38

There are often parallels between Hitler and Voldemort, but one thing that is missing is that Hitler came to power "the official way" - via elections.

Why didn't Voldemort do the same?

Here’s a quote from Dumbledore (Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, chapter 20):

He reached the seventh year of his schooling with, as you might have expected, top grades in every examination he had taken. All around him, his classmates were deciding which jobs they were to pursue once they had left Hogwarts. Nearly everybody expected spectacular things from Tom Riddle, prefect, Head Boy, winner of the Award for Special Services to the School. I know that several teachers, Professor Slughorn amongst them, suggested that he join the Ministry of Magic, offered to set up appointments, put him in touch with useful contacts. He refused all offers. The next thing the staff knew, Voldemort was working at Borgin and Burkes.

With his skills, intelligence, and perfect reputation, at that point he would have had very good chances of succeeding in becoming Minister of Magic in the next 10-15 years or more.

  • 3
    Ministry jobs are for wimps. – Rand al'Thor Oct 23 '15 at 9:40
  • 5
    How would a ministry job have helped him achieve immortality? – DavidS Oct 23 '15 at 9:44
  • 14
    @DavidS he was already on his way to immortality - he did create several hocruxes during his school years and still managed to have perfect reputation. – vap78 Oct 23 '15 at 9:50
  • 22
    Hitler had tried the unofficial way first and failed. – Bergi Oct 23 '15 at 13:18
  • 5
    @ThomasJacobs ....? Bullets have approximately the same effect, and Hitler had those... – Kyle Strand Oct 23 '15 at 16:27
27

Tom Riddle wanted to bury his past. He couldn't do that in politics.

Riddle is a pure-blood supremacist, and hates his family:

  • He detests the Muggle family who gave him his name (and later tracks them down and kills them)
  • He detects the magical mother who died giving birth to him, decrying her as weak:

    “My mother can’t have been magic, or she wouldn’t have died,” said Riddle, more to himself than Dumbledore.

  • He detests his (apparently good-for-nothing) Gaunt ancestors, who are a pack of violent and petty criminals.

If he’d acquired power through the Ministry, it would have been hard to shake his old name. He’d be stuck with a reminder of his Muggle parentage, his inferior blood status, and unsatisfying family. Even if he changed his name, there would still be a fairly direct line between Tom Riddle the Hogwarts student and the successful politician.

Acquiring power by underground means lets him shed the trappings of his family. He can re-emerge with a new identity, and nobody will remember the half-blood with a Muggle’s name. And as Dumbledore explains in Harry’s second year, it was very successful:

“Very few people know that Lord Voldemort was once called Tom Riddle.”

I don’t think Voldemort was opposed to the idea of becoming a politician. He was opposed to what it would drag along with him.

  • Honestly I think this answer provides the best explanation - Voldemort wanted to get away from his heritage which would not be possible if he tried to reach his goals via politics. As a side question - why do you think that the Gaunt family are drunks? I don't remember any alcohol reference in the book. – vap78 Oct 25 '15 at 19:20
  • @vap78 I think the drunkenness was a misremembering on my part, although I could be wrong. I can’t find a reference to it now. – alexwlchan Oct 25 '15 at 20:48
40

Hitler's power derived from his ability to sway and inspire masses of people, which is legitimized through political office. Without his particular rhetorical skills and the discontented populace looking for someone to offer solutions, what was he? A failed painter.

Voldemort, on the other hand, is an accomplished wizard, with very high marks on technical competence (his weakness being a bit of narrowness of focus). If he had no followers at all, he'd still be a formidable power, force-multiplied by his ruthlessness.

So there's your answer: if Power was the goal, then Politics was not necessary to Voldemort the way it was to Hitler.

Additionally, while Tom Riddle could be quite charming, we see that he fails (with Dumbledore, with Slughorn, even with Snape) when his naked ambitions shine through. And what was Voldemort but Tom Riddle's naked ambition? Voldemort would not have made a good politician.

  • 3
    Hitler did engage in a fair amount of politics, he didn't overthrow democracy in a single day. Hitler was party chair starting in 1921, that means he spent more than a decade engaging in normal, banal politics. The nazis didn't consolidate power until 1933. – Mark Rogers Oct 23 '15 at 14:35
  • 2
    The Nazis were also thugs and operated like organized crime - their people would murder the opposition and the courts would be rigged to get them off. – Aaron Hall Oct 23 '15 at 15:37
  • 3
    @AaronHall That doesn't sound like something Voldemort would be opposed to. – corsiKa Oct 23 '15 at 17:20
  • 5
    I think the (excellent) point here is that Tom Riddle not only didn't need political clout, it wasn't what he wanted, and he was either not willing or not able to conceal his true nature entirely from those who would stand against him. If Hitler could literally appear anywhere his name was spoken, he might not have bothered either. – Sean Boddy Oct 24 '15 at 4:06
  • Also, after he got back from his world tour, he had gone through so many of what I think Dumbledore called "dangerous magical transformations" as to render him frightening to look at. Not a great face for politics. – xdhmoore Oct 25 '15 at 3:14
17

Getting a Ministry job would've opened Voldemort to public scrutiny, something that could've easily sabotaged his schemes. Remember that while prejudice against Muggles isn't certainly rare in the Wizarding world, Voldemort is very extreme in his beliefs and would likely have trouble convincing people to follow him - especially with enemies such as Dumbledore lobbying for the opposite cause. While Voldemort certainly is good at manipulating people, we don't have any evidence of widespread popular dissatisfaction he could've leveraged to gain the people's support - in this sense, he is more like a modern rabid Neo-Nazi leader than Hitler.

He prefers to work under his own terms: establishing a network of supporters and terrorizing people into accepting his ideals of a pureblood wizard society with muggle-borns rooted out. This way he doesn't have to pretend to serve any other cause than his own, and can answer to opposition using his preferred method: force of arms... or wands. He can also skip the lengthy career track at the Ministry by just founding his own "rogue nation"- the Death Eaters.

Finally, I doubt Voldemort even wanted to be the Minister in the first place. He was perfectly fine with manipulating Pius Thicknesse instead of usurping the post himself.

  • Hitler was also very extreme in his beliefs. He even published a book describing his plans for everybody. But he still managed to get enough popular support to obtain the power he was after. – EvilSnack Sep 24 '16 at 14:37
4

I think because he didn't wanted the political power at all. He was just strength hungry. He wanted to get along the darkest pathways, dive so deep into dark arts, so that everyone would fear of him. He never wanted to be a minster. Even when they overthrew ministry, He didn't became minister of magic, instead he gave it to one of his follower. If he was unbeatable, the power would automatically come to his hands, then why go into all the Ministry affairs?

4

I don't think it's that calculating. Tom Riddle is a highly successful, ambitious 7th year but that success isn't filling some hole deep inside. He's been interested in dark arts and horcruxes and stuff and has all these mysteries surrounding his past and so, instead of continuing on the expected path that he can already see the end of, he goes off roaming the earth to find out more about this other thing that he thinks he can be the best at. By the time he's a couple horcruxes deep he feels far too superior and inhuman to consider taking control through the normal systems.

1

He likely was too ashamed of his history.

Tom Riddle did mention a reason why he didn’t want to get into politics. Though he certainly had a tendency to be untruthful at that stage in his life, it’s worth at least considering what he said about it himself, since it may be at least partially true. When Slughorn suggested that Tom Riddle get into politics, he told Slughorn he didn’t think politics would suit him, saying he had the wrong kind of background.

“– I confidently expect you to rise to Minister for Magic within twenty years. Fifteen, if you keep sending me pineapple. I have excellent contacts at the Ministry.’

Tom Riddle merely smiled as the others laughed again. Harry noticed that he was by no means the eldest of the group of boys, but that they all seemed to look to him as their leader.

‘I don’t know that politics would suit me, sir,’ he said when the laughter had died away. ‘I don’t have the right kind of background, for one thing.”
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 23 (Horcruxes)

While he may have also had other reasons, it seems likely that what he said was at least partially true. We know he despised his name and Muggle heritage, since he decided early on to change his name.

“TOM MARVOLO RIDDLE

Then he waved the wand once, and the letters of his name re-arranged themselves:

I AM LORD VOLDEMORT

‘You see?’ he whispered. ‘It was a name I was already using at Hogwarts, to my most intimate friends only, of course. You think I was going to use my filthy Muggle father’s name for ever? I, in whose veins runs the blood of Salazar Slytherin himself, through my mother’s side? I, keep the name of a foul, common Muggle, who abandoned me even before I was born, just because he found out his wife was a witch? No, Harry. I fashioned myself a new name, a name I knew wizards everywhere would one day fear to speak, when I had become the greatest sorcerer in the world!”
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 17 (The Heir of Slytherin)

Going into politics right after Hogwarts would ensure that everyone would recognize him as Tom Riddle even if he still changed his name, because he’d be visible to the wizarding world. By not going into politics, he was able to disappear from public view, and reappear later as Lord Voldemort without many people remembering who he once was.

“But before they were sure beyond doubt that the cup and the locket were both gone, the assistant who had worked at Borgin and Burkes, the young man who had visited Hepzibah so regularly and charmed her so well, had resigned his post and vanished. His superiors had no idea where he had gone; they were as surprised as anyone at his disappearance. And that was the last that was seen or heard of Tom Riddle for a very long time.”
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 20 (Lord Voldemort’s Request)

It seems likely he wouldn’t have wanted a career in politics because he was ashamed of his background and history, so wouldn’t want to enter into public life with that history.

As Lord Voldemort, he remained uninterested.

Even after he’d fully become Lord Voldemort, and could easily have taken the position of Minister of Magic without concern of his past, he didn’t want it. He chose instead to install a puppet Minister to run the Ministry, leaving him free to do other things.

“Why didn’t Voldemort declare himself Minister for Magic?’ asked Ron.

Lupin laughed. ‘He doesn’t need to, Ron. Effectively he is the Minister, but why should he sit behind a desk at the Ministry? His puppet, Thicknesse, is taking care of everyday business, leaving Voldemort free to extend his power beyond the Ministry.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 11 (The Bribe)

Then as well, he wasn’t interested in having an official political post, although he easily could have at that point.

-1

To make a difference or to change something necessary, power is essential of any sort corresponding to the particular goal. As you mentioned Hitler, he believed in political power to achieve on a bigger scale. Whereas Voldemort has already had the power that is needed to achieve his goal. He might have read all about the dark magic and even bad enough to execute it, which is the ultimate and forbidden power. I do not think he is going to wait for 15 years to deal with the diplomatic solutions. I do not think dark magic works that way. So if he is going to do what he is going to do after 15 years, why not do it now with all the required power he has?

  • Well he waited about 25 years in the shadows before actually becoming active. He was born in 1926, so he graduated around 1944. The (so-called) First Wizarding War started around 1970. So the time is not exactly a problem for him. – vap78 Oct 23 '15 at 9:17
  • I meant to refer to the time he has to wait to achieve what he wanted.That's anyway is secondary.But the main issue here is the dark side in him and aggression which anyway is not going to help him in elections.He took over the ministry by killing the good that are supporting the good cause and not that he believes. – r2_d2 Oct 23 '15 at 9:30
-1

One of Voldemort's primary goals was immortality, followed by power. The Horcrux's don't make Voldemort stronger - they made him harder to kill. This is also emphasized when he goes after the Sorcerer's Stone.

If Voldemort went into the Ministry first, that would severely curtain his chances at pursuing immortality, since he'd be heading toward life as a public figure. It makes more sense for him to get immortal first, then go after power later - at that point he'll have all the time in the world.

Pure speculation, but it's possible that Voldemort originally intended to go for the more traditional power route after he became immortal. Unfortunately the degradation of his soul, and the resulting degradation of his morals, led him to take a different path.

protected by Rand al'Thor Oct 25 '15 at 11:24

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