The prince of Machiavelli is portrayed as someone who has both weaknesses and desirable qualities. He still exhibits the strengths for the sake of his presentability to his subjects so as to conceal the undesirable qualities and this allows the prince to keep himself safe on the throne. He did not fault himself on being weak. This is because ‘some virtues that were thought to be good for the state would bring ruin yet some vices would bring prosperity and security’ (Machiavelli ch. 15, par. 2). This argument forms the point of discussion for this essay in view of Adolf Hitler as a leader.
According to Machiavelli, Adolf Hitler would have made an exemplary prince because he ruled his subjects by being mean towards them without eliciting hatred. He manipulated their conscience by arranging his speeches at a time when they were all too tired and did not have any power to rebel. It is cruel to manipulate people in such a state. He also introduced curfews around the cities and designated some places in Germany as out of bounds so that he can control them (Machiavelli ch. 16, par. 2).
When the question of fear versus love arises, Machiavelli states in no uncertain terms that it is better to be feared than to be loved. This is because people take advantage of love and eventually cause the prince to ruin as he quotes ‘...but fear preserves you by a dread of punishment which never fails’ (Machiavelli ch. 17, par. 4). Adolf Hitler punished his insurgents and this instilled fear in the people. He formed a language of fear that people understood. He also formed an army which frightened all the people in Germany. A Nazi soldier was loyal to Hitler and to the people. He was equal to Hitler. People feared the German army since they knew that the Nazi didn’t forgive traitors. This does not mean that Germans hated Hitler. Machiavelli says that love should be inspired by avoiding hate, because hatred causes rebellion. However, not only didn’t Germans rebel against Hitler, but they hailed and supported him.
A Machiavellian prince would not disarm his subjects. Like Adolf Hitler, he arms them and prepares them to be ready to defend their state at all costs. Hitler had many spies and Nazi soldiers and even the common people were given the right to defend themselves against foreigners or traitors. Hitler gave the Nazis the best warships and made sure that only the best were dispatched to the frontline (Machiavelli ch. 20, par. 2 and 6).
A true Machiavellian prince should be able to gain and maintain faith and trust of his people. He should be able to withhold his weaknesses from the people so that when he takes measure to defend the state even through unacceptable means, the subjects would still support him. Hitler had an uncanny ability to remember occurrences. The Nazis therefore would not dare lie to him because he could remember even the dates when such events occurred. He could also manipulate propaganda and even though this was done for self-preservation, the people gave that very response that Hitler wanted (Machiavelli ch. 19, par. 6).
According to Machiavelli, a prince should position himself either as a true friend or an enemy. This is to ensure his self protection by making those who consider him to be a true friend rally behind him. Adolf Hitler lived to be a true Machiavellian prince because he declared war on those rallied behind the United States of America and therefore, the Germans knew that he was on their side. He organized a Nazi crusade and totally eliminated his adversaries. During the holocaust, Hitler took the side of one group, made us of their wants and exalted them by defeating their foes (Machiavelli ch 21, par. 3).
Adolf Hitler’s mind would not be changed by anyone. He never sought anyone’s counsel, he only received reports about the progress of war in the field and dispatched orders that were to be followed to the letter. According to Machiavelli, this is done in order to avoid conflicts and flattering (Machiavelli ch 23, par. 4).