Hitler and Mussolini were two of the most influential and powerful dictators of the 20th century They both rose to power in different ways and had different motivations for leading their respective nations of Germany and Italy. Both of them sought to create absolute control over their countries and to dominate the European continent. As a result, they caused immense suffering, death and destruction throughout Europe during the Second World War.
Hitler was the leader of the Nazi Party in Germany and had a personal ambition to be a dictator. He encouraged his followers to seek power by any means necessary and implemented a range of oppressive policies against Jews and other minorities. The Nuremberg Laws, adopted in 1935, legalized racial discrimination and segregation in Germany. Hitler and his supporters believed that the German people were superior to all other races and that they needed to be protected from so-called “inferior” peoples. His hatred of Jews and other minorities led to the Holocaust, one of the most horrific genocides in human history.
Mussolini was an Italian Fascism and the prime minister of Italy from 1922-1943. He believed in a totalitarian state that was led by a strong leader who would be the unquestioned ruler of the country. Mussolini had his own private army, the “Blackshirts”, who were responsible for violently suppressing any opponents of the regime. He also created a “corporate state”, where the economy was completely controlled by the government and it was illegal to have labor unions. In addition, he created a “totalitarian culture” in Italy, where the media, education and most forms of entertainment were under the control of the government.
Examples of Hitler and Mussolini’s impact:
1. Nazi Germany and the Holocaust – Hitler and the Nazi Party attempted to create a master race and attempted to exterminate Jews, Roma, and other minorities through the Holocaust. This genocide killed millions of people and its effects are still felt today.
2. Italian Fascism – Mussolini’s rule attempted to create a totalitarian state and make Italy great again. In practice, this meant using violence and intimidation to control the population and establishing a state-led economy.
3. Totalitarianism – Both Hitler and Mussolini sought to establish absolute control over their countries and to repress any opposition to their rule. They both employed secret police forces, censorship, and other methods of repression to crush any opposition.
4. Militarism – Both Germany and Italy sought to expand their militaries and were aggressive in their foreign policies. In particular, Hitler wanted to dominate the European continent and create a Germany-led New Order in Europe.
5. Anti-Semitism – Both Hitler and Mussolini shared a hatred of Jews and a belief that they posed a threat to their countries. They both employed propaganda and laws to oppress Jews, Roma, and other minorities in their respective countries.