: Dictatorships And The Second World War

  • Category: History
  • Words: 1147
  • Grade: 89
I found the some very remarkable information in the most recent chapter that we have discussed in class "Dictatorship and the Second World War." I found vivid examples of how specific dictatorships ruled countries and regions, and how their actions affected the people they ruled, both negatively and positively. It largely encompasses the character of Adolf Hitler. His story has always intrigued me, not because he was a good leader for the people, but because he was such a powerful one. His actions added many multi-faceted changes to the world, as we know it today.
        Conservative authoritarianism was found in several European countries, including Portugal and Spain. This type of authoritarian government was revived after World War I, and limited their power to major demands to taxes, army recruits, and passive acceptance. Another example of conservative authoritarianism was found in Poland, which was overturned under democratic government when General Joseph Pilsudski established military dictatorship. Poland in turn was torn apart by conflicting political parties. Along these same lines is the government of totalitarianism. Totalitarianism was more of a radical dictatorship that emerged on the Soviet Union under Stalin and Hitler. It was also present under Mussolini at a lower level.
        Joseph Stalin came into control of the Soviet Union after it's previous ruler Lenin died without renaming an heir. Stalin won the Soviet Union over a man named Leon Trotsky because he was more effective in gaining the support of the people. He also developed a theory of "socialism in one country" that was more appealing that Trotsky's "permanent revolution." Stalin meant by Socialism in one country" that the Soviet Union could build socialism on its own. Stalin developed the "Five Years Plans" to bring the Soviet Union back into competition with other surrounding countries. Stalin felt that they were less advanced than the other countries and they needed to come up to date with everyone else.
        Another dictator was Benito Mussolini, a man that was the first to call himself a fascist. Fascism, by definition, is a dictatorship that exalts nation and race. Mussolini definitely came to power by force. He demanded existing governments to resign and his own appointment by the King. Mussolini's goal was given by this saying, "Everything in the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state. (p. 969)" Mussolini ran Italy in a very undemocratic way, but never went as far as Hitler did to become a totalitarian.
        Adolf Hitler was definitely a complex man. The text explains his life in great detail and does an excellent job of describing exactly how he acted. Hitler never graduated from high school, but was able to wage war on other nations, as well as run the government of an entire country at the same time. Hitler was considered a very intelligent individual, learning primarily by reading books. As horrific as his actions were, he single-handedly manipulated an entire country. Appealing primarily to the German youth with his mass rallies, his Nazi slogan. "National Socialism is the organized will of the youth. (p. 972)" is what carried him through with many supporters. More than anything, the Depression of the 1930's aided Hitler in his great success. With false promises of economic, political and internal salvation, he won the votes of hopeful voters. While in prison, Hitler wrote the book Mein Kampf, which translates to "my struggle." This literary work expressed Hitler's personal hatred for Jews, Slavs, and any other person who was not of the "superior race." With goals of killing off anyone who was not the "blue-eyed" race of perfection, Hitler brought Germany and the rest of the world to war.
        Adolf Hitler's first step in expanding his land was to gain Austria and Czechoslovakia, which he did with much ease. After gaining these lands, Hitler shocked the world by offering Stalin a ten-year Nazi Soviet non-aggression pact in August of 1939. Hitler and Stalin both agreed that each would remain neutral if the others became involved in war. On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland, hence, forcing Britain and France to declare war on Germany, creating the circumstances for World War II. France was also taken by the Nazis who, under the rule of Hitler, were in control of most of Western Europe with the exception of Italy, its ally, and the neutral Soviet Union and Spain. With strong ambitions, this did not halt the growth of Hitler's rule. In June of 1941, Hitler and his Nazi forces attacked the Soviet Union. After this, the United States entered the war and the Grand Alliance was formed, consisting of the United States, Britain, and the once neutral Soviet Union. This action brought Hitler down. These allies were much too powerful for Germany. In 1942, an end was put to Hitler when the Soviet armies forced Germany to surrender.
        Hitler's damage to the world was the Holocaust, which consisted of over 6 million Jews dying for their beliefs, looks, or ethnicities. This terrible genocide condemned all Jewish people to death, as well as gypsies, Jehovah's Witnesses, Catholics, captured communists, and the mentally or physically ill. The Jews were forced to wear the Star of David and live together in secluded areas where they were turned into slaves. Adolf Hitler was the very manipulative and evil man that was behind the entire scheme. He committed suicide before he could be brought before the world to receive punishment for all of his terrible deeds.
        I am partial to the history of the Holocaust because I think that it is a wonderful learning tool for students to learn the acceptance of other races, ethnicities, and disabilities. As in this chapter, the life legend of the rise and fall of Hitler teaches us how we should learn from our mistakes (although not ours personally) of the past. My only suggestion that I feel the book did not cover is the travesty that Hitler caused the world. It explained not enough detail about his horrible acts of violence. Without taking away any credit from the content of this chapter, I felt that my previous knowledge of the information helped me more in truly understanding the dictatorships of the world at that time. All in all, I was most interested in this chapter than I have been in any other we have covered thus far. It also gives students the ideas of how great leaders think and act. Although I would not suggest for the reader to go out and follow the specific actions of any of the discussed dictators, they are by far the best leaders in our world history.
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