By Bernard Crick
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Extra resources for Basic Forms of Government: A Sketch and a Model
But it is doubtful if it was 'total' in a twentieth-century sense. The regimes had no object beyond territorial expansion (sometimes 36 not even that in their most stable periods) and survival : they neither sought nor needed the kind of power required to effect revolutionary changes or to transform societies. There was general conscription, but only for very specific purposes- canal building and maintenance - compared to modem industrial mobilisation, and then for limited periods only : for if the peasants did not return to their villages to reap and sow, the society would starve.
Never have two regimes been less alike in their origins and their specific aims. The one claimed that racial factors explain everything and that the course of history is determined by the violent struggles of the racially superior to purify their lands from corrupting and corrosive elements, struggles fated to be be victorious 58 if the right leader emerged- the Nazi 'unholy trinity' of Race, Struggle and Leader. The other asserted Marx's theory that the economic factors are always finally decisive, that history is a process of revolutionary class struggle, and - the special theory to explain why the revolution in Russia did not lead to classlessness, freedom and equality overnight - that dictatorship by the proletariat (Lenin) or by the Communist Party (Stalin) must complete or speed-up the, of late, somewhat aborted processes of historical necessity.
Parliaments were the rule rather than the exception in the polities of feudal Europe. Early parliaments were judicial bodies rather than legislative, but at all times they were political : they arose to conciliate differences, or to obtain common action among diverse interests. 37 They emerged clearly towards the end of the twelfth century in the kingdom of Leon in Spain; in the thirteenth century they were flourishing in Catalonia, Sicily, Languedoc, Castille, Portugal, the Reichstag in the German Empire, Aragon, Navarre, Bohemia, Brandenburg, Austria, Valencia, Piedmont, England and Ireland; and by the fourteenth century in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Poland.