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Hitler Vs Stalin Essay

1138 words - 5 pages

Joseph Stalin was the leader of Soviet Russia from the mid-1920s to his death in 1953. Though Hitler and Stalin never met or even spoke on the telephone, their lives and fates were inextricably linked. Though each loathed and feared the other, there was much Hitler and Stalin had in common. Both were born into humble backgrounds, their early lives shaped by destitution and impoverishment. As young men, both were drawn to radical political movements. Both became revolutionaries and unlikely national leaders, rising to power in the tumultuous years between the two world wars. Both promised progress, modernisation and better lives for their countrymen – but both were more concerned with ...view middle of the document...

In 1912 he was appointed to the Bolshevik Central Committee to advise on racial minorities, chiefly because of his own Georgian background. In 1917 he became editor of the Bolshevik newspaper Pravda. Stalin did not play an active role in the October Revolution that elevated the Bolsheviks to power. After 1917 he served in the Bolshevik government as People’s Commissar for Nationalities. He held this post until 1922 when he became General Secretary of the party. It was a seemingly insignificant position that no other leading Bolsheviks wanted – however it allowed Stalin to build a power base by recruiting allies and appointing them to government positions. By the death of Lenin in 1924, Stalin wielded significant power at the highest levels, and was in a position to push for control of the party. Lenin himself had expressed doubts about Stalin’s capacity for leadership, calling him “too rude” – but within three years, Stalin had cemented himself at the helm of the communist regime in Russia. Stalin was a ruthless and often cruel personality, obsessed with the idea that those around him were plotting his downfall. To hinder these threats and enforce his will, Stalin placed himself at the centre of a cult of personality. Propaganda and Soviet culture portrayed him as the saviour of Russia: a military genius, an ideological mentor and a kindly father figure, the protector of Russian children. Stalinist historians revised the narrative of the Russian Revolution to glorify and exaggerate Stalin’s contribution; other figures – particularly his opponents, like Leon Trotsky, were either condemned as traitors or ‘written out’ of these histories. Stalin expanded Soviet secret police agencies, setting up a global network of agents and spies to report both on domestic opponents and the intentions of other nations. Within Russia he instigated purges and show trials to eradicate potential opponents. In the 1930s he culled many of the ‘old Bolsheviks’ who had fought with him during the revolution; he then purged several high-ranking officers to limit the possibility of a military coup. Modernisation and suffering For all the similarities that can be identified between Hitler and Stalin, there were big differences. Unlike Hitler, Stalin did not preach racial and national intolerance openly. In public he spoke of friendship and equality between peoples. Hitler’s use of pseudo-religious terminology found no comparison in Stalin’s speeches. Hitler enjoyed the...

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