Object structure

click here to follow the link

Alternative title:

The Essence of Totalitarianism : on Zbigniew Brzeziński and Carl Friedrich’s Theory

Subject and Keywords:

Brzeziński, Zbigniew   totalitarianism   Soviet Union   Third Reich


The aim of this text is a contemporary estimation of the thesis formed in a famous book by Zbigniew Brzeziński and Carl Friedrich, Totalitarian Dictatorship and Autocracy (1956). This is a classic text of Western political science about totalitarianism, simultaneously scientific and political. Scientific, because it presents the idea of three types of political regimes in the 20th century: totalitarian, authoritarian, and liberal-democratic. Political, because the term “totalitarianism” was very useful in the time of the Cold War. This term presents the old (Nazi Germany) and new (Stalinist Russia) totalitarian states as equal political enemies of the USA, equal in their hostility to political and individual freedom, i.e. America’s creed. By using this term, the Americans can create a horrible picture of Russian communism as totalitarian, the same as Hitler’s regime, while presenting old enemies (West Germany, Italy, and Japan) as good friends of both the USA and freedom, because in this moment these states are democratic and liberal. The new term ended the old line of the delimitation between fascist or pro-fascist and antifascist states and legitimates the new alliance between the USA and Franco’s Spain. The author analyses the definition of totalitarianism by Brzeziński and Friedrich as well as the political and ideological accusations made against this book by leftist critics.

Place of publishing:



Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego

Date issued:


Resource Type:


Detailed Type:



ISSN 0239-6661   ISSN 0137-1126




PAd P 101182 II



Abstract Language :



Acta Universitatis Wratislaviensis, 0239-6661, no 4069

Access rights:

The use of this material is allowed only with accordance of applicable rules of fair use or other exceptions provided by law, and any broader use requires the permission of the authorized entity


Making materials available on the basis of the agreement with the owner of the property copyrights

Rights holder:

Copyright by Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego Sp. z o.o., Wrocław 2021   Copyright by CNS

Autor opisu:

WR U/PAdal