Totalitarian Dictators of the 20th Century

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					Totalitarian Dictators of the 20th Century

ITALY: Benito Mussolini, the first modern totalitarian ruler

1. Socialist leader and journalist before World War I, son of a blacksmith, named for Mexican revolutionary Benito Juarez.
1. Abandoned international socialism for nationalism, fought against Austria, wounded in WWI.
2. Post-war problems in Italy were severe - debt, unemployment, poverty, anger, strikes, riots, demands for land reform.
3. Italy had joined the Allies in the war in order to get land from Austria, but Wilson cut them out of the settlement - 600,000
deaths for nothing.

II After World War I, Mussolini organist the FASCIST PARTY.

1. Recalled the glories of the ancient Roman Empire, in contrast to the defeat and poverty of the new 20th century.
2. Posed as defenders of law and order against the violent movements of Socialists and Communists on the Left.
3. Won wide support among businessmen, middle class, and workers, all of whom feared disorder
4. Fascist Black Shirts enforced order, acted as vigilantes (beatings and castor oil more than killings)

III. October 1922 - March on Rome wins power for Fascists

1. King invites Mussolini to form a government
2. Mussolini limits the power of parliament, bans labor unions, abolishes political parties, sets up a secret police, uses Black
Shirts to intimidate opponents.
3. Used propaganda extensively - called "Il Duce" (the Leader), propaganda photos and documentary films, music, education,
television, parades, the light is always burning in il Duce's office at the Palazzo Venezia in Rome.
4. Rejects Democracy, Capitalism, Liberalism, Free Trade, Marxism, and just about everything else - only the Duce can solve
your problems.

IV. The Fascist plan: the Corporate State

1. The nation is divided into 22 "corporations" (similar economic groups, like manufacturing, film making, small business,

1. Each "corporation" is to be run by a council including management, workers, and government - supposed to be cooperative
rather than competitive.
2. All 22 corporations elect a National Council to represent their interests.
3. But in fact, only Mussolini and his inner group have any real power.

2. Many people hoped this would be a good alternative to Socialism and Communism (which set the workers against
everyone else), or Capitalism (which seemed to favor the owners against the workers), or Democracy (which seemed
dangerously chaotic).

3. Mussolini was the only Fascist leader in Europe in the 1920s. But after the Depression which began with the Wall Street
Crash in 1929 and quickly spread around the world, most of the newly created states in Eastern and Central Europe followed
him, until only Czechoslovakia remained democratic.

4. Mussolini will serve as a model for Adolf Hitler in Germany.

GERMANY: Adolf Hitler and the NAZI (National Socialist) Party

I. Hitler's origins: born in Habsburg Empire, son of minor bureaucrat

A. Interested in art, not politics. Frustrations in Vienna. Failed to get into school of architecture (no High School diploma)
(New movie, Max, speculates on what would have happened had he been encouraged as an artist)

1. odd jobs, painted postcards
2. in Vienna 1907-1913, this had a great influence on his future
B. Jews and anti-Semitism in Vienna (there were few Jews in Germany -- less than 1% of the population, but many more in
Eastern Europe (especially Poland)

1. Anti-semitic, or anti-Jewish, political parties in Vienna

2. Two sources: social Darwinism, by way of German nihilist philosopher Nietzche; concepts like the Survival of the Fittest,
the importance of ridding the culture of inferior persons and races, and the "Will to Power"
Social Darwinists argued that compassion, charity, and law only existed to protect the weak from the strong -- and this was
wrong, because the strong must and should triumph over the weak..

3. Other source, via industrial rev, role of money-lenders; many department-stores and factories in Vienna were owned by
Jews - so Jews got blame for problems of industrialization and urbanization.

4. After the 1873 depression in Germany, Jews were more resented than ever -- political parties appealed to lower middle
class. One of these, the Christian Socialist Party, influenced Hitler with its anti-semitic and racial theories.

C. 1913, Hitler left Vienna for Germany, to avoid draft. When World War I began he volunteered for German army, and was
decorated for bravery.

II. Troubled years after war; unemployment helped Communists, fear of Communists fed right wing. Street violence between
two. 1923 inflation (caused by government refusal to submit to Versailles treaty)

A. Out of work after war, Hitler got a police job --

1. 1919, investigated small German Workers Party; 1920, renamed it National Socialist German Workers' Party -- Nazis
2. 1923, Hitler became nationally known; copied Mussolini's 1922 march on Rome, tried to capture Bavarian city of Munich
(Beer Hall Putsch). Ended in arrest.

B. In prison, wrote Mein Kampf -- blueprint of racial theories, plans

1. His plans to re-order Europe was essentially backward looking -- get rid of corrupt cities, return to the soil: mystical bond
between blood and soil.
2. RACISM - defining individuals by their race - is the foundation of Nazism
3. Jews and Gypsies were considered both unfit and dangerous; Slavs (and Africans) were "unfit" but not dangerous; western
European nations were "reasonably fit"; Americans were "mongrels", not considered a threat.
4. 1936 Olympic games held in Berlin, used as a propaganda effort by Hitler. Nazis were outraged by the victory of black
American Jesse Owens.
5. Proposed the elimination of all impure, unfit, and dangerous racial groups.
6. "Aryans" were supposed to be the biologically pure German race - tall, blond, blue-eyed (there is no such "race")
7. Aimed to create a new Aryan Germany with everyone working on the land; encouraged "fit" males and females to breed,
providing children for the State to raise
8. Agriculture required LEBENSRAUM ("space for living"), mainly to be conquered from Russia and the east. FROM THE

C. Hitler's religious beliefs

1. Like the Social Darwinists, he believed that the Judeo-Christian tradition of charity and help for the poor was simply a plot
to weaken the race.
2. Along with the Jews, both Protestants and Catholics in Germany had their martyrs - men like pastor Dietrich Bonhoffer,
and Franciscan St. Maximilian Kolbe, and women like Edith Stein.
3. Hitler and his followers looked instead to the ancient Germanic religions that pre-dated Christianity: religions of blood and
power. He probably took his torch-light rallies from the rituals of these old religions.
4. The operas of Richard Wagner based on these Germanic myths were great favorites of Hitler - operas like Das Rhinegold
(The Gold of the Rhine); Die Valkyrie (about the divine warrior maidens who carried dead heros to their reward in Valhalla);
and Gotterdamerung (about the destruction of the gods and their home in fire and ruin - an opera that Hitler identified with
towards the end of his regime).
5. The Nazis also had a great interest in the occult, or "New Age", and encouraged the search for "magic" artifacts like the
Ark of the Covenant and the Spear of Longinus.

D. Change of tactics after he left prison: build a national party to win elections
1. He had concluded that he could not seize power unless he controlled the army. Plan was to come to power constitutionally,
then change government
2. Had some political success in 1920s, but not enough to challenge the government. The Depression, with 6 million out of
work, changed things -- as in Italy, people turned to Nazis to protect them from the Communists.
3. Street battles, plus denounced Weimar republic and Versailles; Jews as common enemy, blamed for both capitalism and
communism -- especially effective for people who understood neither

E. Coming to power by constitutional means.

1. 1928 elections (before the Depression hit) won only 12 seats (800,000 popular votes)
2. In 1930, National Socialists (Nazis) won 107 seats (6,500,000 votes). Communists went from 54 to 77 -- radical parties of
all sorts were growing.
3. Nazis held only 107 out of 560 seats -- coalitions of middle parties held majority. 1932 elections, got 230 seats (13,000,000
votes) -- still less than a majority. But then began to loose votes (lost 30 seats, only 11,000,000 votes)
4. Late 1932 early 1933, old conservative leaders (army officers and aristocrats) brought Hitler in a CHANCELLOR, or head
of state. They thought he would be easy to control.

III. Hitler in Power

1. Using the Constitution to destroy the Constitution

2. Hitler quickly brushed aside the people who had put him in as Chancellor.
3. REICHSTAG FIRE, 27 Feb. 1933. Hitler used the constitution to get total power. He called an election. One week before
the election was due, the Reichstag burned (27 Feb 1933) -
4. Hitler blamed the Communists. 5 March, he was given emergency powers -- suspended free speech, press; election gave
Nazis majority in parliament (but not in popular vote)
5. 23 March ENABLING ACT gave Hitler dictatorial powers.

2. Third Reich -- culmination of German history

1. 1930s acts: public works, rearmament -- created jobs; "Strength through Joy" entertainments, etc.
1. Ended political parties, began concentration camps for political enemies.
2. 1935 NUREMBERG LAWS against Jews (no citizenship, no marriage to gentiles) -- foreshadowed wartime
3. GLORIFICATION OF VIOLENCE characterized Nazis, Fascists. Sign of vigor, strength; private armies, street fighting.
1937, announced plans to take over much of Europe: WAR would follow in 1938.

RUSSIA: Communist Totalitarianism: Lenin and Stalin

Totalitarianism in Russia

During World War I, the Russian government under Tsar Nicholas collapsed.
Revolutionary groups joined together to form a government..


1. Intellectual, Vladimir Illich Ulyanov, turned against the Russian monarchy when his elder brother was executed in 1887
for plotting to kill the Tsar
1. Exiled to Siberia, he became a Marxist
2. Went to the West, where he developed his own version of Marxism: revolutionary leaders, he believed, would bring about
the triumph of the workers - not the vast, slow movement of History predicted by Marx.

1. The Revolution should be led by a small, highly disciplined group of professional revolutionaries, rather than by workers
and their leaders.
2. Lenin's version of Marxism was a minority belief - but they claimed to be a majority, and called themselves Bolsheviks, or
the majority. (They were in fact outnumbered by their opponents, the so-called Mensheviks, or minority.)

3. April 1917 the Germans sent him back to Russia, hoping he would start revolution and take Russian out of the war. He did
just that.
1. Russia had already had a revolution, but it was a liberal, democratic revolution.
2. Lenin immediately attacked, with slogans like "All power to the Soviets (workers' councils)," and "Bread and Peace" (to
appeal to peasants, who were socially conservative but didn't want the war to continue).
3. He was ably assisted by Trotsky, who Stalin would later murder.
4. After a failed coup in July, the Bolsheviks seized power in October 1917 - the famous October Revolution. They made a
separate peace with Germany, giving away huge areas of land in the treaty of Brest-Litovsk, in return for peace.
5. Lenin and Trotsky After the war ended, a brutal civil war ensued between the Whites (opponents of Communism) and the
Reds (the Bolsheviks). By 1922, Lenin and the Bolsheviks won, and instituted a Communist dictatorship.

II. Soviet victory in civil war 1922 had a high cost: famine, economic collapse, no outside help. Lenin's response: the NEW
ECONOMIC POLICY (NEP, shows adaptability).

A. State to keep control of "heights" -- finance, heavy industry, transport, foreign trade; smaller, in private hands

B. Peasants: tax in kind, but not confiscations: allowed to sell surplus on market

1. Success, recovery of agriculture (1921, war communism yield 37% of normal; 1928 surpasses pre-war yield) -- emergence
of KULAKS (prosperous peasant farmers)
2. NEP in retail trade -- 75% in hands of NEPmen, successful small businessmen

C. Soviets disapproved -- temporary only. 11th party congress 1922 began to curb Kulaks and "NEPmen".

II. 1928: FIVE YEAR PLANS begin (with Stalin)

A. STALIN, most powerful dictator of his or perhaps any time

1. Humble origins. Born 1879 in Gori, near Tiflis (Georgia); studied briefly to be a priest, but was expelled from seminary
1899; joined Social Democratic Party, in 1903 he sided with Bolsheviks, Lenin's version of the Party.
2. He was arrested and sent to Siberia, but escaped. His revolutionary speciality was robbing banks, and he was also regarded
as an expert on "nationalities".
3. 1922, General Secretary of Party; forced Georgia back into Union; Lenin disapproved but ill, died 1924 -- Stalin gave
4. Post-Lenin, three ideas: LEFTISTS, for world revolution (Trotsky); RIGHTISTS, world revolution would have to wait,
proceed with NEP (Bakunin); CENTER, build socialism in one country (Stalin)
5. Personality as important as theory -- hatred between Stalin and Trotsky
6. Stalin won -- control of patronage, split the Left and Right. Final victory at 15th All-Union Congress of the Party, 1927, 27
Dec condemned all "deviation". Enemies confessed and were purged or exiled. Murder of Trotsky, Mexico 1940.

B. Replaced NEP with Five Year Plans. Why? still a peasant country, falling farther behind West, stagnant economy needed
a push to industrialize.

1. Why industry? Marxist theory demanded it. Also, agricultural economy was weak, needed industry for defense (saved it
from Nazi Germany)
2. First goal: rapid industrialization. Paid for by peasants, land stolen for collective farms -- resistance was crushed
3. virtual war to collectivize, some 5 million kulaks disappeared; 1929-33 famine in Ukraine, animals killed and crops burned
4. 1930, Stalin criticized collectivizers, made it "voluntary"; concessions worked.

C. Second Five Year Plan, 1933-1937; third 1938-41 (Nazi invasion) -- all stressed heavy industry.

1. Succeeded in industrializing Russia. Tractors, weapons, moved industry east of Volga -- saved Russia.
2. Collectivization of agriculture was completed, and rationing ended 1935. Huge cost in lives, disruption.

D. Purges -- including destruction of Eastern European communists who were "invited" to Moscow; the lucky ones were in
fascist jails and so survived

4. Why all this slaughter? Was it necessary to pull Russia into 20th century? or simply an example of Stalin's paranoia and
5. After the fall of the Soviet Union it was reported that Stalin had killed more than 40 million people.