Which dictator had the most success in his economic and social policies, Hitler, Franco or Stalin?
When reading the works of most historians, it is found that they are most critical of the policies of the three most famous dictators of the twentieth century; Adolf Hitler of Germany, Josef Stalin of the Soviet union and Francisco Franco of Spain. This is most probably due to the fact that these men were despicable characters and the death rate under them was extremely high due to their policies of terror on political opposition and on races they wanted eliminated from society as well as their, some might say, selfish policies which left millions starving and living standards poor. This essay however aims to focus on the positive economic and social polices of these men as well as the negative aspects and will conclude on who had the most success, perhaps indeed there were no successes at all, but how does that explain the popularity of these men among their contemporaries? It is hoped that this essay will be rather controversial as it is also blasphemy these days to focus on positive aspects of these brutal and chaotic dictatorships. The aspects that will be analysed are housing, inflation balance of payments, gross national product, death rates living standards, infrastructure and employment rates. Before analysing these aspects, a short biography of each dictator will be given, as well as a short description of their economic and social policies.
Josef Stalin was born Josef Dzhugashvili on December 18th 1878. He changed his name to Stalin which means man of steal' when he joined the Bolsheviks. In 1921 he became the general secretary of the Soviet Communist party. After Lenin's death, he prevailed over Trotsky during a power struggle to replace Lenin as leader of the Soviet Union. Stalin consolidated his power by manipulating his opponents and playing them off against each other. One such example is that he lied to a sick Trotsky about the date of Lenin's funeral after organising it making Trotsky look like an uncaring person when he did not turn up to his former leader's funeral. Stalin's adversaries were unaware of his political skills and seriously underestimated him during the time of the power struggle and in 1928 Stalin became supreme, however it was not until the great purge of 1936 that he received absolute power. When he came to power the Soviet Union was a vast but under developed country with a mostly agricultural economy; in 1928 eighty per cent of an estimated 150 million Soviets were in agriculture. The Russian people had been through the First World War, two revolutions in 1917, a civil war and famine. These occurrences had made a huge impact on the economy, practically leaving it in ruin. He ruled for twenty three years and suppressed his opposition, like most dictators with the use of terror. The death toll under Stalin is estimated to be around twenty million. On the other hand however, he did help Britain and France in winning the Second World War. Stalin continued to rule as a dictator until his death on March 5th 1953.
In 1929, a year after his ascension to power, Stalin was determined to alter economic structure and practise. He started by abandoning Lenin's New Economic Plan (NEP). Stalin wanted speedy industrialisation as he believed that the Soviet union was fifty to a hundred years behind the world powers such as Britain and Germany and in a speech to the Russian people he announced that if they did not catch up in ten years they would be crushed. He prophesised this early that Germany would invade them which they indeed did in the 1940s. The economic policy Stalin used and which continued to be used until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1992 was the method of five year plans. These plans were administered by Gosplan which was the Committee for Economic Planning or Gosudarstvenny Komitet po Planirovaniyu. Within the five year plans targets were set for each factory, every shift of...
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