Totalitarianism vs. Authoritarianism

Totalitarianism vs. Authoritarianism Video

Hey there! Welcome to this Mometrix video on totalitarianism vs. authoritarianism.

We understand that distinguishing the two can be a little confusing. So, today, I want to try and help clear things up for you.

Today, I will define totalitarianism and authoritarianism. Then we will put them up against each other so we are able to see the difference more clearly.

Let’s start off by defining the two.

Authoritarian Definition

Authoritarianism is marked by submission to authority. It is the opposite of individualism and democracy. In authoritarian government systems, the political power is condensed into one authority figure or figures. Generally, they assume power and are not elected by the people. Their power is unrestrained, and they answer to no one.

Totalitarian Definition

A totalitarian government system is where the one in power, or the ones in power, see no limitation to their authority and seek to control every aspect of the public and private life in any way possible.

So now let’s compare the two. What is the difference between totalitarianism and authoritarianism?

Difference between Totalitarianism and Authoritarianism

Okay so, totalitarianism is authoritarianism. And then some. In an authoritarian system there are a few social and economical institutes that are outside of the government’s control. So, the authoritarian system wants full political power, but does not go beyond that. The totalitarian rule system, on the other hand, wants power over EVERYTHING. EVERYTHING. They seek power beyond governmental rule and begin to intrude into the Ideology of everyone under their rule.

One of the most familiar examples of a totalitarian ruler was Adolf Hitler. He went beyond political rule, and sought control over what people believed, and even what race he thought people should be. Another key difference is in the way they execute their ruling. The authoritarian ruler is more focused on individual power, while the totalitarian ruler is more of a charming ideologist who claims to have the best interest of the people or the state in mind.

I hope this was helpful in distinguishing the difference! Until next time!


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by Mometrix Test Preparation | Last Updated: August 3, 2023