Leadership

Leadership from the top.   Two books, Three New Deals by Wolfgang Schivelbusch and Beyond Totalitarianism, a book with a collection of works by various authors, explored the term leadership and how it applied to FDR, Hitler, and Stalin. Schivelbusch’s book two new deals focused on the connection FDR and Hitler had with its population using the term ‘charisma’ while Chapter 2 of Beyond Totalitarianism primarily focused on the political make up of Hitler and Stalin and the differences between the two men.

In Chapter two of Schivelbush’s book, he focuses on the how FDR and Hitler made connections with its population using ‘Charisma.’ Specifically, Schivelbush refers to the term “Charisma” when he discusses FDR and Hitler.  Schivelbush discussed what a charismatic leader is and how they arise.  He stated that a charismatic leader “is a man who stands above party politics” and that the charismatic leader “arises in crisis situations”.1  As examples, Schivelbusch pointed out how FDRs fireside chat and Hitlers rallies were used to rally the population.  In his fireside chats, FDR attempted to rally the US population in hopes to raise their moral levels during the Great Depression and World War II.   Interestingly enough, Schivelbusch notes that no other person could pull off the fireside chats like Roosevelt. ((SchivelBusch, WolfGang. Three New Deals. New York: Henry Holt and Company 2006. 56))  In his way of boosting the German population, Hitler used speeches to promote his opinions and facts.  Schivelbusch noted that Hitler had a particular way of presenting his speeches.  He noted that Hitler’s speeches had three parts.  Hitler speeches entailed presenting facts, then angrily blame German enemies for the problems, and then end his speeches with “positive” tone.  ((SchivelBusch, WolfGang. Three New Deals. New York: Henry Holt and Company 2006. 56))  Hitler used these speeches to let the German population know that Germany was going to be strong and that its ‘enemies’ would not get in the way.  While FDR’s speech came in a more calm and collected manner in hopes to boost American moral, Hitler wanted Germans to get excited about the future, a future where Germany would be strong again.

Yoram Gorlizki and Hans Mommsen’s piece on Stalinism and National Socialism in the book Beyond Totalitarianism also discussed Hitlers ability to talk.  Like Schivelbush’s chapter on leadership, Girlizki and Mommsen discussed how Hitlers ability to talk was key to his authority.  The authors argued that all of Hitlers “most important policy decisions were accompanied by major speeches.”2

 

Schivelbush’s chapter on Hitler and FDR and Gorlizki and Mommsen’s share a common theme.  They both discuss the characteristics of leaders and how they were a leader of men.  Although Schivelbush used FDR instead of Gorlizki and Mommsen’s use of Stalin, they both discuss how these leaders have certain characteristics that make them capable of leading their countries and boosting their populations moral, regardless of how history views them. FDR had the ability to give a strong and confident voice to the American people to get through hard times in his Fire side chats.  Hitler also used speeches to boost German unity and confidence through his rally’s.  Stalin on the contrary used his ability of working long hours “on the machinery of the government” to push his regime forward. ((Gorlizki, Yoram and Hans Mommsen.  “The Political ‘dis’orders of Stalinism and National Socialism” in Beyond Totalitarianism: Stalinism and Nazism Compared, edited by Michael Geyer and Sheila Fitzpatrick. 64-65. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009))

 

 

  1. SchivelBusch, WolfGang. Three New Deals. New York: Henry Holt and Company 2006. 50 []
  2. Gorlizki, Yoram and Hans Mommsen.  “The Political ‘dis’orders of Stalinism and National Socialism” in Beyond Totalitarianism: Stalinism and Nazism Compared, edited by Michael Geyer and Sheila Fitzpatrick. 64-65. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009 []

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