Topic 3: The rise and rule of single-party states

12. Compare and contrast the domestic policies of two rulers of single-party states, each chosen from a different region

Emily Johnson
I. Introduction
The first half of the 20th century saw both the rise of several single-party states and the rise to power of some of history’s most well-known and formidable figures. Leaders of these states, such as Hitler, Mao, and Stalin, not only intimidated other countries around the world, but also made their presence felt internally as well. In Russia and China, Stalin and Mao built themselves up as great, almost god-like leaders, while simultaneously forcing their countries through harsh programs of reform – economically, politically, and socially.
II. Self-Promoting Propaganda

  • “Cult of Personality”
    • Both Stalin and Mao garnered a huge cult following
      • Seen as god-like, monumental leaders who were going to fix all problems
        • Stalin through association with Lenin, charm and personal appeal
        • Mao through association with Stalin and other great communist leaders, presented himself as a true communist
      • Both leaders encouraged glorification of themselves in literature, paintings, etc.
      • Even children learned nursery rhymes, songs that proclaimed leaders’ glory
      • Helped to mask their domestic cruelties, helped keep public support behind them even when their policies were too harsh

III. Reform Programs

  • Political
    • Both purged all dissenters, though Stalin had a focused campaign of purges (military, intellectual) while Mao just eliminated anyone he saw as challenging
      • Stalin – Political purges and the Show Trials (1928-1934)  designed to eliminate any and all perceived threats to Stalin’s power, as well as any of the old bourgeoisie still in existence within the government publicly to drive home the message that no one messes with Stalin; focused on any Trotsky supporters and old rivals, the military, and old governmental intellectuals
      • Mao – Executed counterrevolutionaries publicly to make an example to the rest of the people, to consolidate his power  killed anyone suspected of disloyalty
  • Economic
    • Both undertook accelerated industrial reform programs to industrialize the country, though Mao undertook an alternative to Stalin’s heavy industry model
      • Stalin – 5 Year Plans (three of them: 1928, 1933, 1938) and collectivization
        • 1st: focused on heavy industry, very little in the way of consumer goods produced, horrible working conditions and propaganda to make workers work harder
        • 2nd: more realistic targets set, able to build on the achievements of the first 5YP – greater emphasis on defense (due to Mussolini and Hitler), more machinery produced, a bit more consumer goods produced, more food
        • 3rd: production of arms priority as war loomed, consumer production put on hold
        • Collectivization: forced peasants to collectivize farms and agriculture to get more money to support industrialization (kolkhoz and sovkhoz) – created famine and mass death
      • Mao – 5YP (1953) and Great Leap Forward (1958)
        • 5YP: aimed to end Chinese dependence on agriculture, focus more on industry, results were promising as China was able to support itself w/o USSR assistance
        • GLF: focused not on heavy industry but rather on agriculture – forced collectivization, farmers not only grew produce but also worked to make steel and iron as well as infrastructure projects; led to biggest famine in history and the deaths of millions of Chinese peasants = FAILURE, loss of face for Mao
  • Social
    • Stalin never endorsed an official policy of social reform, while Mao did
      • Stalin – Social reforms were pretty much nonexistent/came as a byproduct of economic and political reforms
        • Rights for women = women worked just as the men did
        • Schools founded, electricity brought to the people
        • But people’s lives were not greatly improved at all – loss of liberties and life
    • Mao – Cultural Revolution (1966-1969)
      • Encouraged the young people of China to publicly persecute their teachers and other intellectuals and turn against adults suspected of disloyalty
        • Millions killed, lives ruined, chaos reigned, schools closed

IV. Conclusion

  • Both built themselves up as revered leaders through propaganda to help conceal their horrible reform programs that cost each country millions upon millions of lives.
  • Stalin was more focused on making the country self-sufficient through his 5YPs (focused the most on economic reform), while Mao seemed dedicated to making sure every person in China supported his regime (focused a lot on social reform).
  • Both eliminated rivals, dissenters; both undertook rapid industrialization programs, both undertook collectivization drives.

Matt Dodson

12. Comparing and Contrasting the domestic policy of Hitler and Stalin.

I. The 20th century witnessed the emergence of two opposing (though equally dynamic) ideological movements: the rise of fascism and communism. The symbolic representatives of the movement were Stalin’s communist USSR and Hitler’s fascist Germany.
Thesis: Though the domestic policies of the USSR and of fascist Germany both emphasized national unity, the underlying economic theories of the states’ domestic reforms were drastically different.

II. Similarities: In their endeavors to reform their states, both Hitler and Stalin emphasized the value of nationalism.

  • A.German Examples
    • a. Initiation of public works projects
    • b. Programs like the Hitler Youth worked to create national unity

B. The entire concept of communism calls for the people to act as one.

C. Both nation’s heavily employed propaganda to instill pride in the state and to galvanize the people.

D. Both took advantage of their leaders’ Cult of personality to generate populist enthusiasm

III. Differences: Despite the fact that both states emphasized national unity, they had different approaches to economic reform.

A. Germany emphasized capitalism

  • a. Independent labor unions banned
  • b. Emphasis on consumer product
  • c. Emphasis on hierarchy in industry

B. Contrarily, the USSR implemented communist policies, which are the theoretical opposite of capitalism. Examples include:

  • a. Collectivization of agriculture
  • b. Programs like Stakhonovism (which gave merits for hard work, rather than wage differentials)

C. Whereas the USSR seized all private property in the name of the state and put all industrial and economic production under the direct control of the government, Germany left farms and large industries in the hands of their owners and let them run them as they saw fit so long as they provided the output the government demanded.

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