Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
A police state is a state in which the government maintains strict control over the population, particularly through suspension of civil rights, usually by means of a force of secret police. Given that it thwarts, or at least ignores, the will of its citizens, a police state is inherently anti-democratic.
The best-known literary treatment of a police state is George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, which describes a totalitarian régime which uses the excuse of constant war to permit police and security cameras to keep constant watch on the entire population.
Examples of real modern police states include:
- Nazi Germany
- The former USSR and fellow countries from the Warsaw Pact. For instance, East Germany, or the German Democratic Republic (GDR), was a police state. The country's secret police force, the Stasi (or Ministerium für Staatssicherheit) maintained an extremely close watch on East German citizens, to the point at which virtually every residential building, place of employment, or place of leisure contained at least one Stasi informant.
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