Totalitarianism is a political system where the state recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible. Totalitarian regimes stay in political power through an all-encompassing propaganda campaign, which is disseminated through the state-controlled mass media, a single party that is often marked by political repression, personality cultism, control over the economy, regulation and restriction of speech, mass surveillance, and widespread use of terror.
The concept of totalitarianism was first developed in the 1920s by the Weimar German jurist, and later Nazi academic, Carl Schmitt and Italian fascists. Schmitt used the term, Totalstaat in his influential work on the legal basis of an all-powerful state, The Concept of the Political (1927). The concept became prominent in Western anti-communist political discourse during the Cold War era as an effort to highlight perceived similarities between Fascist and Soviet Communist Party states in a way that would justify Cold War political divisions.