One-party state

political system with only one party permanently in control

A one-party state, single-party state, one-party system, or single-party system is a type of state in which one political party has the right to form the government, usually based on the existing constitution. All other parties are either outlawed or allowed to take only a limited and controlled participation in elections. Sometimes the term de facto one-party state is used to describe a dominant-party system that, unlike the one-party state, allows (at least nominally) democratic multiparty elections, but the existing practices or balance of political power effectively prevent the opposition from winning the elections.


  • Only an unabashed acceptance of the similarities between the Nazi and Soviet systems permits an understanding of their differences. Both ideologies opposed liberalism and democracy. In both political systems, the significance of the word party was inverted: rather than being a group among others competing for power according to accepted rules, it became the group that determined the rules. Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union were both one-party states. In both the Nazi and Soviet polities the party played a leading role in matters of ideology and social discipline. Its political logic demanded exclusion of outsiders, and its economic elite believed that certain groups were superfluous or harmful. In both administrations, economic planners assumed that more people existed in the countryside than was really necessary. Stalinist collectivization would remove superfluous peasants from the countryside and send them to the cities or the Gulag to work. If they starved, that was of little consequence. Hitlerian colonization projected the starvation and deportation of tens of millions of people.

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