Hitler’s Reich and 1984: The Repercussions of Totalitarianism

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Amid the calamitous Weimar Republic of post World War I, Adolf Hitler planted the seeds of what would quickly become one of the most momentous manipulations of government. In just a few years, Hitler established himself as a political authority, and instilled Nazism, short for National Socialism, within Germany. This unprecedented ideology, which he called the European New Order, capitalized on a scattered and demoralized Germany. He initiated an authoritarian regime that would last a decade, ended only by a brutal world war. As Ian Kershaw explains in his essay on Nazi uniqueness, “a regime responsible for the most destructive war in history, leaving upwards of 40 million people dead . . . has an obvious claim to singularity” (239). Yet, the uniqueness of Nazism does not only lie in its genocidal intent. Its fascist ideals contribute to its intriguing nature, and, as a result, are a source of inspiration for countless authors. Reactions are evident in the period of postmodern literature that emerged as a response to Hitler’s Reich. Because of the political messages within these, they greatly influenced society, and therefore have a place in the historical analysis of WWII. George Orwell, a political essayist and novelist, was a prominent luminary of these writings, and in his novel 1984, he attempts to explain the disastrous situation of the mid twentieth century and present a warning about the future. To do so, Orwell formulates a national socialist government, Big Brother, and an insurgent party member, Winston Smith. Though Winston begins as a rebellious citizen, he becomes an obedient subordinate because of his torture. His authority, Big Brother, is a powerful governmental entity that has supreme influence over him and his... ... middle of paper ... ...itical Essay on 1984." Novels for Students. Ed. Deborah A. Stanley. Vol. 7. Detroit: Gale, 1999. 245-48. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 8 Oct. 2013. Gleason, Abbott. "'Totalitarianism' in 1984." Russian Review 43.2 (1984): 145-59. JSTOR. Web. 7 Oct. 2013. Hitler, Adolf. Mein Kampf. Trans. Ralph Manheim. Boston: Houghton, 1971. Print. Kershaw, Ian. "Hitler and the Uniqueness of Nazism." Journal of Contemporary History 39.2 (2004): 239-54. JSTOR. Web. 2 Nov. 2013. Loewenstein, Prince Hubertus. "The Totalitarian State in Germany and the Individual." Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 180: 26-30. JSTOR. Web. 2 Nov. 2013. Lowenthal, David. "Orwell's Political Pessimism in 1984." Polity 2.2 (1969): 160-75. JSTOR. Web. 2 Nov. 2013. Ward, James E. "Hitler's Reich Viewed from 1984." History Teacher 4.2 (1971): 25-33. JSTOR. Web. 7 Oct. 2013.

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