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Totalitarianism is a form of government in which government takes a role as the central organizing force of day-to-day life. The term was created by Hannah Arendt in order to illustrate the commonalities between Nazism and Stalinism.

Some political analysts, notably Jean Kirkpatrick, make a distinction between totalitarianism and authoritarianism. Both types of governments can be extremely brutal to political opponents. However, in an authoritarian government, the government's efforts are directed at those who are considered political opponents, and the government has neither the will or often the means to control every aspect of an individual's life. In a totalitarian system, ideology requires that every aspect of an individual's life be subordinate to the state.

It is the most extreme form of statism. Totalitarian governments are often found in conjunction with dictatorship.

See also: Gleichschaltung, Stalinism, Communism