Do you recognize these symbols? What do they stand for? Which one of these symbols do you dislike the most? Why?
Nazism is a form of fascism. Fascism is a radical, authoritarian, nationalist political ideology. Fascists seek to eliminate forces deemed to cause degeneration to (breakdown of) the state. They seek to build national community where individuals are bound by ancestry, culture, and race. Fascists believe a nation requires strong leadership and a singular collective identity and forbid opposition to the state. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascism
Hitler believed Germany had been weakened by groups that lived within its borders. He proposed strengthening the nation’s military and expanding its borders to include Germans living in other nations. He called for the purification of the Aryan race (blonde, blue-eyed Germans) by removing groups he considered undesirable. Hitler and the Nazi party promised to stabilize the country and restore the empire that had been lost in WWI.
Stalinism refers to the policies and governmental philosophy of Joseph Stalin, leader and dictator of the Soviet Union from 1924 to 1953. A totalitarian system of government in which a single authoritarian party controls state-owned means of production. A system whereby all goods are owned in common and are available to all as needed. In a communist society there is no private property. The goal of communism was a state-less, class-less society. How’d that work out?
By the late 1920s, after Lenin’s death in 1924, Stalin was effectively the dictator of the Soviet Union. His forced collectivization of agriculture cost millions of lives, while his program of rapid industrialization achieved huge increases in Soviet productivity and economic growth, but at great cost. The population suffered immensely during the Great Terror of the 1930s, during which Stalin purged the party of “enemies of the people”, resulting in the execution of thousands and the exile of millions to the gulag system of slave labor camps. http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/stalin_joseph.shtml While some claim that Stalin hijacked communism, the practice of communism has always led to dictatorial government and repressive control of individuals.
Government has unrestrained power. Government controlled all foreign trade, wages, and prices. Government domination of money and the economy. Militarization created jobs. Fascism allowed private enterprise (but controlled it); communism does not allow private property. Fascism is said to be “right-wing”; communism is said to be “left-wing”. Fascism told people they had to sacrifice for their country; communism told people they had to sacrifice for their fellow citizens.
Stalin purged the communist party of those that were considered enemies. Thousands were executed. Hitler called for the purification of the Aryan race by removing groups he considered undesirable. Included in those groups were Jews, handicapped people, homosexuals, political prisoners, gypsies, and Soviet prisoners of war. They both sought to eliminate the “undesirables.”
Fascists believed a nation requires strong leadership and a singular collective identity, and forbade opposition to the state. Communism represented a totalitarian system of government in which a single authoritarian party controls state-owned means of production. Each ideology had no room for dissent or varying points of view. Each held strict beliefs in terms of who would make decisions for the “greater good” of the society.
These forms of government highlight the reality of a minority rule. In each instance, the unelected few make and enforce the rules and dictate policy to the majority of the citizens who have no say in what the government does. These types of governments cannot last as they must spend valuable resources controlling the population. In short, the supporters of each ideology must create a police state to survive.
Millions of people suffered and died as a result of these two ideologies. There are two schools of thought when attempting to calculate the number of deaths that resulted from Nazism and Stalinism. The “Big Numbers” school, associated with the right wing, have made estimates on the high end while the “Lower Numbers” school, members of the liberal wing, have made estimates on the low end. Estimates are based on a compilation of data from various sources.
It is estimated that Hitler and the Nazis were responsible for… Low Estimate: 10 million deaths High Estimate: 25 million deaths Median Estimate: 15.5 million deaths http://necrometrics.com/20c5m.htm#Hitler
It is estimated that the Stalinist regime was responsible for… Low Estimate: 9 million deaths High Estimate: 66 million deaths Median Estimate: 20 million deaths http://necrometrics.com/20c5m.htm#Stalin
These stories will reinforce the lesson Enn Sarv: Survivor Nazi Concentration Camp & Soviet Gulag 6:11 (entire clip) Tiia-Ester Loitme: Conductor, Deported at Age 14 (view the first 4:11 of this clip) Introduction: Mari-Ann Kelam 1:30 (entire clip )
Each system of government was responsible for millions of deaths. Do the number of deaths resulting from these governments and the ideologies matter in any meaningful sense? What matters more, what their goals were or what they actually did? Do their goals really matter at all?
How different were Hitler’s Nazism and Stalin’s communism?
Should fascism or communism be considered a legitimate form of government? Why / Why not? In a free society, should the public decide for themselves how they want to be governed? And what if they choose a form of government that has been proven historically to be oppressive? Do you think people prefer to have their government regulate society or do you think people would prefer to self-regulate? What is the proper role of government?
1.Research the terms “totalitarian” and “totalitarianism.” 2.Write an essay in which you compare and contrast fascism and communism. 3.Relate each of the two systems of government to the term “totalitarianism.”