Theories of Tyranny

1"2 Whereas at some times and in some circumstances a cautious person or a cautious nation will succeed remarkably , at other times and in other circumstances caution will fail because bold and daring action is required .

Theories of Tyranny

Ch. 10 (pp. 381-454), "Fromm, Neumann, and Arendt: Three Early Interpretations of Nazi Germany", discusses the views of Franz Neumann and Hannah Arendt on Nazi antisemitism. Neumann, in his "Behemoth" (1942), stated that the Nazis needed a fictitious enemy in order to unify the completely atomized German society into one large "Volksgemeinschaft". The terrorization of Jews was a prototype of the terror to be used against other peoples. Arendt contends in "The Origins of Totalitarianism" (1951) that it was imperialism which brought about Nazism, Nazi antisemitism, and the Holocaust. Totalitarianism is nothing but imperialism which came home. Insofar as imperialism transcends national boundaries, racism may be very helpful for it, because racism proposes another principle to define the enemy. Jews and other ethnic groups (e.g. Slavs) became easy targets as groups whose claims clashed with those of the expanding German nation. Terror is the essence of totalitarianism, and extermination camps were necessary for the Nazis to prove the omnipotence of their regime and their capability of total domination.

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