Compare and Contrast the rise to power of Hitler and Lenin

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Introduction

The regimes of Hitler and Lenin were both products of war. For Hitler the war gave his life purpose, and the defeat and the Treaty gave him a grudge. The army, which shared his feelings, gave him the work which led to his joining the Nazi party, and got him out of his little problem after the Munich putsch. For Lenin the War was the last convulsion of imperialism, and though he did not predict the combination of circumstances which provoked the February Revolution, these circumstances were indeed exactly the kind of thing which his analysis of imperialist war would have involved (shortages, casualties etc). Ironically Lenin, like Hitler, owed much to the German army, whose intelligence department brought him to St Petersburg on the famous sealed train. The Bolshevik USP was Peace, the Nazis were supported for promising to revise a Peace. On the face of it Hitler and Lenin were impelled by precisely opposite ideas. Adapting Low's famous cartoon Lenin was to Hitler 'the scum of the earth' and Hitler to Lenin 'the bloody assassin of the workers'1.

Middle

on his side, and Lenin, too, for a crucial moment in the Spring of 1917 benefitted from the careful efficiency of the imperialists. Thereafter he gained some credibility by disavowing his former helpers, or at least he managed to fight off the accusation that he was their stooge. Lenin benefitted from the inability of Kerensky to improve social conditions, and Hitler benefitted from the incapacity of the Weimar governments after Stresemann. The vast social gulf in Russia which Peter the Great had not been able to bridge was part of the context in which the Bolshevik revolution was practical politics. The continuation of Wilhelmine or Bismarckian social attitudes in Germany, on the other hand, made Hitler's revolution in this sense a counter-revolution. Lenin emerged from the collapse of a social order widely and deeply detested by the Russian people, Hitler profited from the determination that a social order should continue, a determination that went equally widely and deeply into German society. Lenin's rise was too private, and then too meteoric to be marked by any particular cultural programme, whereas Hitler gained a lot of credence by rejecting the 'degenerate' Bauhaus and modernism in all its forms.

Conclusion

Von Papen was one of the 'useful idiots' who facilitated Hitler's rise; Lenin benefitted from the delusions of millions of peasants that he supported their property holding aspirations. Lenin benefitted from the problems of the Kerensky and the Czar, whereas Hitler benefitted from the problems of Lenin and Stalin, not to mention those of Ebert, Bruning, von Papen, von Schleicher and Hindenburg. Neither the Bolsheviks nor the Nazis were one-man bands. Lenin had his loyal 'Old Bolsheviks' like Stalin, Zinoviev and Kamenev and, more recently, Trotsky. Hitler had crucial 'assists' from Röhm, Ludendorff, Goebbels, Goering, Himmler and, more recently, Schacht. It is a moot point how important the Reichstag Fire was, but certainly Nazi propaganda did not make much of it, preferring to emphasize the alleged comradeship between Hitler and Hindenburg. Thus the headmaster's son and the customs official's son reached in varying ways their primary goal of power. 1 Allowing for the fact that Lenin died too soon to have made the judgement. ?? ?? ?? ?? Compare and contrast the Rise to Power of Hitler and Lenin H.D.J.Nicklin for DAIS April 2008. Page 1 of 3

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