National Archives of Canada (PA-164746, photo by Heinrich Hoffmann).

Adolf Hitler Reading in an Aircraft, Germany, ca. 1934-1939.


The Great Depression and the failure to achieve lasting economic and political stability resulted in a variety of dictatorships taking hold in various European states. These dictatorships, while differing in philosophy and leadership style, shared many characteristics, including a taste for charismatic, nationalistic leaders and a tendency to blame scapegoats for continuing national and international problems. Once in power, dictatorships ignored the traditional rights and freedoms of their peoples and embarked on campaigns that resulted in human misery and the loss of many lives.


Following the First World War, Italy, Germany, Spain, Portugal, and other European states came under the control of fascist governments.


Communism spread following the First World War. Although centred in Russia, strong communist movements also existed in Germany and Spain.


From corporal in the First World War, to leader or Führer of the National Socialist German Workers' or Nazi party in 1921, to Chancellor of Germany in 1933, Hilter rose to power and established a ruthless, centralized dictatorship.

Rights & Freedoms

Dictators, such as Hitler and Stalin, ignored the traditional rights and freedoms of their people and embarked on campaigns of national modernization and expansion motivated by hatred.


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