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Dictator #1: Josef Stalin
Dictator #2: Benito Mussolini
Dictator #3: Adolph Hitler
Economic conditions in Russia, Germany, and Italy in the 1920's and 1930's led to the rise of totalitarian dictatorships. Fascism rose up in Italy under Mussolini, which inspired Hitler's more extreme form of fascism in Nazi Germany. Communism rose up in Russia after the Russian Revolution under the guidance of Vladimir Lenin and his Bolsheviks. After Lenin's death, Stalin took power and led the newly formed Soviet Union.
Next up: Responses to Totalitarian Aggression
Warm up for the brain: What are the characteristics of a dictatorship? A democracy? A constitutional monarchy? Click here to check your answers.
Time to vote! Read through the descriptions of three candidatesfor leader of your country in the 1930's. Think about what is going on in the world during this time. Pick which one you would want to lead, then click here to find out about your candidate.
CLEAR TARGET: Analyze the reasons for and consequences of the rise of fascism and totalitarianism in Europe during the 1930’s, including the actions of Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin.
Josef Stalin (real name Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili...try saying that three times real fast!) was dictator of the U.S.S.R. from approximately 1927 until his death in 1953. His rule was marked by the creation of a police state, terror, fear, mass killing, the gulag system, a world war, and the start of the Cold War. Stalin's attempts at reforms included collectivization in agriculture and a series of five-year plans for industry, both costing the lives of many of his own people. Click here to discover how the Soviet "Man of Steel" rose to power and ruled the communist U.S.S.R.
Benito Mussolini was prime minister/dictator of Italy from 1925 until his dismissal from power in 1943. His rule was marked by the rise of fascism in Italy. All things in Italy were done for the glory of the state as Mussolini sought to unite Italians by restoring the glory of the old Roman Empire . A series of public work projects, police state, propaganda, and extreme nationalism were all elements of fascist Italy. Click here to discover how Mussolini "Il Duce" and his fascists rose to power in Italy prior to WWII.
Adolph Hitler was dictator of Germany from 1934 to his death in 1945. He was leader of the Nazi party, which eventually permeated into every facet of German society. Hitler promised the creation of a third German Empire (Third Reich) that would rule a thousand years. The use of the Gestapo (secret police), extreme nationalism, racist policies, and the mass killing of "inferior peoples" characterized Germany under Hitler and his Nazis. Click here to discover how Hitler rose to power in Germany prior to WWII.
The aftermath of World War I paved the way for the rise of dictators in Europe. The Treaty of Versailles that concluded World War I placed heavy reparations, or payments, on Germany that the country could not finance. The post-war years were marked by instability as well as humiliation in Germany, as Germany also had to accept blame for causing World War I. In addition, Germany lost land in the Treaty of Versailles, and the German people, charged with a sense of nationalism, looked for a leader who could restore their economic power and reclaim their place in the world. In 1933, they found this leader in Hitler.
Italy had entered World War I on the side of the Allies and was promised a great deal of land in return, including parts of the Ottoman Empire, islands in the Adriatic, and lands along the border of Austria-Hungary. The Allies did not deliver on these promises, making the Treaty of Versailles unpopular in Italy. As a result of these broken promises, the country harbored sentiment against England and France, helping Mussolini's rise, as he built on this sentiment to gain power.
The Treaty of Versailles also resulted in a weak League of Nations, an international peacemaking body. The United States never signed the covenant, making the League of Nations relatively weak and unable to prevent future wars.