Historical Context: Totalitarian leaders of the 1920’s-1940’s brought new meaning to the term “dictator.” Rulers such as Benito Mussolini, Joseph Stalin, and Adolph Hitler controlled the public and private lives of their citizens using a multitude of policies and tactics designed around fear, intimidation, and propaganda.
Key Figures: Joseph Stalin, Benito Mussolini, Adolph Hitler
Time Period: Post-WWI through the end of WWII.
Write a well-developed essay response that first examines the rise of totalitarian dictators and the strategies they use to maintain power. Then, describe the affect that this kind of leadership has on citizens and their rights. Finally, describe what one (you) could do to prevent a totalitarian rise to power in the future or in the present day.
Each essay response should include ample historical detail using specific examples. You should also discuss each of the three totalitarian leaders outlined in the key figures instructions. Be sure to write in proper essay form- introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.
Your essay response should also include the use of sources. You MUST use at least four of the documents from the Totalitarian DBQ Document. (You may use the Mussolini “What is Fascism?” warmup as one of those four sources). You should also use at least three outside of class resources. (The textbook may count as one of these sources). Be sure to properly cite the resources and use proper quotations etc. You may use whichever citation method you are most comfortable with for this assignment. *Reminder- you should critically engage with the sources, not just briefly mention them without any expansion or articulation.*
( below, I’ve included the four sources required from the four documents in the Totalitarian DBQ Document.)
Stalin launched his first Five-Year Plan in 1928 by setting up a planned, or command, economy. In this speech, Stalin arouses Russian pride to motivate the people.
“To slow down would mean falling behind. And those who fall behind are beaten. But we do not want to be beaten! One feature of the old Russia was the continual beatings she suffered for falling behind, for her backwardness. . . . So you want our Socialist fatherland to be beaten? . . . If you don’t want this, you must end our backwardness. You must develop a real Bolshevik tempo [speed] in building our Socialist economy. There is no other road. We lag behind the advanced countries by fifty to a hundred years. We must make goo this distance in ten years. Either we do it, or we shall be crushed.”
In this excerpt from a 1929 speech delivered by Stalin, he explains the collectivization policy and the need to eliminate the kulaks (wealthy farmers).
“The solution lies in enlarging the agricultural units . . . and in changing the agricultural base of our national economy. . . .the Socialist way, which is to set up collective farms and state farms which leads to the joining together of the small peasant farms into large collective farms, technically and scientifically equipped, and to the squeezing out of the capitalist elements from agriculture. . . . Now we are able to carry on a determined offensive against the kulaks, to break their resistance, to eliminate them as a class and substitute for their output the output of the collective farms and state farms.”
In this excerpt, the French ambassador to the Soviet Union described the public trials that were part of the “great purges” of Stalin.
“I personally attended the second and third Moscow trials, those of 1937 and 1938. . . . Pyatakov [another defendant] arose . . . confessed . . . to a number of crimes. Did these “confessions” carry any share of truth? It is possible that the accused were hostile to Stalin’s regime. . . . But the lessons they recited must have been forced from them . . . it is more likely that the GPU [secret police] touched each at his weak point. It is also probable that the accused gave in to some form of pressure. . . . Some would give in to save their families, others in the hope of saving their own lives.”
Hitler on the Nature and Purpose of Propaganda (excerpt from Mein Kampf), 1923
“The art of propaganda lies in understanding the emotional ideas of the great masses and finding, through a psychologically correct form, the way to the attention and thence to the heart of the broad masses. The fact that our bright boys do not understand this merely shows how mentally lazy and conceited they are…But the most brilliant propagandist techniques will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is born in mind constantly and with unflagging attention. It must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over. Here, as so often in this world, persistence is the first and most important requirement for success.”
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