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Between Fear and Leadership Cult

Two researchers at the University of Freiburg explain how dictators Mao Zedong and Joseph Stalin allowed themselves to be stylized as heroes

Freiburg, Jun 16, 2017

Between Fear and Leadership Cult

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Numerous legends spanning from antiquity to modern times have taught humanity that heroes and heroines are particularly strong and courageous personalities, selflessly risking their lives to serve a higher purpose. From a realistic, historical perspective, heroes can also be highly controversial – such as both leaders Mao Zedong from China and Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union. Feared by their people, the political apparatus stylized them as a shining light for the nation at the same time. Prof. Dr. Daniel Leese and Prof. Dr. Dietmar Neutatz from the University of Freiburg’s special research area  „Heroes – Heroizing – Heroism“ will discuss the public impact of both dictators during their presentation on June 21, 2017 at this year’s Freiburg China dialogue. First, both researchers juxtapose Mao and Stalin in a video.