1 September 1939: Adolf Hitler invades an unsuspecting Poland that started one of the most devastating wars in the history of the world. From this attack, Hitler went on to concur other great nations in Eastern Europe. Hitler’s reign of terror resulted in the death of millions of Jews living in Eastern Europe and countless lives of American soldiers.
11 September 2001: Two planes hit the World Trade Center, a plane hits the Pentagon, and a plane crashes in Pennsylvania. It is immediately thought that terrorism is the cause of these disasters. Later, Osama Bin Laden is named the prime suspect in the first attack on American soil since the Pearl Harbor attack in World War II. This tragedy resulted in the death of over 5000 American firefighters, businessmen, and other civilians.
Though these events in history seem rather different, there are some connections in the main parties involved: Hitler and Bin Laden. These two men are reasonable for a lot of death and devastation in the past 100 years, and they both basically had the same goal: to take over the world. First, to understand why these two men wanted to take over the world, we must first understand their background.
Hitler was born in 1889 in Braunau, Austria. Hitler’s early child was fairly normal, as he received high marks in elementary school. In 1903, Hitler’s father died and Hitler dropped out of high school two years later at the age of 16. After his mother drew a widow pension and bought some land, Hitler stayed home and did not work. He dreamed of being an artist. Hitler moved to Vienna in 1907 were he tried to pursue his dream of being an artist. He wanted to attend the Academy of Fine Arts, but he failed the entrance exam twice. In 1907, Hitler’s mother died and he received an inheritance from his mother, an aunt, and he received an orphan’s pension. He lived ideally in Vienna for the next few years and got interested in politics and admired the effective leadership of the Social Democratic Workers’ Party of Vienna. He also developed a strong hatred for the Jews and Slavs. In 1914 Hitler joined the armed forces of the German Army and gradually moved his way up the ranks as World War I progressed.
After Germany’s defeat, the country was in turmoil. Hitler wanted to bring power back to Germany. He joined the National Socialist German Workers’ Party and it became known as the Nazi party. Through the next years Hitler created the storm troopers, which were his personal army. Though the 1920’s Hitler tried to overthrow the German government but he was unsuccessful and was incarcerated. After he was released from jail, Hitler reorganized the Nazi party and by 1933 the Nazi’s were a major political party. In 1933 Hitler became the Chancellor of Germany and by 1935 started limiting the rights of Jews in the country, and by the late 1930’s, Hitler was the dictator of Germany. Hitler started invading lands and in 1939 he invaded Poland and started World War II. Hitler occupied most of Eastern Europe by 1945, but when he realized that he was losing the war and might have to surrender, Hitler killed himself in April of 1945.
Bin Laden was born in 1957 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to a wealthy Saudi family. He studied civil engineering and management in King Abdul Aziz University in Jidda. In 1979, he left Saudi Arabia to join a militant group to Pakistan who were fighting against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. In Pakistan, Bin Laden founded an organization that recruited Muslim fighters from around the world to join the mujahideen. He also brought in construction equipment to aid the guerrillas and fought in several major battles. After the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989, Bin Laden returned to Saudi Arabia.
In 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait, sparking the Persian Gulf War. Saudi leaders feared that Iraq would next try to take over the oil fields in eastern Saudi Arabia. The United States and a number of other nations sent troops to Saudi Arabia to protect that country and help drive the Iraqis out of Kuwait. The placement of bases and troops by America and other western countries in Saudi Arabia infuriated Bin Laden and demanded that they leave. Bin Laden was eventually forced out of Saudi Arabia because of political reasons and pressure from the United States and other countries. Bin Laden fled to Afghanistan were he was under the protection the Taliban as he supplied them with money and weapons. He lives in Afghanistan to this day and still supports the Taliban.
One aspect that both Hitler and Bin Laden have in common is a common goal and a common enemy. What this means is that both Hitler and Bin Laden focus their effort toward one particular thing. Both of these men have a goal, and in order to achieve this goal, they must conquer their enemy. First, a look at Hitler’s goals and enemies.
Hitler’s first goal was to take over Germany. The way Hitler did this was by giving passionate speeches to huge masses of people. Stewart Ross says in his book Causes and Consequences of World War II, “Hitler was one of the best public speakers that Germany had ever seen. Hitler gave the people hope they needed to get though the suffering they were enduring.”(27) Though his political expertise and the state in which Germany was in, the people nominated Hitler as Chancellor. After he was nominated, Hitler soon took over the entire government and became the dictator of Germany. His second goal was to eliminate the Jewish population in Germany. The Jews became the common enemy of Germany and nothing would stop Hitler from achieving the goal of destroying all of the Jews. Eventually, Hitler expanded his hatred toward other people. Hitler had created in his mind the perfect race in which only the Germany that fit certain criteria, such as blonde hair and blue eyes, could live in his perfect society. Other people such as the handicapped, the mentally ill, and homosexuals were victim to his purification of Germany. But Hitler did not just have Germany in mind of his ethnic cleansing. Hitler wanted to eventually concur the world. He wanted the Third Reich to be the only power in the world and he wanted to be in control of it all. Also, Hitler felt he needed praise. Alan Bullock says in his book Hitler, “No less striking was his constant need of praise. His vainity was inappeasable and the most fulsome flattery was received as no more than his due.”(383) For German people, having the Jews as a common enemy seem to unite them and help them get out the slump they had been in for so long, but they didn’t realize what it was costing them. Most people might not have agreed with Hitler, but he was doing the county good and seemed to keep them at the forefront of the world.
For Bin Laden, enemy might be different, but his motives can seem similar. Bin Laden’s main goal is to destroy America and the entire western world. He hates what America stands for and hates capitalism in general. He supplies money and weapons to anyone that terrorism the free world and anyone who doesn’t obey the Koran. He will not stop until everyone in the world is a follower of Islam and that capitalism is no more. He also supports the incredibly oppressionistic government of the Taliban. Bin Laden want to rule over the world just as Hitler did, but under the guise of religion and not for his own personal gain. If he dies trying, his people will consider him a hero for his people. Hitler, on the other hand, did not believe in any god. He wanted to concur the world for his own self-satisfaction.
It is no surprise that these men were probably the most dangerous men in the last 100 years. Whether they use the tactics of organized war efforts or the shady ways of terrorism, their egos and beliefs are what drive them to their goal of world domination. Thankfully one of the villains is already dead. His ego got the best of him and he killed himself. Unfortunately, the other man is still at large and one the most dangerous men today, and he has no plans on killing himself anytime soon. We can only count on our resilience and strength to overcome another enemy of such terror and evil.