A totalitarian government may be defined as a "system that is centralized and dictatorial and requires complete subservience to the state" (Google). These types of societies were often seen in the past, however, some totalitarian governments still exist today. The Hunger Games trilogy may contain many similar characteristics to a totalitarian society.
In the book "Of Bread, Blood and The Hunger Games," the authors closely analyze characteristics of a totalitarian society and relate them to the trilogy. Pharr and Clark refer to the essay "Ur-fascism," written by Umberto Eco, in order to describe the characteristics of a fascist society. In his essay he states "dissent is betrayal," which is definitely something that is seen in the trilogy when Peeta gets beaten for publicly warning District 13 of an attack, and when Cinna gets tortured right in front of Katniss (Pharr and Clark, 32). Some other characteristics of a totalitarian regime may be "actions for action's sake" and "scorn for the weak," which are also seen in the trilogy through President Snow and the Capitol (Pharr and Clark, 32). Not only is President Snow and the Capitol an example of a fascist government in The Hunger Games, but Alma Coin and District 13 also run a very strict government in which food is rationed equally, residents are given a specific schedule each day, and there may be consequences for breaking the rules. The authors go on to discuss how Gale attempts to kill a great amount of innocent people in order to neutralize the nut, while Snow drops bombs on a bunch of children who were placed around his mansion as a human barricade (Pharr and Clark 34). Eco's essay states that one does not need to display all aspects of a totalitarian regime in order to become one; "all you need is on the of them to be present, and a fascist nebula will begin to coagulate" (Pharr and Clark, 35). Systems of government that reflect totalitarian leadership may be seen in the Middle East, where the "Arab Spring" revolution is taking place.
Gresh also analyzes the trilogy in relation to a totalitarian regime in the book "The Hunger Games Companion." There are several steps to a rebellion such as the one that takes place in Mockingjay. The first step is a large portion of the population becoming unhappy with the government, which is most definitely the case for the Districts of Panem. Next, majority of the people living in the society must feel that the only way to solve these problems are to overthrow the government. In The Hunger Games it is sort of a domino effect, when one District revolts it leads to other rebellions in other Districts as well. The third step is the elite classes voting for rebellion. In the trilogy these people may be considered Plutarch Heavensbee, head Gamemaker, and Beetee who is an inventor. There also must be a crisis in which the regime would be unable to use force against the people, and this may be an economic collapse or scarcity of food and water. Lastly, there must be no other government that intervenes with the rebellion. All of these steps clearly take place in The Hunger Games trilogy which is why the rebellion may be successful. (Gresh 25-27)
Totalitarian regimes insist that the government should be all-powerful and the states/citizens should provide primarily for the success of the government. One may see how this clearly relates to the Capitol, in which the people of the Districts hardly have an food to live on and they must work arduously to provide food and material goods for the Capitol.