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Word count: Date: 18/01/2011

Li Chun Ho (Alvin) IB History HL

Essay Question: Compare and contrast the rise to power of two rulers of single party states. The methods and circumstances surrounding the rise of Hitler and Castro were similar in their notable beliefs. Both being nationalists and socialists, they created their set of policies that their society would benefit from. For Hitler, the creation of the Nazi Party Program of 1920 focused on nationalistic as well as socialist means which the Nazis cherished, such as the prohibition of nonGerman citizens to vote, but also socialist points like the nationalization of all businesses. For Castro, his Revolutionary Program deplores corrupt practices and to divert a half of sugar cane proceeds to planters, who were ordinary workers inferior to big corporations. He also wanted to eliminate the class feature in society which was a capitalist feature as it appears there was no social mobility in Cuba and there was a growing gap between the rich and the poor. The countries of both Hitler and Castro had at that time suffered a major crisis which affected the majority of the people. For Hitler, the economic crisis sparked and further amplified by the Ruhr Crisis of 1923 and the Wall Street crash of America in 1929 pushed Germany into great hyperinflation, while the corrupted politicians ruled the regime of casinos while under the dictator of Batista. Both Hitler and Castro used violent means in order to attempt to subvert the state, with both proved a profound failure. Hitlers Munich Putsch was quickly put down and his followers arrested, while Castros insurrection attempt to attack the Moncada Barracks in 1953 to begin a revolution was brutally suppressed by the death of 70 rebels. Being arrested and put on trial, both Hitler and Castro benefited and exploited their right as defendants in court to make lengthy speeches detailing their defiance of the current state of their country, thus receiving huge amounts of media coverage. Hitler extended his oppournity to also use his prison sentence to compose a Mein Kampf which is read out as a collection of speeches while Castros famous defying sentence he said in court of, History would absolve me, was similarly glorified through rallies and other campaigns. Similarly, both were sentenced to long prison terms but shortly released. However, the differences between Castro and Hitler are also noticeable. Hitler appears to be more nationalistic compared to his Cuban counterpart as his rallies often call for the unification of Pure Aryans and anti-Semitism, identifying the Jews as the scapegoats for a unifying cause. Because his ideas were interchangeable, in which when you support one idea you tend to support the others, he also focused on creating Germany as a strong powerful state, such as Lebensraum, and to exploit peoples strong sense of nationalism to support his party, such as against the disarmament clauses imposed by the Treaty of Versailles and to ignore the League of Nations enforcement. On the other hand, Castros sense of nationalism is not as dense of Hitlers. Cubas diverse collection of ethnic variation was not disputed by Castro, nor did he identify a particular enemy as a unifying cause. Moreover, Hitler made his agenda changeable where he had specially designed leaflets for different social groups as they had different interpretations of National Socialism, in which Castro also modified his programme as necessary to suit the viewers of it. In addition, the crises surrounding both of them were different in many aspects. The economic disaster in Germany was a short term and momentary crisis, only erupting as an echo after the Wall Street crash because it relied on US funds such as the Dawes Plan. It was greeted with rage and Germans identified foreign intervention such as the French and the Treaty of Versailles as the cause of their suffering. Therefore Hitler had to cater to the Germanys needs to build up foreign policy in favour of his fellow Germans. However, the crisis in Cuba had been existent for many decades, which 1

Word count: Date: 18/01/2011

Li Chun Ho (Alvin) IB History HL

Essay Question: Compare and contrast the rise to power of two rulers of single party states. was of corruption. The difference of the crises meant that they had a different target audience. This is also an oppournity to point out that Hitler did not have the privilege to enjoy the middle class and repeatedly failed to receive education, it is strange that Castro developed communist values when he was considered to be in the upper middle class, being a lawyer and living in relatively good standards compared to Hitler. Because of this, Hitler and Castro had differences in their target audience. Hitler aimed to influence all forms of German society while Castro aimed at the lower and middle classes and obviously received no support from the higher upper classes that benefited from corruption, underground casinos, cronyism and nepotism. In addition to their means of not only exploiting the media, there were differences of Hitler and Castro on religion. Hitler accepted and allowed the freedom of religion as long as they were in support of the best interests of Germany, while Castro, who was born a Roman Catholic, later disagreed with religion and excommunicated by the Pope after he cracked down on Catholic churches in Cuba in 1962. While Hitler extended his propaganda to include the use of churches, Castro did the opposite. However as we later find out, Castro also benefited from the use of mass media. Moving forward, both Hitler and Castro attempted to gain power through unjustified means. However, to Castro, it can be seen to be justified because he had no choice other than the use of violent revolution to oust Batista. Although Hitlers ladder to the Fuehrer was an exception which would be discussed later, his extensive use of the SS and the SA to beat up the opposition as far as to also ban communists from entering the Parliament to vote, Castros army of guerrillas were portrayed of similar responsibilities. Castro trained his men in the outskirts of Mexico, while Hitler later on had every single SA troop personally pledging their alliance to him. Both were successive in creating a powerful and influential army of them. Furthermore, both leaders raised and received funds. Hitler received funding from fellow Nazi supporters while Castro got his funds from sources overseas, such as from fellow Cubans living in American societies. In addition, both of them obtained power without too much violence. For Hitler, his ascension to Chancellor and then to Fuehrer were through non-violent methods. Hindenburgs approval to nominate Hitler in a coalition government followed by the Enabling act did not involve much violence apart from the destruction of the Reichstag building. Likewise, Castros overthrow attempt did not involve much bloodshed as Batista simply left the island along with his corrupted aides and friends, leaving behind his army who mostly defected to Castros side due to their good conditions of being detained and offered positions in the army. In addition, it appears that by the time both leaders reached to the top of ladder to head the state both had relatively no enemies left. The differences between their accessions to power are the justification and the legality of their methods. Hitlers methods by reaching Fuhrer were through legal processes, first, selected as the chancellor of a coalition government by Hindenburg after being advised by Von Papen, and then through the Enabling Act, allowed himself to pass any regulations without the approval of parliament. This was different with Castro, who ultimately led an armed revolution which led to the fleeing of Batista. It is also important to note Castros successes here involved the exaggeration of the mass media to make the opposition believe of their imminent and destructive power. Furthermore, the dealing of their enemies is varied. Hitler, who wanted to set a good example of his army, led a quick purging in June 1934 of the leaders of the SA, 400 of them as he believed they did 2

Word count: Date: 18/01/2011

Li Chun Ho (Alvin) IB History HL

Essay Question: Compare and contrast the rise to power of two rulers of single party states. not live up to his expectation of reflecting a positive impression on his party. The SA was often seen as drunk and sexually harassing women. This can also be said as another difference where Hitler wanted his party to appear as the righteous one, while Castro did not attempt to hide the impression that they were leading a revolution against the current government. Furthermore, Castros dealing with the enemy was by far the contrary when compared to Hitlers methods. Instead of intimidating the soldiers of the enemies that he captured, they were treated humanly under relatively good conditions including being well-fed. They were then offered the oppournity to defect to his army, as he understood these soldiers were not corrupted and also would have had a grudge against Batista and his high friends who benefited from corruption. By doing so, they successfully defected to Castros group in his favour.