Hitler And Stalin Essay, Research Paper
Throughout history there have been many dictators, two of whom stand out.
These two men are Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin. Who was worse? Who was better?
What did they have in common? These are some of the questions that will be answered.
These two men from two different places, from two different families, who grew up two
different ways, turned out to be the same. And that similarity is what brought down their
Adolf Hitler was born April 20, 1889, in Braunau-am-Inn, Austria, of German
descent. His father ,Alois, was the illegitimate son of Maria Anna Schlicklgruber. Alois
took the name Hitler from his paternal grandfather. When Alois Hitler s first two wives
died he married his foster daughter Klara Poelzi of Bavaria, who was 23 years younger
than himself. Klara would become the mother of the dictator Adolf.
Alois was a petty customs officer who wanted Adolf to study for a government position. Hitler wrote later the thought of slaving in an office made me ill. . .not to be the master of my own time (Mein Kampf). Hitler mostly spent his school hours daydreaming of becoming a famous painter. When he was paying attention in school he especially enjoyed the subject of German History. When his teacher would glorify the German s role in the world we would sit enraptured and often on the verge of tears (Mein Kampf). Hitler was devoted to Wagner s operas, which glorified the Teutons, dark and enraged mythology.
His father died when Adolf was only 13 years old. At this time he soon began experimenting with watercolor painting but did not achieve much. Then 6 years later when he was 19 his mother passed away. Adolf then moved to Vienna and tried to get into the Academy of Arts. They rejected him saying that he was untalented. After this blow, Hitler struggled as a laborer in the building trades and by painting cheap postcards.
During these times he frequently slept in parks and got his meals at the free soup kitchens.
These humble experiences amplified his discontent. He hated Austria and labeled it as a patchwork nation . He wrote in Mein Kampf I was convinced that the State[Austria] was sure to obstruct every really great German and support everything un-German. I hated the motley collection of Czechs, Ruthenians, Poles, Hungarians, Serbs, Croats, and above all that, the ever-present fungoid growth- Jews. I became a fanatical anti-Semite . Hitler s hatred of poverty, devotion to his German heritage, and his loathing of Jews merged to form the seeds of his later political policies. He also learned of how to successfully manage and increase his power by studying the politics of the mayor of Vienna and he took special note of his practice of using all instruments of existing power and of gaining the favor of influential institutions so he could draw the greatest possible advantages for his own movement from such old established sources of power .
Finally, in 1912, Hitler left for Munich, a true German town. There he picked up small jobs such as carpenter, an architects draftsman, and a watercolorist. He barely made enough to get by but he was happy just being in his German environment. Then in the outbreak of World War I (1914), Hitler gave up his Austrian citizenship to enlist in the German army. He was placed in the 16th Bavarian Infantry Regiment. Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf, I would not fight for Austria, but I was willing to die for Germany . By 1917 he was promoted to lance corporal and won an Iron Cross while being wounded as a dispatch runner. The armistice found him in a hospital, temporarily blinded by mustard gas and in shock. When learning of the German defeat, he blamed the loss on enemies within, primarily Jews and Communists. At the ending of the war he was neither a citizen of Germany nor Austria. He was a man without a country. After the war officers of the Reichswehr (German army), who wanted to win control over Germany, maintained political informers. One of these informers was none other then Adolf Hitler. He was responsible for reporting any subversive activities in Munich s political parties.
The political spying evolved into the turning point of Hitler s life. Soon after, in 1919, he joined the German Workers Party as the seventh member. Shortly after he took lead of the small revolutionary group. A Reichswehr officer, Captain Ernest Roehm, saw the party as a possible means of overthrowing the Bavarian republic so he instituted a volunteer army. The arrogant, iron hard Brown Shirt Army as to aid the German Workers Party in overthrowing the government. Hitler, before long, became the spokesman of the group. In 1920, Hitler changed the name of the German Workers Party into Nationalsozialistische Deutshe Abeiterpartei (National Socialist German Workers Party), which was then abbreviated to Nazi. The members that soon became the core of the party were Adolf Hitler, Alfred Rosenberg (engineer, philosopher , anti-Jew, and anti-Christian), Rudolf Hess (mathematician and geographer), Herman Goering (Bavarian combat pilot), General Erich von Ludendorff (decorated war hero), and Major General Franz von Epp (Bavarian infantry commander). To spread their ideas to the people the Nazis instituted a Munich journal known as Volkischer Beobachter (National Racial Observer). Hitler then adopted the swastika and Nazi flag.
By 1923 the Nazi party had grown strong enough in Munich to attempt to seize the government. This is when they initiated the Beer Hall Putsch. The attempt to take over failed and Hitler was convicted of treason and sentenced to five years in prison. The sentence was later shortened to eight months. While imprisoned, Hitler and Rudolf Hess began to write Mein Kampf. When they were released, in 1924, the Nazi party had been banned. Adolf wasn t even permitted to publicly speak. The times were too good for a revolution anyhow. Germany had great prosperity until the worldwide depression struck. This was the time to begin to spread Nazi influence. The Nazis rapidly began to gain votes (Many German communists claim that Stalin helped Hitler win the elections. There are strong indications that Stalin was willing to let Hitler come into power based on the assumption that he would not be able to carry out his promises. Thus leading to the voting of communists into power. Stalin may have also assumed that if the Nazis came to power, they would raise tensions and even clash with western nations in war. This would allow the USSR to export communists to spread Soviet influence to a war exhausted Europe.). By 1930, Hitler had the support of many industrialists and the military caste.
Then, in 1933, President Paul von Hindenburg appointed him chancellor. Subsequently, Hitler made himself Personal Commander of the army (1941), which led to him getting the title of Supreme War Lord (1942). For the next three years he was engaged in World War II. Afterwards, in 1945, his secret relationship with Ms. Eva Braun was uncovered. In April of the same year he married her, just before committing suicide in the ruined Reichschancellery. He was officially declared dead October 25, 1956.
Throughout his reign, Hitler followed and enforced his beliefs and policies. He commenced the idea of National Socialism. In order to have a national socialist government you need to have guidelines to follow. So, Hitler and the other members constructed the party program, which consisted of 25 points. It was comprised of a mixture of embellished nationalistic demands, corruptions of socialist ideas, and racist and anti-Semitic doctrines. Point 25 of this program states, For modern society, a colossus with feet of clay, we shall create an unprecedented centralization, which will unite all powers in the hands of the government. We shall create a hierarchal constitution, which will mechanically govern all movements of individuals (see #2).
As the party got more power they needed more protection. They organized the Sturmabtellungen (Storm Troops), or SA, to defend its meetings and to disrupt the meeting of liberal democrats, socialists, communists, and trade unionists, and to prosecute Jews.
Another aspect of the Nazi government is the fascist ideas of Italy. Fascism is a modern political ideology that tries to regenerate the social, economic, and cultural life of a country by basing it on a sense of national belonging or ethnic identity. This ideology rejects liberal ideas such as freedom and individual rights. It often presses for the destruction of elections, legislatures, and other democratic elements. Fascism is adopted by governments to support capitalism and to prevent socialist revolutions. These governments believe that they can create a harmonious community, whose values are rooted deep in an imaginary past in which there were no differences of culture, deviant ideologies, or undesirable genetic traits. These ideas may be partly based on the ideas of Charles Darwin. His theory of evolution causes the belief that some races of people are naturally superior. Hitler sought to extend the frontiers of the German state to include all major concentrations of ethnic Germans. This may have been linked to an obsession with restoring the biological purity of the Aryan race and the destruction of the sub-human or degenerate minorities. These beliefs were also very hostile towards organized religion and followed a strict paramilitary style of organization. This seems like a powerful ideology but it heavily relied on public speeches, rallies, and the help of the people. Not only did it change the government but it changed tradition as well. It began the creation of new calendars of holidays celebrating key events in the party s history. It also conducted major sporting events and exhibitions. These types of governments promote totalitarianism, as well as culture. It celebrated athleticism and youth. These philosophies tried to ensure that all ethnic Germans conformed physically and mentally to fit the Aryan ideal. To do so they withdrew degenerate books and paintings, sterilized mentally and physically disabled people, and enslaved and murdered millions of people who were enemies of the Reich. To uphold these ideologies, Hitler created the Geheime Staatspolizet (secret police), known as the Gestapo. The head of the Gestapo, who reported only to Hitler himself, was Heinrich Himmler.
Hitler then created the New Order , which would supposedly lead to industrialization and a greater infrastructure. This new order enabled the Nazis to eliminate unemployment, provide German workers and farmers with tolerable standards of living, enrich the elite ruling group of the state, industry, and finance and build an astounding war machine. Hitler and his New Order boasted that National Socialism had solved the problems of the German society, and that it would endure for the next thousand years. This order tried to spread the Nazi myth of national greatness and that Germany was destined to become an imperial and great military power. This inspired a deep sense of national pride, belonging and roots, which were needed to have a successful fascist government. The attempts to build a new better Germany resulted in the deaths of approximately six million civilians during the 1940 s and even more from Nazi invasion and occupation. Hitler s vision called for the coordination of every life in Germany, which unfortunately for Hitler, would never happen. The New Order transformed a weak republic into an industrially and politically powerful super nation.
Although Hitler is physically dead his legacy lives on. 1,133 streets and squares acquired the name of Adolf Hitler. During his reign he delivered 96 public speeches. He attended 11 opera performances. He vanquished two rivals (Benes and Kurt von Schushnigg), and he sold 900,000 copies of Mein Kampf in Germany alone. Nazi propaganda had made Hitler a symbol of strength and a national virtue. Winston Churchill once said, I have always said that if Great Britain were defeated in way, I should hope we have a Hitler to lead us back to our rightful position among the nations.
Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili was born December 21, 1889, in Gori, Georgia, to Ekaterina Georgievna and Vissarion Ivanovitch Dzhugashvili. After years of revolutionary activity and many times exiled to Siberia, he would change his name. This name would threaten the Germans, ally and fight with the Americans, a name that would help the North Koreans, and this name would strike fear into the hearts of Russians. This name comes from the Russian word for steel. This name is Joseph Stalin.
Born into a poverty-stricken family Joseph didn t have a very nice childhood. His father, Vissarion, was a drunken cobbler who was mentally and physically abusive to young Stalin. His mother was a washerwoman to support the family. Stalin s 3 older would be siblings died at birth, so he grew up as an only child. When he was a young boy he got the small pox, which would scar his face for the rest of his life.
The town of Gori was full of socialist movements and revolutionary ideas. Soon the Marxist ideas of communism reached him. When he was only 15, he joined the forbidden revolutionary movement and 3 years later he was secretly leading a Marxist circle. Shortly after he was expelled from school for political unbalance , he joined the Tifilis branch of the Russian Social-Democratic Workers Party. It was not long before he was a professional agitator. In 1900-1901 he led strikes and demonstrations in Tifilis and Batum. He got jobs for many newspapers and in September of 1901 he became an official member of the Russian Social-Democratic Labor Party. Stalin was arrested and exiled to Eastern Siberia seven times between April 1902 and March 1913. He escaped many times to return and wreak havoc upon the tsarist government. In 1905 he went the secret Bolshevik conference in Finland, where he met Lenin. Soon afterwards he was carrying out orders for Lenin and became his most trusted lieutenants. Stalin wrote articles in newspapers such as Zvesda (The Star) and Pravada (The Truth), to spread communist influence. Around this time is when he started calling himself Joseph Stalin. During the Russian civil war, Stalin received the Order of the Soviet Banner, which was the highest military decoration in all Russia. Whilst the civil war was happening, the Russian Social-Democratic Party changed its name to the Russian Communist Party. Stalin became one of the 5 members of the newly found Politburo (political bureau). In 1922, the Central Committee elected Stalin as its secretary general. In late 1922, Stalin was elected Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. After years of re-organizing the party to his favor and destroying the old Bolsheviks, Stalin became a dictator. Trotsky and other key members of the Politburo had been expelled or executed. Now no one had enough power to stop him. Stalin then initiated his first five-year plan. He eliminated private business and the production of machinery and farm equipment became more important. He put farming under government control. The farmers resisted by killing their stock and their produce. He exiled millions of Russian families and many others died of starvation from the famine. When his plan backfired he staged trials of factory owners and bureaucrats, who were forced to read false confessions. Stalin then set up his secret police and executed millions or sent them to labor camps, which was practically a death sentence anyway. Neighbors were ordered to spy on each other, children were to turn in their own families, families were being torn apart. People were forced to read false confessions against their will, moments before they were shot. Stalin ordered the death of anyone who threatened his power or party. These included party members and army officers.
Stalin ruled based on the writings of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in the Communist Manifesto. His policies also grew out of those of Lenin. But Stalin changed the way the system worked to better suit himself. He modified communism to give him more power and allow him to mold the country as he saw fit.
Communism is a system of society in which the major resources and means of production are owned by the community rather than by individuals. Theoretically, such societies provide equal sharing of all work, according to ability, and all benefits, according to need. High government would be unneeded so therefore the society would have no need for a ruler. Communism involves the abolition of private property by a revolutionary movement. He also ruled with collectivism, which follows the same rules as communism. Collectivism is a term used to indicate a political or economical system in which the means of production and the distribution of goods and services are run by the people as a group rather than independently. There is a formula to follow to reach Stalin s policies, DARWINISM+LENINISM=STALINISM.
Stalin not only viewed Lenin as a good role model to be a good leader he also saw Ivan IV (The Terrible) as an idol. He once said referring to Ivan, my hero, my model, my rival . He also said, Ivan understood the great secret: Cruelty is the cutting edge of history. The deciding factor is always the greatest degree of cruelty most intelligently applied .
Joseph Stalin applied this cruelty policy in his collectivization of the Ukraine. This program resulted in famine, which cost no less than 3 million lives in 1932.He said about this, A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.
For his armies Stalin chose the slogan Umeraite No Ne Otstupaite, which means die but do not retreat. Stalin showed mercy to no one. He was an evil incarnate who killed millions of innocent Russians and severely damaged any possible chance of progress in Russia. Stalin cared little about the people. An example of this is the building of the White Sea Canal. He forced people into slave labor to construct it. An estimated 200,000 people died during its creation and were buried in its banks. It is ironic though because the canal was too shallow for the Soviet battleships to go through, so it served no purpose to him. Stalin s regime (that was founded on the elimination of productivity, the stolen property of private business, on state planning, and on terror and lies) was forcibly imposed on the Russian and European community.
The U.S.S.R tried to forge a treaty with the western alliance, but it was rejected. So he was forced to sign a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany. The German army broke the pact and attacked the Soviet Union. The west allied itself with Stalin and together they defeated Hitler. After 1945, Stalin and his nation slowly cut off communication with the nations of the west. He converted Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, and Romania to communism. These countries would later become the Iron Curtain. Shortly after the lowering of the Iron Curtain, the Cold War began between the U.S.S.R and the U.S.A. Stalin s policies, which threatened the stability of the world and shook the foundations of Eastern Europe, led to the demise of the Russian economy and placed Russia in a deep pit of poverty, which they are still trying to claw their way out of. His ideology caused the organization of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), whose job as to stop the spread of communism. He then backed North Korea against South Korea and America in the Korean War. Fortunately, the war ended after Stalin s death (another fortunate incident). On March 5, 1953, Joseph Stalin died of a brain hemorrhage in Moscow. Although, with the bad I must mention the good things. Russian industry boomed between 1928-1987. Russian national income rose from 24.4 to 93.6 billion rubles. Coal output increased from 35.4 to 128 million tons, steel productivity from 4 to 17.7 million tons. Electrical output rose 200%. Machine tool production rose 20,000%. Tractor production increased 40,000%. There was almost a total disappearance of illiteracy and in 1939, people aged 9 to 49, 94% in towns and 86% in the countryside, could read and write (see #6). He also introduced a free health service. He personally controlled a greater number of people for a longer time than any other dictator, perhaps even any other ruler. He was a model of 20th Century dictatorship. United States president Harry S. Truman once said, I like old Joe Stalin. He s a nice guy, but a prisoner of his politburo (see #7). He was very good at manipulating people. He could hurt them and make them hate him, but at the same time they needed him. A good example of this is when Stalin was on his deathbed. His two possible predecessors were told to hold a bird and not let it go. The first man held the bird tightly so it wouldn t fly away and when he opened his fist the bird was dead. The second man seeing the first man s mistake held the bird loosely and it flew away. Stalin took a bird, pulled out its feathers and said, look at it, it is even enjoying the warmth from my hand . This is the same manner that he treated his citizens. Even though Stalin is dead he still lives on. It is like the Soviet poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko wrote in his poem in 1962
Mute stood the soldiers on guard
Bronzed by the breeze
Thin smoke curled above the coffin
And breath seeped through the chinks
As the bore him out of the mausoleum doors
Slowly the coffin floated,
Grazing the fixed bayonets
His embalmed fists
Only pretending to be dead
He spied from inside
He was scheming something,
And merely dozed off to rest.
And I addressing our government, petition them to double,
And triple the soldiers on guard by this slab
Lest Stalin rise again
And with Stalin,
The heirs of Stalin walk this earth. (see #5)
On August 23, 1929 Foreign Ministers V.M. Molotov and Joachim von Ribbentrop signed the German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact. The pact also goes my the names of the German-Soviet Treaty of Nonaggression, the Nazi-Soviet Nonaggression Pact, the Hitler-Stalin Pact, and the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact. The pact entitled that the two countries not attack each other, either independently or with accord with other powers. They agreed not to support any third power, which might attack the other party of the pact. They would remain in consultation with each other upon questions touching the common interests of each nation. They were to solve all differences between them by negotiation. The pact was to last 10 years with an extension of 5 years if one party informed the other party of termination 1 year prior to the expiration of the pact. There was also a secret protocol dividing the whole of Eastern Europe into German and Soviet spheres of influence. Poland would be split into two parts. Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Finland would be under Soviet spheres of influence.
Stalin explained to his Politburo his reasons for signing the pact. Stalin said that a European war was necessary for communism to dominate Europe. The pact would cause Hitler to attack Poland, thus bringing England and France into war with Germany. When chaos prevailed in Europe, then the U.S.S.R could join in the war and sweep up the pieces. He also could have signed it because he had no alternative. The western powers denied his offer for an alliance so he went to the Germans. He might have wanted to return to the Rapallo (1922), a policy of friendship and cooperation between the two nations. He was trying to obtain security for the Soviet Union by any means necessary.
Hitler signed the pact so that he could invade Poland virtually unopposed by a major power. Afterwards he could attack France and Britain without having to worry about the Soviet Union at his back.
On September 28, 1939, the Germans and the Soviets signed the Treaty of Friendship and Borders. This treaty gave Germany more Polish territory than the secret protocol of August 23. Another new secret protocol was developed, which recognized the whole of Lithuania as part of the Soviet sphere of influence (later Stalin paid Hitler $3,000,000 in gold for Western Lithuania). And yet another secret protocol set mutual cooperation to repress all Polish agitation . This meant that the Gestapo and the NKVD had to work together against any Polish resistance that might take place during the Soviet and German occupation of Poland. The German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact became a dead letter on June 22,1941 when Nazi Germany launched Operation: Barbarossa against the U.S.S.R.
On June 22, 1941 at 0300 hours, over 3,000,000 German troops and 3500 tanks launched a surprise attack on Russia on a 2,000 mile front, codenamed Operation: Barbarossa. This would become the largest theater of operations in WWII, unmatched in its complexity, size, or cost in human lives. The Eastern Front would become a testing ground for two of the most powerful super nations in the world at the time.
German and Soviet relations were good between 1939 and 1941. Soviet grain and oil greatly helped the German war effort. A few Soviet submarines even assisted in the sinking of the supply ships from the US and Canada to Britain. When Hitler learned that there was a large concentration of Soviet troops near the border, he ordered the preparation of Operation: Barbarossa (named after the Holy Roman Emperor). This decision was based on 3 factors. A) Like Napoleon Bonaparte, he failed to conquer Britain. He felt uneasy with Russia at his back and Britain at his front, also like Napoleon. B) In November of 1940, the Soviets demanded a large sphere of influence in the eastern Balkans and in part of the Middle East. C) He wanted to control the Soviet economic resources, especially in the Ukraine.
Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt both warned Stalin of the approaching attack, but the dictator refused to believe it. He even denied it when his own military intelligence warned him. Stalin may have believed that Hitler was massing troops to blackmail him into providing more Soviet aid to Germany. He then disregarded warning from a Soviet spy, Victor Sorge, who had even given him the correct date, June 22. A German soldier who defected to the Soviets the day before the attack, who warned Stalin that the attack would happen the next morning, was shot.
The Operation. The Germans deployed three groups. Army Group North, commanded by Field Marshall Wilhelm von Leeb; Army Group Center, commanded by Field Marshall Fedor von Bock; and Army Group South, commanded by Field Marshall Gerd con Rundstedt. They planned swift advances to the cities of Moscow, Leningrad, and Kiev, taking everything between. Together with the element of surprise, the Germans possessed better training, more extensive experience, and the superiority of the points selected for attack. The Russians had large amounts of obsolete equipment, poorly deployed troops and artillery, and they lacked defensive positions. As a result, the Nazis rapidly overran the Russian frontier, and they achieved massive penetrations throughout the defensive line of the Soviets. By July 16, 1941 they were within 250 miles of Moscow and Army Group Center had captured Smolensk, thus taking 600,000 men prisoner and 5,000 tanks. After hearing of this news, Stalin had a nervous breakdown and would not speak for 11 days. On the anniversary of the launching of Operation: Barbarossa, Russia launched a counteroffensive codenamed Operation: Bagration against Army group Center. The product of this major attack was a major disaster for the German armies. Soon, the Russian began a string of offensive attacks that pushed the Germans back into Poland and then Germany. In April of 1945, the Russians were closing in on Berlin. Hitler demanded a fight to the death and dubbed Berlin a fortress to be defended to the last man. 1.3 million Russian soldiers stood hovering over Berlin, ready to descend upon the city like a pack of rabid dogs. This would be their final hour of vengeance. The Russian defeat of Berlin was inevitable. The Soviets outnumbered them in men, guns, tanks, ammunition, and planes. On April 16, the Red Army struck. They fought building-by-building and street-by-street until April 30, when the Reichstag was finally captured. At 2:25p.m. The Soviet flag was raised above the Reichstag, symbolizing the final defeat of the Nazis. At the same time down in his underground bunker, Hitler committed suicide. On May 2, the city of Berlin finally surrendered to the nation of Russia and to the rest of the world.
There are many reasons why Hitler s campaign against Russia was unsuccessful. Some of which include Hitler had too much land to cover on his huge front, he should have just went for Moscow. The Soviets vacated their factories and moved everything beyond the Urals, too far out of reach to the Nazis. The Soviets had American aid. There were many partisan movements against the Nazis. The Germans could not fight in the winter. Who knows what would have happened if Hitler succeeded. If he had he may have been too powerful to stop.
These two men have been called the worst murderers to walk the earth. And when they did they left a trail of destruction and pain behind them. Today the people are still trying to pick up the pieces. No one can choose who is the worse dictator, it is like asking would you rather have your toenails pulled out or drink oil. One thing we do know is that they were both sinister, horrible beasts who would stop at nothing to make the world what they wanted it to be. Instead of creating the Utopia that they imagined, they created a hell, which they thrived in. The only thing that was powerful enough to stop them was each other. Hopefully, the world will never have to face such devastation and blatant disregard for what is right. Even today the legacies of these two men (or creatures) still live on in the black hearts of hate-lovers around the world.
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