In Chapter 11 of Russia a History, Freeze compares Stalin and the Nazi’s rise to power. This was a compelling observation to me so I looked into “The Cult of Personality” in Seventeen Moments which describes this as “a situation in which a public figure (such as a political leader) is deliberately presented to the people of a country as a great person who should be admired and loved.” 
Beloved Stalin-People’s Happiness! portrays Stalin as a respectable, well-liked leader. When Russians put their trust in Stalin, they remain happy and united. “The idealized figure of Stalin represented in mass culture also spoke to a perceived need for vigorous leadership in Soviet society. Thus Stalin often appeared in a magnetic aura of charisma that went far beyond his political role, leaving many of the Soviet citizens lucky enough to meet him mesmerized.” 
Hitler was similarly able to gather the masses and was also well known as a powerful, charismatic head of state. “Fascism typically evolves in countries that have experienced overwhelming crisis and victimization with the desire for communal purification and a strong, charismatic leader who manifests the group’s destiny.”  Like Stalin, Nazi propaganda focused on centralized leadership and national unity.
Stalin also manipulated his public image by having books rewritten to depict him more favorably and had cities named after him. Like in Nazi Germany, the Communist party attempted to portray their leader as God-like and capable of saving the nation. Both groups exploited ‘enemies of the state’ by use of propaganda mediums such as film, radio, newspaper, posters, and art. While Nazi Germany used the failure of the Weimar Republic to gather support, Stalin glorified the Communist Revolution to bring together socialist patronage.
Interestingly, both groups also focused propaganda on children. The Hitler Youth program and Stalin concentrated on the belief that their parties and future stability depended on the education of each nation’s children.
What other connections do you make between Stalinism and Nazism? Why would this later be ironic? What similarities do you see in their propaganda techniques? What are other similarities in these regimes? Is it a coincidence both men rose to power in the 1930s?
 “Cult Of Personality | Definition of Cult Of Personality by Merriam-Webster.” Dictionary and Thesaurus | Merriam-Webster. Accessed March 12, 2017. https://www.merriamwebster.com/dictionary/cult%20of%20personality.
 “Cult of Personality.” Seventeen Moments in Soviet History. Accessed March 12, 2017. http://soviethistory.msu.edu/1939-2/cult-of-personality/.
 Robert O. Paxton, The Anatomy of Fascism (New York: Vintage Books), 219.
All posters are from Google Images