This chapter will begin to look at Arendt’s monumental work The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951). Arendt had worked on the book throughout the war years, and completed it in the late 1940s in America, as more and more information about the full horror of the totalitarian regimes in Russia and Germany was emerging. The book is divided into three separate volumes: ‘Anti-Semitism’, ‘Imperialism’ and ‘Totalitarianism’, and these will be considered each in turn in this chapter and the two that follow. The first two volumes of the book seek to understand and to explain the formation of certain ‘elements’ that appeared in European society, roughly in the sixty years from 1870 to 1930, and that later ‘crystallised’ into the totalitarian movements of Hitler’s Nazism and Stalin’s communism. The three most important of these elements were modern anti-Semitism, imperialism, and the collapse of the nation-state. This chapter will deal exclusively with the first of these, which presents a complex and fascinating subject for Arendt’s historical understanding. We will look at Arendt’s use of literary writings by modern Jewish writers, in particular Marcel Proust (1871-1922) and Franz Kafka (1883-1924), to think about the paradoxes of modern anti-Semitism.