|Adolph Hitler, 1938 Time Person of the Year|
The end of World War I left Germany in a state of economic collapse. The fledgling German democracy was ill equipped to deal with these challenges, and Hitler was able to rise by stoking nationalist sentiment in the population.
|Hitler and Hindenburg, the man who appointed him to power|
Following a contested election, Hitler was appointed as chancellor by President Hindenburg, and following Hindenburg's death, he was able to suspend free press, and seize unilateral powers of a dictatorship.
|Jessie Owens at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games|
After showcasing Germany's rediscovered national pride in the 1936 Berlin Olympic games (albeit being embarrassed by Jessie Owens dominance over German sprinters), he began a systematic expansion annexing the Rhineland, Austria, and the Sudetenland, all in the name of protecting German speaking populations in these regions.
|The Sudetenland, German speaking parts of Austria|
Leaders of the west were unwilling to enter another war, turning a blind eye to Germany, and finally signing an agreement legalizing Germany's expansions and proclaiming "Peace in Our Time". The further invasion of Poland would spark the beginning of the Second World War.
Now the rise of Putin:
|Putin, 2007 Time Person of the Year|
The end of the Cold War left Russia in a state of economic collapse. The fledgling Russian democracy was ill equipped to deal with these challenges, plagued by corruption.
|Putin and Yeltsin, the person who appointed him to power|
Boris Yeltsin appointed Putin as a First Deputy Prime minister, and following the resignation of Yeltsin, Putin succeeded to the presidency. Putin's presidency has been characterized by suspending free press, and manipulation of elections to guarantee himself defacto dictatorial powers.
|Russian Hockey player following defeat at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games|
Putin had the chance to showcase Russia's rediscovered national pride in the 2014 Sochi Olympic games (albeit being embarrassed by the Russian hockey teams failure to metal).
|Russian speaking portions of Ukraine, used as justification to authorize invasion|
Russia began more militaristic interventions in Georgia in 2008, and appears on the brink of invasion of Ukraine, both in the name of protecting Russian speaking populations along their borders. NATO and the western powers have basically turned a blind eye.
I'm not saying Putin has ambitions of world domination, or that he would begin any systematic genocide like Hitler did... but the parallels of history are disturbing. The Greatest Generation had to learn the hard way the price of appeasement of dictators. Are we destined to repeat the mistakes of the past?