totalitarianism to sell the Truman Doctrine to Congress. Gleason takes a fascinating look at the notorious brainwashing episodes of the Korean War, which convinced Americans that Communist China too was a totalitarian state. As he takes his account through to the1990s, he offers an inner history of the Cold War, revealing the political charge the term carried for writers on both the left and right. He also explores the intellectual struggles that swirled around the idea in France, Germany, Italy, Czechoslovakia, and Poland. When the Cold War drew to aclose in the late 1980s, Gleason writes, the concept lost much of its importance in the West even as it flourished in Russia, where writers began to describe their own collapsing state as totalitarian--though left-wing Western thinkers continued to resist doing so. Ideal for courses in politics andmodern history, Totalitarianism provides a fascinating account of one of the most enigmatic yet compelling ideas of our time.

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From Our Editors

Totalitarianism offers a penetrating chronicle of the central concept of our era--an era shaped by our conflict first with fascism and then with communism. Interweaving the story of intellectual debates with the international history of the twentieth century, Gleason traces the birth of the term to Italy in the first years of Mussolini...

From the Publisher

Totalitarianism offers a penetrating chronicle of the central concept of our era--an era shaped by our conflict first with fascism and then with communism. Interweaving the story of intellectual debates with the international history of the twentieth century, Gleason traces the birth of theterm to Italy in the first years of Mussolini'...

From the Jacket

Totalitarianism offers a penetrating chronicle of the central concept of our era--an era shaped by our conflict first with fascism and then with communism. Interweaving the story of intellectual debates with the international history of the twentieth century, Gleason traces the birth of the term to Italy in the first years of Mussolini...

Abbott Gleason is a leading scholar of Soviet and Russian history and a contributor to periodicals ranging from The Russian Review to The Atlantic Monthly.

other books by Abbott Gleason

On "Nineteen Eighty-Four": Orwell and Our Future
On "Nineteen Eighty-Four": Orwell and Our Future

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 5.75 × 9.02 × 0.91 inPublished:January 1, 1997Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195050185

ISBN - 13:9780195050189

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Table of Contents

IntroductionOne. Fascist OriginsTwo. A New Kind of State: Italy, Germany, and the Soviet Union in the 1930sThree. Wartime in the English-Speaking WorldFour. The Cold WarFive. Brainwashing: Communist China as a Totalitarian StateSix. Searching for the Origins of TotalitarianismSeven. "Totalitarianism" Among the SovietologistsEight. The Cold War in Postwar Europe: France, Italy, and GermanyNine. The Cold War in Eastern EuropeTen. The "Evil Empire"Epilogue. The Russians Call Themselves TotalitarianNotesIndex

From Our Editors

Totalitarianism offers a penetrating chronicle of the central concept of our era--an era shaped by our conflict first with fascism and then with communism. Interweaving the story of intellectual debates with the international history of the twentieth century, Gleason traces the birth of the term to Italy in the first years of Mussolini's rule.

Editorial Reviews

"A thoughtful examination of the idea of the radically intrusive "total state"....insightful reviews of the work of Hannah Arendt, Jacob Talmon, and Raymond Aron, among many others."--Foreign Affairs