Essay On Stalin Essay, Research Paper
The twentieth century has seen many leaders come and go, but few have had the impact that Hitler and Stalin had. These two men, along with Mao of China, helped shaped the world as it is today. Hitler was one of the greatest motivators of his time. His uplifting speeches and fierce rhetoric rallied a desperate people in Germany. He made promises to restore Germany to the state it had been before their defeat in World War I. A defeat that Hitler felt and often called a disgrace for Germany. In Mein Kampf, Hitler outlined his theories, ideas, and plans that he vowed would lead Germany into the future. He talked of rearmament of Germany and Lebensraum. He called for a change in government, and in the Munich Beer Hall Putsch, Hitler made a failed attempt to overthrow the government. However, after leading the Nazi Party through a series of successful elections, 1933 marked the beginning of Hitler s reign as Furher of Germany. He did so legally through the constructs of a democratic system. This system was subsequently abolished, and Hitler became dictator of Germany. Stalin was also a very important to world history because he created the Communist Red Machine; the world came to know as Russia, a powerful country that would last long beyond his death. Stalin was the successor of Lenin. Lenin had led the Bolshevik revolution in Russia, and he installed the communist government. Stalin would not only continue Lenin s theories, but he would also expand on these ideas. Lenin had preached that socialism could start in Russia, Stalin took the idea one step further. He preached the idea of “socialism in one country.” Stalin felt that if Russia protected her vast territory and pulled on her vast national resources, then Russia could complete the idea of a socialist state in Russia alone. Stalin s greatest legacy was how powerful he made Russia. Following World War II, Russia was one of the two superpowers of the world. The United States only rivaled their power. The fundamental question for this paper is who was the more effective leader and why? The reason this question is important is because of the great impact that both men had on world history. Hitler created a German state that was feared by many. Following World War II, many European countries were very worried about another German rise. Stalin created a powerful communist Russia, which would last until the late 1980s. There is not a history book today that does not take an in depth look at Hitler and Stalin.
These two men changed the course of history, and this question needs to be studied.
This paper will be separated into four basic parts. Then the parts will have subdivisions that will make it easier to understand and follow. The four parts are an introduction, followed by a biography of each. Next will be the case studies of Hitler and Stalin. Finally, the research question will be answered in the conclusion. Each section is the broken down into smaller parts. For an easier read, in each section Hitler will be dealt with in the first half and Stalin will be dealt with secondly.
The Rise of Hitler
Hitler had been rejected from serving in the Austro-Hungarian army because he failed his physical. However, after being swept up in the hysteria, Hitler volunteered to serve in the Bavarian Army, and this wish was granted. Hitler s platoon was thrust into a ferocious battle at Ypres. In 1918 Hitler was awarded the Iron Cross, First Class. This honor was seldom bestowed upon soldiers below officer class. Hitler was awarded metals for courage during the war, and he was given one of the most dangerous jobs. Hitler was a message runner. However the Germans were defeated in World War I, and what was known as Bavaria was no more.
Another important development came from the end of World War I. This development was the Treaty of Versailles, which ended the war. The reason this treaty is significant is because it is one of the main reasons Hitler was able to rise to power. One of the concepts discussed in the study of leadership is that leadership can arise from certain situations. Versailles created a situation that begged for Germany to look for a nationalistic leader. When the Allies drafted the Treaty of Versailles, they did so in a way to punish Germany as much as possible for their involvement in the war. German was put through a disarmament program that depleted their military. Also, German was forced to renounce all rights to lands and colonies they held outside the German territory. The punishment was so harsh that most Germans became enraged and very nationalistic, and like a wild animal backed into a corner Germany was going to fight back. The
only thing they needed was someone to lead them, and Hitler was the right kind of person, in the right place, at the right time. Hitler was an pro-German, anti-Capitalist person, and that sat very well with the German population. Therefore, it can be said the Treaty of Versailles set the stage for Hitler s rise to power.
The years following World War I, Hitler and some of his friends attended a short indoctrination at Munich University. The lectures were on political theory, banking and other subjects. These lectures would mold Hitler into the man he became. Prior to this time Hitler s ideals were an incoherent mixture of hatred of Jews, Communists and foreigners; pride for the German army; and the lofty ideals about the role of the artist in society. These lectures allowed Hitler to flavor his ideals with the jargon of a college lecturer. The result was a natural orator. Until this point in his life, Hitler had remained apolitical. However, at the age of thirty, Hitler joined the German Workers Party. The German Workers Party would be the foundation of the future Nazi Party. As part of the German Workers Party, Hitler was put in charge of propaganda and recruiting. Because of his energy and dedication, Hitler became the most dynamic individual in the Party. Soon he was renewing old memberships, approached new recruits, and organized weekly meeting that drew crowds of around three thousand. Not only was Hitler organizing these meeting, but also he was normally the principal speaker there. Hitler was beginning to gain power within the party.
It was through the German Workers Party that Hitler met Dietrich Eckart. Eckart was a wealthy German that would have a profound influence on Hitler s life. Eckart was a much older man that had an obsession with hatred of Jews. In Hitler, Eckart saw the person that could spread his philosophy. Hitler was perfect for this job. Hitler was a medal winner from World War I, his accent was working-class ex-soldier and he wasn t afraid to voice the party s bigotry, hatreds, and fears. Eckart influenced Hitler s readings, as well as coaching Hitler to improve his speaking skills. Also Eckart used his vast web of media connections to promote Hitler and through Hitler publicize the Party s need for funds. The final steps to solidify Hitler s push for power occurred in 1920. First Eckart purchase a paper to promote the party, and the slogan was revealed. That slogan was “Germany awake!” Later the German Workers Party was renamed to the Nazi party in order to capture more votes.
This is the beginning of the rise of the Nazis, but more importantly this is the beginning of the Hitler the world would come to know. As the 1920s and 1930s progressed Hitler s power increased. Eckart, along with others, had provided the Hitler with the keys to power. Hitler added his own blend of energy, intuition, and contempt for the public and a willingness to lie. However Hitler was still learning. In 1923, Hitler and the Nazis tried to obtain power of the government in a violent revolt. It failed and Hitler was arrested and imprisoned. During his prison time Hitler had a revelation. He realized that he could no longer center his ambitions on Bavaria, rather he had to expand. The new focus for Hitler was Berlin. Hitler also realized he needed a tactical change as well. It was now evident to Hitler that a violent revolution would not work. He decided that the army would determine his policies. This would allow a Nazi alliance with the army.
In 1930, Hitler and the Nazis arrived on the national political stage. Hitler had promised a foreign policy that would restore the Germans to their rightful place in Europe. He also promised the moderates of the middle-class a future in politics. These two ideas became the credo for Hitler during his call to arms for World War II. The middle-class was the difference. The Nazi power base was the middle class, and this base was unmatchable by the Communists, who had controlled the government. The Nazi party increased its popular vote, and the seat counts in the German government rose from twelve seats to one hundred seven seats. Everyone with the exception of the Catholic Center Party lost votes to the Nazis. In the 1932 Reichstag elections, Nazis won two hundred thirty of six hundred eight seats. The Nazis were now the largest party in the Reichstag. In 1933, the day before the elections, the Reichstag building was set on fire. Goring declared that all Communists and their alliance partners were to be arrested. Hitler realized this was his chance to seize power. Amongst the chaos Hitler went to see then President Von Hindenburg. Hitler persuaded him into signing an emergency decree giving power to Hitler. In the elections the Nazis won only 44% of the vote, and the results meant the Nazis would have to compromise with center parties in order to rule. This was not in Hitler s plans though. Hitler decided to ask the Reichstag for dictatorial powers, and with much of the opposition in hiding, Hitler was able to again the 66% needed for this measure to pass. To ensure the passage the Kroll Opera House was guarded by the SS. There were only a few steps left for Hitler to overcome. Hitler removed the powers of the sovereign German states, as well as the trade unions. Finally, Hitler gained the army. That was it, as now Hitler had total control of Germany.
Lebensraum means living space. After Hitler was appointed Chancellor in 1933, he undertook a series of measures designed to re-establish Germany. The measures planned to rid Germany of its obligations under the Treaty of Versailles, restore the economy which had been devastated by the Great Depression, rearm the country to increase their international power, and acquire Lebensraum, living space, for Germany. Hitler spoke of this idea in his book Mein Kampf believed that the only place Lebensraum could come from was the countries of the East. These were the countries of Czechoslovakia, Austria, and most notably Russia. Hitler held on to the idea of Lebensraum throughout his dictatorship and into World War II. The importance of Lebensraum is that it ended up being one of the reasons Hitler lost World War II. Just prior to World War II, Hitler and Stalin signed a non-aggression pact, but Hitler always thought about Lebensraum at Russia s expense. Finally during World War II, Hitler and the Nazis invaded Russia, and Lebensraum can be seen as the justification of the invasion. Hitler had spoken of the living space, and this was his attempt to acquire it. However the invasion did not go well for the Nazis, and many historians see the failure of the Russian invasion as a turning point of World War II.
Hitler is most well known for his conquests during World War II. He also was successful at other political ventures as well. There are three major accomplishments that Hitler should be remembered for. One of which was his rise to power. Hitler was not given much during his rise to power. Rather Hitler used his charisma and work ethic to obtain the power within his own party. He then became an opportunist. When the chaos of 1933 occurred, Hitler saw and seized his opportunity to gain power. Another one of Hitler s great accomplishments was German economic property under his rule. Since Germany had no colonies, their most pressing concern was to find a way to trade for raw materials. Hitler circumvented the normal trade methods, Hitler found countries to trade with. To make the deal more attractive for these countries, Hitler would subsidize the exports. They could also distribute the raw materials to whoever they wanted, but most importantly they could vary the value of the mark depending on the state of the global economy. This gave Hitler and the Nazis tight control over the German economy. Between 1933 and 1936Germany prospered and their standard of living rose to be higher than that of Britain. The third accomplishment is Hitler s military tactics. The blitzkrieg was a very impressive German move. Their ability to sweep through and conquer countries in a matter of days was very impressive. The German military was a machine that cut through most of Europe like a buzzsaw. Poland fell victim in only a matter of days. Hitler had many accomplishments during his reign, but these three were the most important. The is important because it is how Hitler came to be, the second because it was the positioning if Germany for World War II, and the third because it was the German attempt at world domination.
Other German accomplishments that occurred under Hitler are the creations of the Autobahn and the compact car. Another accomplishment of Hitler was the efficiency of the German State. Unlike our present system here in the United States, Germany ran like a finely tuned machine. Government transportation ran on time or even early. It was said that you could set your watch to the trains. Government, banking, and all other government programs were efficient and effective. Hitler was a dictator and a very demanding one. This level of efficiency made it easier for Hitler to first off bring Germany back to a powerful and prosperous state, and secondly it made it easier for him to retain his power. So long as everything ran efficiently and effectively the people were happy. The result of a happy power base is that Hitler gained a carte blanche, and his people would follow. These events will be revisited later when discussing Hitler s merits as an effective leader.
Hitler s Downfall
It was said that Hitler had one fatal flaw, and it was a flaw in his personality. This flaw was his obsessive hatred with Jews. This flaw caused other downfalls for Germany and Hitler. Under Hitler, Jews were persecuted and in science alone this severely hindered the Germans. They were deprived of military technology that Germany would desperately need in World War II. Such things as the nuclear warhead, that was designed for the United States by Openheimer, would have been Germany s. They would have also had the v2 rocket that would deliver the warhead. Eventually the tactics that achieved power were Hitler s downfall. The harsh tactics and the lies created an anti-Nazi alignment throughout European countries. Hitler s ambition was the final nail in his coffin. Hitler was too ambitious. Actions such as refusal to allow his troops to retreat for better positions and hiring himself to lead the army were fatal mistakes. This all snowballed and Hitler s reign ended when he committed suicide at the end of World War II.
Rise of Stalin
Iosef Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, also known as the “Man of Steel,” became one of Russia s premier Communist leaders. However, as was Hitler s, Stalin s path to power was a very rough one. Stalin was educated in Tiflis Theological Seminary, but he was expelled for voicing his support for Marxism. After the expulsion, Stalin joined the Bolshevik underground. The Bolsheviks were the opposition to the Russian government, and the Russian czars disliked the underground. Stalin, along with other Bolshevik followers, was arrested and transported to Siberia, but escaped in 1904.Eventually the Bolshevik Revolution would occur and Lenin would assume control of Russia. Russia was now under communist rule, and Stalin s rise to power was about to begin.
The ensuing years witnessed his closer identification with revolutionary Marxism, his growing intimacy with Lenin and Bukharin, his early disparagement of Leon Trotsky. With the Revolution of 1917 and the replacement of Kerensky’s weak Provisional Government by Lenin and the Bolsheviks, Stalin was in good favor with Lenin, and was therefore rewarded for his service. Following the successful revolution, Stalin was appointed Commissar for Nationalities and a member of the Politburo. Although his activities throughout the counter-revolution and the war with Poland were confined to organizing a Red “terror” in Tsaritsin (Stalingrad). With his appointment as General Secretary to the Central Committee in 1922, Stalin began stealthily to build up the power that would guarantee his control of the Soviet Union after Lenin’s death. When Lenin died in 1924, Stalin saw an opportunity. Unlike some leaders, Stalin did not overlook his chance, and seized control of Russia. However there was some opposition to Stalin s reign, namely Trotsky.
During his rise to power, Stalin and Trotsky had developed a rivalry. Stalin and Trotsky
were born at the same time. They were both devout Communists devoted to spreading
the theory and ideas of Communism throughout the world. Both men were in the good favor of Lenin, and were major players on the party. However, this is where the similarities ended. Trotsky was believed to have the same kind of candor and flexibility as Lenin. Stalin was seen as more rigid and strict. When Lenin died, Stalin assumed power and put a motion before the Third Party Conference who issued a decree giving the Central Committee the power to expel Party members for factionalism. Trotsky and his allies issued an attack on Stalin and Stalinism. They took the extreme root advocating a change of government. The problem was that all communists believed that the government was proletarian and therefore any change in government would be anti-proletarian and therefore treasonable. Using this sentiment, Stalin engineered the expulsion of Trotsky and his allies. Now the path was clear for Stalin to take total control.
Stalin s rise was based on two principals. The first was his theories of socialism, and the second was his alignment with the right. The first pillar of Stalin was his idea of “Socialism in one country.” This concept was an innovation on an idea that Lenin had started, Lenin said that socialism could start in Russia, but Stalin extend this thought to say that not only could socialism begin in Russia, but it could also be completed in Russia. Russia was a vast country rich in natural resources. Stalin felt that by drawing on Russia s potential growth and protected by its size, the task was accomplishable. Too many this idea seemed ludicrous, but Stalin was unwavering. He truly believed that if left in peace, Russia would have no problem completing this revolution. The second pillar was Stalin s alignment with the right. The alignment was a tactical move, since Trotsky and his allies were of the Left. With his alignment, Stalin placed himself in a position to eliminate his opposition. That is exactly what he did, and with the elimination of the left Stalin had created an unmatched power base. He had finally obtained total dictatorial power over Russia. Russia was about to embark on the age of Stalinism.
The final ingredient to Stalin s rise was his personality. Stalin was a cruel and ruthless individual. He had a vision and that was to obtain total power and control by any means necessary. He did not care who he hurt, what he had to do, or the consequences of his actions. Rather Stalin did what was necessary to obtain control and eliminate the opposition. Trotsky did not have this type of demeanor, and it cost him. Stalin was not afraid to attack Trotsky with everything he had. He used all his knowledge, as well as his ability to bully other into agreement, as a means of eliminating people such as Trotsky and Zinoviev. Such a demeanor has caused many to criticize Stalin. His demeanor allowed Stalin to shape Russia into one of the most powerful nations in the world. When Stalin died, he died as the most powerful man in the world. He also died as the one of the greatest mass murderers in history.
Stalin s greatest accomplishment was his creation of “Mother Russia.” Lenin had created a strong Communist Russia, but Stalin created a machine. He created a Russia that would become the most powerful Communist nation in the world. Directly after World War II and through the better part of the twentieth century, Russia was only rivaled by the United States in power and military strength. Stalin s theories and personal quest for unlimited power had created the Russia that countries came to fear. Also, since Stalin was so ruthless, there was little opposition within his own country. Very simply, when Stalin spoke, everyone sat up and listened. His demeanor seemed to be symbolic of the new demeanor of Russia.
His second accomplishment was his military tactics during World War II. In 1941 the prosperity of the Nazis’ initial thrust into Russia could be accounted for in part by the disposal of the Red Army on the frontiers, ready to invade rather than repel invasion. Stalin’s strategy followed the traditional Muscovite pattern of plugging gaps in the defenses with more and more bodies and trading space for time in which imposing climatic conditions could whittle away the opponents’ strength. Sustained by material furnished by Britain an the United States, the Red Army responded to Stalin’s call to defend not the principles of Marx and Engels, but “Mother Russia.”
The third accomplishment of Stalin was his ability to exploit the unwarranted Anglo-American fear that Russia might get out of the war, Stalin easily outwitted the allied leaders of the Teheran and Yalta Conferences. With the Red Army’s invasion of German soil, Soviet soldiers were encouraged to penetrate far beyond the point where they had last been employed. Thus Stalin’s dominance of the Potsdam Conference, followed by the premature break up of the Anglo-American forces, left Stalin with a territory enlarged by more 180,0000 square miles which, with satellites, increased the Soviet sphere of influence by more than 760,00 square miles. While Stalin consolidated his gains an “iron curtain” was dropped to cut off Soviet Russia and her satellites from the outside world. At the same time, a Cold War ensued between east and west.
An entirely unscrupulous man, Stalin consistently manipulated Communist imperialism for the greater glory of Soviet Russia and the strengthening of his own person as autocrat. He died, in somewhat mysterious circumstances, in 1953. Unlike Hitler, Stalin did not lose his grip on power. Stalin was able to retain and even expand his power up to his final days.
The previous part of this paper has explained how both Hitler and Stalin achieved their power, some of their finest accomplishments, as well as the way they lost their power. Now it is time to look at each one’s claim to being the more effective leader. The facts will be presented, and a case study of both Hitler and Stalin will be completed. Then on the basis of these facts, a conclusion will be drawn to answer the question set forth at the beginning of this paper. Who was the more effective leader? There are many things to be considered as to what makes a leader effective. One criterion is results. Does the end result look like the vision the leader set forth? Then there is the leader s vision, intelligence, charisma, and luck. There are other qualities that leaders have, but these are the ones that this paper will look at.
Hitler rose to power in Germany on the wave of change. Unlike many others in this time period, Germany was in a sad state of affairs. Hitler s rise took place during the interwar period, and Germany had been punished greatly for her part in World War I. The allies and the Treaty of Versailles left Germany devastated, and in a state of chaos. One of the conditions of the Treaty of Versailles was that then Prince Max would hand Germany s government over to Friedrich Ebert. Ebert was a Social Democrat of the far left, and this led to many problems. He was open to attacks from all people on the right, and most Germans were also very unhappy with their situation after World War I. Since Ebert was in power, regardless of if it was his fault or not, most German s blamed him for their situation. While the discontent and civil disobedience were occurring, Hitler was rising. It was during this time that Hitler was expanding his education and joined the German Workers Party, who would later change their name to the Nazi Party. . Once Hitler had gained the power in his own party he moved to the national stage. After Hitler was in power he played on the emotions of his followers. Hitler realized that a vast majority of Germany was very dissatisfied with their position. Therefore Hitler s battle cry was “Germany Awake” a very nationalistic cry. This was the beginning of the peaceful revolt that was led by Hitler. Soon through elections Hitler was able to seize power in the German Parliament. However after the elections in 1933, we truly saw Hitler s disposition. He used an underhanded trick to seize power from any opposition.
Hitler was a very ambitious person. He never wanted to take a step backwards. It was always forward, forward, forward. It was once joked that Hitler did not know the meaning of the word conservative. The fact that he would not take a back step to anybody was very evident in
every step he took. One example was when the results of the 1933 election returned. The Nazis only won 44% of the vote and were forced to compromise with someone else. Hitler did not want this, he wanted total control. The result was a Kroll Opera House under siege, and the Reichstag decreeing Hitler the chief commander of Germany. Another example to look at is World War I. When Hitler invaded Russia, he attacked hard and pushed forward. Even though a harsh Russian winter was starting, Hitler continued forward. In reality Stalin was allowing Hitler in, and ad decided to let the winter kill the Nazis. The problem is that Hitler did not notice this and he pushed forward. In the end, this motivation to always move forward, killed the Nazis chances in Russia. This defeat was one of the worst for the Nazis, and started to spell the end of World War II.
Hitler had some truly great qualities as a leader. He did have vision, intelligence, charisma, and was a bit lucky. First of all was Hitler s vision, and actually he had two visions. There was a vision that the German population saw at first, then there was he second, personal vision. The first vision was to gain complete power of the German government, and the second was complete world domination by his Nazi Party. Both vision were very ambitious and they both had one important quality. Hitler was able to garner support for each vision. The first vision was very relevant to the people because they wanted to expel the current government. Hitler and the Nazis were the change the rest of Germany had been looking for. This was the first of many situations where Hitler was lucky. The discontent with the interwar government made it much easier for Hitler to garner power. Since the present government was disliked, all that was required of Hitler was to present the Nazi party as the best of the alternatives, and that he did.
Also Hitler had great charisma. One of the greatest and most useful qualities of a leader is the ability to speak well, and to motivate his constituents and followers. Hitler was able to do this. He was one of the greatest speakers in the world. He had a quality and character that sparked enthusiasm in everyone that watch him speak. Another quality that aided Hitler with his oratory skills was his appearance. Hitler was about 5 9″ and around 155 pounds. This was not a very imposing figure, but rather people were able to identify with Hitler and his ideas. When one can identify with a leader and feel like he is one of us, it makes it that much easier for the leader to lead. People are more willing to follow someone that they can identify with. Hitler was also very emotional when he spoke. He looked like he believed wholeheartedly in everything he said and did. Along with his charisma was Hitler s intelligence. He was smarter than an average person, and he always liked education. He practiced his speaking skills and learned the knowledge that would later become so useful in his motivational speeches.
Now Hitler did have the qualities of a leader, but he also had some circumstances that aided in his rise and retention of power. First of all there was the German population at large. This was a group of people that wanted change. They wanted and were willing to be led. The state of German affairs was dismal after World War I. The allies truly wanted to cripple Germany, in order to assure that a war of such magnitude would never happen again. The problem was that the Allied actions only backed Germany into a corner. A sense of national pride and unity. Germany reacted to this situation like any wild animal backed into a corner would. They decided to fight, and th