What is the difference between totalitarianism vs. fascism vs. dictatorship?

I am studying for the MCAT and have problem with Verbal passages that deal with government/finances. Any suggestions on how I can expand in this area would be appreciated. Thank you.

3 Answers

  • Dictatorship means that one person rules, but without the sanction of legitimacy like legal election or hereditary monarchy. Of course, dictators usually try to jerryrig the laws to legitimize their power, but they normally take power by a coup or some other illegal means and then try to justify it after the fact.

    Totalitarianism is not an ideology in itself but refers to any ideology which subordinates the rights of the individual to the interests of the state. That is, the state considers itself to be the primary focus of loyalty and identity, and does not permit its authority to be limited by things like religion, individual conscience and civil rights, family loyalties, etc. Fascism, Nazism and Communism are all totalitarian ideologies.

    Fascism is one totalitarian ideology. It holds that the “nation” is the entity that mandates its members’ absolute loyalty and obedience, and also that the “spirit of the nation” is embodied in a single inspired leader. The most famous example is Mussolini in Italy, but Franco in Spain, or Peron in Argentina, were also fascist leaders. Nazism is a variation of fascism which adds racism and anti-semitism to the formula.

  • Totalitarianism Vs Fascism

  • Fascism says that nation and race above the individual and supports the set up of an authoritarian government in which absolute power is held by the leader. Totalitarianism and dictatorship is also power held by one person.

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