Use of Power by Dictators
Dictators use the following four techniques to gain and maintain power:
- force and terror
- use of scapegoats
demonstrate how both Stalin and Hitler used these techniques.
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For one example, both Stalin and Hitler used scapegoats. Hitler, of course, used the Jews. Stalin used people like the kulaks and like the fictitious "wreckers" who were accused of causing most of the problems when things went wrong.
Of course, both used force and terror by imprisoning opponents or just killing them. They both had secret police for this task.
Dictators must build up support from below. One method of indoctrination in Nazi Germany was the Hitler Youth Program. There was no better way to unsure a generation of support for Hitler's leadership than to welcome in the children who usually feel invisible to the adult world and tell them they where important and that they were the future. He shaped the mindsets of thousands of children, and by extension, many of their parents.
Both of these men used force and terror to try and control people. Stalin mostly in his own country and against those who spoke out against him and his policies. Hitler used force and violence against the Jews and anyone who tried to help the Jews.
Stalin indoctrinated the young using education. He used classrooms to spread his version of Communism among students by exposing them to Communist information and further grouping them into Communist groups which would in the future join the Communist party.
Hitler developed several levels that were used to indoctrinate children and this was mandatory for the young ones. They would join the Young Folk at 10 years and proceed to Hitler Youth at 15, then to Labor Service at 19. By this time most of the youths were fully indoctrinated.
Fear and terror
Hitler used auxiliary policemen called Sturmabteilungen (SA) to impose a state of fear among his opponents who were mostly beaten up or killed arbitrarily.
Stalin used fear and terror to enforce his policies as exemplified by his forceful removal of Trotsky from the government and eventually leading him to exile and finally arranging his murder.
Hitler used the Jews as his scapegoat this is because he needed someone to blame for the failing economy. He also used a variety of anti-Semitic myths that were already historically entrenched in the European society to garner support for his ideology.
Stalin used both the Kulkas (landowning peasants) and professionals as scapegoats. He targeted them in order to ensure that his ideology resonated well with the poor who were the majority.
Stalin's use of propaganda is seen when he tries to portray himself as a close ally and possible heir to Lenin. He even hides one of Lenin’s testimonies about his leadership (Lenin believed Stalin was arrogant and rude, making him unfit for leadership).
Hitler's use of propaganda is seen when he established the Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda whose aim was to communicate Nazi information to the public. The major topics of propaganda included Jewish subversion, discrimination against ethnic Germans in East Europe and the Bolshevik threat.
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