The end of World War 1, in 1918, marked the beginning of the Interwar Period, a chaotic period of time when totalitarian leaders rose to power to solitarily take control of their country. Through deceit, propaganda, charisma, and promises for a brighter future, these leaders were able to gather their country’s undivided support. One example of propaganda produced and endorsed by a totalitarian dictator is the piece Mein Kampf, written by Adolf Hitler. In this piece, Hitler blames Germany’s past problems on the Jews, and calls all Germans and Aryans to support his extermination of the Jews. One way that leaders were able to single handedly control their country was the extreme promotion of nationalism, in order to create a common national identity. Totalitarian leaders were then able to harness people’s support with very little effort, by implementing policies that were viewed favorably by the new national identity. Different totalitarian leaders came to power very differently. Some dictators came to power lawlessly, through the overthrow of the former leader, while others came to power legally. Once in power, however, these leaders behaved very similarly, implementing policies to protect their complete power and control, aggressive foreign policies, and the extreme promotion of the state. Many totalitarian dictators sought short-term solutions for their country’s economic struggles after the war, in an effort to gain support and devotion from their people.
Nationalism and Interwar Totalitarianism have a strong connection to the development of World War II. After World War I, the defeated countries, the Triple Alliance, especially Germany, felt taken advantage of by the Treaty of Versailles. These countries turned toward a definitive, and aggressive leader, who promised a brighter future to the people of his country, and came to power. These leaders acted impulsively, and very aggressively, and these actions were a large contributing factor to the development of World War II. Totalitarian dictators, such as Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler, used their people’s nationalist feelings as an excuse to act against countries that they had tensions with. Nationalism and Interwar Totalitarianism connect to the development of World War II because an increase in nationalist feelings led to the implementation of Totalitarian dictators, who acted very aggressively in the pursuit of national pride, another defining trait of nationalism.