The society that Lois Lowry depicts in The Giver, although fictional, resembles various real-life regimes that might have influenced her writing, in particular the totalitarian governments of Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. A totalitarian government attempts to control every aspect of the citizen's lives and requires complete submission to the state. Typically, totalitarian regimes suppress all forms of opposition to the state including alternative political parties. Soon after Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in 1933, he banned all other political parties so that there were no longer democratic elections. In Russia, after the Communist Revolution in October 1917, Vladimir Lenin, the first leader of the Communist Government, also banned all opposition parties. Similarly, in The Giver, there appears to be no democratic process in which citizens could elect new leaders. The only process by which a citizen can change the rules or overturn a decision is to make an appeal to the Committee of Elders. This is such an ineffectual process that it becomes a running joke for the characters, again suggesting the limits of democratic rights of citizens. 

 As well as eliminating political opposition, totalitarian regimes also commonly keep close control over what information is available to citizens. In both Nazi Germany and in Soviet Russia, there was no free press. The governments of both countries set up an official newspaper, produced by the state, in order to control what the citizens could read in the news. In Russia, the official newspaper was called Pravda, meaning “truth.” Party radio broadcast and publicly displayed posters were also used in both countries to influence what people thought. This is known as propaganda—biased sources of information that seek to promote a particular ideology. In the novel, no one other than Jonas and the Giver has access to books. Therefore, like the Nazis and the Soviets, the Committee of Elders attempts to prevent citizens coming across information that might be damaging to the aims of the regime.   

Finally, the way that the community in The Giver punishes citizens who are not considered useful resembles some of the things that happened in Germany under Hitler. The Nazis believed that different races of people had different worth, and therefore the Nazi state aimed to promote racial purity in its citizens. To achieve this, Hitler introduced the Nuremberg Race Laws in 1935 that banned German Jews (who were wrongly considered racially inferior) from marrying or having sexual relations with persons of “German or related blood.” During the Second World War, the Nazi Party established death camps in which undesirable groups, including Jews, Gypsies, political opponents, disabled people, and other minorities were sent to their deaths. While nothing on this scale happens in The Giver, Lowry creates a world in which weak or undesirable members of society are sent to their deaths without trial. These include feeble children, the elderly, and people who break too many rules.