Comparing Hitler and Stalin In Their Rise To Power
During the period leading up to World War II, there were two men who were on opposing sides, the men were Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin. These men were each triumphant in their rise to power in their countries and they were very comparable in the ways that they succeeded. Their success was mostly attributed to their new ideas and their politics. Although Hitler and Stalin hated each other, the two leaders were similar in many ways. Hitler and Stalin each rose to the highest position attainable in their respective countries, and there were three main reasons that they were able to do this. Both men were skilled users of propaganda, each was amoral, and they both had the ambition to make their countries powerful in the world. Since each was a skilled user of propaganda, they could use their words to twist and manipulate the minds of people into believing that what they were saying was the absolute truth. Using this power, they would get people to do anything for them, which proves their amorality. Since their countries were still trying to recover from World War I, they desired to restore the power back in to their countries. These three reasons will prove that Hitler and Stalin were similar in many ways. The names Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin are synonymous with the word propaganda. In order to understand how Hitler and Stalin used propaganda, an understanding of what the word means, is required. According to Merriam-Webster, "propaganda is the spreading of ideas to further or damage a cause; also the ideas or allegations spread for a purpose". Hitler and Stalin each used propaganda as their tool to further their ideas and help them gain the backing of the people in their countries. The form of propaganda that Hitler used, and was successful in using, was his words. Hitler made many speeches, but the one speech that was a famous one, was his final speech at his trial for treason. In this speech he gave his views and opinions on the events preceding the trial. This is an excerpt from his speech: "...I aimed from the first to....become the destroyer of Marxism....The army that we are building grows more from day to day, from hour to hour. Gentlemen, not you who will be the ones that deliver the verdict over us, but that verdict will be given by the eternal judgement of history, which will speak out against the accusation that has been made against us....That court will judge us....as Germans (who) wanted only the best for their people and their Fatherland, who fought and were willing to die. You might just as well find us guilty a thousand times, but the goddess of the eternal court of history will smile and tear up the motions of the states attorney and the judgement of this court: for she finds us not guilty". After Hitler gave this speech, the court was sympathetic towards him, he was sentenced to only five years in prison for his crime. After nine months of his sentence had been served, he received parole. Being able to gain Nazi party control and gain enough supporters, proves that he was an efficient user of propaganda. Hitler also had his own minister of propaganda when he became leader of the country. This proves that Hitler was an user of propaganda, but Joseph Stalin was not as blatantly obvious with his uses of propaganda. Stalin did however use propaganda in his speech to the Fifteenth Congress in 1927. Stalin said in this speech: " Evidently, the opposition prefers to be outside the party. Well, let it be outside the party. There is nothing terrible, or exceptional, or surprising in the fact that they prefer to be outside the party, that they are cutting themselves off from the party. If you study the history of our party, you will find that always, at certain serious turns taken by our party, a certain section of the old leaders fell out of the cart of the Bolshevik party and made room for newer members. A turn is a serious thing, comrades. A turn is dangerous for those who do not sit firmly in the party cart. Not everybody can keep his balance when a turn is made. You turn the cart - and on looking back, you find that someone has fallen out". After Stalin said this, an immediate applause was heard. Stalin was telling people what they wanted to hear and he used this speech to further his cause. This speech helped to further his cause by gaining support from the people, and by justifying why Trotsky was not the choice for leader. Stalin was also demonstrating with this speech that he was the "bandwagon" and that he was taking people in the right direction. Everyone who became a supporter of him, would be getting into the right cart and would be heading in the right direction. At least, what he believed to be the right direction. Hitler and Stalin did not only use spoken propaganda, they were masters of using propaganda, so they would use many forms of it. Another form of propaganda that they used was through photographs. These photographs promoted their "nice" personality. In these photos they would be depicted as being a hero, they would be helping the poor families, or be holding a small child. It was these photos that these men became appealing to the public. These photos give you the idea that they are caring, loving and just completely concerned for the well-being of the people. The use of propaganda was a big contributor to the success of both men. Since Hitler and Stalin were able to manipulate people with their propaganda, they could convince people of just about anything. This proves them to be amoral. Both would do whatever they thought was necessary to further their cause, with no remorse about what they had done. In 1922 Lenin, the leader of the communist party had a stroke. Overtime his condition got worse and he became less involved in the party's affairs. When Lenin died in January 1924, it left two men in contention for the party's leadership. These two men were Joseph Stalin and Leon Trotsky. The men had opposing ideas on how the party should be run. Stalin was a more aggressive candidate, and therefore had one of his supporters kill Trotsky. This happened after Trotsky was exiled, but while in exile he continued to preach world revolution. Stalin sent one of his agents to kill Trotsky, who was in exile in Mexico. Stalin felt that if he eliminated his only threat, that it would mean less opposition to his ideas. This assured Stalin full control over the communist party. Hitler was the other example of an amoral person. He demonstrated this after he got into power with the holocaust, but he did not foreshadow his amorality much before he got into power. One incidence of his amorality was when he killed all of his opposition. The first major victim of the Nazis was the powerful German Trade Union movement. It was a possible breeding ground for Socialism and Communism, and therefore opposition to Hitler. On May 2, 1933 many Trade Union leaders were arrested and beaten up. Their offices were looted and their funds and property seized. A Nazi-led "labour front" was established to control the workers and ensure the peace in factories and workshops. A week after the destruction of the Trade Unions the Social Democratic Party suffered a similar fate, soon to be followed by the Communists. All of their property, possessions and funds were seized and both parties were banned. The Center Party, which had supported Hitler in return for vague promises, collapsed in July 1933, along with the few others still remaining. After Hitler became Chancellor Hitler passed a law that prohibited there being any other party in Germany other than the Nazis. By doing all of these things it was giving us a glimpse of what he was going to be like when he got into power. These examples show that both Hitler and Stalin were amoral and would do what was necessary to further themselves. With Hitler and Stalin being such amoral people and willing to do anything, they would do what they could to benefit their countries. Each of their countries had suffered great losses in World War I and were still trying to recover when they came into power. Restoring the power back into their countries was of great importance to both men. After World War I, Russia had 9,150,000 casualties and Germany had 7,142,558 casualties. These losses were immense. Stalin believed that if he forced industrialization upon Russia, that it would help the country to rebuild. Collective farms was another one of Stalin's plans. "Engel's general formula about the destiny of the Socialist state in general cannot be extended to the partial and specific case of the victory of socialism in one country only, a country that is surrounded by a capitalist world, is subject to the menace of foreign military attack, cannot therefore abstract itself from the international situation, and must have at its disposal a well-trained army, well-organized punitive organs, and a strong intelligence service. Consequently, must have its own state, strong enough to defend the conquests of Socialism from foreign attack". This shows that Stalin's aspiration was to make his country strong, and that he had some ideas of how to go about it. Hitler's Germany also had a lot to recover from. "Hitler had plans for Germanic unity and German living space. German unity meant the gathering together of all Germans in Europe, one people into one empire, ruled by one leader. This involved people living in Austria, Czechoslovakia, Danzig, Memel and other isolated pockets. Germany did not have enough farmland to feed her population of enough raw materials to supply her factories. New lands to the east would then have to be taken over. Hitler intended to destroy the power of France forever. He hoped to take Great Britain into partnership after settling the question of the former German colonies". This demonstrates to us that Hitler aspired to make Germany strong and feared. He wanted to reunite the German people. Hitler and Stalin both succeeded in making their countries strong once again, at least for a while. In conclusion, Hitler and Stalin were similar in many way in their rise to power, however three reasons stand out the most. They were gifted in the ability to use propaganda and brainwash people, which in turn proves that they were both unethical, and they desired to make their countries better and stronger. Both of these men succeeded in doing all of these things.