Hitler & Stalin: the Roots of Evil
Hitler & Stalin: The Roots of Evil Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin were two of the most ruthless and infamous dictators of the twentieth century. They each left a legacy of cruelty, terror, and death; managing to change the course of history to this day. Throughout their lives, both leaders surprisingly had many similarities.
They both lived deprived childhoods, with violent fathers and adoring mothers. Both suffered from inferiority complexes and paranoia. Most importantly, they were both mass murderers.
Joseph Stalin is responsible for the murders of more than 20 million lives, including those of his own people, political opponents, as well as innocent victims, whom he considered a threat. Born in the Georgian village of Gori on December 21, 1879, Stalin grew up with an abusive father who savagely beat both him and his mother. One time, Stalin was beaten so severely that he later found blood in his urine. This abuse had a lasting impression on him, leaving him with low self-esteem and an inferiority complex throughout his life.
Stalin’s mother hoped he may one day become a priest, and sent him to the church’s choir. At age 15, he entered the theological seminary. His intelligence, prestigious memory, and attention to details impressed his teachers, but they also witnessed a stubborn, violent side to his nature. He soon turned away from religion, and instead became attracted to anarchism, revolutionary terrorism, and Marxism. His violent, revolutionary activities lead to his expulsion from the seminary after just 5 years.
As a child, Stalin was always quick to lose his temper and easily harbored grudges against people. His whole life consisted in struggle against those he put down in his mind as enemies. In 1927, after being examined by a famous neurologist, Stalin was diagnosed as paranoid. As a political leader, Stalin was aggressive and cruel. He eliminated the people he imagined as enemies, having them removed completely from all historical records and pictures, thus erasing their memories from existence.
His aggressive characteristics also dominated his family life. Like his own father, Stalin abused his wife, Nadia, and his sons, both psychologically and physically. His abuse caused one of his sons to become an alcoholic and the other to attempt committing suicide. On November 9, 1932, the morning after a violent argument took place between Nadia and Stalin at a party, Nadia was found dead in their apartment; shot in the heart. It is believed that Stalin either drove her to suicide, or killed her himself.
After her death, Stalin never went to visit her grave at the cemetery. On March 5, 1953, he himself suffered a brain hemorrhage, and died suddenly. Thousands of mourners watched as he was later put to rest in the Mausoleum. Like Stalin, Adolf Hitler was responsible for millions of deaths in the Holocaust, including 6 million Jews, and hundreds of thousands of gypsies and homosexuals. Born in Braunau, Austria on April 20, 1889, ten years after Stalin’s birth, Hitler also grew up with an abusive father.
When he was 10, he tried to run away from home to escape the violence, but his father caught him and gave him such a beating that he was in a coma for days, his life hanging by a thread. That experience had a lasting impression on him, leading him to see much more evil in the world. As he grew older, Hitler became very compulsive, phobic, and paranoid, both in considering himself to be the object of persecution in attempts to kill him, and in believing he had a sacred mission to save Germany and the world from those he classified as “unworthy to live. When he was a boy, Hitler wanted to be a priest, and like Stalin, sang in the church choir. He had low self-esteem, and was unhappy with his looks, most importantly his plump nose, which he considered Jewish. Hitler was obsessed with the thought that his paternal grandfather could have been Jewish, leading him to believe that he was diseased; that nothing could remove this from him because it was in his blood. In school, Hitler was a poor student. Like Stalin, he was considered arrogant and forceful, demanding absolute subordination from the other pupils.
After 5 years, Hitler dropped out of school, hoping to instead become an artist. He dreamed of entering the prestigious academy of fine arts, but was rejected two years in a row. He believed he had been rejected because several members of the admissions committee were Jewish, which added to his growing hatred towards them. After his rejection by the Academy and the death of his mother due to breast cancer, Hitler was miserable. Lonely and poor, lacking direction, Hitler enlisted in the army, where he finally felt like he belonged.
With the ability to engage in killing as a soldier, he found an outlet, for the first time, to the murderous rage that had grown in him from treatment by his father. Because of his extreme closeness to his mother, together with his father’s extreme brutality, Hitler grew up with an obsession with women and sex. He was dead set against marriage and children though, and never showed public affection towards any woman. After his mother, the most important woman in his life was his younger niece, Geli, who lived with him in his Munich apartment.
Hitler worshipped her but treated her like he treated most people he knew, in an overbearing, controlling, authoritative way. While she lived with Hitler, Geli became pregnant by a Jewish man, whom she was in a relationship with. When Hitler found out, he and Geli had a terrible fight, after which Hitler drove out of town for work. The next morning, Geli was found dead in Hitler’s Munich flat, shot in the chest, similar to Stalin’s wife, Nadia. It is believed that Geli committed suicide.
Hitler’s brutal dictatorship reflected his personal narcissism and paranoia. Like Stalin, he believed he was surrounded by enemies, waiting to betray him, and that he needed to strike first. Hitler grew up with the idea that it was necessary to kill if one did not want to be killed. He divided people into predators and victims, deciding to victimize the Jews. His secret plan was to liquidate all the Jews of Germany, Europe, and the Soviet Union under the cover of war. As the war went on, Hitler became increasingly dependent on amphetamines.
He suffered from drug toxicity, which affected his judgment, and made him increasingly paranoid. Toward the end of the war, he began to show symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. When it became clear that he was losing the war, Hitler committed suicide. For his body, there was no monument; Not even a marker. Both Stalin and Hitler had a lot in common. They were deeply troubled as children, and the abuse they suffered then clouded their judgment of people around them in the future.
They saw much more hate in the world than they possibly would have had they been treated better at that young age. It is hard to think that had it not been for their abusive fathers, both may have led normal lives. They could have been priests or artists, instead of the evil forces that they became later in life. Had they not been abused as children, history may have been much different today. Maybe such evil names would not have existed in history books, and the lives of millions upon millions of innocent people would have been spared.