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How did Hitler and Mussolini gain and maintain power?

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    Hitler and Mussolini both came in to power in the early days when their countries, Germany and Italy were facing problems after the Great War. Even then, both Hitler and Mussolini successfully gain and maintain power and control the country.

    In order to gain full control of the country they had to remove or eliminate their political rivals. Hitler used excuses to blame and imprison his political rivals. One good example would be when he used the Reichstag fire as an excuse to imprison many communist leaders, which stopped them from campaigning during the election so that he could win more seats and power. He also used fear and terror by creating a group known as S.S or Black Shirts. The Black Shirts originated as Hitler’s secret service which were against political opponents and soon enough expanded to the S.S who were able to arrest or seize anyone at will without any reason.

    Mussolini also used a similar tactic. He had fascist thugs and would give out order to use violence against people who opposed him. The fascist thugs would beat up or kill communist and his oppositions but killing wasn’t something Mussolini often approves. The thugs would threaten the oppositions to support their Fascist movement or they would be living in fear of being killed or beaten up. Therefore, people who were terrified would give up and support them to avoid getting themselves or their family members in danger.

    Hitler also knew that if he wanted to succeed, he had to gain support from the citizens. He took advantage of the German’s anger and desperation. He was also a powerful speaker; so it was easy for him to convince people because he made it sound perfect. The Germans were still angry with the Treaty of Versailles and Hitler promised them that he would overturn it. This made the Germans support him because he said he would overturn the Treaty of Versailles and get back their loss. He also promised a better living standard, reduce the number of unemployment and to make Germany proud again. This was exactly what the people wanted to hear and therefore supported him.

    Mussolini on the other hand, gained support from seven different groups; the Catholic Church, industrialist, the working class population, his own fascist party, the king and his nobles. He tried to gain the support of the Catholic Church simply because the Roman Catholic Church was a powerful association in Italy. Basically he wanted to gain the support of certain groups because of their huge impact on society, power and control. If they supported him, he would have a stronger back up people would fear and obey him more. He also did what Hitler did, gain support from the middle class by telling them that he was going to help them improve their living standards as well as Italy’s economy. He promised better education and health care. He also said he would create better working opportunity for people and returned soldiers. This attracted a lot of people because they thought he could provide a better alternative than what they have been facing.

    Even though the way Hitler ruled the country was quite extreme, he did make improvements to Germany. He made Germany seem like a strong country with crafty military strategies, intelligent international agreements and propaganda. He even solved Germany’s economic problems by 1929 and reduced the number of unemployment from 6 million to just 300000. This results with lesser people suffering and struggling for a living. Germany got their pride back and other countries won’t look down on Germany or try start a war with them.

    Improvements in Italy too were really well planned by Mussolini. He was smart to invest and improve the transportation, infrastructure and farming in Italy. An extremely smart move Mussolini made was when he helped improve the transportation in Italy because trains were usually running late and falling behind schedule which caused a lot of inconvenience and trouble to Italians. he helped Italy find a way to make more electricity and storing electrical energy much easier. This massively improves the timing and trains were always on the right tracks following their schedule.

    Hitler was popular because he was the one who stood up and promised change and make Germany as powerful as it used to be. He was also popular because he brought back the strength and spirit of many Germans. He used propaganda to make Germans feel strong about their country using films about great battles that Germans won before. He also restored the spirits of many depressed Germans from the first war through speeches. The fact that Hitler restored the spirits of Germans who were down in the dumps due to the first war, it left the citizens with a positive image of Hitler; that he was a good leader and he was willing to fight for their rights and Germany.

    Mussolini, again is similar to Hitler, is popular because he was the one that offered helped when the Italians needed help. People wanted a strong government so that they could restore their former strength. He also succeeds in securing and improving the economy, transportation and job opportunity, which improved a lot of people’s lives.

    Fear and terror plays an important role in Hitler’s road to gaining power. He used fear to gain complete control over citizens or people who were against him. The German police were given complete control so that they could arrest or imprison someone for no reason at all. People also feared Hitler’s personal army, the S.S very much because they could kill or beat them up anytime. They knew if they opposed or foul mouthed Hitler, they would get imprisoned, killed or sent off to concentration camps. Trade unionists, other party leader and people who Hitler didn’t like were sent off to concentration camps as well. This made the citizens and oppositions afraid of opposing Hitler.

    Not forgetting about Mussolini, he also used fear and terror against oppositions, political rival and Jews. He saw Jews and people who dared to stand up against him as a threat and decided to eliminate them. Jews were fired from their jobs, excluded from school and their properties were taken away. People who opposed him were tortured and imprisoned while many communist were arrested on false charges.

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