What is the nature of the totalitarian regimes of the 20th century and how did they impact the lives of marginalized groups within societies?

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ecofan74 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

By their very natures, totalitarian regimes focus power into a highly centralized authority, generally a single individual.  Such an individual exercises power over every aspect of society and over every member of society.  As such, the pressure to conform or fit into a state-defined ideal is immense.  This is particularly true of totalitarian regimes of the twentieth century.  In Nazi Germany, Adolf Hitler's predicated his rise to power on marginalizing different groups with German society, citing them as the reasons for Germany's social and economic ills.  Pushing the Aryan race as the ideal for individuals in German society, Hitler further extricated the groups on the margins of society who did not fit the image.  Among these groups, including Jews, gypsies, and homosexuals, the Nazis focused their efforts at marginalization on the Jewish population, forcibly removing them from German society and placing them into camps.  The resulting Holocaust illustrates the most extreme form of marginalization.  Even those not in camps had to wear yellow stars on their coats to distinguish themselves from the rest of the population.  Other totalitarian regimes of the twentieth century - Idi Amin's Uganda, Pol Pot's Cambodia, among others - also dealt harshly with those groups they chose to marginalize, regardless of whether the marginalization was based on political or purely social reasons.