Machiavelliís The Prince outlines tactics for a leader to seize and maintain lands under his power. His tactics have been demonstrated repeatedly throughout history, and though his approach is hardly ethical or idealistic, one cannot deny the fact that it has proved to be effective. Hitler is an example that exemplifies the accuracy of what Machiavelli said would bring success in the acquisition of new provinces.
One topic Machiavelli focuses on, especially in Part II, are different types of troops. Had he seen Hitlerís army, he would have classified the troops as "native," and would have applauded Hitlerís choice in troops over "mercenary" (men who fight for money,) "auxiliary" (foreign borrowed troops,) and troops combining all three types. Mercenary troops are described by Machiavelli as "disorganized, undisciplined, ambitious and faithless" (47). Auxiliary troops are "useless" (50) because they do not have the strong loyalties to the nation as native troops, and fight only due to alliances which usually prove temporary. Finally, because mixed troops include useless mercenary and auxiliary troops, they are less than effective. Native troops, whose will were particularly strong in Hitlerís time due to the strong feeling of nativism that was sweeping through Europe, fight stronger due to loyalties to their nation, and the feeling of defending their home and their freedom. According to Machiavelli, "no state, unless it have its own arms, is secure" (53).
In Part I of The Prince, Machiavelli speaks of different types of principalities, or lands governed by a prince or leader, and how to maintain them. Hitler sought to gain two different kinds of principalities: "mixed," and "new". The mixed principality he first sought was Germany. The nation at the time was heavily divided. Germanyís democratic system had turned into a chaotic government in which just about anybody could, and did, start their own political party. Furthermore it contained people from various religions, including Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and atheists, such as communists. Hitler had built the support of an entire nativist Nazi army over the years with the Beer Hall Putsch, his book Mein Kampf, a book that narrates his struggle in Germany, and his tremendous oratory skills. Using this army he was able to bully his way into a dictatorial position and dissolve the Reichstag, eliminating the last bit of democratic government left in Germany. Once in power, he was able to successfully stay in power by using the guidelines given in The Prince. The work acknowledges that mixed principalities are of the more difficult to control. To hold such a land in your power, you must first "extinguish the line of princes" (15). In Hitlerís case, the "princes" meant anyone who had any sort of political power in Germany, and he was swift and efficient in killing them, and outlawing their political parties. Machiavelli also said it is better not to share power, and Hitler followed this by killing all those in his own Nazi party that had any sort of power, including his whole elite "blackshirt" army. The final, and most important issue of maintaining a mixed principality is the use of force and strict policies, which Hitler used without fail.
Acquiring and maintaining rule over new principalities is, of course, trickier business. Machiavelli said that these could be held securely only by being a "cruel and resolute individual," such as Messer Remirro de Orca, who, according to Machiavelli, "brought peace and unityÖgaining great respect" (31). In other words, new principalities, such as Czechoslovakia and Poland in Hitlerís case, can be kept y nothing less than extreme force, military power, and cruelty including loss of personal freedoms. Hitler employed all of these policies in the lands he gained, and was able to hold on to them rather strongly.
Machiavelli said "it would be best to be both loved and fearedÖthe two rarely come togetherÖ" (60). The fact that Hitler possessed the rare quality that gave him the ability to be both loved and feared is probably the reason he was so successful in building such a loyal following in Germany to him apply force and secure his newly acquired states. When Hitler spoke, he had all those who were listening clinging too his every word. He had undeniable charm, and was adroit at public speaking. However, he was still a ruthless leader whose cruelty helped him maintain order, and "find a greater security in being feared than in being loved," as Machiavelli says anyone would.
Hitler almost flawlessly mastered Niccolo Machiavelliís strategies that are set forth in The Prince. One might point out the fact that he lost World War II. However his failure to win the war was due to military blunders, and not his failure to control his lands. There were no successful uprisings or rebellions within Hitlerís Reich. He was also never betrayed by one of his officers, proving the effectiveness of the fear he instilled in those fighting for him, and those under his rule. Throughout the years of his rule, Hitler had almost complete control over his lands, and it is proof of the effectiveness of the policies set forth in The Prince.