Machiavelli – The Prince and Totalitarians
Another good example of this Marxist theory Is Joseph Stalin. Stalin used his military to rise to power. He killed countless people in order to come into authority and impose his beliefs on the state. Jewish virtual library explains, “Stalin consolidated his power base with the Great Purges against his political and ideological opponents, most notably the old cadres and the rank and file of the Bolshevik Party. ” (Jewish Virtual Library, 1) Throughout the Great Purges Stalin imprisoned tortured and assassinated his enemies through his militaristic force.
This Is a very clear display of Machiavellian theories because Machiavelli repeatedly states that military is the root of power and authority and he emphasizes that military should be used in order to rise to power. Another Machiavelli theory that justifies the actions of totalitarian rulers is the theory that it is more efficient to rule with cruelty and fear rather than love and fairness. Each of these totalitarian rulers used this Ideology during their time as which is why people feared and respected him.
BBC states, “Lenin demonstrated a hilling disregard for the sufferings of his fellow countrymen and mercilessly crushed any opposition. ” (BBC, 1) This shows that Machiavellian theories did support Linen’s actions because Machiavelli explains that it is better to for a “prince” to be feared rather than loved because love can come and go but the fear of pain is everlasting. Lenin proves this because he was feared and therefore people obeyed him. Another example of the use of cruelty is the cruel acts of Joseph Stalin.
Stalin ruled with an iron fist and struck fear into peoples hearts. This fear is what drove hem to obey Stalin and conform to his will. Jewish Virtual Library states “It is believed that with the purges, forced famines, state terrorism, labor camps, and forced migrations, Stalin was responsible for the death of as many as 40 million people within the borders of the Soviet Union. ” Jewish Virtual Library, 1) This follows Machiavellian theory because Stalin was excessively cruel to millions of people and was respected for a long period of time because of fear.
Another theory that these totalitarians embody is the theory that a “prince” should ease their decisions on the well being of the state. For example: Karl Marx imposed his theory of communist-based Marxism on his state because he thought it was the best thing for the state. The Communist League explains “Marxist-Leninist accept the concept of social class put forward above, but hold that a person’s social class is determined not by the amount of his wealth, but by the source of his income as determined by his relation to labor and to the means of production. (Marxism and Class, 1) Marx created this intricate system of classes in order to maintain order thin his state. Although it was not successful, Marx created this policy for the well being of the state, so that the state could flourish. This relates to Machiavellian theory because Marx did as Machiavelli advised. He had the well being of the state in mind throughout his time of ruling. Another ruler who followed Machiavellian theory on well being of the state was Vladimir Lenin. Lenin not only followed a Marxist trend in his state, but he also tried to improve his state’s economy.
BBC states, “He introduced the New Economic Policy, here a measure of private enterprise was again permitted, a policy that continued for several years after his death. ” (BBC,I) Lenin introduced this policy in order to preserve the economy of his state. It lasted several years after his death, which means he was successful in doing so. Lenin laid out a structure for the state to thrive because he had the well being of the state in mind while making his decisions. This follows Machiavellian theory because Machiavelli said to make every decision based on the well being of the state.
Although he was cruel and used militaristic power, he was ultimately trying to better the state in his own way which is exactly what Machiavelli preaches. All in all, Karl Marx, Joseph Stalin, and Vladimir Lenin were embodiments of the theories Machiavelli introduced in “The Prince”. They ruled and based their states on militaristic power, they ruled their states through cruelty and pain over compassion and love, and kept the well being of the state in mind in every decision they made. Machiavellian theories Justified their actions in that they each very closely followed them.
Karl Marx had a strong military and had the well being of the state in mind, throughout his time as ruler, and Vladimir Lenin had a strong military and also made sure to keep the well being of his state in mind. Although the states of these rulers were not very successful and resulted in the deaths of many people, they were supported by the Machiavellian theories. The lesson to be learned is that although their actions were supported by the Machiavellian theories, they caused severe damage and terror to the world and these theories should ultimately not be used in any type of modern government.