Roosevelt's and Hitler's Views on the Causes of the Problems Their Countries Faced
Although Hitler and Roosevelt came to power at the same time and found themselves in charge of countries that were in a deep economic crisis, the analysis and comparison of their inaugural addresses demonstrate that they believed that causes of the problems their countries faced were somewhat different. Roosevelt (1933) believed that causes of problems of the United States were the internal failures of financial institutions and incompetence, selfishness, and inflexibility of owners of means of production and exchange. In other words, American economic problems were caused by mistakes and self-serving interests of American economic and financial elites. For example, Roosevelt (1933) stated, "The rulers of the exchange of mankind goods have failed, through their own stubbornness and their own incompetence...They know only the rules of a generation of self-seekers" (p. 4-5).
In his turn, Hitler (1933) believed that the causes of the problems that Germany faced were both external and internal. He felt that the external causes were the defeat in the World War I and a loss of a prominent position in the world politics. According to Hitler, internal causes were a lack of national and social unity, Communist ideology, and poor internal economic and social politics. He stated, "More than fourteen years ago [since German capitulation in 1918]...German people...lost touch with honor and freedom, thereby losing it all...when our nation lost it political place in the world, it soon lost its unity of spirit...fourteen years of Marxism have ruined Germany" (Hitler, 1933).
Solutions that Roosevelt and Hitler Offered
Roosevelt (1933) planned to combat unemployment by "direct recruiting by the Government" (p. 10) and "engaging on a national scale in redistribution" (p. 11) by taking people from industrial centers to rural areas where they could find employment in the agricultural sector. He intended to deal with agricultural problems by federal and state interventions aimed at preventing foreclosure of small farms and raising a value of agricultural products. Roosevelt (1933) planned to rescue banking, finance, and the entire economy by reorganizing the use of national resources, "national planning for and supervision" (p. 11) of public transportation industry and utilities, "strict supervision of all banking and credits and investments" (p. 12) to stop speculations on people's money, and making provisions to establish solid currency. Finally, Roosevelt considered international trade relations and foreign policy issues secondary and preferred to focus on internal issues.
Hitler (1933) offered to combat unemployment via making elimination of unemployment a number one priority, instituting "compulsory labor service", reorganizing trade and commerce, and promoting employment on an administrative level. He offered to deal with banking, finance, and general economy problems by "state economic administration" and close involvement of the national government in creating conditions to revive trade and commerce and "reorganization of the administrative and fiscal systems" and community life. Hitler proposed to solve agricultural problems by making it a priority to help farmers and farms. Finally, he offered to deal with foreign policy problems by restoring Germany's power on the international political arena and returning all the rights and political influence it lost after the defeat in WWI.
Similarities and Differences of Solutions Proposed by Roosevelt and Hitler
The analysis and comparison of Roosevelt's and Hitler's solutions demonstrate that they find common ground in focusing on combating unemployment, supporting an agricultural sector, and maintaining strong governmental involvement in reviving their economies. However, while Roosevelt suggested focusing on internal problems, Hitler proposed to pursue aggressive foreign policy and restore Germany's dominance in international politics. Finally, it seems that in regard to their positions, both leaders relied on support of masses and were confident that their positions could sufficiently empower them to make necessary economic, political, and social changes.