What are the main causes for rise of Totalitarianism in Europe?



The following factors contributed to the rise of totalitarianism in Europe between 1929-39:

First, the humiliating treatment rneeted out to Germany by the Treaty of Versailles, created a sense of hatred and revenge amongst the I Germans. The treaty had mutilated Germany physically, humiliated her emotionally, suffocated her economically and encircled her territorially. This had greatly offended the popular sentiments in Germany. Hitler fully exploited these sentiments to establish his dictatorship in German".

Secondly, the Treaty of Versailles greatly disappointed Italy. Though she fought on the side of the victors she could not gain whatever had been promised to her during the war. the other hand. Italy had to face 'poverty, discontent and disorder.'

The Italian leaders felt that though they had won the war they lost the peace. Naturally, the Italians were in the look out for a man who could help them to achieve their national ambitions and they found such a person in Benito Mussolini and permitted him to establish his totalitarian rule in Italy.

Thirdly, the successful bid by America and other European powers to curb the growing power of Japan by imposing restrictions on her navy and ambitions in China, through the Washington Conference of 1921-22 was exploited by the military leaders in Japan to bring discredit to the demo­cratic government and establish a totalitarian rule in Japan.

Fourthly, in Russia the Communist leaders were determined to spread communism all over the world. They crushed all the anti-revolutionary forces within the country with firm hand and tried to promote communism in other countries of world by resorting to all types of methods.

In addition to the particular cause which helped the growth of totalitarian regimes in various countries there were some general causes which also contributed to the rise of dictatorships.

In the first place, the democratic governments established after the First World War proved a miserable failure in so far as they failed to solve the social, economic and political problems facing their countries in the post-war period. Their failure was fully exploited to establish dictatorial regimes.

Secondly, the world wide economic depression of 1929-32 caused enormous hardship and suffering to the people and gave rise to a spirit of frustration, despondency and despair among the people. The people were naturally allured by the leaders who promised them a bright future and rendered them willing obedience.

Finally, the failure of the League of Nations to check aggression and preserve world peace also greatly contributed to the rise of totalitarian regimes. Japan, Italy, Germany etc. committed aggression with impunity and the League of Nations failed to take any action against them.