Totalitarianism is not a political system or a system of government (a regime). It is a word created in 1923, in Italy, by the liberal Giovanni Amendola, in opposition to the growing and already antidemocratic fascism. The word was used in the following years by Piero Gobetti, Augusto Monti, Luigi Sturzo and, in 1925, to general surprise, by Benito Mussolini. So Italian fascism was the only 20th century State that called itself «totalitarian». Then, the word was used by political scientists and historians to compare fascism, German national socialism and Russian Stalinist communism; but also to describe the evolution of the entire world towards a new and structural system, neither capitalistic nor socialist. In the postwar years, following Hannah Arendt’s famous book on the origins of totalitarianism, the term appeared, during the cold war and after, as marking the difference between authoritarian and totalitarian dictatorship; whereas the former could change and become democratic, the latter, now existing only in the communist States, had to be destroyed by the democratic peoples of the western world.
Keywords: Totalitarismo, fascismo, nazionalsocialismo, comunismo sovietico e internazionale, Guerra fredda