Homeworks academic writing service


A comparison of the regimes of adolf hitler and joseph stalin

Hannah Arendt[ edit ] Hannah Arendt was one of the first scholars to propose that the regimes of Hitler and Stalin could be grouped in the same political category. Not all totalitarian movements succeed in creating totalitarian governments once they gain power. European imperialism of the nineteenth century also paved the way for totalitarianism, by legitimizing the concept of endless expansion.

Their target audience did not have to be persuaded to despise the other parties or the democratic system, because it consisted of people who already despised mainstream politics. As a result, totalitarian movements were free to use violence and terror against their opponents without fear that this might alienate their own supporters. Indoctrination consists of the message that a totalitarian government promotes internally, to the members of the ruling party and that segment of the population which supports the government.

Propaganda consists of the message that a totalitarian government seeks to promote in the outside world, and also among those parts of its own society which may not support the government.

According to Arendt, totalitarian governments did not merely use these appeals to supposed scientific laws as propaganda to manipulate others. Rather, totalitarian leaders like Hitler and Stalin genuinely believed that they were acting in accordance with immutable natural laws, to such an extent that they were willing to sacrifice the self-interest of their regimes for the sake of enacting those supposed laws.

The totalitarian leader does not rise to power by personally using violence or through any special organizational skills, but rather by controlling appointments of personnel within a comparison of the regimes of adolf hitler and joseph stalin party, so that all other prominent party members owe their positions to him.

Even when the leader is not particularly competent and the members of his inner circle are aware of his deficiencies, they remain committed to him out of fear that without him the entire power structure would collapse.

According to Arendt, totalitarian governments must be constantly fighting enemies in order to survive.

Navigation menu

This explains their apparently irrational behavior, for example when Hitler continued to make territorial demands even after he was offered everything he asked for in the Munich Agreementor when Stalin unleashed the Great Terror despite the fact that he faced no significant internal opposition.

Slaves were abused and killed for the sake of profit; concentration camp inmates were abused and killed because a totalitarian government needed to justify its existence. That is to say, most of the inmates had not actually committed any action against the regime.

  • Friedrich and Brzezinski explicitly reject the claim that the Party, or any other institution, could provide a significant counterweight to the power of the dictator in Nazism or Stalinism;
  • Both men, once in power, purged their opponents, some of whom had been their allies on the way up;
  • This produced a surprising difference between Nazism and Stalinism;
  • In both countries people and children were encouraged to report on one another;
  • Not all totalitarian movements succeed in creating totalitarian governments once they gain power;
  • To be sure, Communism as an idea was originally positive, and National Socialism never was positive; it was, since its origin and from its beginning, criminal in its aims and its programme.

Totalitarian systems and autocracies[ edit ] The totalitarian paradigm in the comparative study of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union was further developed by Carl Friedrich and Zbigniew Brzezinskiwho wrote extensively on this topic both individually and in collaboration. In particular, it is distinguished by a reliance on modern technology and mass legitimation. Friedrich and Brzezinski argue that Nazism and Stalinism are not only similar to each other, but also represent a continuation or a return to the tradition of European absolute monarchy on certain levels.

Primary Menu

This depends in part on the personal character of different leaders, but Friedrich and Brzezinski believe that there is also an underlying political cycle, in which rising discontent leads to increased repression up to the point at which the opposition is eliminated, then controls are relaxed until the next time that popular dissatisfaction begins to grow.

Totalitarianism can only exist after the creation of modern technology, because such technology is essential for propagandafor surveillance of the population, and for the operation of a secret police. First, an official ideology that is supposed to be followed by all members of society, at least passively, and which promises to serve as a perfect guide towards some ultimate goal. Second, a single political partycomposed of the most enthusiastic supporters of the official ideology, representing an elite group within society no more than 10 percent of the populationand organized along strictly regimented lines.

Fourth, a similar monopoly held by the party over the mass media and all technological forms of communication. The dictator, whether Stalin, Hitler or Mussolini, holds supreme power. Friedrich and Brzezinski explicitly reject the claim that the Party, or any other institution, could provide a significant counterweight to the power of the dictator in Nazism or Stalinism.

  • The Nazis did not turn inward towards purging their own party except in a limited way on two occasions the Night of the Long Knives and the aftermath of the 20 July plot;
  • An all-party group in the European Parliament , the Reconciliation of European Histories Group , has been formed to promote public awareness of the crimes of all the totalitarian regimes at the EU level;
  • Several EU member states have established government agencies and research institutes tasked with the evaluation of totalitarian crimes, which draw parallels between Nazism and Stalinism or between fascism and communism;
  • This depends in part on the personal character of different leaders, but Friedrich and Brzezinski believe that there is also an underlying political cycle, in which rising discontent leads to increased repression up to the point at which the opposition is eliminated, then controls are relaxed until the next time that popular dissatisfaction begins to grow;
  • As laid out in Generalplan Ost , the Nazis wished to eliminate most of the Slavic populations of Eastern Europe, partly through deportation and partly through murder, in order to secure land for ethnic German settlement and colonization;
  • Hitler, for instance, had many of the leaders of his paramilitary "brownshirts" murdered, and Stalin's infamous purges were a naked attempt to solidify his control over the Soviet government.

This is partly due to the way that totalitarian governments arise. They come about when a militant ideological movement seizes power, so the first leader of a totalitarian government is usually the ideologue who built the movement that seized power, and subsequent leaders try to emulate him.

Friedrich points out that neither the Nazi nor the Stalinist government ever established any official line of succession or any mechanism to decide who would replace the dictator after his death. There could never be any heir apparent, because such an heir would have been a threat to the power of the dictator while he was alive.

Comparison of Nazism and Stalinism

Totalitarian Party[ edit ] Friedrich and Brzezinski also identify key similarities between the Nazi and Stalinist political parties, which set them apart from other types of political parties.

Rather, they strictly tested potential members, in a manner similar to exclusive clubs, and often engaged in political purges of the membership, expelling large numbers of people from their ranks and sometimes arresting and executing those expelled, such as in the Great Purge or the Night of the Long Knives.

Learn more

While both Nazism and Stalinism required party members to display such total loyalty in practice, they differed in the way they dealt with it in theory. Stalinism, meanwhile, denied that it did anything similar, and claimed instead to uphold democratic principles, a comparison of the regimes of adolf hitler and joseph stalin the Party Congress made up of elected delegates supposedly being the highest authority. Thus, regardless of the differences in their underlying ideological claims, the Nazi and Stalinist parties were organized in practice along similar lines, with a rigid hierarchy and centralized leadership.

Friedrich and Brzezinski argue, in agreement with Arendt, that Nazi and Stalinist leaders really believed in their respective ideologies and did not merely use them as tools to gain power. Friedrich and Brzezinski also draw attention to the symbols used by Nazis and Stalinists to represent themselves.

According to Friedrich and Brzezinski, the most effective terror is invisible to the people it affects. They simply develop a habit of acting in a conformist manner and not questioning authority, without necessarily being aware that this is what they are doing.

Propaganda is then used to maintain this appearance of popular consent. Both Joseph Goebbels and Soviet propagandists sought to demonize their enemies and present a picture of a united people standing behind its leader to confront foreign threats. In both cases there was no attempt to convey complex ideological nuances to the masses, with the message being instead about a simplistic struggle between good and evil.

Both Nazi and Stalinist regimes produced two very different sets of propaganda — one for internal consumption and one for potential sympathizers in other countries. And both regimes would sometimes radically change their propaganda line as they made peace with a former enemy or got into a war with a former ally.

With no way for anyone to express criticism, the dictator has no way of knowing how much support he actually has among the general populace. In 1948, during the early days of the Berlin Blockadethe Soviet leadership apparently believed that the population of West Berlin was sympathetic to Soviet Communism and that they would request to join the Soviet zone.

But to declare that the struggle had been won would have meant to declare that most of the totalitarian features of the government were no longer needed.

A secret police force, for instance, has no reason to exist if there are no dangerous traitors who need to be found. In the Stalinist USSR, the repressive apparatus was eventually turned against members of the Communist Party itself in the Great Purge and the show trials that accompanied it. The Nazis did not turn inward towards purging their own party except in a limited way on two occasions the Night of the Long Knives and the aftermath of the 20 July plot.

However, unlike Hannah Arendt, who held that the Gulag camps served no economic purpose, Friedrich and Brzezinski argue that they provided an important source of cheap labor for the Stalinist economy. At the outset, Lewin and Kershaw identify similarities between the historical situations in Germany and Russia prior to the First World War and during that war. Both countries were ruled by authoritarian monarchies, who were under pressure to make concessions to popular demands.

And both countries had expansionist foreign policies with a particular interest in Central and Eastern Europe. Stalinism had an absolute leader, but he was not essential.

Compare and Contrast the rise to power ofHitler and Stalin

He could be replaced by another. Stalinism had an ideology which existed independently of Stalin. In Stalinism, the bureaucratic apparatus was the foundation of the system, while in Nazism, the person of the leader was the foundation. This confusion produced competition between Nazi officials, as each of them attempted to prove that he was a more dedicated Nazi than his rivals, by engaging in ever more extreme policies.

This competition to please Hitler was, according to Mommsen, the real cause of Nazi irrationality.

  • They simply develop a habit of acting in a conformist manner and not questioning authority, without necessarily being aware that this is what they are doing;
  • However it remains a neglected field of academic study.

The Nazi regime, on the other hand, was much more personalized and depended entirely on Hitler, being unable to build any lasting institutions. Stalinism could exist without its leader. One of the topics they have studied is the question of how much power the dictator really held in the two regimes.

Werth identifies two main historiographical approaches in the study of the Stalinist regime: However, there was a potential for division between the leader and the state bureaucracy, due to the way that Nazism came to power — as part of an alliance with traditional conservative elites, industrialists, and the army. This produced a surprising difference between Nazism and Stalinism: When the Stalinist USSR conquered territory, it created smaller copies of itself and installed them as the governments of the occupied countries.

When Nazi Germany conquered territory, on the other hand, it did not attempt to create copies of the German government back home. At the top, high-ranking members of the Communist Party were arrested and executed under the claim that they had plotted against Stalin and in some cases they were forced to confess to imaginary crimes in show trials. At the bottom, the peasantry suffered the Holodomor famine especially in Ukraineand even outside of the famine years they were faced with very high grain quotas.

He lists them from smallest to largest. The second group consisted of mid-level Communist Party officials, who were subject to mass arrests and executions in the late 1930s, particularly during the Great Purge.

Eliminating them served a dual purpose: This type of petty crime became very widespread, and was often punished as if it were intentional sabotage motivated by political opposition to the USSR.

How similar were the regimes of Stalin, Mussolini and Hitler?

The fourth and largest category consisted of ethnic groups that were subject to deportation, famine, or arbitrary arrests under the suspicion of being collectively disloyal to Stalin or to the Soviet state.

This included the Holodomor famine directed at the Ukrainiansthe deportation of ethnic groups suspected of pro-German sympathies such as the Volga Germansthe Crimean Tatarsthe Chechens and othersand eventually also persecution of ethnic Jewsespecially as Stalin grew increasingly antisemitic near the end of his life.

In Stalinism, there was a gulf between ideology and reality when it came to violence. The Soviet regime continuously denied that it was repressive, proclaimed itself a defender of peace, and sought to conceal all the evidence to the contrary.

The Nazis aimed to eliminate their real or imagined political opponents, first in the Reich and later in the occupied territories during the war. Some of these opponents were executed, while others were imprisoned in concentration camps.

The death penalty was used on a wide scale, even before the war. During the war, political repression was greatly expanded both inside Germany and especially in the newly occupied territories. Political prisoners in the concentration camps numbered only about 25,000 at the beginning of the war. By January 1945 they had swelled to 714,211 — most of them non-Germans accused of plotting against the Reich.

Compare and contrast the dictatorships of Hitler and Stalin Essay

Such people were divided into two categories: Germans considered physically or mentally unfit were among the first victims. One of the first laws of the Nazi regime mandated the forced sterilization of people suffering from physical handicaps or who had psychiatric conditions deemed to be hereditary.

As laid out in Generalplan Ostthe Nazis wished to eliminate most of the Slavic populations of Eastern Europe, partly through deportation and partly through murder, in order to secure land for ethnic German settlement and colonization. This culminated in the Holocaustthe Nazi genocide of the Jews.

Unlike in the case of all other target populations, the Jews were to be exterminated completely, with no individual exceptions for any reason.

The differences stem from the fact that their ideologies were opposed to each other and regarded each other as enemies. At the same time, they both vigorously denied borrowing anything from each other. For instance, Soviet wartime propaganda revolved around the idea of resisting imperial aggression, while Nazi propaganda was about wars of racial conquest. Both governments were highly concerned over low fertility rates in their respective populations, and applied extensive and intrusive social engineering techniques to increase the number of births.

Stalin's Soviet Union never officially supported eugenics as the Nazis did—the Soviet government called eugenics a "fascist science"—although there were in fact Soviet eugenicists.