The Instigator
Albatross
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
TheSkeptic
Con (against)
Winning
27 Points

Hitler is one of the best leaders of all time

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
TheSkeptic
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/26/2010 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 45,014 times Debate No: 12416
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (27)
Votes (6)

 

Albatross

Pro

The argument- Hitler is one of the best leaders of all time

Leadership has been defined many ways but for the basis of this argument I find this one most all encompassing, leadership is "process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task." (1). If we use this definition we see where Hitler obviously excels in this category, he is one of the greatest orators of his day, and had the German people eating out of his hand.

You may be thinking that many men other then Hitler had this ability of influence but we see in Hitler the ability to inspire his people to switch from one distinct political ideology to another without bloodshed. He also brought Germany out of the deep depression they were suffering from in post world war 1 Europe. If we consider only that leadership is the ability of one person to influence others to support a common cause we see no equal to Hitler, no other person in history influenced as many people willingly into supporting one common cause without bloodshed.

Having given reasons why Hitler is one of the greatest leaders in history, i ask con to either disprove Hitler was a good leader or suggest a more influential individual in history.
TheSkeptic

Con

I thank my opponent for creating this interesting historical debate.

First, I want to note that evaluating whether a particular historical figure is the "best leader" of all time is inherently tricky and vague, given that 1. we don't have a clear definition of what constitutes a great leader and 2. even if we did, we don't have a specific way of measuring how much of a leader someone is. However, what we can do is approximate.

To be frank, I'm uninterested in arguing with my opponent about how Hitler rose to power. Let's assume for the sake of argument that Hitler did astounding things to achieve his position and control over Germany so quickly and effectively - and indeed, I will agree with this assessment. He was particularly adept at deceiving the common people, eliminating any political enemies, and blaming any problems Germany had at the time on someone/something else except himself. That, along with some other factors and his strong willed political goals was a perfect timing for the morale low Germany was going through.

However, what my point of contention focuses on is Hitler's conduct during the latter half of WW2. This is particularly relevant as a global war is as a good test for a leader as can be, especially when Hitler positioned himself to be the supreme commander of Germany's military. He had the erroneous central belief that strong will can guarantee victories - this was shown to be blatantly false given the outcome of WW2. Further, he was much too stubborn and suspicious of his subordinates, and a great leader that isolates his people can't be counted as such. Simply put, the characteristics that made him a great leader (strong will) also led to his downfall, as his terrible personality led to horrid military mistakes.

Being one of the best leaders of all time does not entail making yourself the supreme commander of your nation's military, and then going on to aid it's downfall.
Debate Round No. 1
Albatross

Pro

Thank you Con,

While my opponent is correct that evaluating any particular political leader as better or worse then another is tricky and depends on ones personal views. But I did provide a basis for which one could judge leaders, I defined leadership as the "process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task". My opponent conceded that Hitler was a great leader under this definition, what he went on to say though is that his other actions that led to the downfall of Germany disqualify him. Under the proposed definition this would not be of any great significance, he had in large part the support of the people up until the very end and for sometime afterword, this would make him an even better selection for best considering most politicians do not hold large popular support throughout a war.

Since my opponent has failed to prove under my definition(which I guess we are accepting) that Hitler was a bad leader and has also not brought up a better leader under the definition, my argument still stands until such a time as he can prove otherwise
TheSkeptic

Con

Hm, I was going to go into an angle of refuting your definition and what not, but time restrictions force me to play under your definition. Very well, I'll go along with your definition.

I would urge that a closer examination of your definition necessitates the following: a leader is greater if the social influence he exerts is a product of his own will, and not due to external circumstances/luck. Simply put, any lucky events that help my goal during my leadership does not necessarily reflect good leadership on my part (just that I'm lucky, or what not). In that case, Hitler was a good leader because he had impressive oratory power, charisma, and a perfect moment for taking advantage of the German people due to the conditions of the Treaty of Versailles, depression in 30's, etc. However, a large part of his success relies on the fact that the German people were particularly vulnerable -- at that point of time, many were out the streets looking for job, and in comes Hitler promising populist ideals and an idealized goal. Couple this with his charismatic public persona, and you have a nation quickly bowing down to his feet.

While this is impressive in some ways, if the political and economic atmosphere of Germany were different (i.e. better), I suspect the outcome of the Nazi party and Hitler would be much more different, and insignificant.

A counter example to your challenge of finding a "better leader" would be Alexander the Great. He is without a doubt of of the greatest military commanders, and his influence was immense (pushing Greek culture into foreign land, thus Hellenistic civilization).
Debate Round No. 2
Albatross

Pro

Thank you Con,

I will address your arguments in order of appearance. You say luck is what brought Hitler to power and without the specific conditions of Germany at the time he would not have done as well, im sure this would be the case but most if not all great leaders come at a time that the people need them. Would FDR done as well without the new deal and the great depression?, would the founding fathers had much success if Britain was not taxing the colonies to death?, would Vladimir Lenin have started the communist movement in Russia if conditions for the people were fine?, the answer to all these questions is no. You cant say conditions for Hitlers rise to power were any easier or harder then any other great leader ever known.

Another argument Con uses was that Alexander the great as a better leader, this may be true but not under the proposed definition. Alexander(as I will now refer to him) was born into power, he was the son of a king and inherited the throne when he was young. Alexander was a great military leader but he did not convince enemy provinces into joining his empire, unless you consider a siege convincing someone. Alexander took what he wanted by force without concern for the opinions of others.

PS. I know alot of people have other things to do then debate.org but could you please bring your argument in a more timely fashion, thank you
TheSkeptic

Con

I thank my opponent for this debate topic.

First, you are slightly misrepresenting my argument. I'm not claiming that luck was what brought Hitler to power, but that it's a significant factor to his rise of power. As I argued in the previous round, I claimed that an operational version of your proposed definition is to measure how much the social influence said individual caused due to his own will and not to external circumstances that simply involve him. In other words, you aren't a great leader simply because times were good under your rule and you get lucky - a good measurement of what deems one to be a great leader is when you can point at a change as a consequence of their choice. Discriminating between this distinction is important, as my argument lessens Hitler's status as an incredible leader.

I am not denying that Hitler was a great orator, and I am not denying that even under the circumstances Germany was in during the 30's it is still a hurdle to rally the country as Hitler did. However, I am claiming that this isn't as grand as you may express it to be -- after all, while effort is needed it basically consists of a large, susceptible country who have been charmed by the idealistic (but ultimately false) promises of their leader. Further unbeknown to them were the political dirty work Hitler did to squeal any possible political problem.

To add to my point, after Hitler basically became the supreme commander of Germany, he displayed numerous times disastrous failures on his part, both political and military. While Alexander made huge mistakes as well, his track record is much better than Hitler's (his undefeated military record being a notable mention).

===================
Alexander the Great
====================

Before I reference Alexander the Great, I want to note a sense of vagueness in this debate. The title implies that Hitler can, at the very least, be at par with other leaders. However, this is made unclear as in your second round you claim that if I can provide a better leader, I would negate your position. This would imply that you posit Hitler to be the greatest leader of all time -- I suppose at this point there is no way you can clarify, but I will work off this interpretation.

First, both Hitler and Alexander were military commanders, but the latter is obviously superior. His tactics are still being studied today, and he is commonly stated to be undefeated in battle (that is, despite the near-mutiny in India he has yet to lose a battle). Perhaps there are qualitative differences between political and military leaders, but first of all Hitler was one of the latter AND Alexander particularly shines in this role as he was apt with achieving a cohesive army for the most part of his legendary campaigns.

In terms of social influence (per your definition), Alexander introduced lasting influence with his most obvious contribution being Hellenistic civilization. Hitler mainly caused large turmoil and damage, but this isn't anything socially significant except to perhaps motivate many History channel documentaries, or more seriously lead to some other political conflicts. However, I don't count this into the equation as he probably didn't want to will these side effects - his goal was quite different, obviously. Again, remember that evaluating a leader even under your definition should be confined under the focus of their intent.

Alexander is clearly a superior leader given his ability to consolidate the many nation-states of Greece, amazing tactical ability in foreign land and against great odds (his army rarely succeeded 40K and were commonly far from supply lines), plus his ability to leave not wastelands but structured civilizations. Founding cities, canals, ports, etc. was what he accomplished as he spread throughout countries, meaning he wasn't a senseless barbarian.

Plus, the guy was just plain bad@ss - he fought in the front lines, and conquered a vast majority of the known world at the age most people graduate from universities ;)
Debate Round No. 3
27 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by goldman 6 years ago
goldman
Dear Albatross and theSkeptic,
I believe Hitler is one of the best leaders of the world not of all time. The important thing is that what kinds of human elements make he or she the best leader. We must distinguish the best leader from the great leader like Stalin and Mao Tse-tung. This is a very difficult problem. Best leader is a leader who try to help the nation overcome the serious recession and mass unemployment by spending public money to implement the public investment such as the construction of social infrastructure. This contributes to stimulating the economy and reducing the mass unemployment. He or she is admired and respected by those who are struggling their daily lives. For example, Hitler and Rosebelt who carried out the New Deal policy which was introduced to copeing with the Great Depression of the 1930s were some of the best leaders of the world. On the other hand the grest leaders are leaders who introduced the new political ideas and epch-making new economic policy into the country to build a new country which is far different from the country led and controlled by king or emperor who always pursue his own benefits not the welfare of the people. For example, Stalin and Mao Tse-tung are the great leaders of the world. Two leaders endeavored to build the Soviet Union and People Republic of China based on the idea of Karl Marx. They aimed at building the society without exploitation and promoting the cooperation between the general public and the political leaders. Their words and action inspired and stimulated to attain not only the individual goal but the national goal at the same time. Therefore these two political leaders are the great leaders. Their accomplishments are passed down on from generation to generation. Maoism and Stalinism are deeply penetrated into the minds and way of life among the people of both countries. These days there are a number of movements which extols the accomplishments of Stalin. He is one of the great
leaders.
Posted by Albatross 6 years ago
Albatross
if you had read the first like 3 sentences of my debate instead of just commenting and voting...you would realize i had a definition for measure of leadership that is un biased..and fits as you say "ability to charm the masses into giving power." which Hitler would score very high...which was the basis for my debate...but i see you dident do that
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
RoyLatham
One might define "best" as most adept at causing. through leadership, good things to happen. Churchill would score very high by that meaning. That's not going to work for Hitler, so some other meaning has to be used. One could go for "best" as "most able to expand power" through leadership. Alexander the Great would score high by that measure. But Hitler ended up in ruins as a consequence of bad leadership decisions. To say that he really improved conditions in the Germany, you have to overlook the country ending up in smoking ruins. So to rank as best, it would have to be by some definition like "ability to charm the masses into giving power."

If Hitler failed in everything he did, he would not have risen to power. The common saying for dictators having some virtues is "Mussolini made the trains run on time." That subject is worth study and debate. Some say that if the Treat of Versailles were not so severe in punishing Germany after WWI, Germans wouldn't have found Hitler so appealing. But "best leader" requires some stretch of definitions beyond the ordinary.
Posted by InsertNameHere 6 years ago
InsertNameHere
If it wasn't for the holocaust I would probably consider hitler one of the best world leaders. He really did alot to help improve conditions in Germany.
Posted by TheSkeptic 6 years ago
TheSkeptic
I think Roy is pointing at the fact that a large reason for Germany's failure (or at least the way they did fail) was because of Hitler's rash decisions. And I agree, Hitler isn't a complete failure as some may picture him to be...but he wasn't that great either :)
Posted by Albatross 6 years ago
Albatross
I take offense to that...its not simply a semantic game...Hitlers government may have ended in destruction but that does not necessarily mean he was a bad leader. im not sure everyone who posted comments on this actually read the debate because then they would see that i made valid point. im no pro-Hitler neo nazi but he did do some good things and was effective for a while and should not simply be dismissed because of the holocaust and his ultimate failure, we shouldn't only study the winners of history but also the losers
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
RoyLatham
Isn't it obvious that the best leaders do not end up destroyed by their failings? Pro's position was an attempt at a semantic game.
Posted by wjmelements 6 years ago
wjmelements
In church they once encouraged us to be leaders, and yet all the criterion they gave fit Hitler and the Antichrist like a glove.
Posted by left_wing_mormon 6 years ago
left_wing_mormon
Because of Hitler's lust for power, he made the reckless desicion to fight the russians and pursue them into their land which the german military ultimately was not ready for. The lost a mojor offensive which led to the collapse of their power. So I guess Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill are all "better" than Hitler. Not to mention he exterminated 12 million people under his leadership most of which being german and austian citizens...
Posted by rougeagent21 6 years ago
rougeagent21
"Hitler is one of the best leaders of all time."

He can't be, he's dead. Maybe he WAS one of the best...
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Vote Placed by Pyromaniac 6 years ago
Pyromaniac
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