Hitler and Stalin will probably go down in history as two of the greatest known evil leaders of the 20th Century. What could bring two men to become the menaces they were? What kind of upbringing would cause someone to turnout the way they did? This report will compare the two through their adolescence till the end of their teenage years.
December 21, 1879 at Gori in Georgia, Joseph Stalin is born. Ten years later on April 20, 1889, Adolph Hitler is given birth to at Braunanu on the River Inn. This difference in age grew ever wider until death when Hitler died in 1945 at age 56 and Stalin lived to be 73 till 1953. Separated by 1,500 miles of land between Georgia and Upper Austria., an even greater distance separated their historical and social development. Yet these two men had common features in their backgrounds.
Both were born just outside the borders of the countries they were to some day rule. While Hitler was a German, he was born a subject of the Hadsburg Empire. German’s had played the leading role for centuries, but with Bismark’s formation of a German Empire based on Prussia, from which the Austrian Germans were excluded in 1860’s. They found themselves forced to defend their historic claim against the growing demands for the Czechs equality and the equality of the other “subject peoples.” This had an intense impact on Hitler’s attitudes and led to his becoming a rabid German nationalist, however unlike most, he gained an anxiety-ridden, pessimistic outlook of a minority group within their own state. Knowing of their great past, he saw their future threatened by the growing numbers and inferior races (Slavs, Polish, Russian Jews).
Stalin’s origins were also important, though they worked in different ways. The reappearance of figures from his Georgian past, such as Ordzhonikidze and Beria, his attitude toward whom was affected by the complex relationships and feuds of Georgian politics. Though his key decision was turning down his Georgian inheritance and identifying with the Georgians’ Russian conquerors instead of the Russians’ Georgian victims. The result was to produce a Great Russian chauvinist, who worked to overthrow the tsarist state but not to break up the Russian Empire.
Around the time of Stalin’s birth Georgia was not the best place to be. They were at a miserable leve...
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... his mother’s sacrifices once he had become involved in revolutionary activity. In fact, he shocked Georgian opinion by not attending her funeral in 1936. On the other hand, upon hearing of his mother’s illness, Hitler immediately returned to Linz and devoted himself to nursing and looking after her. Her death, on top of his failure came as the deepest shock to him.
Such backgrounds can help understand what brought these men to become what they did. It shows that not one upbringing can account for someone’s outcome. Whether you grow up in the slums or riding the lap of luxury, you shape your own destiny. While much more was necessary to bring them to do what they did, this was a definitely a starting point.
1. Quoted by Robert C. Tucker, Stalin as Revolutionary (New York: 1973), p. 73.
2. Sigmund Freud, Collected Papers, vol. IV (London: 1952). Quoted by Tucker, Stalin as Revolutionary, p. 76.
Bullok, Alan. Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives (New York: 1992).
Kershaw, Ian and Laurence Rees. War of the Century: When Hitler Fought Stalin (France: 1999).
Volkogonov, Dmitri. Stalin: Triumph & Tragedy (New York:1991).
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