Joseph Stalin is equivalent to Adolf Hitler
A number of authors have carried out comparisons of Nazism and Stalinism, in which they have considered the issues of whether the two ideologies were similar or different, how these conclusions affect understanding of 20th century history, what relationship existed between the two regimes, and why both of them came to prominence at the same time. The answers to all these questions are disputed. During the 20th century, the comparison of Stalinism and Nazism was made on the topics of totalitarianism, ideology, and personality. Both regimes were seen in contrast to the liberal West, with an emphasis on the similarities between the two, while their differences from each other were minimized. Hannah Arendt, Carl Friedrich and Zbigniew Brzezinski were prominent advocates of this "totalitarian" interpretation. The totalitarian model was challenged in the 1970s by political scientists who sought to understand the Soviet Union in terms of modernization, and by the functionalist historians, Martin Broszat and Hans Mommsen, who argued that the Nazi regime was far too disorganized to be considered totalitarian. The comparison of Stalinism and Nazism, which was conducted on a theoretical basis by political scientists during the Cold War, is now approached on the basis of empirical research, now that greater information is available. However it remains a neglected field of academic study.
Similarities between Stalinism and Nazism
Though the Nazi party was ideologically opposed to communism, Adolf Hitler and other Nazi leaders frequently expressed recognition that only in Soviet Russia were their revolutionary and ideological counterparts were to be found. Adolf Hitler admired Stalin and Stalinism, and on numerous occasions publicly praised Stalin for seeking to purify the Communist Party of the Soviet Union of Jewish influences, noting the purging of Jewish communists such as Leon Trotsky, Grigory Zinoviev, Lev Kamenev, Karl Radek. Joseph Stalin admired Adolf Hitler and showed admiration for the 1934 purge, the Night of the Long Knives.
Political violence and violent societies
Works by historians such as Ernst Nolte, Andreas Hillgruber and others in the 1980s compared the policies of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin, and drew a parallel between the concentration camp system in the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany.
Margarete Buber-Neumann in her memoirs from both communist (1937–1940) and nazi (1940–1945) concentration camps found methods of both regimes to be very similar. After she was released from Ravensbrück concentration camp she summarized her observations as follows:
Between the misdeeds of Hitler and those of Stalin, in my opinion, there exists only a quantitative difference. To be sure, Communism as an idea was originally positive, and National Socialism never was positive; it was, since its origin and from its beginning, criminal in its aims and its programme. I don't know if the Communist idea, if its theory, already contained a basic fault or if only the Soviet practice under Stalin betrayed the original idea and established in the Soviet Union a kind of Fascism.— Under Two Dictators (page 300, location 6456, Kindle edition)
Creating the "New Man"
Differences between Stalinism and Nazism
Atrocities of the two regimes
History and scholarship of the comparisons
The Origins of Totalitarianism
In modern politics
The comparison of Nazism and Stalinism has long provoked political controversy, and it led to the historians' dispute within Germany in the 1980s. The debate has continued since the fall of the Soviet Union and the expansion of the European Union into former Soviet Union territory, resulting in pronouncements such as the Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism and various related developments known as the Prague Process, supported mainly by the European Union members most affected by Stalinism.
After the revolutions of 1989, European bodies such as the European Union and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe are increasingly treating Nazism and Stalinism (or sometimes more broadly, fascism and communism) as two comparable forms of totalitarianism. Growing efforts have been made to link the two in museums, public monuments, and commemorative days and events.
The 2008 Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism, initiated by the Czech government and signed by figures such as Václav Havel, called for "a common approach regarding crimes of totalitarian regimes, inter alia Communist regimes" and for "reaching an all-European understanding that both the Nazi and Communist totalitarian regimes each to be judged by their own terrible merits to be destructive in their policies of systematically applying extreme forms of terror, suppressing all civic and human liberties, starting aggressive wars and, as an inseparable part of their ideologies, exterminating and deporting whole nations and groups of population; and that as such they should be considered to be the main disasters, which blighted the 20th century."
The Communist Party of Greece opposes the Prague Declaration and has criticized "the new escalation of the anti-communist hysteria led by the EU council, the European Commission and the political staff of the bourgeois class in the European Parliament." The Communist Party of Britain opined that the Prague Declaration "is a rehash of the persistent attempts by reactionary historians to equate Soviet Communism and Hitlerite Fascism, echoing the old slanders of British authors George Orwell and Robert Conquest."
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe's (OSCE) Vilnius Declaration, while "acknowledging the uniqueness of the Holocaust," stated that "in the twentieth century European countries experienced two major totalitarian regimes, Nazi and Stalinist, which brought about genocide, violations of human rights and freedoms, war crimes and crimes against humanity." The Economist argued that "despite Russia's protests, Stalin was no less villainous than Hitler" but noted: "The debate will not change the world: the parliamentary assembly is just a talking shop on the sidelines of the 56-member OSCE. Its resolutions are not legally binding."
Since 2009, the European Union has officially commemorated the European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism, proclaimed by the European Parliament in 2008 and endorsed by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe in 2009, and officially known as the Black Ribbon Day in some countries (including Canada).
The President of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Pöttering, argued that "both totalitarian systems (Stalinism and Nazism) are comparable and terrible."
In some eastern European countries the denial of both fascist and communist crimes has been explicitly outlawed, and Czech foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg has argued that "there is a fundamental concern here that totalitarian systems be measured by the same standard." However, the European Commission rejected calls for similar EU-wide legislation, due to the lack of consensus among member states.
The European Union has established the Platform of European Memory and Conscience, an educational project originally proposed by the Prague Declaration, to promote the equal evaluation of totalitarian crimes in Europe. Several EU member states have established government agencies and research institutes tasked with the evaluation of totalitarian crimes, which draw parallels between Nazism and Stalinism or between fascism and communism. These include the Czech Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, the Polish Institute of National Remembrance, the Lithuanian International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania, and the Hungarian House of Terror museum. An all-party group in the European Parliament, the Reconciliation of European Histories Group, has been formed to promote public awareness of the crimes of all the totalitarian regimes at the EU level.
A statement adopted by Russia's legislature said that comparisons of Nazism and Stalinism are "blasphemous towards all of the anti-fascist movement veterans, Holocaust victims, concentration camp prisoners and tens of millions of people …who sacrificed their lives for the sake of the fight against the Nazis' anti-human racial theory."