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Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union: A Comparison and Contrast

In comparing and contrasting the governments of Nazi German and the Soviet Union one has to research the political ideology of both Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin and the types of governments they both headed.  Adolph Hitler leaned towards Mussolini’s Fascism whereas Joseph Stalin leaned toward Totalitarianism.

Totalitarianism

         Totalitarianism are hierarchies that are dominated by a single political party and usually one political leader and is a form of government in which the state monopolizes all the resources in an effort to control all areas of both private and public life. This is done through the use of misinformation, fear, and technology. Totalitarianism rejects the existing government as being corrupt, immoral, and beyond fixing and as a result the paint a picture in which these wrongs are to be corrected and then provide plans and programs to implement a new government. These ideologies which are carried out by propaganda campaigns then demand total obedience from the people.

Fascism

         The Fascism movement began in 1919 in Italy and Europe and was an authoritarian political movement that happened after World War One due to the social and political changes of the time as well as due to the spread of socialism and Communism. Fascism derived its name from the fasces which was ancient symbol of Roman authority which was pictured as a bundle of rods and an ax. The early Fascist movement was a combination of right and left wing ideas that put an emphasizes on production, elitism, the need for a strong leader, anti-socialism, and nationalism.

Similarities

         The role of the leaders was the most striking similarity in the political make-up of both systems with Hitler in Germany and Stalin in Russia. Both leaders influence was so great that historians find it complicated to separate the system from the man in referring to Stalin’s Russia and Hitler’s Germany. Both systems were not only headed by one man, they were also dominated by one party with the Nazis in Germany and the Communist in the Soviet Union.  Both were also driven by an ideology, fascism in Germany and communism in the Soviet Union.

Differences

         In Nazi Germany the status of the Hitler sect was much more consequential. In a sense the Hitler sect was Nazism. It is hard to imagine the Nazi Party without Hitler this being due to his personality.  It has been pointed out that because of Hitler’s style of leadership it lead to Nazism’s inability to reproduce itself in a systematic fashion and to its irrationality. Hitler was completely non-bureaucratic in that he avoided established patterns and procedures for work. Hitler was asked how a party member should progress up the ladder to become, say, a regional chief,  and his answer was that the individual should show his suitability by simply seizing the post, i.e. by proving himself in action. This was the way in which he expected a shapeless Nazi movement evolve by a process of natural selection by choosing those he thought most worthy of loyalty to the him.  The Hitler regime lacked a rational order and as a result would pay the ultimate price of its downfall due to a trend of continuing radicalization in conditions of administrative chaos. In Ian Kershaw’s words, “Hitler’s leadership was utterly incompatible with a rational decision-making process, or with a coherent, unified administration and the attainment of limited goals … its self-destructive capacity unmistakable, its eventual demise certain.” (‘Working Towards the Führer.’ Reflections on the Nature of the Hitler Dictatorship .)

The greater threat to all of humanity was Nazi Germany, ironically it was the  Soviet Union that liberated Eastern Europe and was the main force that defeated Nazi Germany, and as a result saved Europe and the world from the Nazism.. even though it was unintentionally, the Soviets saved the Baltic nations, the Poles, the Ukrainians, the Czechs, and others, from an intended Nazi genocide. . This was not an attempt to be a total physical annihilation, as with the Jews, but just disappearance of these groups.  Stalin was not interested in supporting Jews in thier fight against Germany. Stalin, Molotov and others almost always rejected the mention of Jews as specific groups of victims when talking about crimes of the Wehrmacht or the Germans in general.  Even with his anti-semitic views , this should not diminish the role played by Stalin and the Soviet Union as the major force that brought about the defeat and surrender of Nazi Germany whose goals was the goal of annihilating the Jewish people.  With  Germany’s defeatm lives of  untold millions of Jews was saved.

Conclusion

         Even though both regimes wanted a “Superior Race“  Nazi Germanny wanted a total annilatization of  undesirables where the Soviet Union wanted the undesirables out of the land.  Nazi Germany was willing to commite genocide to obtain their goals of a racially pure nation. Both were gulity of millions of innocent people.

References:

 

Grobman, G. M. (1990). Nazi Fascism and the Modern Totalitarian State. In
Remember.org [A Cybrary of the Holocaust]. Retrieved December 2,
2009, from http://remember.org/guide/Facts.root.nazi.html
James, H. (2003). The Twentieth Century in an Iron Cage: Modernization and
Rationalization. In Europe Reborn: A History, 1914 – 2000
Great Britain: Pearson/Longman.

Bauer, Y. (n.d.). On Comparisons between Nazi Germany and the Soviet regime. In
Memorial Service [A politically independent organization that apart sets
with the causes and consequences of Nazism and its crimes.]. Retrieved
December 2, 2009, from http://www.gedenkdienst.or.at/fileadmin/user_upload/
yehuda_bauer_-_23_august.pdf

Thomas A Idinopulos.  (2000). How Yehuda Bauer’s critique of Holocaust thinking has

changed my mind. Journal of Ecumenical Studies, 37(3/4), 444-454.  Retrieved

December 2, 2009, from Research Library. (Document ID: 103770793).

Kershaw, I. (1993, July). ‘Working Towards the Führer.’ Reflections on the
Nature of the Hitler Dictatorship . Contemporary European History, 2(2),
103-118.

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