Understanding Totalitarianism


Totalitarian leaders prey upon societal divisions like these and share an understanding of the power of simple, emotive messages repeated ad nauseam. This consideration helps shape their political rhetoric. Whenever Lenin sought to appeal to the masses, he employed the simple slogan, "bread, peace, and land." One of Hitler's popular mantras was "one people, one realm, one leader." Mao used the phrase "a few years of hard work and 10,000 years of happiness" to describe the sacrifices required by his disastrous plan known as "The Great Leap Forward." These simple messages were specifically aimed at the masses-they were designed, in the first instance, to capture the attention. Once they had the individual's attention, they could draw him into the movement.

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