We are used to distinguishing the despotic regimes of the 20th century - communism, fascism, National Socialism, Maoism - very precisely according to place and time, origins and influences. But what should we call that which they have in common? On this question, there has been and is still a passionate debate.
This book documents the first international conference on this theme, a conference that took place in September of 1994 at the University of Munich. The book shows how new models for understanding political history arose from the experience of modern despotic regimes. Here, the most important concepts - totalitarianism and political religions - are discussed and tested in terms of their usefulness.
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Hans Maier, born on June 18, 1931 in Freiburg in Breisgau, is Emeritus Professor for Political Science and the Theory of Religion at the University of Munich. He was the Bavarian Minister of Culture and Science from 1970 to 1986 and President of the Central Committee of German Catholics from 1976 to 1986. Major publications include Revolution und Kirche (1959), in English, Revolution and Church: The Early History of Christian Democracy, 1789-1901 (London: University of Notre Dame Press, 1969). Also Die ältere deutsch Staats- und Verwaltungslehre (1966), Die christliche Zeitrechnung (1991), Politische Religionen (1995) and Welt ohne Christentum - was wäre anders? (1999).
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