The first real totalitarian government after World War I was Stalins Soviet Union. The failure of the Communists proletarian struggle to achieve any significant goals compelled Stalin to undertake some drastic changes to the Communist party. Stalins idea of Socialism in One Country deviated away from the foundations of Communism and emphasized the importance of nationalism. He also postponed Lenin and Marxs idea of Permanent Revolution. In taking power away from the proletariats, Stalin achieved dictatorial status as the sole leader of the Soviet nation.
As dictator, he controlled many aspects of social life, as well as dominating economic and political supremacy. For example, he directed the Great Purge, in which he used violence and aggression to maintain absolute control over the Soviet Union. However, unlike the totalitarian governments of Italy and Germany, Stalin initiated a democratic constitution that could match that of any Western European country.
In Italy, a totalitarian government arose after World War I because of the parliamentary regimes lack of productivity and stability. Mussolinis sovereignty brought about stability at the expense of much of the peoples political and economical independence. In addition, his regime directly affected the social aspects of Italian life. For example, he instituted Fascist ideas into the youth through public education and strictly monitored mass media. Like most other totalitarian regimes, Italy under Mussolini also employed many acts of violence to insure political domination and eliminate any revolutionary conspiracies.
Meanwhile, in Germany, Hitler created the totalitarianistic Nazi Party. Like the other totalitarian systems, Nazi Germany came about because of its promise of economic and political stability. Again, at the expense of such security was the eradication of individuality. Hitler did more than manipulating the mass media and demanding strict discipline and conformity of his citizens. He voiced hostility towards imaginary enemies to strengthen his totalitarian ideas of nationalism and Aryan superiority. He blamed the Jews for all of Germanys economic shortcomings and strongly championed anti-Semitism. His use of violence and neo-pagan aggressions towards the Jews established racism as the underlining factor in his totalitarian regime.
Despite the distinct differences between these totalitarian states, they all shared several common characteristics. Soviet Union, Italy, and Germany all tried to control all aspects of life with underhanded manipulation and the use of violence to purge their political enemies. In addition, they all were generally led by a single dictator, who controlled the police, the military, the media, and the educational systems. Finally, they all required their citizens to conform to their ideals rather allow them to achieve any social, economical, or political freedoms.