The Second World War was one of the most devastating conflicts ever encountered, fuelled by two ruthless dictators that aimed to assert their own ideologies on the rest of the world. By comparing Nazism to Stalinism, highlights the similar authoritarian measures they embraced in order to obtain their political goals. Hitler and Stalin were seen as figureheads of their respective states. They had support among their people that enabled them to exert their influence in a corrupt manner and to form powerful militaries that could sustain their ambitious aims. However, it is this juxtaposition that limits our comparison for understanding these two forms of government. It brings notice to the notion that although these two governments possess similar characteristics in terms of oppressiveness to achieve their aims, they actually have different ideologies that are completely opposed one another on the political spectrum.
Hitler and Stalin had similar approaches to their respective governments. In Germany, Hitler, just like Stalin in the USSR were seen as intimidating individuals that used fear as a means of controlling the masses. Stalin acted not through persuasion, explanation, and patient co-operation with people, but by imposing his concepts and demanding absolute submission to his opinion. Whoever opposed this concept or tried to prove his viewpoint, and the correctness of his position, was doomed to removal from the leading collective and to subsequent moral and physical annihilation. This style of government was very direct, in the sense that it ensured Stalin was able to make decisions quickly and effectively without the consultation of others. This demonstrates the confidence Stalin had of his own ability, in that he did not need assurance from others because Stalin felt confident about his actions as leader of the USSR. Stalin felt his decisions are at the states best interests. Anyone who challenged Stalin was seen as undermining his power. Both leaders had unanimous support within a group of officials that was undeniably loyal to their leaders. Hitler even combined the titles of chancellor and Führer and forced the army to take an oath of personal allegiance to “the executor of the people’s will”. The fact that Hitler created a new title for himself gives the impression that Hitler was keen to represent himself as a new strong leader that could lead Germany through the struggle at a time of economic depression for Germany. By being able to merge two titles together was the beginning of the ability Hitler could do what he liked without confrontation. So much so that ninety percent of those voting in a plebiscite approved Hitler’s assumption of both functions. They both had complete control of their respective single party dictatorships that lead to the demise of any political opponent that dared to challenge their authority.
In the USSR when political opposition had the audacity to challenge Stalin, whom just like Hitler, was acknowledged as the party’s ‘supreme leader, its vozhd’. Stalin simply assured his dictatorship by purging dissident groups with the Soviet Leadership, isolating leaders of the left by assigning their allies to inconsequential posts in distant places. Likewise in Germany, Hitler had implemented devious control once he was in power in order to enhance his domination. The Enabling Act enabled Hitler to have excessive and unlimited “emergency” power. In order to govern without the fear of an uprising Hitler decided to pass a law that recognised the Nazi Party as the only political party in Germany, banning all other opposition against the Nazi’s. Leaders from rival political parties were either imprisoned or killed. It is this sort of approach that helped Hitler to exert his Nazi ideology on Germany, which in turn would assist him gaining his ultimate goal of world hegemony. These drastic measures proved to be effective as the Nazi Party tripled in size, with 2.5 million members by...
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