Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin – Comparison

Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin -  Comparison

Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin

Many more people are familiar with Hitler’s death camps of World War II then they are of Stalin’s prison-like Gulag, since many of Stalin’s murderous purges were done pre World War II during peace time.  There are people who claim that Stalin’s Gulag killed two times the amount of those who died at Hitler’s hands, but recent scholars studying the Soviet Union’s records have found this not to be the case.

Germans were responsible primarily for World War II.  Statistics have the Germans in Hitler’s Nazi regime responsible for 11 million deaths; including 5.4 million Jews who were deliberately murdered or annihilated, in what has been termed the Holocaust.  Stalin and the USSR were thought once to have murdered and killed over 25 million, but the figure due to research and work of scholars from Germany, Russia and Israeli that figure is closer to 6 million.  Which is worse, is like asking which is the worst way to die; by gas chamber or firing squad. What does it matter, they both create the same result.


In more analyzation between the two dictators, it is now known that many of Stalin’s purges were ethnic oriented, even before Hitler’s.  Stalin wanted to liquidate the group of people considered peasants or Kulaks to control agriculture and build industry.  A 1930 Russian poster read: “We will smite the Kulak who agitates for reducing cultivated acreage.”  Stalin knowingly requisitioned grain from the Ukraine knowing it would kill millions by starvation.  Closing off the borders of the country from escaping, sealed that fate. Stalin’s time of the “Great Terror” was 1937 with the victims being mostly peasants.

Hitler’s murderous reign started when the two leaders were allies after the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and they invaded Poland. Then, Hitler betrayed Stalin and Germany attacked the USSR in an effort to take land.  As historians have revealed, Hitler’s goal and the reason for his actions, included murder, executions, incarcerations and atrocities committed in the name of racial imperialism. During his regime, he employed euthanasia by carbon monoxide asphyxiation and another gas called Zyklon B at Auschwitz and Majdanek. The Germans deliberately murdered by gas chambers 5.4 million Jews of mostly Polish and Russian heritage, plus another 165,000 German Jews.

Who was the worst, Stalin or Hitler?

Hitler brought about the Holocaust, and the shocking treatment of Jews, homosexuals, the disabled and Gypsies during World War II.  He and the Nazi party were responsible for 11 million deaths, deceptions, and betrayals, lack of humanity, false propaganda, and ultimate destruction. He operated death camps solely for extermination.

Stalin, mostly pre-World War II, was responsible for slaughters and deaths due to political ideologies.  His Gulag camp was more a prison under some semblance of a legal incarceration system and not intended to be a death camp. The early prisoners were political dissidents and those who opposed his ideology.  The inadequate food, insufficient clothing for the extreme weather and physical abuses led to many deaths however.


Stalin, like Hitler wanted to eradicate certain ethnic groups of people, and was guilty of inhumane treatment.  Gulag, however, actually did carry out sentences like a penal system and free some prisoners; no one got out of Hitler’s death camps, and those in concentration camps and work camps were only released when Germany surrendered.

Both Germany and Russia were enemies of the United States and each other at one time during the 20th century.

  • 1939 Germany and the Soviet Union were allies.
  • 1941 The Soviet Union and the United States were allies against Germany and Japan.
  • 1949 The United States and the Federal Republic of Germany were allies of a sort, as they were both members of NATO during the Cold War against Russia and the Soviets and other Eastern European Allies, including a smaller German republic.

Why are Hitler’s atrocities more well-known than Stalin’s in America?  Probably because the United States was allied with the Soviets during World War II and since most of Stalin’s slaughters were pre-war, they were downplayed in US war propaganda.

Another interesting aspect of the figures given to murders in both Hitler’s and Stalin’s dictatorships, are the mutual crossovers of responsibility.  The lands most affected by ethnic prosecutions and death during World War II, had changed hands three times; Soviets in 1939, Germans in 1941 and the Soviets again in 1944.

Other considerations for statisticians:

The Germans had many POWs from the Soviet Union who died in Germany mainly because Stalin ordered them not to retreat.  The Germans shot many Soviets who deliberately provoked the action.  The Germans murdered many civilians in the battle at Warsaw because Stalin ordered them to rise up then deserted them to die.

500,000 prisoners died in Stalin’s Gulug between 1941 and 1943 due to starvation caused by the German invasion. Which murderous butcher from which country was the guilty part in each of these cases?

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