Why Do We Hate Hitler More than Stalin?

I always thought we hated Hitler more than Stalin because there was more documentary, pictorial, and videographic evidence of Hitler's atrocities, and that Stalin did a better job of covering up his and his country's crimes.

That may be a partial explanation, but in reading The Anti-Communist Manifestos, I have discovered another, much more substantial reason.

Beginning in 1941, Hitler's Nazi Germany was seen as a juggernaut, and the world felt that only the Soviet Army was strong enough to stop it. In the mid-1930's, says John V. Fleming in his book The Anti-Communist Manifestos:
The nearly universal concern of American opinion makers of the...1930's...was Hitler's Germany. The great enemy was Fascism.  There were three regimes in the Fascist camp--Italy, Germany, and Franco's Spain..  The great enemy of Fascism, and many thought the only committed and adequate one, was the Soviet Union.

Roosevelt and Churchill realized [felt] that the only force that could defeat Hitler was the Red Army. (pp. 111-113)

In 1938 and 1939, that began to change.  The absurdities of Stalin's Soviet show trials began to come to light.  Then, to the surprise of nearly everyone, Stalin joined forces with Hitler.
From the beginning of September 1939 to the middle of June 1941--the period of the start of the war in Euope, of Hitler's sensational conquest of France, his frustration in Britain--the Soviet Union was the ally of Nazi Germany, busily gobbling up half of Poland and as much of Finland as [possible].  

Embarrassed, Western Communists went largely into hiding.  But then a stroke of good luck for them ensued.  Hitler attacked the Soviet Union.
All of this changed...with dramatic suddenness, when Hitler unleashed his invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941.  Now Western Communists rushed to encourage a United Front in defense of democracy, civilization, and the Soviet Union.  Almost overnight, American anti-communism became something rather more than inexpedient or undiplomatic--it became unpatriotic.  With Hitler's invasion of Russia in June, and the resurfacing of the American communist officials as superpatriot cheerleaders for a United Front, things changed abruptly.

That is how Hitler became the goat of the 20th century.  And that, unfortunately, is how America came to give Stalin the Butcher a pass.

And to think that American bankers provided the the cover that, in one case, brought one of these megalomaniacs (Hitler) to power and, in the other, ensured that the other (Stalin) would remain in power.  In retrospect, both leaders were mass murderers, and from that perspective, neither is more evil than the other.  From sheer numbers of homicides, however, Stalin makes Hitler look like a school girl by comparison.

But you don't learn that in school.  How unfortunate.


  1. One reason we don't learn that account in school is that it is inaccurate. You are not reading history, you are reading an extreme right-winger's fantasy of the past.

    The US establishment was far more in favor of Hitler than Communist Russia in the 1930's as witness the close collaboration with the Nazi government by such establishment figures as Senator Prescott Bush and the IBM Corporation. When the Spanish Civil War pitted the fascists against leftists in a direct conflict, the few Americans who went to the aid of the leftists anti-fascist resistance were condemned as Commies and blacklisted for decades. Supporting fascism was as American as apple pie.

    The US establishment always feared Communism more than Fascism because fascism is a fusion of corporate power with totalitarian government while communism would overthrow corporate power.

  2. Charles: I understand the history of IBM, Spain, etc. as you describe it. But the historical reality today is that history books paint Hitler as much more of a madman than Stalin. How did we get to that point?

  3. I don't know that we have. I haven't read any histories that portray Stalin as any less a madman than Hitler. Hitler is more important to the course of world events than Stalin because of his aggression and the fact that the Holocaust murdered millions in several different countries. Stalin did his mass murder within the borders of his own country which probably accounts for both his ability to cover up his crimes for so long and the more prominent focus on Hitler. I doubt there was any conspiracy of historians to make Stalin look good, if that's your point.

  4. I think it's more general than that. When you name the ultimate evil person, you name Hitler, maybe because he was specific in wanting to wipe Jews from the face of the Earth while Stalin was less discriminating over who to kill. But when you name the two most ultimately evil people, it's always Hitler and Stalin. Hitler might have surpassed Stalin's body count had he won World War II, but then he would have needed to be a little more mentally stable to win, and had he been a little more mentally stable, maybe he wouldn't have killed so many people... Oh look, I'm eating my own tail.


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