Dictators, Democracy, and American Public Culture: Envisioning the Totalitarian Enemy, 1920s-1950s / Edition 1

Dictators, Democracy, and American Public Culture: Envisioning the Totalitarian Enemy, 1920s-1950s / Edition 1

by Benjamin L. Alpers
     
 

ISBN-10: 0807854166

ISBN-13: 9780807854167

Pub. Date: 01/21/2003

Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press

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

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Overview

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.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807854167
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
01/21/2003
Series:
Cultural Studies of the United States Series
Edition description:
1
Pages:
416
Product dimensions:
6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.96(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction1
1The Romance of a Dictator: Dictatorship in American Public Culture, 1920s-193515
2The Totalitarian State: Modern Dictatorship as a New Form of Government, 1920s-193559
3The Disappearing Dictator: Declining Regard for Dictators amid Growing Fears of Dictatorship, 1936-194177
4The Audience Itself Is the Drama: Dictatorship and the Regimented Crowd, 1936-194194
5Dictator Isms and Our Democracy: The Rise of Totalitarianism, 1936-1941129
6This Is the Army: The Problem of the Military in a Democracy, 1941-1945157
7Here Is Germany: Understanding the Nazi Enemy, 1941-1945188
8The Battle of Russia: The Russian People, Communism, and Totalitarianism, 1941-1945220
9A Boot Stamping on a Human Face - Forever: Totalitarianism as Nightmare in Postwar America250
Notes303
Bibliography347
Index381

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