How Hitler Compares to Stalin Report (Assessment)
Plan of Investigation
This paper seeks to investigate and compare leaders of countries that were “single party states” (Weinberg 23, par 2). Therefore Hitler who ruled Germany and Stalin who ruled Russia about the same time will be compared in terms of the leadership styles and the overall effects they had on their respective societies.
Hitler led by Nazism which can be identified as a form of fascism while Stalin was a communist, however, their effects on their respective societies is significantly comparable (Bullock 3). It is important to note that both countries (the USSR and Germany) were single party states.
Summary of evidence
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin “(1878-1953) was the General Secretary of the communist party of the Soviet Union’s central committee for 31 years since” 1922 to 1953. (Gellately 57) He won this elective position mainly due to the important role he played in the Soviet Revolution.
Initially the post of General Secretary was not so powerful in the party; however, following the death Vladimir Lenin who had led the communist party from 1917, Stalin strengthened the opposition by eliminating opposition within the party (Bullock 4).
During his semi retirement times, Lenin had written disparaging statements about Stalin. He was particularly against Stalin’s rise to power due to his behavior, which he described as being rude, ambitious and power hungry (Harrison 137).
To strengthen his influence in the party Stalin formed an alliance with allies Zinoviev and Kamenev who were members of the central committee in the party. After the death of Lenin, Zinoviev and Kamenev began to disagree with Stalin, thereafter they found themselves isolated as Trotsky (Bullock 45).
In the years that followed, Stalin gained a lot of power such that he begun to run the party as a one man show. In the 1930s he spearhead radical economic reforms that saw the Soviet Union take a U turn from the near capitalist state it was becoming (Kuper 134).
His policies are thought to have been the main cause of the deadly famine that caused millions of deaths between 1932 and 1933. As time went by Stalin consolidate a lot of power, he orchestrated the expulsion of several members from the party, subjecting some of them to banishment and execution (Lewis 34).
For instance, he executed Kirov because he was becoming more popular. Later in the same year Stalin passed a new law on “Terrorist organizations and terrorist acts” (Harrison 138, par. 2).
After the passing of the law, multiple trials followed by torture, deportation or execution took place in Moscow and elsewhere in the USSR by operatives of the NKVD. Most of the original members of Lenin’s cabinet were executed during this purge.
The NKVD detentions and executions grew to include all opposition groups, all foreigners and the peasant farmers who were seen as an outlawed class (Snyder 135). An estimated number of between 3 and 30 million people are thought to have been killed during the terror. Stalin died in 1953.
Adolf Hitler (1889- 1945) “was the leader of the National Socialist German workers party (NSDAP) or Nazi and the Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945” (Kershaw 5, par.6). Hitler begun to rise after the First World War in which he had excelled as a fighter. He ventured into politics as an extremist angered with the way Germany was being ruled.
Hitler later took part in an attempted coup, imprisoned for five years but later released after a year. Following his release Hitler decided to follow the long legitimate path to power. While in prison Hitler wrote the book “Mein Kampf”, a book that played major role in his rise(Payne 23).
The Nazi party had no solid philosophical basis and its ideology was much likened to fascism. It however had some basic principles which depicted it as being; socialistic, totalitarian, anti democracy, anti communist, anti Semitic and anti international capitalism (Weinberg 34).
A series of conspiracies, manipulations, threats, promises, alliances and betrayals saw Hitler become an all powerful head of state. Hitler moved fast to effect national socialism in Germany. Sweeping reforms were undertaken to boost industry and agriculture to win support for Hitler.
The education system was changed to favor National Socialism. Judges and other workers were only employed if they favored Nazism. The Arrests and punishment of political prisoners was undertaken by the SS (a special security force) (Bullock 169).
The persecution of Jews in Germany begun after Hitler took power in 1933. It started by wide spread arrests and public humiliation by members of the SA or the brown shirts (Harrison 65). Initially the Jews were excluded from the civil service, their shops and buildings smashed or looted and boycotted.
The final solution for the Jewish problem was organized by the Nazi in 1941 through mass deportations into extermination camps. At the end of Hitler’s reign up to five million Jews had been killed (Snyder 35).
Hitler’s quest to regain all German speaking nations led to the Second World War in which over 50 million people were killed. Hitler committed suicide in 1945 following the Germany’s defeat in the Second World War (Weinberg 201).
Evaluation of sources
Two important books were used in this analysis. The first book which is titled “Conflicts the Twentieth century” offers a precise account of all the conflicts that took place in the last century (Harrison 1). The book written by Scott Michael Harrison offers a detailed factual description of the events surrounding conflicts in the last century.
The book has visual illustrations that have been carefully selected. The illustrations indeed clarify and provide more evidence to the written accounts.
The book is also reinforced by direct quotations from written accounts by individuals who witnessed the events. On Hitler and Stalin, the book provides a detailed account of events complete with the dates, pictures and description of the symbols.
For instance, the four arms of the Swastika are described as meaning: Nationalistic; Totalitarian and anti-democratic; Anti-Semitic; socialistic and against foreign nationalism. The book provides accounts of what the leaders ideologies were about. For instance, the Chapters on Adolf Hitler have several excerpts from his book “Mein Kampf” (Harrison 68, par. 8).
For instance, to show how Hitler hated the Jews, this quote has been lifted from the book, “Was there any shady undertaking, any form of foulness, especially in cultural life, in which at least one Jew did not participate?” (Harrison 68, par 9)Similar detailed accounts are given on Stalin.
The book is not biased in its approach but it gives a sort of summary of the events that took place. The second book used for this analysis is titled “Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives” (Harrison 46). The book which is written by Allan Bullock offers a detailed biography of the two men who can be described as the most evil in the 20th century.
The book offers a precise description of how the two lives are indeed parallel. In different chapters, the book describes how the two sought, achieved and then used power for their own evil nature (Bullock 2). Through the chapters that are reinforced by quotes from first account sources the book describes how the two men legitimately rose to power.
This book is a valuable source as it concentrates on the two leaders who are coincidentally the focus of this investigation. However, the book may be biased as it is mainly seen to draw comparisons between the two leaders. A list of other vital sources has been used in this investigation to support what has been identified in the two main books.
There is no doubt that the leadership of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin are comparable in many aspects. Hitler can be said to use the Fascist political ideology to wage war on the Jewish population in Germany and elsewhere.
However, he did not stick with the Fascist principle that requires the commitment to the interests of the nation, and thus he is seen to have been hell bend in seeking to control the entire Europe (Harrison 69, par 5).
Nazism, which can be described as a variety of fascism was the main ideology with which Hitler’s Nazi party ruled. It was characterized by biological racism and anti-Semitism (Bullock 23).
The Nazi ideology that proclaimed the supremacy of the Aryan race was hell bent on creating a powerful pure Aryan nation. Thus the Jews were seen as the greatest stumbling block in the attainment of this object. Stalin did not stick to the basic principles of communism that entails free association and common ownership of means of production.
Stalinism betrayed the communism ideology by hiding into the fact that he was adapting to the changing needs of the Soviet society (Kuper 5). Stalin applied the theory of class struggle to repress hi political opponents. It’s important to note that both Hitler and Stalin had secret security agents or forces, the SS and the NKVD respectively (Overy 56).
The SS was mainly used to; instill fear in people and discourage opposition, and systemically perpetuate atrocities against the Jewish. The NKVD was initially used to crush opposition but was subsequently expanded to commit atrocities against civilians, especially those of foreign origin.
The analysis of Hitler and Stalin cannot be limited to there adherence to party ideology a lone as the two are arguably remembered as the most evil leaders of the twentieth century. The two leaders committed crimes against humanity which can be described as wholesale destruction of civilian life in their societies. However, there rise to power was similar in many fashions.
Both were veterans of war in their respective countries. Hitler was a war Veteran in the First World War while Stalin had played an important role in the Soviet revolution. They were also master politicians who, in their quest for power adhered to the rule of law and endured years of patience with precise strategies and manipulations (Weinberg 5).
A clear distinction comes in the nature of their ambition. Whereas Hitler seemed to be obsessed with keeping Germany pure while expanding his rule into other neighboring countries, Stalin was more concerned with consolidating power within the USSR and with timid foreign ventures.
It’s easy to point out that the two men were so much attached to what they perceived as their important historic roles in the realization of new order in their respective nations (Bullock 112). Stalin was particularly skeptical about the motives of other political figures and he would detain torture or execute them.
In the end both Hitler and Stalin caused a lot of suffering for their own people and were responsible for the deaths of millions of people they were supposed to safeguard as leaders (Bullock 120). It’s imperative to note that the two leaders ruled in same time and even signed a pact, and fought each other in the Second World War.
This paper sought to investigate how Hitler compares to Stalin in terms of leadership style and effects of their leadership to their respective societies.
It has been identified that Hitler and Stalin were leaders of single party states namely Germany and Russia respectively. Hitler ruled by Nazism which can be identified as a form of Fascism while Stalin’s Russia had communism (Kuper 33). Both leaders came to power through legitimate means but ended up being dictators who caused untold suffering to their own people.
Their leadership was characterized by systematic elimination of civilians by terror squads that operated as special security forces. In the end each of them had committed crimes against humanity in their countries and beyond and the two were responsible for the deaths of millions of people (Bullock 44).
Bullock, Allan. Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives. London: HarperCollins Publishers, 1993. Print.
Gellately, Robert. Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler: The Age of Social Catastrophe . London: Knopf, 2007. Print.
Harrison, Scott Michael. World Conflict in the Twentieth century . London: Macmillan, 1987. Print.
Kershaw, Ian. The Nazi Dictatorship: Problems and Perspectives of Interpretation. New York: Arnold publishers, 2006. Print.
Kuper, Leo. Genocide: Its Political Use in the Twentieth Century. Yale : Yale University Press, 1982. Print.
Lewis, Robert. The Economic Transformation of the Soviet Union. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press., 1994. Print.
Overy, Richard. The Origins of the Second World War Reconsidered . London: Routledge, 1999. Print.
Payne, Stanley. A history of Fascism. Madison: University of Wisconsin, 1995. Print.
Snyder, Timothy. Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin. New York: Basic Books , 2010. Print.
Weinberg, George. A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press., 1995. Print.
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