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

their countries.

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 not sit

firmly in the party cart. Not everybody can keep his balance when a turn