Gleich·​schal·​tung | \ ˈglīḵˌshäl(ˌ)tu̇ŋ, -təŋ \
plural Gleichschaltungen\ -​ˌtu̇ŋən , -​təŋ-​ \

Definition of Gleichschaltung

: the act, process, or policy of achieving rigid and total coordination and uniformity (as in politics, culture, communication) by forcibly repressing or eliminating independence and freedom of thought, action, or expression : forced reduction to a common level : forced standardization or assimilation brutal Gleichschaltung by police methods the political Gleichschaltung of a reluctant adult population— Reinhard Bendix

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History and Etymology for Gleichschaltung

German, coordination, from gleichschalten to coordinate, from gleich equally, alike (from Old High German gilīcho, adverb of gilīh equal, alike) + schalten to govern, direct, from Old High German scaltan to push; akin to Old Saxon skaldan to shove (a boat), Old High German scalta boathook, Old Norse skalda ferryboat, Greek skallein to hoe

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Cite this Entry

“Gleichschaltung.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

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