A Comparison of Hitler and Stalin

Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany and Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union are two controversial regimes. Hitler and Stalin were both Dictators of the countries they ruled. When Hitler and Stalin are compared, we can clearly see that each one of them were cold blooded killers. They are both responsible for an absurd amount of innocent deaths. Hitler is believed to be responsible for killing at least six million Jewish people during the Holocaust; Stalin is responsible for the killings of millions of people (many of them Jews).

An interesting similarity between Hitler and Stalin is their childhood. Both Hitler and Stalin grew up with abusive fathers. Alois Hitler, Adolf’s father, was known as a “pompous, status proud, strict, humorless, frugal and pedantically punctual” (Reams, 2008). It has also been reported that there is evidence that Hitler’s father beat him when he was young (“Adolf”, n. d. ). Vissarion Dzhugashvili, Stalin’s father, was an abusive alcoholic who beat his wife and children.

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One of Stalin’s childhood friends wrote, “Those undeserved and fearful beatings made the boy as hard and heartless as his father” (“Joseph”, n. . ). Another similarity between Hitler’s and Stalin’s childhood was that they both wanted to become priests. Stalin’s mother sent him to the seminary in Tiflis (now Tbilisi), the capital of Georgia, to study to become a priest (“Joseph”, n. d. ).

Stalin however never completed his education, thus, never becoming a priest. As a child, Hitler attended monastery school and sang in the boys’ choir. During his time there is where he began to idolize the priests and seriously considered becoming a priest himself. “At home Hitler sometimes played priest and even included long sermons” (“The rise”, n. . ).

Adolf also never completed his education, thus, he never became a priest either An additional similarity between Hitler and Stalin was their following of totalitarianism. The term totalitarianism “is derived from the Italian totalitarismo. It indicates a totality of control by the state. This implies a relationship in which the state through its instruments dominates society. Hence in the totalitarian state all political, economic, social, cultural and intellectual activities should be directed towards fulfilling the aims of the state” (“Totalitarianism”, 1999).

In a totalitarian state, individuals have no rights and they must obey the government without question. If individuals questioned or disagreed with the government, they were silenced by death or prison. “In Hitler’s Germany there were many characteristics of a Totalitarian state. The Government ran and censored the media. All forms of communication were liable to interference from above and could, and were, heavily censored. This removes freedom of speech, therefore enabling the government to influence popular opinion via propaganda and false news messages” (“Was”, n. d. ).

Stalin like Hitler “used propaganda, censorship, and terror to force his will on the Soviet people. Government newspapers glorified work and Stalin himself. Secret police spied on citizens, and anyone who refused to praise Stalin and the state faced severe punishment, even death” (“The Soviet”, n. d. ). Prior to Hitler’s following of the totalitarianism way, he belonged to the National Socialism. The National Socialism is “often abbreviated as Nazism, the term is derived from the ideas of the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, a tiny party discovered by Adolf Hitler (1889–1945)” (“National”, 1999).

They practiced racism and anti-Semitism. Finally, the last similarity was that: Neither men were natives of the nations they eventually ran. Stalin was from Georgia, his real name Jozef Jughashvili, and not a Russian as his name implies, Stalin being a variation on the Russian word for steel. Hitler was born in Austria, and while an ethnic German, he was not a citizen of Germany at birth (“Hitler”, 2009). Even though Hitler and Stalin had many things in common, they of course had differences too. The most obvious differences are that Hitler was from Germany whereas Stalin was from Russia.

They also spoke different languages: Hitler spoke German and Stalin spoke Russian. Another difference between the two is how they cam into power. Hitler rose to power legally, although very shortly thereafter, with the burning down of the German Parliament building, the Reichstag, he imposed a sort of martial law and his reign of terror could then begin in earnest. His National Socialist Party had by then the majority in the legislature, so he could easily pass these measures that would soon begin to destroy his “1000 year Reich. ” (“Hitler”, 2009).

In contrast, Stalin assumed power in a different way. He was a leading member of the Bolshevik movement based on Karl Marx and headed by Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky. When Lenin fell ill in the early 1920’s Stalin used his position in the Bolshevik Party to isolate Lenin in his sickbed. He soon controlled all access to the failing Lenin, and if Lenin wanted him to be successor to the helm of the Bolshevik movement, we have mainly only Stalin’s word of that decision by Lenin.

Of course there are documents for and against Stalin being Lenin’s successor, but their validity has always been questionable (“Hitler”, 2009). It is extremely unfortunate that so many people died due to these evil Dictators. But if anything was learned from these evil leaders is that Dictatorship is no way to run a country.


  1. Adolf Hitler’s Childhood. (n. d. ). Think Quest. Retrieved April 24, 2010, from http://library. thinkquest. org/J0112264/Hitler1. html
  2. Hitler & Stalin: Contrast of Tyrannies. (2009). Associated Content. Retrieved April 24, 2010, from http://www. associatedcontent. com/article/1778292/hitler_stalin_contrast_of_ tyrannies. html
  3. Joseph Stalin (1879-1953). (n. d. ) PBS. Retrieved April 23, 2010, from http://www. pbs. org/redfiles/bios/all_bio_joseph_stalin. htm
  4. Joseph Stalin: Childhood and early years. (n. d. ). Spiritus-Temporis. Retrieved April 25, 2010, from http://www. spiritus-temporis. com/ joseph-stalin/childhood-and-early-years. html
  5. National Socialism. (1999). In The Blackwell Dictionary of Political Science. Retrieved from http://www. credoreference. com/entry/bkpolsci/national_socialism
  6. Reams, K. (2008, March 26). Adolf Hitler – The Child and Youth. Suite101. Retrieved April 24, 2010, from http://military-leaders. suite101. com/article. cfm/adolf_hitler_the_child_and_youth
  7. The rise of Adolf Hitler: Hitler’s Boy hood. (n. d. ). The History Place. Retrieved April 26, 2010, from http://www. historyplace. com/worldwar2/riseofhitler/boyhood. htm


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