Dictators, Democracy, and American Public Culture: by Benjamin L. Alpers PDF

By Benjamin L. Alpers

Concentrating on portrayals of Mussolini's Italy, Hitler's Germany, and Stalin's Russia in U.S. motion pictures, journal and newspaper articles, books, performs, speeches, and different texts, Benjamin Alpers lines altering American understandings of dictatorship from the past due Twenties during the early years of the chilly battle.
During the early Thirties, so much Americans' notion of dictatorship interested by the dictator. no matter if seen as heroic or awful, the dictator was once represented as a determine of significant, masculine strength and effectiveness. because the nice melancholy gripped the USA, a couple of people--including conservative participants of the clicking and a few Hollywood filmmakers--even dared to indicate that dictatorship could be the reply to America's social difficulties.
In the past due Nineteen Thirties, American causes of dictatorship shifted concentration from person leaders to the hobbies that empowered them. Totalitarianism grew to become the picture opposed to which a view of democracy emphasizing tolerance and pluralism and disparaging mass hobbies constructed. First used to explain dictatorships of either correct and left, the time period "totalitarianism" fell out of use upon the U.S. access into global conflict II. With the war's finish and the cave in of the U.S.-Soviet alliance, besides the fact that, issues approximately totalitarianism lay the basis for the rising chilly warfare.

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Extra info for Dictators, Democracy, and American Public Culture: Envisioning the Totalitarian Enemy, 1920s-1950s

Sample text

Second, the changes that took place in American views of dictatorship over the course of the s were subtle and complicated; they involved much more than simply the nearly universal condemnation of the phenomenon. Those writing and thinking about European dictatorship before the mid-s most often focused on the dictator himself, frequently as a romantic or even eroticized figure. At the very least, he was the author of his regime and the principal source of its program. By the late s, Americans had begun to see the European dictatorships in less personalistic terms: Nazism in Germany, Fascism in Italy, and Communism in Russia were presented less often as the creation of heroic, or horrific, individuals who molded society to their will and more often as the result of peculiar changes in mass psychology.

This is Stalin’s achilles heel. From being the modest retiring leader whom few saw or heard—the silent power behind the ‘‘throne’’—he has in recent months stepped forth into the brightest limelight and seems to enjoy it. He has become the object of thickly smeared praise, fawning adulation, and tasteless obeisance. . If Stalin is not responsible for this performance he at least tolerates it. 17 Although he soon joined Mussolini as an archetypal dictator, Stalin did not become nearly so popular with the American public.

Group supporting the Nazi government. Even before official discouragement began, the organization had only ten thousand members,  per      cent of whom were German citizens. 45 Many interest groups in America were prepared to wage an information campaign against the Nazis. Among the first to organize was the Jewish community. In the summer of , The Romance of a People, a dramatic pageant designed to heighten awareness of the plight of Jews throughout history and to raise money for the resettlement of German Jews in Palestine premiered at the Chicago World’s Fair.

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