Adolf Hitler And Mussolini At the close of World War One tensions still rode high between countries, trade slowed and unemployment rose. A new form of government was also used, totalitarianism. This form of government means there is only one leader to make decisions and thus they killed or jailed all opponents. Mussolini and Hitler used this form of government after World War One to make their countries world powers. Although Hitlers Germany and Mussolinis Italy were both fascist their lives were extremely different.
This is evident in their early life, wartime experiences, aims, how the came to power and how they ruled their respective nations. There was very little similarity between Hitler and Mussolinis early lives. Schooling was not compulsory in Germany but Hitler accepted the privilege of education and became an exceptional art student. It is quite a different story for Mussolini who very rarely attended school but educated himself. Hitler and Mussolini were different in their original career choices as much as they later realised they wanted to be supreme leaders.
After Hitlers mother died in 1907 and he failed school, he moved to Vienna to gain entrance to the Academy of Fine Arts. He was rejected and the next 6 years he spent in Vienna shaped him into the Jew and Aryan hater he is seen as today. After being forced to do military service Mussolini moved regularly joining many socialist newspapers before settling in Italy. In Italy he joined the Avanti and soon became the editor in 1912. Both Hitler and Mussolinis early lives were totally different but it still shaped them as leaders of much the same political parties. There is very little similar in the achievements made by Hitler and Mussolini whilst in power. Prior to Hitler and Mussolinis instatement a leader of their respective nations there was a large employment problem in both countries. In Germany, 1933, the unemployment rate was almost 26%, after just six years of Nazi rule over Germany the rate had dropped dramatically to just 0.5% (Wilmat, Eric: 1977 pg 42). Mussolini also rectified Italys unemployment problem but over a longer period of time. Both Hitler and Mussolini built up their armies while in power however, it was Hitler that really loaded his army in fact he conscripted five times the legal number. Hitler made better use of his army seizing Poland in 19 days, Denmark and Norway in two months, Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg and France in six weeks. Whereas it took Mussolini many months just to take Ethiopia. Hitler achieved more than Mussolini did whilst in power and what gave him the advantage over his opponents was the experience he gained from World War 1. The similarities between Hitler and Mussolinis wartime experiences are very limited. At the outbreak of World War 1 Mussolini aroused anger by suggesting to the socialist party leaders that Italy enter the war against Germany. In 1914 Mussolini was expelled from the socialist party. At the same time Hitler was being found unfit after a physical examination to join the Austrain army. Hitler later moved to Munich to join the German army where he was enlisted as a front line soldier. Mussolini entered the war some months later also in the front line. During Hitlers time in the war he was quoted as saying “Conquest is not only a right, but a duty”. Hitler also won the Iron Cross, one of the most prestigious medals of the German army before being wounded in 1916. Mussolini was likewise forced out of the war because of wounds in 1917. The military experience gained by both later helped them conquer nations. Hitler and Mussolinis goals are surprisingly different for both being based on fascism. The basic aims of both parties were similar with the leaders wanting the citizens to believe in their superior culture and to exist for the good of the state. Hitler also expressed very right wing goals where as Mussolinis were more confined. Some of the more right wing goals expressed by Hitler were to conquer and colonise Eastern Europe, prevent non-German immigration and eradicate Jews. This statement from Wilmat backs up that Hitler loathed Jews, “was there any form of filth or crime … without at least one Jew involved” (page 54:1997). These extreme aims from Hitler made the difference between Hitler and Mussolinis aims. These aims were expressed in the way the leaders ruled their respective nations. The most similar section in both Hitler and Mussolinis totalitarian regime was the path they took to power. Whilst in parliament Hiltler and Mussolini gathered small groups of followers they would use to bully voters, Hitler SS and SA and Mussolinis Brown Shirts. These gangs did influence the parliament because voters feared for their lives so their parties did benefit from this. The real driving point behind their parties was they both expressed what voters wanted to hear. They spoke of greater job prospects and rejuvenation of their country, which was essential in Germany with 4.2 billion marks equalling $1 (1923) (Wilma: 1997 pg 14). Both were finally given the opportunity to form a government and carried out their election promises. The way in which the similarities were shown in both of their roads to power helped make their way of ruling so alike. Their goals were also made alike by their fascist ideas. The ruling of Germany and Italy were done very differently by the two leaders. Hitlers rule was cold and calculating, his only joys were the tramping of military boots in Nazi parades and the huge applause at Nazi rallies. On the other hand Mussolini tried to appear to his people as a “superman” wrestling bear cubs, skiing the Alps an piloting his own single engine plane. Mussolinis rule was very dramatic in uning extremely exaggerated hand gestures during his speeches, some even refer to his speeches as a performance from a talented actor. It is these determining factors that make Hitler and Mussolini extremely different leaders. Apart from both being fascist and being the leader of a totalitarian regime, Hitler and Mussolini were very different people. Hitlers early life, wartime experiences, aims, how he came to power and how he ruled Germany were all different to Mussolinis rule over Italy. Hitlers dour and colourless view of life contrasted greatly with Mussolinis larger than life approach to his leadership. Both leaders left their countries with a economic and social debt to the Allies which is still strong in the minds of many older members of the community. Bibliography Brooman, Josh. Germany 1918-45. 1996. Addison Wesley Longman. England. – Crystal, David. Biographical Dictionary. 1996. Cambridge University – Douglas, Roy. The World War 1939-1945. 1990 Routledge London – Geary, Dick. Hitler Nazism. 1993. Lancaster. New York. – Greg, Thie. Nazi Power in Germany. 1989.
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