Hitler vs Mussolini

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How similar are Hitler (becoming Chancellor) and Mussolini’s rise to power (1926)? Hitler and Mussolini are two totalitarian leaders with very similar ways of ruling. The aspects of their similarity lie mainly on their negative cohesion, instable government and time period and charismatic appeal. However the major difference between the two is that Hitler was by far the much more aggressive ruler who actually managed to substantially make a difference in many ways whereas Mussolini remained “a lion of cardboard”. These factors created their rise to power. Hitler and Mussolini both had used negative cohesion (sharing of dislikes) which greatly helped their rise to power. When Mussolini was struggling to come to power it was not so much that people loved Mussolini, it was more that they hated Democracy and Communism. During Mussolini’s time democracy was simply not working for Italy. It needed a strong government as the current system of proportional representation was albeit fair, but very slow. It turned people against the democratic government and created a space for an oppositional group. This group could have been the Communists, but people were so scared from the happenings in Russia that Communism was a great threat not only to the elite, but also to the middle class, who saw their lives being destroyed by the Communists. They preferred Mussolini by far to the Communists and “believed it was better to build everything up all over again rather than become Bolshevik”. There was also rising unemployment along with 2 ½ million returning soldiers, who all felt the government had “betrayed the hopes of fighting men”. The soldiers felt that their efforts in the war had not been appreciated enough, and that Italy had not received enough compensation from the Allies (which was a reason for joining the war in the first place) and blamed the government for it. It was seen as a mutilated peace and “the mutilated peace was the stick with which the democratic governments were beaten (1919-22) and gave rise to a fascist alternative.” Hitler also experienced similar condition which helped his rise to power. He widely criticised the democratic government and its failures. The Weimar Republic was in a similar state to Italy’s as proportional representation was not working out. There were two extreme parties – The Communists and The Nazi party. As a result of the 1930 elections, no party had a majority and a coalition of moderation parties wasn’t possible as there was too much friction between them. Laws were barely able to be passed and there was chaos everywhere. This increased the public’s disillusionment with democracy and convinced the public that a strong government was badly needed. Germany had always been ruled by a strong leader, and Germans liked the authoritarian leadership. When confronted by democracy they were like “peasants in a palace” and simply did not know what to do with themselves. This was why when Hitler came along promising a strong government they were prepared to trade their political freedom for a strong and better Germany. Hitler also provided scrapegoats for the people and blamed the problems on Communists, Democracy and in Hitler’s case Jews as well. These common enemies allowed Hitler to portray himself as the ideal alternative. This shows that through negative cohesion both Mussolini and Hitler were greatly helped in their rise to power as both came to power not mainly because their policies were liked by the public, but mainly because their enemies were shared. Another similarity between Mussolini’s and Hitler’s rise to power was the instable government and time period. There was tremendous political, social and economical instability and both Mussolini and Hitler did not shy away from exploiting it to help their rise to power. In 1919 Mussolini created the Fascist Combat Group initially to oppose socialism. Because of the rising unemployment and returned soldiers who had nothing to do, many young men...
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