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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
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. 


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