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Tyranny & Totalitarianism (Democracy and Empire): Is Hitler considered a Tyrant?

The ancient use of tyranny differs greatly from the modern use of tyranny. The pre-modern definition of a tyrant is someone who came to power in a non-hereditary way and has absolute power. In modern times, the definition of tyrant has dramatically changed to a cruel or oppressive ruler. Someone who was good at first, then gradually became corrupted. Not only is the meaning of tyranny different, the use of tyranny now describes more of a totalitarianism more than ancient use of tyranny. In other words, using philosophy to control all areas of human life is more prevalent now than ever before. 

According to SpeakEasy, “The worst tyrannies of all time have happened in just the last century, and they’ve all been totalitarian tyrannies.” One of the most common tyrannies is that of Adolf Hitler. Hitler first started as a dominant speaker, was voted as Chairman of the party, and took total control. Hitler gained support by attacking the Treaty of Versailles and advocating anti-communism, pan-germanism, and antisemitism, using Nazi Propaganda. Due to his tyranny, the public were afraid for their lives and therefore, did not speak up against him or his policies. He abused his power in order to control and manipulate everyone around him.  

According to Tyrants and Dictators, after gaining power Hitler “transformed the Weimar Republic into the Third Reich, a single-party dictatorship based on the totalitarian and autocratic ideology of Nazism. Adolf Hitler started World War II and initiated the Holocaust causing milions of Jews to be murdered. According to Reference, “He was responsible for the deaths of millions, including soldiers in the war and civilians killed in Nazi concentration camps.” Adolf Hitler’s hostile foreign policy and racially driven ideology concluded in the deaths of millions of Jews and others. This validates Hitler’s tyranny because not only did he rule by himself, he did not allow other people to have a voice as the public or even in the government. 

Using this crucial moment in history, the term “tyrant” is used correctly. Adolf Hitler murdered six million Jews, he did not allow fair elections, and he invaded countries that did not want war. 

Overall, both the ancient term and the modern term represents Hitler’s claim to power. To support the ancient use, Hitler came of power by acquiring it, not from inheritance. Also, to support the modern use, he over used his power in order to dominate and murder millions of people. However, if we are to look at the bigger picture, it is more apparent that the rule of Hitler is depicted more from the modern term due to his cruelty and savagery, than the ancient term.

Along with the post rise of democracy, the circumstances of Hitler’s rule is similar to totalitarianism. Tyranny and totalitarianism are very alike. Hitler essentially ran a totalitarian system due to absolute oversight of the government and the people. A totalitarian government does not permit individual freedom, the ruler has complete control, and opposition is prohibited. His government ran, facilitated, and enforced his entire power. This resulted in all basic human rights deprived such as freedom of speech and freedom of expression. This allowed Adolf Hitler’s government to influence and regulate opinions and actions by way of propaganda, threats, and deceitful information. 

Tyranny holds a rooted significance in ancient and modern rulers. It has both positive and negative connotations and may very well be used in either way. Today, we are naturally informed that a tyrant is negative and is looked down upon. Adolf Hitler’s use of power was tyranny and unanimously, without doubt a corrupt but successful leader.

⎯⎯⎯ Kolbi-Monet Green

Word Count: 600

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