Faculty Advisor

Kessel, Alisa

Area of Study

Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Publication Date

Summer 2011


Can resistance to a totalitarian regime be possible? When a regime is so tightly controlled by a single leader or a group of people, opposition may seem impossible. Through the theories of Hannah Arendt and Vaclav Havel and the activism of Adam Michnik, I explore the question of the possibility of resistance. Given their different perceptions of totalitarianism, Arendt and Havel see extremely different possibilities of resistance. For Arendt, with a regime controlled by a single leader who has complete power over all aspects of life, opposition is extremely unlikely. However, Havel and Michnik see that resistance is possible because the regime is controlled by a single ideology which dictates the lives of even the leaders. In my paper, I explore how the two drastically different conceptions of totalitarianism account for two equally different possibilities of opposition.


University of Puget Sound