: The Study of Totalitarianism and Authoritarianism

Archie Brown

in The British Study of Politics in the Twentieth Century

Published by British Academy

Published in print May 2003 | ISBN: 9780197262948
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734762 | DOI:

Series: British Academy Centenary Monographs

: The Study of Totalitarianism and Authoritarianism

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The rise of totalitarian regimes in Russia, Germany, and Italy between the two world wars preceded the professionalization of the study of politics. The political experience of recent decades suggests that where authoritarian regimes have given way to democratic systems in which politicians can be held accountable and where a rule of law prevails, there is little likelihood of a return to authoritarianism, least of all in the form of Communism or fascism. It is easier to continue to deny political liberties to people who have never experienced them than to remove freedoms to which citizens have quickly become accustomed. Whether the world’s first Communist state, Russia, will succeed in breaking decisively with its authoritarian past remains one of the most momentous of all the unresolved puzzles. It is one question among many likely to keep British students of politics busy into the twenty-first century.

Keywords: totalitarian regimes; Communist systems; authoritarian rule; Russia; fascism; British politics

Chapter.  22344 words. 

Subjects: Politics

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