Adolf Hitler🇧🇷 1889 - 1945. Born as the fourth of six children in a middle-class family in Braunau am Inn, a town in what was then Austria-Hungary. His childhood was unfavorable and after he left school without a degree and his big dream of becoming an artist failed (rejection from the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts), he became an aimless loafer before enlisting in the army after the outbreak of the First World War occurred. in 1914. Hitler's path to absolute power was realized when he became chancellor in 1933 and then as the country's leading leader (1934-1945). He died by suicide at the age of 56.
Joseph Visarionovich Stalin🇧🇷 1878 – 1953. Born in the city of Gori, Georgia, he grew up in a poor and itinerant family environment. In his youth, Stalin became a Georgian revolutionary and later a Soviet politician, eventually ruling the Soviet Union from the mid-1920s until his death in 1953. Although he initially ruled the Soviet Union as part of the collective leadership, he consolidated power and became the country's de facto dictator by the 1930s. Stalin's formalized ideas for transforming an imperialist Russia into a communist state were based on Marxism-Leninism, while his own different and extreme politics became known as Stalinism.
Hitler grew up in a middle-class family headed by his father Alois, a customs officer, and his third wife Klara. They lived in an area of the Habsburg state where young Adolf had little contact with the Jewish people. Most of his siblings died in infancy, leaving Adolf with a difficult father who dominated his mother. Family life was fraught with tension and often violent, as Adolf was subjected to beatings and humiliation at the hands of his father, who died of alcoholism at the age of 14.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Hitler Jr. developed a brutal mentality and a lack of compassion for people after a loveless home environment. Hitler's childhood dreams of becoming an artist were dashed when he failed the entrance exam at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. The Academy felt that Hitler lacked "spiritual imagination" in his art and considered his "prosaic" and "painful and precise drawing technique" better suited to architecture. Close to his mother Klara, who had been dominated by her hateful, tyrannical husband, Adolf was emotionally affected by her untimely death from breast cancer.
Known as "Bland" by his parents, young Stalin's upbringing is best described as lower-middle-class. His father was a shoemaker who employed up to ten people until the business failed and the family fell into poverty. As a child, he suffered from smallpox, which left scars on his face, but perhaps most damaging was the stress of living with an abusive, alcoholic father whose abusive behavior prompted Stalin's mother to live with friends and take Stalin with her. Encouraged by his strict and devout Russian Orthodox Christian mother, Stalin displayed an early, perhaps naïve, inclination to the priesthood. Choosing an atheist, his interest in radical politics led him to become a fanatical activist.
As Hitler's bitterness at the rejection by the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna showed, young Adolf had an "all or nothing" psyche. His narcissistic sociopathic disposition meant he could not accept rejection or criticism without some consequence, usually in the form of blaming others for his own shortcomings.
Hitler's pathological belief that he was not recognized or recognized for his self-deceiving "greatness" may have contributed to his hatred of Jews, and he would bid his time to exact revenge on the characters who had dismissed or humiliated him.
It suited Hitler to believe that his path to fame and recognition as an artist had been thwarted by "foreigners", forgetting that he himself was an Austrian with aspirations of success in Germany. Despite being rejected by the rungs of the art world, a deluded Hitler still described himself as an "artist" rather than a politician, as he once remarked to British Ambassador Nevile Henderson, adding menacingly: "Once the Polish question is settled, I want to end my life as an artist." Ironically, the narcissistic dictator, who had grandiose ideas for the creation of a mythical new Germany inspired by the heroes of Germanic folklore, saw himself as the "modern day Siegfried" in an opera of megalomania , although he ended his final moments in a bunker with a gun aimed at his head.
The future dictator of the Soviet Union exhibited a contradictory mix of behaviors, diligent at school and highly rebellious in his youth. His penchant for mischief sometimes involved extreme stunts, such as detonating HE grenades in a shop. Stalin's early upbringing in an environment with an alcoholic and aggressive father may have contributed to his propensity for bullying and cruelty. But his experiences of poverty, witnessing the impact on his mother, and awareness of the plight of the working class at the expense of an elitist system of government shaped his radicalism.
As a teenager, his teachers took Stalin and other classmates to witness the public hanging of several peasant bandits. The incident had a deep effect on the young revolutionary, who sympathized with the convicted prisoners. At the Tiflis seminary, where the teenage Stalin trained as a priest, the institute's Russian nationalist and anti-Semitic ideology may have influenced his negative view of Jews. Unusually for a young socialist with a passion for art, poetry (he had published works) and a genuine desire to help the poor, he managed to become one of the world's most feared and murderous dictators, with plans to commit genocide foiled Russia. Jews 1953.
Anton Drexler, a former machinist and locksmith in Berlin, was a co-founder of the German Workers' Party (DAP), which was influential in Hitler's initial push to become chancellor less than fifteen years later. Drexler represented lower-middle-class workers unsettled by the economic and political turmoil of post-war (World War I) Germany.
It was a party fueled by racist ideology and was quick to blame Germany's plight on Jews, socialists and communists. Hitler, then an unknown non-commissioned officer in the Austrian army, was lured by the party's politics and joined it. Many of Drexler's pamphlets inspired Hitler's political biography,my fight🇧🇷 In 1920, Hitler persuaded Drexler to change the party's name to the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP or Nazis) and set out the party's goals in a "25-point program". Not long after, Drexler's leadership was challenged by Hitler and taken over by the upstart, sparking the growing cult surrounding Germany's new leader.
The Wall Street Crash of 1929 had an earthquake-like impact on the world economy. In 1932, six million Germans were unemployed. It was the perfect climate for Hitler to capitalize on and offer the NSDAP as an alternative to other mainstream parties, especially the communist ones. The Weimar Republic, which made Germany a democracy for the first time, was attacked as a failure. An emboldened Hitler saw his chance for greater power by exploiting the nation's descent into economic instability and insecurity. With President Hindenburg suffering from ill health and reportedly becoming senile, Hitler, aided by a massive Nazi campaign, devised tactics to outmaneuver his rivals and secure the coveted prize. Ironically, his path was facilitated by the military, who believed such an appointment would provide stable government, and by the nationalists (Deutschnationale Volksparty), who believed they could manipulate Hitler. On January 30, 1933, Hitler was appointed Chancellor. That night, thousands of SA, SS and "Stahlhelmen" (WW I veterans) marched through Berlin in a torchlight parade. It was as if Germany's years of defeat after World War I had never happened.
Stalin's youth was a focus of revolutionary fervor after reading the writings of Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin and believing in their communist ideology for a new Russia without a ruling monarchy and aristocracy. He became a staunch anti-imperialist, passionately hating the Russian royal family, the Romanovs. In 1901 (at the age of 23), Stalin joined the Social Democratic Labor Party and organized protests and strikes in a revolutionary movement against the imperial rule of monarchy and tsarism.
The young Stalin impressed Lenin with his instinctive ruthlessness in organizing strikes, often using extreme violence and raising funds for the party through kidnapping and robbery. The young revolutionary and gangster showed he was not averse to the use of force to achieve results, adopting the nickname Stalin at the time, which means "man of steel" in Russia.
During the Russian Revolution of 1917, Stalin ran the Bolshevik newspaper Pravda, which used propaganda as a tool to manipulate public opinion. By October of that year, the Bolsheviks were in control. The civil war ended in a Bolshevik victory and the brutal murder of the Romanov royal family in the basement of a country house. In 1922 Stalin was appointed general secretary of the Communist Party and manipulated his role to gain a position of power. After Lenin died unexpectedly in 1924, Stalin ensured that his rival for absolute power, Leon Trotsky, became an enemy of the state. He removed Trotsky from the Central Committee and exiled him, then had him executed by an assassin. Stalin was effectively the dictator of the Soviet Union.
Many people in Germany in the early 1930s believed that Hitler would restore the country's economy and status in the world and it would once again become a dominant force in Europe. A common complaint for many was that Germany was unfairly affected by the Treaty of Versailles after World War I, which saw France and Poland lose territories. In addition to high unemployment, the country was also faced with enormous debts due to reparations. The German people's fear of Communism, especially the lower middle class and wealthy industrialists, prompted citizens to vote for Hitler. Communism was the bogeyman that justified many Germans turning to far-right parties like the Nazis.
In short, millions of Germans of all walks of life believed that Hitler was the great hope for prosperity and the reversal of the country's post-World War I humiliations. In fact, despite intimidation by the Nazi party, a third of the country did not vote for the Nazis.
For a ruthless dictator who once said, "The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of a million is a statistic," it's hard to believe how anyone could admire or support a megalomaniac whose paranoia led to millions during his reign would . of Russian deaths from starvation, execution or being shipped to gulags in Siberia.
Despite Stalin's ruthless way of dealing with the people, he promoted the image of a "revolutionary prophet" among working class ordinary citizens and peasants. This image was reinforced not only by the headline-grabbing strikes he organized to demand better wage increases for workers, but also by mass public protest demonstrations such as the Batumi massacre, where Stalin encouraged the invasion of a prison to free the prisoners. 🇧🇷 Guide
Even when such an event resulted in the deaths of 13 demonstrators at the hands of Cossack soldiers, Stalin organized an additional demonstration with 7,000 people marching on the day of her funeral. A strong mix of self-promotion, notoriety and that messianic persona as the savior of poor Russians propelled him to an absolute position of power. Stalin used a combination of manipulation and terror to crush dissidents and their opposition. Fear was key in ensuring few would not support his plans for Russia.
Hitler's style of controlling the dictatorship was intended to create an illusion of unshakable authority and control, but in reality it was the manifestation of a deeply insecure pathology tainted with an inferiority and rejection complex. As a leader, he was paralyzed by conflicting forces and a lazy, unyielding, and selfish personality. He became dictator because other rulers, such as the German National People's Party, believed he would be weak and controllable if he got the office he wanted.
As a military leader, Hitler was a bold, meticulous, and successful war leader, planning his invasions against the advice of his more cautious generals. The Third Reich saw Europe collapse as Hitler conquered Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Denmark, Norway, France, Belgium and the Netherlands before turning his attention to the Soviet Union and coveted prize Britain.
Hitler's fate changed after Operation Barbarossa (codename for the Nazi Axis invasion) when he attempted to take Stalingrad, unaware that his exhausted armies were overwhelmed. Abusing the German army, Hitler's manpower was also insufficient to fight the USSR, England and the USA, having failed to ramp up war production and military strength before embarking on an epic invasion of the Soviet Union and Moscow, Hitler's broke plans coincide with a devastating loss. their armies. After 1942, Hitler's rising star of world conquest declined rapidly.
The Soviet leader's ruthless dictatorial style was likely influenced by his experiences as a political activist as a young man. He had been sentenced to three years in banishment and imprisonment in East Siberia, where he managed to escape after several attempts to escape. Stalin's understanding of political disputes and conflicts between revolutionaries, and recognition of the toxic relationship between the Bolsheviks and the Georgian Mensheviks (one of the three dominant factions in the Russian socialist movement) may have taught him that very little can be achieved through debate.
Stalin himself sided with the Bolsheviks in their passionate goal of liberating Russia from the tsar. If you were to criticize his plans, you would be against him for Stalin and would likely face the consequences with your liberty or your life, as many of his close associates found out through exile, imprisonment or execution.
Long before the Soviet Union was attacked in Operation Barbarossa, Stalin with paranoid zeal purged and executed anyone he saw as a threat, from generals to Red Army officers. His neurosis, possibly triggered by the revelation of assassination attempts against him, led to a pathological distrust of those around him. Stalin's extremely suspicious nature led him to ignore advice such as securing direct access to Moscow or ensuring his troops were prepared for an invasion, which Stalin refused.
Hitler: The Night of the Long Knives
Before the atrocities of the Holocaust and other genocidal campaigns waged by the Nazis, Hitler initiated a rapid purge of militant members of the SA (Sturmabteilung), including their leader and former close friend of Hitler, General Ernst Rohm.
Originally, the SA was a bodyguard mob employed by the NSDAP to protect party meetings and used intimidation tactics and violence to break up opposition meetings. Röhm was responsible for recruiting members of the SA, which had swelled into the thousands by 1923 and was beginning to embarrass the NSDAP and its image with its violent behavior on the streets. Although it was known that he was gay, Röhm's sexuality and his frequenting of Berlin's gay bars did not particularly bother Hitler, but he saw Röhm's later position as chief of staff of the SA, which took him to two million members, as a threat to him. and the Nazis. Party. When Röhm declared that he wanted to merge the regular army with the SA under his leadership, his enemies seized the moment to overthrow him. "The Knight with the Long Knives" took place between June 30 and July 2, 1942 and saw the SA being purged of the paramilitary SS organization (Schutzstaffel) on Hitler's orders.
Röhm was on vacation in Bad Wiesse when Hitler and SS units went to the hotel where Röhm and other SA leaders were staying. They were still asleep when the SS broke into their rooms, in one instance dragging an SA leader from a bed she shared with her blond boyfriend, and then dragging all the SA leaders to a nearby jail. Rohm himself, initially unaware of the chaos, was arrested for treason and given a gun to shoot himself with. The SS members refused to comply with the request, went into his cell and shot him. The brutal purge of the SA continued under the codename "Kolibri" under the direction of Hitler's number 2, Hermann Goering, when the latter was sent to Berlin to oversee the assassination with the help of the SS and Gestapo.
Described by one witness as "murderous Puss in Boots" as Goering stamped in tall white boots and shouted "Shoot, shoot!" Victims included conservative rivals of the Nazi Party, a speechwriter to the politician Franz von Papen, and a General von Schleicher ( der Chancellor before Hitler), who was accused of treason against the French. He and his wife were gunned down along with several SA leaders and former political rivals of Hitler, and a politician was brutally hacked to death for suppressing Hitler's 1923 putsch in Munich, who had taken revenge on old enemies, including a priest and at least five Jews many of the victims have no idea why they were targeted. In fact, a former bellboy and security guard at a gay nightclub was heard shouting "Heil Hitler" as he was butchered.
Stalin: The Great Terror
"The Great Purge," or "The Great Terror," as it was called, was not a killing spree fueled solely by Stalin's personal vendetta, as in Hitler's "Night of the Long Knives." Instead, the dictator of the Soviet Union's 1937 campaign of political repression conveniently combined settling old scores with the Soviets' methodical removal of any threat to Stalin's leadership and plans for the country.
"The Great Terror" took place between 1937 and 1938 and was primarily intended to purge the Communist Party at various levels, motivated by Stalin's paranoia. Targeted against political opponents, Trotskyists, Red Army leaders, ethnic minorities and religious leaders, it was carried out through summary executions, massacres and mass murders.
A conservative estimate is between 600,000 and 1.2 million deaths.
Coordinated and planned by a cabal of Stalin's closest generals, such a year-long bloodbath spared few "traitors" in their cruelty. Outside the category of ethnic cleansing and known by the perpetrators as "Operation Kulak," this genocidal attack on peasant national minorities - who opposed Stalin's program of forced collectivization - led to the arrest, exile or murder of millions of people and formed the main components of the purge .
The second largest group of ethnic minority victims were Polish citizens, who were identified by the Communist Party's Politburo as alleged Polish "spies". More than 100,000 Poles living in the Soviet Union were executed and another 100,000 were sentenced to prison terms, mostly in the gulags. Along with kulaks, Poles represented the largest group of victims, who made up only about 0.5% of the Soviet population, but accounted for 12.5% of those executed. Around 2,000 writers and intellectuals were arrested and at least 60% of them died in prisons or concentration camps. Curiously, casualties included as many as 27 astronomers when the Meteorological Society was purged for failing to forecast "crop-damaging weather."
Like a bloodthirsty wave, the Great Terror spread beyond ordinary citizens to all Bolsheviks involved in the Russian Revolution of 1917, setting apart only Stalin from all original revolutionaries. The victims were also tried in absentia by the NKVD troika (People's Internal Affairs Commission, later the KGB), and the true extent of the victims was and remains unknown, as documents only discovered in 1992 proved that the NKVD had quotas for arrests and victims, mostly from political circles, were murdered late at night or in the basements of NKVD headquarters, while others met their cruel fates in the forests or in remote parts of the country.
The leader of the Nazi Party was universally despised and hated as a psychopathic despot motivated by bigotry, racism, and a delusional belief in Aryan supremacy. The number of victims of World War II in Europe, worldwide and in Germany is comparable to Stalin's murderous legacy of 20 million. But Hitler's primary drive for world domination was unique in that it was driven by race and an ideology based on the belief that the German race was superior to all others.
Although he was responsible for the deaths of more than 20 million Russians and was the mastermind of a brutal regime of terror that resulted in hundreds of thousands of citizens being executed, sent to gulags, or killed by the millions for starving to death at the hands of Stalin's collectivist policies, the Soviet dictator was revered even after his death as a defender of the working class and socialism. Unlike in Germany, where it is a crime to worship Hitler and support political parties inspired by him and the Third Reich, Stalin can be openly worshiped as a hero without criminal consequences.
Hitler and Stalin were tyrants and murderers who had a common ground in racial hatred against Jews and other ethnic groups. And both dictators have used brute force to crush the opposition and control the media, police and government agencies to become absolute rulers with complete power over their people. Their narcissistic and sociopathic personalities, coupled with acute paranoia, demanded absolute loyalty from their subjects. If anything contributed to their successes as dictators, so briefly, it was fear and its fostering.