Dictators, Democracy, and American Public Culture: Envisioning the Totalitarian Enemy, 1920s-1950s
Focusing on portrayals of Mussolini's Italy, Hitler's Germany, and Stalin's Russia in U.S. films, magazine and newspaper articles, books, plays, speeches, and other texts, Benjamin Alpers traces changing American understandings of dictatorship from the late 1920s through the early years of the Cold War.
During the early 1930s, most Americans' conception of dictatorship focused on the dictator. Whether viewed as heroic or horrific, the dictator was represented as a figure of great, masculine power and effectiveness. As the Great Depression gripped the United States, a few people--including conservative members of the press and some Hollywood filmmakers--even dared to suggest that dictatorship might be the answer to America's social problems.
In the late 1930s, American explanations of dictatorship shifted focus from individual leaders to the movements that empowered them. Totalitarianism became the image against which a view of democracy emphasizing tolerance and pluralism and disparaging mass movements developed. First used to describe dictatorships of both right and left, the term "totalitarianism" fell out of use upon the U.S. entry into World War II. With the war's end and the collapse of the U.S.-Soviet alliance, however, concerns about totalitarianism lay the foundation for the emerging Cold War.
What people are saying - Write a review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - DarthDeverell - LibraryThing
In Dictators, Democracy, and American Public Culture: Envisioning the Totalitarian Enemy, 1920s – 1950s, Benjamin L. Alpers argues that, while Americans treat dictatorship and democracy as polar ... Read full review
Other editions - View all
Dictators, Democracy, and American Public Culture: Envisioning the ...
Benjamin L. Alpers
Limited preview - 2003
Adolf Hitler American appeared Arendt argued Army aspects audience authority became become began believed called camps capitalism Capra cause Century character Christian communism Communist continued created critical crowd culture danger democracy democratic described despite dictator dictatorship early economic enemy entirely Europe European fact fascism fear Fight film final forces freedom Front German Hitler Hollywood hope human idea important individual intellectual interest isms Italian John largely late later leader least less liberal March Marxism mass meaning military movement Mussolini nature Nazi Nazism never Office Origins Party picture play political popular positive presented President problem producers question radio regimented regimes responsible Review Russian seemed sense similar social society Soviet Union suggested term tion totalitarianism understanding United wartime writing York