Hitler and Stalin: the rise to power
During the period leading up to World War II, there were two men
who were on opposing sides, yet had many traits that made them much
alike. One of these men was someone who’s name is instantly recognizable
to almost anyone today-- Adolf Hitler . The other man was a major player
in world history as well, but his name is not so infamous-- Joseph Stalin .
These men were each triumphant in their rise to power in their countries
and they were very comparable in the ways that they succeeded. Their
success was mostly attributed to their new ideas and, especially in
Hitler’s case, their politics.
Although Hitler and Stalin hated each other, the two leaders were
similar in many ways. Hitler and Stalin each rose to the highest
position attainable in their respective countries, and there were three
main reasons that they were able to do this. Both men were skilled users
of propaganda , each was amoral, and they both had the ambition to make
their countries the most powerful in the world.
Since each was a skilled user of propaganda, they could use their
words to twist and manipulate the minds of people into believing that
what they were saying was the absolute truth. Using this power, they
were able to get people to do nearly anything for them, which shows their
amorality. Since each of their countries were still trying to recover
from World War I, they desired to restore the power and glory back to
The names Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin are synonymous with the
word propaganda. In order to understand how Hitler and Stalin used
propaganda, one must understand what the word itself means. According to
the Merriam-Webster dictionary, “Propaganda is the spreading of ideas to
further or damage a cause; also the ideas or allegations spread for a
purpose.” Hitler and Stalin each used propaganda as their tool to
further their ideas and help them gain the backing of the people in their
The form of propaganda that Hitler used, and was very successful
in using, was his words. Hitler made a great number of speeches, but one
speech that became very famous was his speech at his trial for treason.
In this speech he gave his views and opinions on the events preceding the
trial. Here is an excerpt from this speech:
“...I aimed from the first to...become the destroyer of Marxism...The
army that we are building grows more from day to day, from hour to hour.
Gentlemen, not you who will be the ones that deliver the verdict over us,
but that verdict will be given by the eternal judgment of history, which
will speak out against the accusation that has been made against
us...That court will judge us...as Germans [who] wanted only the best for
their people and their Fatherland, who fought and were willing to die.
You might just as well find us guilty a thousand times, but the goddess
of the eternal court of history will smile and tear up the motions of the
states attorney and the judgment of this court: for she finds us not
After Hitler gave this speech, the court was sympathetic towards
him, and he was sentenced to only five years in prison for his crime.
After nine months of his sentence had been served, he was granted parole.
Being able to gain Nazi party control and lure enough supporters to his
cause shows that Hitler was a very skilled and efficient user of
propaganda. Hitler even had his own minister of propaganda when he
became leader of the Germany.
Having a minister of propaganda pretty much proves that Hitler
was an avid user of propaganda, however, Joseph Stalin was not quite as
blatantly obvious with his uses of propaganda. One example of
propaganda Stalin used can be found in his speech to the Fifteenth
Congress in 1927. Here is an excerpt from this speech:
“Evidently, the opposition prefers to be outside the party. Well, let it
be outside the party. There is nothing terrible, or exceptional, or
surprising in the fact that they prefer to be outside the party, that
they are cutting themselves off from the party. If you study the history
of our party, you will find that always, at certain serious turns taken
by our party, a certain section of the old leaders fell out of the cart
of the Bolshevik party and made room for newer members. A turn is a
serious thing, comrades. A turn is dangerous for those who do