Comparing Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia
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Why is it that Germany's fascism lasted a relatively short time
compared to Russia's communism? The regimes established under Hitler and
Stalin were incredibly similar with respect to the rise and control of the
state. Both systems were based on entirely different ideology and goals.
Hitler's Mein Kampf established the superiority of the German race and the
need to expand as wanted by God. Hitler wanted the world. The government in
Russia established by Lenin was based on a book called Communist Manifesto
by Karl Marx, a call to the proletariate to unite and rebel against their
selfish employers. It is my belief that Lenin had entirely good reasons for
doing as he did, and felt he was helping the world as apposed to Adolf
Hitler. Immediately after Lenin's death, a man very much the same in nature
as Hitler, Stalin, came to control the Bolsheviks and throw Russia in a
civil war in a quest for power. You now have two men of equal aspirations
soon to be in control of two very similar governments.
In any rise of power, there needs to be a period of careful planning
requiring much thought. These two men had very little history with which to
work with which to model their revolutions. Times had been changing rapidly,
technological improvements in the fields of manufacturing, transportation,
and communication made this period of time very different from any other.
Hitler spent his time imprison writing his book, Mein Kampf, filling it
full of warped ideas of conquest and superiority of one race over another.
I think it is strange that such works would go unnoticed with nobody left
to watch a man with such dangerous ideas. Lenin planned his revolution
while in exile in Switzerland. Then he made a deal with the German
government whereby he was hid on a train and passed through enemy Germany
to Russia. The conclusions with respect to methods of acquiring power and
controlling it when they did get it were very much the same.
Both rulers had full run of their respective governments. Stalin was
already dictator of Russia with his power and loyalty of the people
guaranteed by the secret police, the Cheka. This entity provided Stalin
with an easy means of destroying the opposition and weeding out the
undesirable to be sent to prison camps in Siberia, a virtual death sentence.
For Hitler to ascend to that level of power he rammed the Enabling Act
through the German Congress which gave him the power to enact laws.
Article 1 of his new power, Hitler decreed the only existing party shall be
the NSDAP. With Article 2 he declared all association of, collaboration
with, and support of other parties would result in imprisonment in camps
similar to Russia's labor camps. With Hitler's Gestapo, secret police, he
enforced those rules and used existing policies to get rid of other unfit
Germans. Political prisoners, homosexuals, Jews and other people sent to
the concentration camps were given different colored symbols for easy
identification. At this point, no one dared speak against their country
even in the privacy of one's home lest their children let something slip at
If you control people's thoughts, you control them. Propaganda was an
important tool used by both Germany and Russia. Hitler appointed a man by
the name of Joseph Goebbles to head the Ministry of Public Enlightenment in
Germany. This man used newspapers, magazines, and radio to spread Nazism.
Even if a man bathed in thoughts of discontent at home, he was bombarded
with propaganda in public, and at the workplace. Banners hung from building,
posters on almost every sign or lamppost. Anyone with a suspicious look on
their face was first detained, and the sent to a prison camp. It was no
longer just desirable to be a Nazi considering the benefits like government
contracts or being able to stand first in line, but necessary for
employment. Russia employed much the same tactics with much more emphasis
Education was virtually unheard of in the early years of Russia, but
by 1933 children were guaranteed primary education. Huge problems resulted
form the ignorance and illiteracy, workers usually did not intentionally
break machines but did not know how to use them. In official reports the
reason for failure was terrorism by the Kulaks, rich peasants persecuted in
the same way Germany's Jews. German education was geared toward physical
aspects and the fathering of children. Membership to the German Youth for
boys was compulsory by 1936. Emphasis was placed on physical fitness and
team sports in these youth groups. Outstanding youths went to Adolf Hitler
schools for secondary education, and Order Castles for future party leaders.
Control of the economy and war time planning was a must for both
nations. A story likened to the fact that with Communism you must give your
cows to the government and they give you milk back. With fascism, you got
to keep your cows and gave the milk to the government. Both systems were
command economies and state controlled. Contingency plans were constantly
drawn up and updated to fit new circumstances. Both nations were preparing
for war. Germany was going to rule the world, Russia only wanted to defend
herself from Capitalism.
The resulting governments evolving from the two different systems of
thought were very similar. But as one can see, the aspirations were
radically different. Hitler was a threat to everyone and needed to be dealt
with. Russia kept to themselves and bothered no one. A Cold War ensued with
Russia complete with the irrational fear of Communism, McCarthyism, and a
peace time build up of weapons followed. Germany was crushed in battle and
Russia's Iron Curtain is being pulled down as I write.