Polemics & Exchanges

On Hitler and Stalin

Josef Schüsslburner’s “The Yoke of Democracy” (Correspondence, March) makes valid comparisons between the brutal Stalin and Hitler regimes.  His explanation of the relative lack of prominence in Germany of the 60th anniversary of the July 20, 1944, assassination attempt against Hitler is interesting within the context of this comparison.

Why was Stalin more successful than Hitler in eliminating threats to his regime?  In Russia, Lenin’s Bolsheviks succeeded in grasping power and eventually eradicated the whole Russian imperial army, replacing it with a new military force that we used to call the Red Army.

Such did not happen in Germany.  There, the so-called Spartacus rebellion of 1919, led by the communist Karl Liebknecht and the charismatic Rosa Luxemburg, was crushed mainly by decommissioned German imperial officers.  (My father, a young lieutenant after the 1918 defeat, participated.)  The communist revolution, which had been so successful in Russia, failed in Germany.  The old imperial German army reemerged, as a part of Hitler’s army.  Eventually, some became disenchanted with the Nazi government and tried to eliminate this regime (though others remained loyal to Hitler).  Had the assassination plot against Hitler been successful, there might have been a...

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