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View Full Version : Hitler, Stalin and Mao --- Guns


Major Kong
06-21-2003, 04:47 PM
Did Hitler, Stalin and Mao make people register guns prior to their seizing of power? Did they make guns illegal?

3waygeek
06-21-2003, 05:14 PM
How can you make people register guns before you seize power?

MC Master of Ceremonies
06-21-2003, 05:43 PM
The German gun Control laws were from the Weimar Republic, before Hitler came to power. They included strict licensing arrangments.

As 3waygeek says, how can anyone make people register, guns before they came to power. It could be Stalin seized power (from Trotsky) within the Commnunist party in a palace coup, but he didn't so much seize power as secede Lenin.

When Mao took power, China was in the midst of civil war and just recovering from foreign occupation and had no real legisture or executive at that time.

MC Master of Ceremonies
06-21-2003, 05:45 PM
seced? suceed more like.

China Guy
06-21-2003, 09:58 PM
As MC wrote, China ended more or less a century of anarchy in 1949. There was little registration of anything much less guns.

Boyo Jim
06-21-2003, 10:38 PM
I'm curious as to why you think they would NEED to do such a thing. Hitler and Stalin were wildly popular among their own people; and once the war was in full swing, both countries were absolutely awash in weapons.

I can't say as much about Mao because I know less about Chinese history.

netscape 6
06-21-2003, 11:06 PM
I belive germany did confiscate guns after hitler came to power, but before he became genocidal.

SenorBeef
06-22-2003, 06:39 AM
IIRC, the nazis did use registration lists and such set up by the Weimar Republic in order to disarm opposing political groups (when the nazis were still fighting various factions).

MC Master of Ceremonies
06-22-2003, 07:30 AM
Originally posted by Boyo Jim
I'm curious as to why you think they would NEED to do such a thing. Hitler and Stalin were wildly popular among their own people; and once the war was in full swing, both countries were absolutely awash in weapons.

I can't say as much about Mao because I know less about Chinese history.

Hitler never got more than 37% of the vote before he came to power and even then the SA used coercive tactics and political violence to aid him and the elections after he came to power were a farce. Gauging he's actual popularity when he was in power is nigh on impossible due to his repressive methods. The same diffculties in gauging Stalin's popularity exist only *10. Stalin rose to power by taking boring but influential jobs within the Communist party which allowed him to manevour himself into power, after he was in power the absolute secrecy and repression that characterized his regime make it impossible to say how popualr he actually was.

Mao on the other hand was reasonably popular both before and after he came to power.

MC Master of Ceremonies
06-22-2003, 07:32 AM
Originally posted by SenorBeef
IIRC, the nazis did use registration lists and such set up by the Weimar Republic in order to disarm opposing political groups (when the nazis were still fighting various factions).

IIRC the Nazis did enact further gun controls in 1938, 5 years after they came to power.

sailor
06-22-2003, 08:58 AM
Not to get into GD territory but I suspect some people would ask the same question in an effort to prove control and licensing of firearms are a prelude to dictatorship but I am afraid the answer does not support that. As has been mentioned, Hitler may have been a murderer of some minorities but he was wildly popular with the majority and the same can be said of other dictators. Whether he did or did not regulate firearms more or less than the preceding governments would not have made any difference.

Note that most western countries regulate firearms very strictly and cannot be said they are sliding into any dictatorship.

Note that under Saddam Hussein firearms were quite freely traded in Iraq's open air markets (a practice the US occupacion forces are trying to stop) and yet the country was a dictatorship of the worst kind.

Whether Hitler, Mao or Stalin regulated firearms more or less I do not think would have made much of any difference in the course of their countries' history.

netscape 6
06-22-2003, 09:30 AM
I would hope I had the good sense to pick off some nazis had I lived in germany during the holocost. Kind of hard to do that with out a gun.

I have a hard time believing a significant minority (atleast) of germans did not find Hitler evil. Had there been guns in germany there might have been quite a few nazis soldiors picked off, ending the war sooner, and saving lives. the french managed a rebelion using cheap guns put together with rivets.

MC Master of Ceremonies
06-22-2003, 09:45 AM
netscape6, there was a German Resistance movement focused around two groups, the German Socialists and Communists (which were the first two groups to be sent to concentration camps) and also among several high-ranking officers of the Wermacht. However you must remember the police-state atmosphere that pervaded Germany at the time, with informers on every block (for example a vicar was sent to a concentration camp for telling a joke about Hitler to a plumber who then reported him to the Gestapo).

As I said before it is questionable if Hitler ever truly enjoyed majority support (indeed in the election which saw him take control of the Reichstag more people voted for the various Socilaist and Communist parties, who due to internal squabbling did not form a coalition).

The Great Unwashed
06-22-2003, 11:08 AM
Originally posted by netscape 6
I would hope I had the good sense to pick off some nazis had I lived in germany during the holocost. Kind of hard to do that with out a gun.

I have a hard time believing a significant minority (atleast) of germans did not find Hitler evil. Had there been guns in germany there might have been quite a few nazis soldiors picked off, ending the war sooner, and saving lives. the french managed a rebelion using cheap guns put together with rivets.

If this is where this thread is headed, "the best way to protect against a dictatorship" is to arm the citizens?

Then I'd like better evidence than your hopefulness that had you been around you would have thought to pick off a couple of nazis.

But, suppose you had lived there, and was weaponless, couldn't you garotte the first, steal his weapon, shoot some others with it? Why is it a pre-requisite that you fight your one-man resistance with your very own gun?

sailor
06-22-2003, 12:13 PM
Originally posted by netscape 6
I would hope I had the good sense to pick off some nazis had I lived in germany during the holocost. Kind of hard to do that with out a gun. Not really. You and a couple of friends ambush and jump on a SS guy in a dark street on his way home, kill him with a kitchen knife and take his gun. I have a hard time believing a significant minority (atleast) of germans did not find Hitler evil. Had there been guns in germany there might have been quite a few nazis soldiors picked off, ending the war sooner, and saving lives. the french managed a rebelion using cheap guns put together with rivets. Yes a significant minority did hate Hitler - - most of them ended up dead.

The idea that Hitler and a few Nazis forced the German people to do all sorts of things against their collective will does not stand up to scrutiny. The German people collectively fought WWII with a will. Dictators cannot hold on to power against a widespread opposition.

Look at Cuba today. It is a tiranical regime but the fact is that it enjoys very wide support from the Cuban people (as well as hatred from a significant segment as well).

The fact that a leader is popular or is doing popular things does not mean those things are good for the country. The ayatollah Khomeini was immensely popular when he came to power.

The idea that common people having firearms is some guarantee of liberty does not stand up to scrutiny. All people have to do to topple a regime is go on a general strike and stay home.

Again, firearms were widely available in Iraq under Saddam Hussein

Boyo Jim
06-22-2003, 12:22 PM
Originally posted by MC Master of Ceremonies
Hitler never got more than 37% of the vote before he came to power and even then the SA used coercive tactics and political violence to aid him and the elections after he came to power were a farce. Gauging he's actual popularity when he was in power is nigh on impossible due to his repressive methods. The same diffculties in gauging Stalin's popularity exist only *10. Stalin rose to power by taking boring but influential jobs within the Communist party which allowed him to manevour himself into power, after he was in power the absolute secrecy and repression that characterized his regime make it impossible to say how popualr he actually was.

Mao on the other hand was reasonably popular both before and after he came to power.

Hitler may not have been wildly popular when coming to power in 1933, but by 1940 he had the German people solidly behind him. He stabilized the economy, provided lots of employment, and was winning nearly bloodless (for the Germans, at least) victories. Stalin, who did much less for his own people in the same time frame, was still beloved.

Why? Because everything was NOT an absolute secret. Both men had giant and effective propaganda machines, to trumpet their triumphs and to blame their defeats or failures on others.

I'm curious: if it's so impossible to say how popular Hitler and Stalin were, why do you find it so easy to proclaim Mao's popularity? Both Hitler and Stalin (AND their whole countries, for that matter) received a great deal more attention from western press than Mao and China did.

sailor
06-22-2003, 12:22 PM
I think the GQ answer is "not really" and we are now getting into GD territory and we should ask leave from the OP and the mods. Maybe the OP can request the thread be moved to GD if that was his intention or whatever. I did not mean to sidetrack the thread.

MC Master of Ceremonies
06-22-2003, 01:42 PM
Originally posted by Boyo Jim
Hitler may not have been wildly popular when coming to power in 1933, but by 1940 he had the German people solidly behind him. He stabilized the economy, provided lots of employment, and was winning nearly bloodless (for the Germans, at least) victories. Stalin, who did much less for his own people in the same time frame, was still beloved.

Why? Because everything was NOT an absolute secret. Both men had giant and effective propaganda machines, to trumpet their triumphs and to blame their defeats or failures on others.

I'm curious: if it's so impossible to say how popular Hitler and Stalin were, why do you find it so easy to proclaim Mao's popularity? Both Hitler and Stalin (AND their whole countries, for that matter) received a great deal more attention from western press than Mao and China did.

As I said before it's difficult to gauge Hitler's actual popularity because of his stage-managed cult of personailty and program of forceful indoctrination, though that said in many ways he was more popular than is regime.Most people had portaits of Hitler and a copy of Mein Kampf in their house, but then you have to realize that if you didn't, even though it wasn't illegal, you would still be reported to your blockfurhrer as suspicous.

Again for Stalin don't confuse a cult of personailty for substanial popularity, both these regimes operated on fear not popularity.

Mao's popularity helped to bring him to power and was evident in the cultural revoltuion.

sailor
06-22-2003, 04:47 PM
I believe this OP is related to this GD thread:Should bombs be legal? (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=191851).

raygirvan
06-22-2003, 11:10 PM
Ah, yes. Right. I suspected a "right to bear arms" axe to grind was the agenda of the OP. Definitely off to GD.

China Guy
06-23-2003, 01:23 AM
Really broad generalization here: The Chinese communist party came to power largely because a) China had been in a state of anarchy for about 100 years, b) Japanese invasion created some serious hardships, c) the KMT was horrendously corrupt.

The communists were a pretty good alternative to the above.

Mao was not always the first among equals. His personality cult didn't start in 1949, but much later in the 1950's. He was more a first amoung equals for the first 15 years of the PRC. Mao's personality cult really took off during the cultural revolution from 1966.

SenorBeef
06-23-2003, 02:59 AM
Originally posted by sailor
Not to get into GD territory but I suspect some people would ask the same question in an effort to prove control and licensing of firearms are a prelude to dictatorship but I am afraid the answer does not support that. As has been mentioned, Hitler may have been a murderer of some minorities but he was wildly popular with the majority and the same can be said of other dictators. Whether he did or did not regulate firearms more or less than the preceding governments would not have made any difference.


Also trying not to get into GD territory, but I wanted to respond to this and clarify. I don't think the notion necesarily is that a popular uprising would've taken hitler down had guns been more widespread - that's not the case early in the war, certainly.

But those minorities that were being rounded up could go armed, and it would create a huge logistical problem for the German secret police. Those victims acting in self defense is the issue, I think, rather than a popular uprising. The Warsaw ghetto uprising serves as an example of what could've been widespread resistance if the means were more readily available.

I won't say anything more unless this goes to GD - I just wanted to clarify what seemed to be a misunderstanding of what was implied.

refusal
06-23-2003, 07:55 AM
Even the most generous gun-control laws typically allow governments to prohibit gun ownership by convicted felons, the mentally ill, enemies of the state, and numerous other groups. If the nazis had a more liberal gun-control regime, it is still likely they would have legislative means to prevent their enemies from possessing guns.

There were also numerous other prohibitions on the rights of Jews, who could not own businesses, work for the governemnt or later (at least in some occupied territories) use cars or bicycles. It would be highly incongruous for the German government to allow Jews the rights to bear arms in such a situation.

(And I am sure the nazis would have relished the opportunity to gun down armed Jews in the street rather than drag them off to death camps.)

SenorBeef
06-23-2003, 08:08 AM
Originally posted by refusal

(And I am sure the nazis would have relished the opportunity to gun down armed Jews in the street rather than drag them off to death camps.)

The rest of your post makes sense, but I take issue with this.

Very few people want to risk dying when they don't have to. If killing Jews meant exposing yourself to a firefight and death, people would've been a lot less gung-ho about it than if they merely have to round them up and throw them on trains.

To ascribe the idea that they relished at the chance to die when they could simply round them up is a gross mischaracterization. The people involved in this certainly mostly were evil, but that doesn't mean that they're not human.

Captain Amazing
06-23-2003, 08:19 AM
Originally posted by refusal

(And I am sure the nazis would have relished the opportunity to gun down armed Jews in the street rather than drag them off to death camps.)

Well, they were happy enough gunning down unarmed Jews in the street. What's the point in letting them have guns?

But yeah, more generally, I agree with you. Whatever German gun laws were or could be, the Nazis weren't going to allow Jews to have guns.

bayonet1976
06-23-2003, 09:11 AM
This is outside the scope of the question, but seeing as we're talking dictatorships and guns, let me add Fidel Castro to the mix. Since the Castro takeover in 1959 guns have more or less been outlawed in Cuba. I say more or less because guns are technically legal, as long as they are bought from a legal supplier and licensed. However the only legal supplier is the government, and the only legal licenser is, of course, the government.

Prior to 1959 gun ownership in Cuba was pretty much unregulated, but starting in 1959, in his famous, in Cuba at least, "For What?" speech Castro started down the road of gun confiscation. By 1964 possesion of unregistered guns was a crime punishable by death, and a number of people were executed because of it. Nowadays the penalty is not as severe, but possesion of an unresgistered/unlicensed gun can still get you 25 years.

Derleth
06-23-2003, 10:10 AM
Of course, we can't make much headway theorizing about the obviously impossible (the Jews having guns in Nazi Germany), but how would history have been changed had Southern African-Americans had guns enough to fight the Klansmen who were coming to lynch them anyway? Would the sheet-heads have been quite so eager to string someone up had there been a risk of buckshot?

Boyo Jim
06-23-2003, 11:49 AM
Originally posted by Derleth
Of course, we can't make much headway theorizing about the obviously impossible (the Jews having guns in Nazi Germany), but how would history have been changed had Southern African-Americans had guns enough to fight the Klansmen who were coming to lynch them anyway? Would the sheet-heads have been quite so eager to string someone up had there been a risk of buckshot?

hijack/

I found your comment about southern blacks and resistance to the Klan interesting enough to start a thread in GQ: Were there restrictions on gun ownership for black southerners? (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=192800)

bibliophage
06-23-2003, 01:35 PM
The factual question seems to have been answered here, so I'll close this thread. Anyone wishing to debate the subject is directed to the Great Debates forum.

bibliophage
moderator GQ