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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The rise of totalitarianism was a time when a relatively significant number of governments moved towards totalitarianism.  This happened after World War I.

Totalitarianism is a system in which the government tries to control every aspect of its people’s lives.  It tries, for example, to control the ways in which they think about politics, but also about such personal things as religion or even sex and family.  Totalitarian governments do not believe in individual freedoms.

Social scientists believe that stress and crisis makes people more likely to accept totalitarian governments.  This is said to be the reason why totalitarianism rose in the years after WWI.  Countries like the Soviet Union, Italy, Germany, and Spain all experienced major crises.  It is believed that these crises helped drive them to embrace totalitarian regimes headed by Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler, and Franco.