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Fascism Compared to Communism
Analyze the similarities and the differences between single party rule
in Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Russia between 1933 and 1945. Answers
should consider: methods of dealing with opposition, control of media
and education, control of the economy, and war time planning.
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. Under 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 school.
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 on fear.
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
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.
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