Totalitarianism is a concept used to describe a form of government and political system that prohibits all opposition parties, outlaws individual opposition to the state and its claims, and exercises an extremely high degree of control over public and private life. It is regarded as the most extreme and complete form of authoritarianism.

In totalitarian states, political power is often held by autocrats, such as dictators and absolute monarchs.

Totalitarian regimes are often characterized by extreme political repression, to a greater extent than those of authoritarian regimes, under an undemocratic government, widespread personality cultism around the person or the group which is in power, absolute control over the economy, large-scale censorship and mass surveillance systems, limited or non-existent freedom of movement (the freedom to leave the country), and the widespread usage of state terrorism.

Other aspects of a totalitarian regime include the extensive use of internment camps, an omnipresent secret police, practices of religious persecution or racism, the imposition of theocratic rule or state atheism, the common use of death penalties and show trials, fraudulent elections (if they took place), the possible possession of weapons of mass destruction, a potential for state-sponsored mass murders and genocides, and the possibility of engaging in a war, or colonialism against other countries, which is often followed by annexation of their territories.

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