With the dawn of civilization soon thereafter followed the creation of authoritarian and totalitarian establishments. The history of man is inundated with instances of leaders rising to power over certain groups of people and through various means gaining formidable control to be used for good, evil, or an ambiguous mixture of both. However, it is an undeniable fact that once unchecked power is acquired, tyranny often ensues, and thus a dictatorial regime is born. Over the centuries, governmental establishments have risen and fallen, but as history and civilization progress, so does the potential for a larger and more powerful domination. The development of differing and contrasting theologies and structural philosophies leads not only to conflict, but perhaps more prominently to unification under one rule with a common belief, especially when that unifying belief provides a promising sense of belonging and structure to a weak society. This is what led to the rise of two of the most domineering totalitarian governments in history: Stalin’s Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and Hitler’s Nazi Germany, or the Third Reich.
The establishment and success of both the USSR and Nazi Germany are largely due to one common factor. The attributes of Stalin and Hitler enabled them to successfully gain and maintain complete control over their government and enforce total rule to establish the party superiority. Schlesinger describes leadership as the ability to “move, inspire, and mobilize masses of people so that they act together in pursuit of an end” (Schlesinger 1). Stalin and Hitler themselves as individuals and leaders are as infamous and complex as the ruthless totalitarian governments they implemented. Being on polar opposite ends of the political spectrum (Socialist Communism on the extreme left and Nazism on the extreme right) so that the two prominently contrast, yet still being so radical in their ideologies that they share many tactical similarities is a fascinating multi- dimensional subject to examine and analyze. This essay will be an investigation of how Stalin and Hitler compared and contrasted in traits contributing to tactics of gaining control in Russia and Germany. In order to evaluate Stalin and Hitler’s tactics, it is first necessary to examine the contextual considerations of their childhood and personal lives leading up to their entrances as political leaders to evaluate any possible influences for their actions.
Adolf Hitler was born in 1889 into a financially stable middle class family, and was the only son left at home after his younger brother Edmond died in 1900. This increased the amount of pressure his father, Alois placed upon him to enter the civil services as a career, but Adolf was a lover of the arts, and wished to become a painter, though it is unclear if he explicitly stated so to his father when he was young (Kershaw 9). The subject created tension between the two, for Alois was a “stern,...