By "peers," I mean contemporary heads of state. By "no more education than him," I mean "no more than secondary education." (He dropped out of secondary school at a young age, but later finished). Two people that he interacted with a lot, Mussolini and Stalin, appear to have "some college," but it appears to me that one or both did not "graduate."

Hitler's level of education was "average" for this time. Most heads of state, however, went further in their studies, and had more formal education than Hitler. So the question is, which ones (if any) did not?

  • 4
    Look 'em up, one by one; start here: en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axis_leaders_of_World_War_II Jul 18, 2016 at 12:05
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    @PeterDiehr: Thanks. That's a useful link. I didn't realize that this was all in one place. I might be better if you posted it as a brief answer that I could upvote, and possibly accept.
    – Tom Au
    Jul 18, 2016 at 13:56
  • You have to be really careful when you compare degrees from different places and times.
    – o.m.
    Jul 18, 2016 at 16:48
  • Do you really mean "Heads of state" and not "Heads of government"? Churchill was the latter but not the former (that was king George VI). Hitler was the latter from 1933, and both from 1934.
    – andejons
    Aug 10, 2016 at 12:57
  • @Andjons: Feel free to use either or both. Hitler was both, after Hindenburg died.
    – Tom Au
    Aug 10, 2016 at 14:32

3 Answers 3


All of the Axis leaders of World War II are gathered together in a single Wikipedia article, organized by country.

Selecting the leaders of interest, links are provided to their individual biographies. For example, Karl Dönitz became President of Germany on 30 April 1945. His education is not given, but as an officer he would have been a member of the educated class.

  • As far as Hitler's"education" as a Soldier on the front lines of World War I Stalin and his "clique"(Budyenny et al) are the only ones that come to mind. The National Socialists and Soviet Russians had a lot in common in their rise to Power and indeed would make an interesting take on the entirety of World War 2. "Just Hitler vs Stalin... Jul 18, 2016 at 19:56
  • I think the question was about "contemporary heads of state", not "Axis leaders".
    – fdb
    Jul 31, 2016 at 10:45

I would not qualify Stalin's education as "some college". According to his biography he never attended an analog of modern primary or secondary school. I translate from Russian Wikipedia:

In 1886 his mother tried to enroll him to Orthodox religious school. He was not accepted because he did not know Russian at all (education was in Russian) In 1886-7 on request of his mother the children of a local priest taught him some Russian. As a result he was able to enroll in 1888 to the first preparatory class. He studied in this school from 1889 to 1894 and then was enrolled to an Orthodox seminary. There he studied 4 years and was expelled. We have 9 years total of religious education (preparation to become a priest).


None of Hitler’s “peers” (e.g. Stalin, Mussolini, Chamberlain, Churchill) had a particularly brilliant academic background. Roosevelt did go to Harvard, but does not seem to have done especially well there.

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