Difference Between Totalitarianism and Democracy

Today, we live in a world where democracy predominates, however, it is not the only system of government that exists today. Consequently, in many countries different regimes continue to exist, operating with different forms of government. For this, it is necessary to know a little about these forms of government and therefore, the purpose of this article is to point out the difference between a democratic government system and a totalitarian government system.


It can be said that totalitarianism is a system of government where all power is centralized and is exercised by the state without any restrictions, so that the main objective is to have total control of the country.

Freedom within the totalitarian government system is severely compromised, so the government exercises virtually total control over the population. They also control the means of expression. In the same way, the political party controls the government institutions to an extent that they are practically the same entity.

Examples :

Among the most relevant forms of totalitarian government were Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany, Benito Mussolini’s fascist Italy, Mao Tse Tung’s Maoist China, among others.


Democracy is a system of government that allows government power to be distributed among a series of powers that perform different functions, who in turn are elected by citizens. These individuals or representatives are elected through citizen participation, generally through voting. It should be noted that in democracy freedom is guaranteed by law and in turn is guaranteed by the State.

Examples :

We will briefly mention some countries that currently operate under a democratic form of government such as Sweden, Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Australia, Canada, among many others.

Among the differences that we can summarize between totalitarianism and democracy we can find:

totalitarianism Democracy
The will of the political party is imposed, regardless of public opinion for its own benefits. The will of the people is imposed, for the benefit of the people and the common good.
In totalitarianism, power is centralized in the political party. In democracy, power is distributed among a set of powers.
The totalitarian state is represented by a single party and no other representation is allowed. (There can be no opposition). In democracy, it is the duty of the state to promote the existence of other political parties. (Must allow for opposition)
In totalitarianism the freedom of citizens is not guaranteed. The freedom of citizens is guaranteed through the constitution and the State
The totalitarian government generally controls the media, public institutions, the police and other entities. In democracy, the government cannot control any entity of any kind, everything must be free.
Uses force or violence to compel citizens to support the government’s political ideal. In democracy, freedom of expression, freedom of ideals, among others, are guaranteed.
Totalitarianism often seeks a way to stay in power forever. The rulers are periodically renewed as dictated by the constitution

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