Compare and contrast the methods of dictatorship used by Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and Joseph Stalin.

The methods of dictatorship used by Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and Joesph Stalin were similar in that they all used fear and intimidation to cement their rule. All of these dictators presided over police states in which any citizen who stepped out of line was liable to wind up jailed or executed. The major difference between them is that Mussolini was to some extent controlled by his party, whereas Hitler and Stalin ruthlessly controlled theirs.

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The nature of Mussolini's dictatorship was somewhat different to those of Hitler and Stalin. For one thing, he was never able to exert complete control over his party. The Italian Fascist Party was comprised of a number of powerful regional leaders who exerted extraordinary influence over state policy once Mussolini...

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The nature of Mussolini's dictatorship was somewhat different to those of Hitler and Stalin. For one thing, he was never able to exert complete control over his party. The Italian Fascist Party was comprised of a number of powerful regional leaders who exerted extraordinary influence over state policy once Mussolini came to power.

Even if these leaders stepped out of line, as they often did, Mussolini was often reluctant to move against them for fear of what might happen. And this was no idle fear. Mussolini was eventually removed from power by the Fascist Party's Grand Council after a long and fractious meeting that went on far into the night.

This would never have happened to either Hitler or Stalin. They wielded absolute power over their respective parties, and they were therefore never in any real danger of being toppled by their subordinates. Both Hitler and Stalin used their parties as instruments of power, which they wielded ruthlessly. In Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union the state controlled everything. This wasn't the case in Fascist Italy, where the state's reach wasn't quite as widespread despite the official rhetoric.

Mussolini was never as secure in his power as Hitler and Stalin. He had to keep a close watch on Fascist Party leaders and the army, which owed its loyalty to the King. Stalin never had the problem of potential disloyalty, at least not until after he liquidated most of the Red Army's senior generals in a series of particularly ruthless purges.

Hitler never really trusted his senior generals, regarding them as conservative establishment figures lacking in Nazi fervor. Hitler had wiped out the leadership of the SA in a sop to the German Army, whose senior generals feared their replacement by the stormtroopers as a kind of political armed force. Eventually, however, Hitler would come to regret that he was never able to create his own equivalent of Stalin's Red Army. He did not have a faction of the army so fanatically dedicated to the cause of National Socialism as the Red Army was to the USSR's communism.

All three dictators used utterly ruthless means to cement their rule. Violence, intimidation, and murder were all hallmarks of their respective regimes. That said, it was generally easier for most ordinary people In Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy to escape punishment from the state so long as they kept their heads down and did as they were told.

The same could not be said of the Soviet Union under Stalin. Even the most fanatically loyal of Stalinists could end up being shot or sent off to a prison camp on trumped-up charges. Stalin was a deeply insecure, paranoid individual who saw plots against him everywhere. His security services were given arrest quotas to fill, and they often filled them with the names of ordinary members of the public who by no stretch of the imagination were guilty of any political crimes.

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Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin all claimed absolute power over the state. To control the populace and silence enemies they employed similar methods: complete control of the media, including censorship of any dissenting voices and the growth of a huge propaganda machine, a very violent police state used to quell the first sign of citizen dissent, and the cultivation of a cult of personality that elevated the dictator in question to godlike stature as all knowing, wise, and a good father to be instantly obeyed.

Since we don't currently live in a totalitarian police state, it can be hard to envision what it was like, but in all three states, neighbors were encouraged to spy on neighbors and report any sign of disloyalty. A heavily expanded police force could and did tap phones and spy on citizens. All newspapers and radio broadcasts were approved by the state. The writer Umberto Eco writes of his utter surprise, when, after Mussolini's fall, his mother sends Eco, a child, to buy newspapers and suddenly he sees more than one newspaper for sale: the idea of a diversity of pubic opinion had formerly been inconceivable to him. In Germany and the USSR especially, prisons were vastly expanded, torture common and purges of groups considered in opposition to the regime were carried out ruthlessly. In all three cases, the rights of the individual were subordinated to the needs of the state.

Stalin and Hitler differed ideologically, so Hitler favored industrialists, the rich and "great men," with an emphasis on men. He very much believed in hierarchy and loathed any kind of social leveling, so woman were placed in their "proper sphere" in the home, and men placed above them and everyone was expected to take his or her place based on their "race" at birth, with Aryans on top and Jews on the bottom. Stalin, in contrast, claimed to favor workers, and (at least superficially) promoted equality between men and women. Mussolini, as a fascist, was ideologically closer to Hitler, especially in terms of racial and gender hierarchy, and in looking back to the Greco-Roman world as a golden age, but was less ruthless in pursuing his agenda than either of the other figures. 

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All dictatorships have some things in common. The leader has total control, of course. All of these men also had ideologies they were enforcing. Finally, they were all suspicious of each other and all a bit mentally unstable or down right sociopathic.
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That's a very large question to answer, so let me get you started.  One similarity between the three is that they created vast police agencies that clamped down on dissent and civil liberties, maintaining the dictators' power, but they were also pitted against each other in competition which reduced potential challenges to their rule.

There were some key differences to consider.  First, both Hitler and Stalin created mass prison camps to incarcerate opponents and "undesirables".  Mussolini relied on thugs to reinforce his rule, but less on prison camps.  Stalin also used mass deportations of ethnic minorities, and resettlement of ethnic Russians into areas of the empire where they weren't before, in order to solidify his control.  Hitler did this also with Jews and Poles, but to a lesser extent.

Mussolini had no death camps, although Jews were still deported from Italy, especially later in the war.  Hitler and Stalin used death camps extensively, collectively murdering in excess of 30 million people.

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