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Individual & Society: Stalin ~ Hitler ~ Mussolini

1695 words - 7 pages

Individual & Society: Stalin ~ Hitler ~ Mussolini

The relationship between the individual and society in Europe in the early 20th century, as it pertained to Fascism, Nazism, and Totalitarianism, was based primarily on the fact that there was no individual in the eyes of the state. Individual liberties and expressions were eliminated in order to improve the welfare of the country. Leaders taught conventional ideals and murdered enemies, so as to create one state, composed of individuals whose lives were involuntarily centered around the creation of that State.

In 1922, Vladimir Lenin, the leader of the Russian Communist party, suffered the first of many strokes that would relieve him of his authority. After leading the Bolshevik revolution of 1917, Lenin had established Communism to reinstate order in the crumbling Russia and protect the rights of the oppressed proletariat. He believed that, only in a Communist society, "'the state ceases to exist,' and 'it becomes possible to speak of freedom.'"1 Lenin stood by the idea that Communism would "render the state absolutely unnecessary" because "no one in the sense of a class" would be suppressed.2

Lenin's successor, Josef Stalin, took the elimination of proletarian suppression to extremes. Stalin and Leon Trotsky-who was with Lenin in forming the Russian Revolution and led the Red Army in the Civil War of 1918-vied for leadership of the Communist party after Lenin's stroke. Although Trotsky seemed to be the inevitable successor, Stalin's status as general secretary of the Communist party gave him "control over the administrative levers of the party" and "allowed him to eliminate all rivals."3 Stalin relieved Trotsky of his authority in the Communist party and exiled him to Siberia in 1928, making Stalin the absolute leader of the Communist party.

Josef Stalin believed that the "proletariat needs the Party" to eliminate the class system, thus eliminating the suppression of the proletariat.4 Stalin's method of eliminating the class system was based on eliminating chances for individual advance and experimentation. Stalin began enforcing collectivized agriculture, which held that all land would be owned and cultivated by the proletariat for the welfare of the entire community. Stalin ensured the success of the collectivized farms by destroying the opposition - the Kulaks. The Kulaks were well-off middle-class farmers that were against the idea of collectivized agriculture. Stalin proclaimed that Russia could either move "back-to capitalism, or forward-to socialism."5 He believed that the only way to move forward was to quiet the rebellious Kulaks by fully eliminating them as a class. They were not allowed to join the collectivization movement. As enemies, Stalin believed that their grain and livestock be taken from them. Many refused, and burned their farms as an act of rebellion. Thousands of Kulaks were killed as a result of Stalin's vicious enforcement of Communism.6

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