Totalitarianism was a term coined by the political theorist, Hannah Arendt, to describe two pathological forms of government, Nazi Germany and Stalins USSR. She described as a kind of state power that reached into the very mind and spirit of the citizenry.
Authority is a neccessary part of power. To enforce the law, for example. To make sure school curricula are worth studying rather than being a pile of junk and of course, to defend the nation. When it becomes excessive, it is called authoritarian.
One of the signal differences between totalitarianism and authoritarianism, according to Arendt, is it's relation to reality. Their propaganda system is generally a web of disinformation, onion like on its contours. This is famously and vividly brought to life in Orwells, 1984.
Herbert Marcise believed that a government could be totalitarian without being authoritarian. He identified totalitarian trends in Americam society in his 1964 book, One-Dimensional Man. He argued that:
Totalitarianism was not only a terroristic political coordination of society, but it was also the non-terroristic economic-technical coordination of society which operates by manipulation of needs by vested interests.
Norman Mailer, the novelist, also warned in the 60s that a new form of totalitarianism had slipped into the American psyche who, "trapped in the totalitarian tissues of American society" was fated to conform, despite the rhetoric of individuality.
This has been amplified by a book by Wolin, Inverted Totalitarianism where in the introduction he says:
Together the state and the corporation became the main sponsors and coordinators of the powers represented by science and technology. The result is an unprecedented combination of powers distinguished by their totalising tendencies, powers that not only challenge established boundaries - political, moral, intellectual, and economic - but whose very nature is to challenge those boundaries continually, even to challenge the limits of the earth itself. Those powers are also the means of inventing and disseminating a culture that taught consumers to welcome change and private pleasure while accepting political passivity. A major consequence is the construction of a new 'collective' identity, imperial rather than ... democratic.
It's worth recalling here, that during the Vietnam War, the philosopher Bertrand Russell, appalled at the atrocities committed by the USA forces in Vietnam, said there was nothing to differentiate what the USA did in Vietnam from the Nazi's - a genocide - and accused The New York Times of a coverup. In other words, the USA had gone through a period of fascism just as bad as the Nazi's.