Hitler And Stalin


     During the period leading up to World War II, there were two famous dictators
who were on opposing sides, yet had similar records. These men were Adolph

Hitler and Joseph Stalin. They 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
that greatly stood out from the others 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
judgment 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 judgment of this court: for she finds us not guilty". 1

After Hitler gave this speech, the court was sympathetic towards him, and 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 a big user of propaganda, but Joseph

Stalin was not as blatantly obvious with his uses of it. 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".2 After Stalin said this, an
immediate applause was heard. Stalin was telling the 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 down the proper road. 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" personalities. In
these photos each dictator would be depicted as being a hero. He would be
helping the poor families, or be holding a small child. It was in these photos
that Hitler and Stalin became appealing to the public. The photos gave the
people of their countries the idea that they were caring, loving and 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 the public 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.3 Over
time his condition got worse and he became less involved in the party's affairs.

When Lenin died in January 1924, he left two men in contention for the party's
leadership.4 One was Joseph Stalin, and the other Leon Trotsky.5 These 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. He felt that if
he eliminated his only threat, it would mean less opposition to his ideas. This
assured Stalin full control over the communist party. Once Stalin was in
control, anything was used as an excuse for an arrest: not clapping loudly
enough or long enough after one of Stalin's speeches, or buying groceries from a
former kulak. People went to work one day and simply did not return -- they were
either killed immediately or sent to the GULAG, a network of forced labor camps
in the Soviet Union.6 Because of Stalinís want to destroy any possibility of
future conspiracies, academics and writers came to expect arrest, exile and
prison as part of their lives. All in all, Stalin got rid of anyone who could
conceivably become a member of a regime that might make the attempt to replace
his own. He did this to maintain his power. Hitler was the other example of an
amoral person. He demonstrated this after he got into power with the Holocaust,
but he also foreshadowed his amorality before he became the leader of Germany.

One incident of his amorality was shown 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.7 The Center Party, which had
supported Hitler in return for vague promises, collapsed in July 1933, along
with the few others still remaining. 8After Hitler became Chancellor, he passed
a law that prohibited the existence of any party in Germany other than the

Nazis.9 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
did 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 casualties10. 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". 11This 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 promised the German people work
and bread and he delivered both. As most shrewd politicians are capable, Hitler
gave the people what they wanted the most. He launched a massive public works
program to pull Germany out of the Depression. Superhighways, office buildings,
huge stadiums and public buildings were constructed at a rapid pace. By 1936,
however, government spending was now being directed almost entirely to the
military, necessary for the coming war Hitler had already specified in Mein

Kampf (My Battle), a book he wrote while in prison. 12Meanwhile, unemployment
dropped steadily. In January 1937, unemployment stood at 7 million. Twelve
months later it had fallen to 1 million and by 1938, Germany witnessed a
shortage of labor. The standard of living increased by 20% and business profits
were finally increasing. 13 "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. His goal was
clearly seen in Mein Kampf, in which he stated: "Germany will either be a
world power or will not be at all."14 Both dictators succeeded in making their
countries strong once again, at least for a while. In conclusion, Hitler and

Stalin were similar in many ways 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 men succeeded in doing
all of these things.