Chapter 29 - Dictatorships and the Second World War

    Authoritarian states

    1. Conservative authoritarianism
      1. Conservative authoritarianism had deep roots in European history and led to an antidemocratic form of government that believed in avoiding change but was limited in its power and objectives.
      2. Conservative authoritarianism revived after the First World War in eastern Europe, Spain, and Portugal.
        1. These countries lacked a strong tradition of selfgovernment.
        2. Many were torn by ethnic conflicts.
        3. Large landowners and the church looked to dictators to save them from land reform.
      3. The new authoritarian governments were more concerned with maintaining the status quo than with forcing society into rapid change.
    2. Radical totalitarian dictatorships
      1. Radical dictatorships emerged in the Soviet Union, Germany, and Italy.
      2. These dictatorships rejected parliamentary and liberal values (including rationality, peaceful progress, economic freedom, and a strong middle class), and sought full control over the masses--of whom they sought to mobilize for action.
      3. Lenin, in the Soviet Union, provided a model for single-party dictatorship.
      4. Totalitarian leaders believed in will power, conflict, the worship of violence--and the idea that the individual was less valuable than the state and there are no lasting rights.
      5. Totalitarianism was a permanent revolution.
      6. The USSR was totalitarianism of the left, while Nazi Germany was totalitarianism of the right.
      7. Some historians describe the totalitarian regimes of Mussolini and Hitler as fascism which grew out of capitalism.
      8. Fascism was expansionist nationalism, anti-socialism and anti-working class movements, and the glorification of war.
      9. More recently, historians have emphasized the uniqueness of totalitarian rule in each country.

    Stalin's Soviet Union

    1. Stalin's modern totalitarian dictatorship was instituted by his five-year plans--which were economic, social (and propaganda) plans to build a new socialist humanity.
    2. From Lenin to Stalin
      1. By 1921, the economy of Russia had been destroyed.
      2. In 1921, Lenin's New Economic Policy (NEP) reestablished limited economic freedom in an attempt to rebuild agriculture and industry.
        1. Peasants bought and sold goods on the free market.
        2. Agricultural production grew, and industrial production surpassed the prewar level.
      3. Economic recovery and Lenin's death in 1924 brought a struggle for power between Stalin and Trotsky, which Stalin won.
        1. Stalin met the ethnic demands for independence within the multinational Soviet state by granting minority groups limited freedoms.
        2. Stalin's theory of "socialism in one country," or Russia building its own socialist society, was more attractive to many Communists than Trotsky's theory of "permanent revolution," or the overthrow of other European states.
      4. By 1927, Stalin had crushed all opposition and was ready to launch an economicsocial revolution.
    3. The fiveyear plans
      1. The first fiveyear plan (1928) to increase industrial and agricultural production was extremely ambitious, but Stalin wanted to erase the NEP, spur the economy, and catch up with the West.
      2. Stalin waged a preventive war against the betteroff peasants, the kulaks, to bring them and their land under state control.
        1. "Collectivization" of the peasants' land resulted in disaster for agriculture and unparalleled human tragedy.
        2. Collectivization in the Ukraine resulted in massive famine in 1932-1933.
        3. In the USSR, 93 percent of peasant families had been forced onto collective farms (by 1933).
        4. Peasants fought back by securing the right to cultivate tiny family plots.
        5. But it was a political victory for Stalin and the Communist party, as the peasants were eliminated as a potential threat.
      3. The fiveyear plans brought about a spectacular growth of heavy industry, especially with the aid of government control of the workers and foreign technological experts.
      4. Massive investment in heavy industry, however, meant low standards of living for workers.
    4. Life and culture in Soviet society
      1. The Communists wanted to create a new kind of society and human personality.
      2. Nonfarm wages fell--by 1937, workers could buy only about 60 percent of what they bought in 1928.
      3. Life was hard, but people were often inspired by socialist ideals and did gain some social benefits.
      4. Personal advancement came through education, and a skilled elite emerged.
      5. Women were given much greater opportunities in industry and education.
        1. The 1917 revolution proclaimed complete equality of rights for women.
        2. In the 1920s, divorce and abortion were made easy, and women were urged to work outside the home and liberate themselves sexually.
      6. Medicine and other professions were opened to them--eventually most doctors were women.
      7. Most women had to work to help support their families in addition to caring for the home and the children; many families were broken.
      8. Culture became political indoctrination, and the earlier experimentation with art, theater, and literature came to an end.
        1. History was rewritten.
        2. Religion was persecuted.
    5. Stalinist terror and the Great Purges
      1. In the mid-1930s, a system of terror and purging was instituted.
        1. Even Stalin's wife fell victim of his terrorist action.
        2. The Kirov murder led to public "show trials" of prominent Bolsheviks; this led to more than 8 million people being arrested--many were killed.
      2. Stalin recruited new loyal members to take the place of those who were purged; these people ruled until the 1980s.
      3. Historians are baffled as to why the purges took place--some think they were a necessary part of totalitarianism; others think that Stalin's fears were real.

    Mussolini and fascism in Italy

    1. Mussolini hated liberalism; his movement was the first fascist movement--a halfway house between conservative authoritarianism and modern totalitarianism.
    2. The fascist seizure of power
      1. Prior to 1914, Italy was moving toward democracy but with problems: Catholics, conservatives, and landowners hated liberalism and the country was divided.
        1. Only in Italy did the Socialist party gain leadership prior to 1914.
      2. The First World War and postwar problems ended the move toward democracy in Italy.
        1. Workers and peasants felt cheated because wartime promises of reform were not carried out.
        2. Nationalists felt cheated by the war settlement.
        3. The Russian Revolution energized Italy's socialists into occupying factories and farms.
      3. By 1922, most Italians were opposed to liberal, parliamentary government.
      4. Mussolini's Fascists opposed the "Socialist threat" with physical force (the Black Shirts).
      5. Mussolini marched on Rome in 1922 and forced the king to name him head of the government.
    3. The regime in action
      1. Mussolini's Fascists manipulated elections and killed the Socialist leader Matteotti.
      2. Between 1924 and 1926, Mussolini built a oneparty Fascist dictatorship but did not establish a fully totalitarian state.
        1. Much of the old power structure remained, particularly the conservatives, who controlled the army, economy, and state.
        2. The Catholic church supported Mussolini because he recognized the Vatican as an independent state and gave the church heavy financial support.
        3. Women were repressed, but Jews were not persecuted until late in the Second World War.
        4. Overall, Mussolini's fascist Italy was never really totalitarian.

    Hitler and Nazism in Germany

    1. The roots of Nazism
      1. German Nazism was a product of Hitler, of Germany's social and political crisis, and the general attack on liberalism and rationality.
      2. Hitler was born in Austria, was a school dropout, and was rejected by the Imperial art school.
      3. Hitler became a fanatical nationalist while in Vienna, where he absorbed antiSemitic and racist ideas.
      4. He adopted the ideas of some fanatical Christians (e.g., Lueger) that capitalism and liberalism resulted in excessive individualism.
      5. He became obsessed with antiSemitism and racism, and believed that Jews and Marxists lost the First World War for Germany.
        1. He believed in a JewishMarxist plot to destroy German culture.
      6. By 1921, he had reshaped the tiny extremist German Workers' group into the Nazi party, using the mass rally as a particularly effective tool of propaganda.
        1. The party grew rapidly.
        2. Hitler and the party attempted to overthrow the Weimar government, but he was defeated and sent to jail (1923).
    2. Hitler's road to power
      1. The trial after Hitler's attempted coup brought him much publicity, but the Nazi party remained small until 1929.
      2. Written in jail, his autobiography, Mein Kampf, was an outline of his desire to achieve German racial supremacy and domination of Europe, under the leadership of a dictator (Führer).
      3. The depression made the Nazi party attractive to the lower middle class, who were seized by panic as unemployment soared and Communists made election gains.
        1. By late 1932, some 43 percent of the labor force was unemployed.
        2. Hitler favored government programs to bring about economic recovery.
      4. By 1932, the Nazi party was the largest in the Reichstag--having 38 percent of the total.
      5. Hitler wisely stressed the economic issue rather than the anti-Jewish and racist nationalism issues.
      6. He stressed simple slogans tied to national rebirth to arouse hysterical fanaticism in the masses.
      7. He appealed to the youth. Almost 40 percent of the Nazi party were under 30 years of age.
      8. One reason for his rise to power is that Bruning and Hindenburg had already turned to rule by way of emergency decree.
      9. Another reason Hitler won is that the communists welcomed Hitler as the last breath of monopoly capitalism.
      10. Key people in the army and big business along with conservative and nationalistic politicians believed that they could control Hitler; Hitler was legally appointed chancellor in 1933.
    3. The Nazi state and society
      1. The Enabling Act of March 1933 gave Hitler absolute dictatorial power.
      2. Germany became a one-party state--only the Nazi party was legal.
        1. The Nazi government was full of rivalries and inefficiencies, leaving Hitler to act as he wished.
        2. Strikes were forbidden and labor unions were replaced by the Nazi Labor Front.
        3. The Nazis took over the government bureaucracy.
        4. The Nazis took control of universities, writers, publishing houses; democratic, socialist, and Jewish literature was blacklisted.
      3. Hitler gained control of the military by crushing his own storm troopers, the SA, thus ending the "second revolution."
      4. The Gestapo, or secret police, used terror and purges to strengthen Hitler's hold on power.
      5. Hitler set out to eliminate the Jews.
        1. The Nuremberg Laws (1935) deprived Jews of their citizenship.
        2. By 1938, 150,000 of Germany's 500,000 Jews had left Germany.
        3. Kristallnacht was a wave of violence directed at Jews and their synagogues and businesses.
    4. Hitler's popularity
      1. Hitler promised and delivered economic recovery through public works projects and military spending.
        1. Unemployment dropped. The standard of living rose moderately--but business profits rose sharply.
        2. Those who were not Jews, Slavs, Gypsies, Jehovah's Witnesses, communists, or homosexuals experienced greater opportunities and equality.
      2. Hitler reduced Germany's traditional class distinctions; the old ruling elites had to give way to lowermiddleclass people in Hitler's train.
        1. Yet few historians believe that Hitler brought on a real social revolution: the welleducated classes held on to their advantaged position, and women remained largely housewives and mothers.
      3. He appealed to Germans for nationalistic reasons.
      4. Communists, trade unionists, and some Christians opposed Hitler; many who opposed him were executed.

    Nazi expansion and the Second World War

    1. The chief concepts of Nazism were space and race--which demanded territorial expansion.
    2. Aggression and appeasement (1933-1939)
      1. When he was in a weak position, Hitler voiced his intention to overturn an unjust system; when strong, he kept increasing his demands.
      2. He lied about his intentions; he withdrew from the League of Nations in order to rearm Germany.
      3. Germany worked to add Austria to a greater Germany, established a military draft, and declared the Treaty of Versailles null and void.
        1. An AngloGerman naval agreement in 1935 broke Germany's isolation.
        2. In violation of the Treaty of Versailles, Hitler occupied the demilitarized Rhineland in 1936.
      4. The British policy of appeasement, motivated by guilt, fear of communism, and pacifism, lasted far into 1939.
      5. Mussolini attacked Ethiopia in 1935 and joined Germany in supporting the fascists in Spain (the Rome-Berlin Axis alliance).
      6. Germany, Italy, and Japan formed an alliance.
      7. Hitler annexed Austria and demanded part of Czechoslovakia in 1938.
      8. Chamberlain flew to Munich to appease Hitler and agree to his territorial demands.
      9. Hitler accelerated his aggression and occupied all of Czechoslovakia in 1939.
      10. In 1939, Hitler and Stalin signed a public nonaggression pact and a secret pact that divided eastern Europe into German and Russian zones.
      11. Germany attacked Poland, and Britain and France declared war on Germany (1939).
    3. Hitler's empire (1939-1942)
      1. The key to Hitler's military success was speed and force (the blitzkrieg).
      2. He crushed Poland quickly and then France; by July 1940, the Nazis ruled nearly all of Europe except Britain.
      3. He bombed British cities in an attempt to break British morale but did not succeed.
      4. In 1941, Hitler's forces invaded Russia and conquered the Ukraine and got as far as Leningrad and Moscow until stopped by the severe winter weather.
      5. After Japan attacked Pearl Harbor (1941), Hitler also declared war on the United States.
      6. Hitler began building a New Order based on racial imperialism.
        1. Nordic peoples were treated with preference; the French were heavily taxed; the Slavs were treated as "subhumans."
        2. The SS evacuated Polish peasants to create a German "settlement space."
        3. Polish workers and Russian prisoners of war were sent to Germany to work as slave laborers. Most did not survive.
        4. Jews, Gypsies, Jehovah's Witnesses, and communists were condemned to death.
      7. Six million Jews from all over Europe were murdered by killing squads, in ghettos, or in concentration camps.
        1. At the extermination camps such as Auschwitz-Birkenau the victims were forced into gas chambers.
        2. Recent research suggests that many Germans knew of and participated in these killings.
        3. Some scholars believe that the key reason so many Germans (and non-Germans) did not protest the murders is that they felt no personal responsibility for Jews.
    4. The Grand Alliance
      1. The Allies had three policies that led them to victory.
        1. The United States concentrated on European victory first, then Japan.
        2. The Americans and British put military needs before political questions, thus avoiding conflict over postwar settlements.
        3. The Allies adopted the principle of "unconditional surrender" of Germany and Japan, denying Hitler the possibility of dividing his foes.
      2. American aid to Britain and the Soviets, along with the heroic support of the British and Soviet peoples and the assistance of resistance groups throughout Europe, contributed to the eventual victory.
    5. The tide of battle
      1. The Germans were defeated at Stalingrad at the end of 1942, and from there on the Soviets took the offensive.
      2. At the same time, American, British, and Australian victories in the Pacific put Japan on the defensive.
        1. The Battle of the Coral Sea (1942) stopped the Japanese advance.
        2. The Battle of Midway Island (1942) established American naval superiority in the Pacific.
      3. The British defeat of Rommel at the Battle of El Alamein (1942) helped drive the Axis powers from North Africa in 1943.
      4. Italy surrendered in 1943, but fighting continued as the Germans seized Rome and northern Italy.
      5. Bombing of Germany and Hitler's brutal elimination of opposition caused the Germans to fight on.
      6. The British and Americans invaded Germanheld France in June 1944 but did not cross into Germany until March 1945.
        1. The Soviets pushed from the east, crossing the Elbe and meeting the Americans on the other side on April 26, 1945; Hitler committed suicide, and Germany surrendered on May 7, 1945.
        2. The United States dropped two atomic bombs on Japan in August 1945, and it too surrendered.


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