A country that wishes to be in the forefront of modernization cannot survive without a strong, fruitful economy. In the 1920’s the leading powers went into economic depression and nearly collapsed. However: a decade later single party leaders such as Stalin and Hitler took a firm hold on their economically stricken countries and raised them to great heights. Yet as quickly as it (the economy) is raised it can also just as quickly fall into shambles.
In the 1930’s there was a certain man by the name of Adolf Hitler. His potential as a powerful leader was immediately noticed and he slowly gained power until finally (through elections) becoming supreme leader of Germany through the creation of his infamous workers party the Nazi’s. The Nazi party at this point in time had an enormous affect on the German people. They (the Nazis) were able to raise crippled Germany so that it would once again become powerful. They did this through what is called Hitler’s “economic miracle”.
Hitler’s “economic miracle” can be perceived as positive from the German civilian/citizen point of view because jobs were being created and the Nazi party was rising to meet the needs of the German people, and according to Hitler unemployment ceased to exist: However if we refer to the statistics compiled by Dan Silverman’s Hitler’s Economy “Unemployment was reduced in Germany from 34 percent or about 6 million people, in January 1933, to 14 percent, or 2.5 million people, in January 19361” But what happened the 14 percent that wasn’t counted by Hitler? Well the other 14% was what Hitler did not count because they weren’t members of the master “Arian” race. Or in other words “the Marxian’s,, Socialists, Jews and pacifists who have lost their jobs and are cut off from relief; such persons do not appear in the official figures of unemployment. The refugees are ignored. In addition , at least a million people have been absorbed in the army, the labor service camps, the Nazi organization, and various party paid forms of labor on public works2” However pretty the economy looked for the Germans Hitler was having a hell of a battle maintaining it’s image. He (Hitler) had liquidated his once 97 million RM3 in gold to 72 million RM to pay for his rearmament of Germany.
But not even that was working because while “rearming”, natural resources where running low and Hitler did not want the people of Germany to ration. (This was done by Hitler so that the people of Germany did not think that there country was in need of something) So Hitler had only one solution invade the Rhineland “because he know it would be extraordinarily popular within Germany and divert the publics attention from his domestic difficulties2” Roberts comments that “there are 34 vital materials without which a nation cannot live, and unfortunately, Germany is the worst off it has only two in ample quantities-potash and coal.2” Hitler’s solution to this problem was war, as well as throughout the war maintain his four year plan. However as the war reached it’s end in 1944 “it was obvious ‘to all but fanatics [that] the war was economically lost’. Allied bombing had reduced oil supplies to a dangerously low level and disrupted transport facilities throughout the Reich, thereby dislocating the supply of coal, steel and other vital raw materials to the factories.4” In other words once again complete and udder economic failure for Germany as well as defeat in WWII. However for Russia under Stalin it was another story.
Joseph Stalin became leader of the Soviet Union after the Death of Lenin in 1924 and he immediately began to change agriculture and industry through his 5 year plan. He believed that the Soviet Union was one hundred years behind the Western superpowers and that Russia had to catch up as quickly as possible. “We are 100 years behind the advanced countries we must make good this lag in ten years. Either we do it, or they crush us!5”
The Soviet economy based itself on it’s agriculture. In the mid 1920’s there were about 25 million farms in the Soviet Union. The kulaks were considered as the more successful of the peasant farmers and Stalin ordered the liquidation of all kulaks in order to “collectivise” agriculture. However the collectivization was not successful and the peasants were un willing to sell their crop at the low price that Stalin had demanded. Therefor he demanded the destruction of all of their (kulaks) livestock, tools and crops. These tools were handed down to the peasants so that colletivasation could continue and it did: the industrial growth rate was rising at 20% every year. Yet throughout the collectivasation the industrial work was booming because of Stalins high demands for “targets” that a factory had to achieve within a five year period of time. These goals were an almost impossible task yet factories achieved them, even if it meant sometimes cheating on the actual numbers. Yet if you didn’t achieve the allocated goal or “target” or if you didn’t show up for work you would be punished and sent off to the Gulags. All of these hard goals allowed for Russia’s economy to boom when the others were in shambles.
A strong economy is an essential playing ground for separating the seemingly strong country from a weak one. Yet to say that single party states usually try to control the national economy but always fail is a too broad of a statement. Germany although seemingly strong on the outside was very weak and corrupt inside, Yet Russia which was seemingly weak on the outside was strong in the inside.