History Other / Soviet Communism And National Socialism: Similarities In Practice
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Autor: anton 31 October 2010
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"Soviet Communism and National Socialism: Similarities in Practice"
Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin came to power in post-World War One Europe on platforms meant to unite their nations on common ideals. The National Socialist Party (Nazi Party) argued against democracy and liberalism and espoused nationalistic claims of German superiority. Soviet Communism emphasized an overthrow of capitalism through a workers' revolution and the establishment of a system in which property is owned by the community as a whole rather than by individuals. Although Nazism and communism were quite different ideologically, Nazi Fascism and Soviet Communism were similar based on the styles in which they were practiced by Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin, respectively.
Both Hitler and Stalin used fear as a means to gain a full run of their respective governments. Stalin was already dictator of Russia with his power and loyalty of the people guaranteed by the secret police, the Cheka. This entity provided Stalin with an easy means of destroying the opposition and weeding out undesirables to be sent to prison camps in Siberia called Gulags, a virtual death sentence. For Hitler to ascend to that level of power, he rammed the Enabling Act through the German Congress which gave him the power to enact laws. Under his new power, Hitler decreed that the only legal party was the National Socialist Party, suppressing all opposition parties. Likewise, Stalin turned the Soviet Union into a one-party dictatorship based on total state control of the economy and the suppression of any form of opposition. Hitler also declared that all association of, collaboration with, and support of other parties would result in imprisonment in camps similar to Russia's labor camps. Like Stalin, Hitler used a form of secret police called the Gestapo to enforce his policies. Political prisoners, homosexuals, Jews, and other enemies of Germany were sent to concentration camps. At this point, no one dared speak against their country even in the privacy of one's home, lest their children let something slip at school.
The regimes in Germany and Soviet Russia united their people by using hate. Both countries brought their people together by creating a common enemy that stood in the way of the nation's progress. For Germany, the enemy was the Jew. According to the anti-Semitism at the time, Jews were the cause of Germany's economic problems and the reason they lost World War One: they were "materialistic and socialist" , weakening Germandom. Hitler enacted racial laws that put anti-Semitism into effect, such as forcing Jews to sell or abandon their property and forceful removal to concentration camps. Similarly, the enemy of communist Russia were kulaks. Kulaks were larger farmers who were prosperous enough to employ their own labor. They refused to give up their land for collectivization and, according to Stalin, were holding communist prosperity back. As a result of their opposition, these farmers were forced off their land and either imprisoned or killed.
If you control people's thoughts, you control them. Propaganda was an important tool used by both Germany and Russia. Hitler appointed Joseph Goebbles to head the Ministry of Public Enlightenment in Germany. Goebbles used newspapers, magazines, and radio to spread Nazism. As a result of Goebbles' policies, Germany "had the densest radio coverage in Europe: 16 million out of 23 million households were equipped with radios by 1942." Even if a man bathed in thoughts of discontent at home, he was bombarded with propaganda in public, and at the workplace. Banners hung from building, posters were on almost every sign or lamppost. Nazi propaganda worked to present the new fascist man's role in society: living toward your leader, the FÐ“Ñ˜hrer. The individual was insignificant compared to the ultimate fascist leader, but one should try to be like him, a common idea represented in Nazi propaganda. This concept of living toward a greater leader united Germans. Soviet communism also used propaganda widely. Socialist realism was intended to glorify the workers, the Communist Party, and the national leader, transforming art into a form of government propaganda. Socialist realism portrayed the soviet industrial worker as the backbone of communism and, consequently, offered a view of a utopian, glorious future for the people of Russia under communism. Both Germany and Russia intended to bond and manipulate their people through propaganda.
National Socialism in Germany and communism in Russia under Stalin were similar based on the ways in which they were practiced. Leaders of both Germany and Russia used fear to run their countries. Hitler and Stalin also united their people together through hate of a common enemy. Additionally, Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia used propaganda to mold and unite their people. Although there were distinct differences between the ideologies of Fascism in Germany and communism in Russia, both philosophies had much in common.
Robert O. Paxton, Europe in the Twentieth Century (Fort Worth: Harcourt College Publishers, 2002), 332.
Prof Goode 10/1/04 lecture
Paxton, Europe in the Twentieth Century, 333 -334.
Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia, 2004 ed., "Socialist Realism."
Paxton, Robert O. Europe in the Twentieth Century. Fort Worth: Harcourt College Publishers, 2002.
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