Dictatorship
Overview
 
A dictatorship is defined as an autocratic
Autocracy
An autocracy is a form of government in which one person is the supreme power within the state. It is derived from the Greek : and , and may be translated as "one who rules by himself". It is distinct from oligarchy and democracy...

 form of government
Form of government
A form of government, or form of state governance, refers to the set of political institutions by which a government of a state is organized. Synonyms include "regime type" and "system of government".-Empirical and conceptual problems:...

 in which the government
Government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

 is ruled by an individual, the dictator
Dictator
A dictator is a ruler who assumes sole and absolute power but without hereditary ascension such as an absolute monarch. When other states call the head of state of a particular state a dictator, that state is called a dictatorship...

. It has three possible meanings:
  1. A Roman dictator
    Roman dictator
    In the Roman Republic, the dictator , was an extraordinary magistrate with the absolute authority to perform tasks beyond the authority of the ordinary magistrate . The office of dictator was a legal innovation originally named Magister Populi , i.e...

     was the incumbent of a political office of the Roman Republic
    Roman Republic
    The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

    . Roman dictators were allocated absolute power during times of emergency. Their power was originally neither arbitrary nor unaccountable, being subject to law
    Law
    Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

     and requiring retrospective justification.
Encyclopedia
A dictatorship is defined as an autocratic
Autocracy
An autocracy is a form of government in which one person is the supreme power within the state. It is derived from the Greek : and , and may be translated as "one who rules by himself". It is distinct from oligarchy and democracy...

 form of government
Form of government
A form of government, or form of state governance, refers to the set of political institutions by which a government of a state is organized. Synonyms include "regime type" and "system of government".-Empirical and conceptual problems:...

 in which the government
Government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

 is ruled by an individual, the dictator
Dictator
A dictator is a ruler who assumes sole and absolute power but without hereditary ascension such as an absolute monarch. When other states call the head of state of a particular state a dictator, that state is called a dictatorship...

. It has three possible meanings:
  1. A Roman dictator
    Roman dictator
    In the Roman Republic, the dictator , was an extraordinary magistrate with the absolute authority to perform tasks beyond the authority of the ordinary magistrate . The office of dictator was a legal innovation originally named Magister Populi , i.e...

     was the incumbent of a political office of the Roman Republic
    Roman Republic
    The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

    . Roman dictators were allocated absolute power during times of emergency. Their power was originally neither arbitrary nor unaccountable, being subject to law
    Law
    Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

     and requiring retrospective justification. There were no such dictatorships after the beginning of the 2nd century BC, and later dictators such as Sulla and the Roman Emperor
    Roman Emperor
    The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman State during the imperial period . The Romans had no single term for the office although at any given time, a given title was associated with the emperor...

    s exercised power much more personally and arbitrarily.
  2. A government controlled by one person, or a small group of people. In this form of government the power rests entirely on the person or group of people, and can be obtained by force or by inheritance. The dictator(s) may also take away much of its peoples' freedom.
  3. In contemporary usage, dictatorship refers to an autocratic form of absolute rule by leadership unrestricted by law, constitution
    Constitution
    A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

    s, or other social and political factors within the state.


In the 20th century and early 21st century hereditary dictatorship remained a relatively common phenomenon.

For some scholars, a dictatorship is a form of government that has the power to govern without consent of those being governed (similar to authoritarianism
Authoritarianism
Authoritarianism is a form of social organization characterized by submission to authority. It is usually opposed to individualism and democracy...

), while totalitarianism
Totalitarianism
Totalitarianism is a political system where the state recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible...

 describes a state that regulates nearly every aspect of public and private behavior of the people. In other words, dictatorship concerns the source of the governing power (where the power comes from) and totalitarianism concerns the scope of the governing power (what is the government).

In this sense, dictatorship (government without people's consent) is a contrast to democracy
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

 (government whose power comes from people) and totalitarianism (government controls every aspect of people's life) opposes pluralism (government allows multiple lifestyles and opinions).

Other scholars stress the omnipotence of the State (with its consequent suspension of rights) as the key element of a dictatorship and argue that such concentration of power can be legitimate or not depending on the circumstances, objectives and methods employed.

History

Disparate authoritarian political leaders in various official positions assumed, formally or not, similar titles suggesting the power to speak for the nation itself.

In the 1930s and 1940s and some of the 1950s

Such titles used by heads of state and/or government during the Second World War include:
  • Führer ("leader" or "guide") Adolf Hitler
    Adolf Hitler
    Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

    , from 1933 to 1945 dictator of Germany
    Germany
    Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

     (formally '"Führer
    Führer
    Führer , alternatively spelled Fuehrer in both English and German when the umlaut is not available, is a German title meaning leader or guide now most associated with Adolf Hitler, who modelled it on Benito Mussolini's title il Duce, as well as with Georg von Schönerer, whose followers also...

     and Reich Chancellor").
  • Duce (from Latin dux meaning "guide") Benito Mussolini
    Benito Mussolini
    Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

    , from 1925 to 1943 dictator of Italy
    Italy
    Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

     (formally "Head of Government".)
  • El Caudillo
    Caudillo
    Caudillo is a Spanish word for "leader" and usually describes a political-military leader at the head of an authoritarian power. The term translates into English as leader or chief, or more pejoratively as warlord, dictator or strongman. Caudillo was the term used to refer to the charismatic...

     de España ("the Chieftain of Spain
    Spain
    Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

    ") Generalíssimo Francisco Franco Bahamonde, Jefe de Estado (Chief of State) and "Chief of Government" (Prime Minister). He adopted this title for himself and came to power after winning the Spanish civil war
    Spanish Civil War
    The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

    . During World War II he maintained the neutrality of Spain. In fact the titles of Franco and Salazar
    António de Oliveira Salazar
    António de Oliveira Salazar, GColIH, GCTE, GCSE served as the Prime Minister of Portugal from 1932 to 1968. He also served as acting President of the Republic briefly in 1951. He founded and led the Estado Novo , the authoritarian, right-wing government that presided over and controlled Portugal...

     (in Portugal
    Portugal
    Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

    ) were used officially and rather than personally (cf: "mein führer" or "mio duce" my fuhrer and my duce). It is alleged that it was often used as a protocolary title; preceded with By the Grace of God
    By the Grace of God
    By the Grace of God is an introductory part of the full styles of a monarch taken to be ruling by divine right, not a title in its own right....

     it would indicate that the Spanish People had been luckily spared from the Soviet invasion.
  • Vodca ("Leader") monsignor Jozef Tiso
    Jozef Tiso
    Jozef Tiso was a Slovak Roman Catholic priest, politician of the Slovak People's Party, and Nazi collaborator. Between 1939 and 1945, Tiso was the head of the Slovak State, a satellite state of Nazi Germany...

    , from 1942 self-styled, in Slovakia
    Slovakia
    The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...

    , President 1939–1945 (acting to 26 October 1939).
  • Naczelnik Państwa
    Naczelnik panstwa
    Naczelnik Państwa was the title of Poland's head of state in the early years of the Second Polish Republic. This office was held only by Józef Piłsudski, from 1918 to 1922. Until 1919 it was called tymczasowy naczelnik państwa...

     (Chief of State) Józef Piłsudski, dictator of Poland
    Poland
    Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

     from 1926–1935.
  • Vožd (Russian for "Leader" or "Chief" in reference to Stalin being the Chief or a guide to the working class) – referred to Joseph Stalin
    Joseph Stalin
    Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

    , leader of the Soviet Union
    Soviet Union
    The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

    .
  • There was a Serbian Nationalist precedent, the style Vozhd in the uprising against the Ottomans, meaning Chief (from 26 December 1808, Supreme Chief 14 February 1804 – 3 October 1813 George Karađorđe Petrović, 1762–1817).
  • Poglavnik
    Poglavnik
    Poglavnik was the title used by Ante Pavelić, leader of World War II Croatian fascist movement Ustaše and of the Independent State of Croatia between 1941 and 1945.-Etymology and usage:...

     Nezavisne Države Hrvatske ("Chief of the Independent State of Croatia") Ante Pavelić
    Ante Pavelic
    Ante Pavelić was a Croatian fascist leader, revolutionary, and politician. He ruled as Poglavnik or head, of the Independent State of Croatia , a World War II puppet state of Nazi Germany in Axis-occupied Yugoslavia...

    , in power in Croatia
    Croatia
    Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

     10 April 1941 – 6 May 1945.
  • Vidkun Quisling
    Vidkun Quisling
    Vidkun Abraham Lauritz Jonssøn Quisling was a Norwegian politician. On 9 April 1940, with the German invasion of Norway in progress, he seized power in a Nazi-backed coup d'etat that garnered him international infamy. From 1942 to 1945 he served as Minister-President, working with the occupying...

    , Fører ("leader", "guide"), Minister-president of the Nazi puppet government in Norway
    Norway
    Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

    , and after Reichskommissar
    Reichskommissar
    Reichskommissar , in German history, was an official gubernatorial title used for various public offices during the period of the German Empire and the Nazi Third Reich....

     Josef Terboven
    Josef Terboven
    Josef Antonius Heinrich Terboven was a Nazi leader, best known as the Reichskommissar during the German occupation of Norway.-Early life:...

     the highest official in occupied Norway, reporting directly to Adolf Hitler
    Adolf Hitler
    Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

    .
  • Conducător
    Conducator
    Conducător was the title used officially in two instances by Romanian politicians, and earlier by Carol II.-History:...

     ("leader"), a title used by Ion Antonescu
    Ion Antonescu
    Ion Victor Antonescu was a Romanian soldier, authoritarian politician and convicted war criminal. The Prime Minister and Conducător during most of World War II, he presided over two successive wartime dictatorships...

     and Nicolae Ceausescu
    Nicolae Ceausescu
    Nicolae Ceaușescu was a Romanian Communist politician. He was General Secretary of the Romanian Communist Party from 1965 to 1989, and as such was the country's second and last Communist leader...

     in Romania
    Romania
    Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

    .
  • Leider ("leader"), a title used by Anton Mussert
    Anton Mussert
    Anton Adriaan Mussert was one of the founders of the National Socialist Movement in the Netherlands and its de jure leader. As such, he was the most prominent national socialist in the Netherlands before and during the Second World War...

    , the leader of Nationaal-Socialistische Beweging (National Socialist Movement) in the Netherlands
    Netherlands
    The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

    . Though styled "leader" under the German occupation, he was not a real dictator as he had little actual power. In fact Arthur Seyss-Inquart
    Arthur Seyss-Inquart
    Arthur Seyss-Inquart was a Chancellor of Austria, lawyer and later Nazi official in pre-Anschluss Austria, the Third Reich and for wartime Germany in Poland and the Netherlands...

     was in charge of the Netherlands on behalf of the Nazi regime.
  • Nemzetvezető ("leader of the nation"), a title used by Ferenc Szálasi
    Ferenc Szálasi
    Ferenc Szálasi was the leader of the National Socialist Arrow Cross Party – Hungarist Movement, the "Leader of the Nation" , being both Head of State and Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Hungary's "Government of National Unity" for the final three months of Hungary's participation in World War II...

    , the chief of the Nyilaskeresztes Párt (Arrow Cross Party
    Arrow Cross Party
    The Arrow Cross Party was a national socialist party led by Ferenc Szálasi, which led in Hungary a government known as the Government of National Unity from October 15, 1944 to 28 March 1945...

    ) who succeeded Miklós Horthy
    Miklós Horthy
    Miklós Horthy de Nagybánya was the Regent of the Kingdom of Hungary during the interwar years and throughout most of World War II, serving from 1 March 1920 to 15 October 1944. Horthy was styled "His Serene Highness the Regent of the Kingdom of Hungary" .Admiral Horthy was an officer of the...

     in Hungary
    Hungary
    Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

    .
  • Arhigos ("chief" or "leader"), a title used by General Ioannis Metaxas
    Ioannis Metaxas
    Ioannis Metaxas was a Greek general, politician, and dictator, serving as Prime Minister of Greece from 1936 until his death in 1941...

     of Greece
    Greece
    Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

    's 4th of August Regime
    4th of August Regime
    The 4th of August Regime , commonly also known as the Metaxas Regime , was an authoritarian regime under the leadership of General Ioannis Metaxas that ruled Greece from 1936 to 1941...

    .
  • Adipati ("chief of state" or "generalissimo"), the title used by Ba Maw
    Ba Maw
    Dr. Ba Maw was a Burmese political leader, active during the interwar and World War II period.-Early life and education:Ba Maw was born in Maubin. Ba Maw came from a distinguished family of mixed Mon-Burmese parentage which bred many scholars and lawyers...

     of the Japan
    Japan
    Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

    ese satellite State of Burma
    State of Burma
    The State of Burma was created in 1943 under Japanese occupation.-Background:During the early stages of World War II, the Empire of Japan invaded British Burma primarily to obtain raw materials , and to close off the Burma Road, which was a primary link for aid and munitions to the Chinese...

  • Udhëheqësi [i partisë dhe i popullit], The Guide [of the party and of the people], the most common title used by Albanian communist dictator Enver Hoxha
    Enver Hoxha
    Enver Halil Hoxha was a Marxist–Leninist revolutionary andthe leader of Albania from the end of World War II until his death in 1985, as the First Secretary of the Party of Labour of Albania...

    .
  • Or even simply President
    President
    A president is a leader of an organization, company, trade union, university, or country.Etymologically, a president is one who presides, who sits in leadership...

     as did for example, Getúlio Vargas
    Getúlio Vargas
    Getúlio Dornelles Vargas served as President of Brazil, first as dictator, from 1930 to 1945, and in a democratically elected term from 1951 until his suicide in 1954. Vargas led Brazil for 18 years, the most for any President, and second in Brazilian history to Emperor Pedro II...

     in Brazil, from 1930 to 1945 as well as the generals during the 1964–1985 regime.


Other 'leaders' of contemporary political groups who never achieved power:
  • Capitanul 'The Captain' Corneliu Zelea Codreanu
    Corneliu Zelea Codreanu
    Corneliu Zelea Codreanu was a Romanian politician of the far right, the founder and charismatic leader of the Iron Guard or The Legion of the Archangel Michael , an ultra-nationalist and violently antisemitic organization active throughout most of the interwar period...

     of the "Iron Guard
    Iron Guard
    The Iron Guard is the name most commonly given to a far-right movement and political party in Romania in the period from 1927 into the early part of World War II. The Iron Guard was ultra-nationalist, fascist, anti-communist, and promoted the Orthodox Christian faith...

    " in Romania.
  • El Jefe 'The Chief' Jorge González von Marées
    Jorge González von Marées
    Jorge González von Marées El Jefe was a Chilean political figure and author.Born in Santiago of a German mother. He was ideologically influenced by Oswald Spengler...

     of the Chilean Nacistas (Chilean-Spanish word for "Nazis"), who failed a coup d'état in 1938.
  • Vozhd 'Leader' Konstantin Rodzaevsky
    Konstantin Rodzaevsky
    Konstantin Vladimirovich Rodzaevsky was the leader of the Russian Fascist Party, which he led in exile from Manchuria, chief editor of the RFP "Nash Put".-Far Eastern Fascism:...

     of the Russian Fascist Party, only active in exile in Manchuria
    Manchuria
    Manchuria is a historical name given to a large geographic region in northeast Asia. Depending on the definition of its extent, Manchuria usually falls entirely within the People's Republic of China, or is sometimes divided between China and Russia. The region is commonly referred to as Northeast...

    , most admired Mussolini but saw action only in the anti-Communist service of the Japanese Empire.
  • the American Führer Fritz Kuhn.
  • Chief William Dudley Pelley
    William Dudley Pelley
    William Dudley Pelley was an American extremist and spiritualist who founded the Silver Legion in 1933, and ran for President in 1936 for the Christian Party.-Family:...

     of the U.S. Silver Legion of America
    Silver Legion of America
    The Silver Legion of America, commonly known as the Silver Shirts, was an American fascist organization founded by William Dudley Pelley on January 30, 1933, coincidentally, the same day Adolf Hitler, whom Pelley admired, seized power in Germany....

    .
  • Adrien Arcand
    Adrien Arcand
    Adrien Arcand was a Montreal journalist who led a series of fascist political movements between 1929 and his death in 1967...

    , self-proclaimed Canadian Führer
  • Netaji (Leader) Subhas Chandra Bose, a messianic Indian nationalist, a former president of the Indian National Congress
    Indian National Congress
    The Indian National Congress is one of the two major political parties in India, the other being the Bharatiya Janata Party. It is the largest and one of the oldest democratic political parties in the world. The party's modern liberal platform is largely considered center-left in the Indian...

    , he escaped British surveillance and went over to Germany, and from there went to Japan in a German U-boat and later, a Japanese submarine. While he commanded the Indian National Army
    Indian National Army
    The Indian National Army or Azad Hind Fauj was an armed force formed by Indian nationalists in 1942 in Southeast Asia during World War II. The aim of the army was to overthrow the British Raj in colonial India, with Japanese assistance...

     and was the leader of the Provisional Government of Free India
    Provisional Government of Free India
    Arzi Hukumat-e-Azad Hind , simply Free India or Azad Hind, was an Indian provisional government established in Singapore in 1943....

    , which had limited and notional sovereignty over Axis controlled Indian territory, he was dependent on the Japanese, and overseas Indians for logistics, and military support.
  • Tindis or Tandis (leader of a confederation of barangay
    Barangay
    A barangay is the smallest administrative division in the Philippines and is the native Filipino term for a village, district or ward...

    s) used by the Sakdalista
    Sakdalista
    The Sakdalista movement was founded in 1930 by a right wing leader, Benigno Ramos, a writer and discontented former government clerk...

     Party leader Benigno Ramos
    Benigno Ramos
    Benigno Ramos was an advocate for the independence of the Philippines from the United States who collaborated with Japan.Educated in Bulacan, he went to work there as a teacher. Later, whilst based in Manila, he entered the civil service and by 1928 had risen to a high position with the Senate Staff...

     during the Commonwealth of the Philippines
    Commonwealth of the Philippines
    The Commonwealth of the Philippines was a designation of the Philippines from 1935 to 1946 when the country was a commonwealth of the United States. The Commonwealth was created by the Tydings-McDuffie Act, which was passed by the U.S. Congress in 1934. When Manuel L...

     (from 1935), under US sovereignty.


In areas occupied by the Axis powers, some states or ethnic-cultural communities aspiring to national self-determination found they were not handed real power by their victorious German allies as they had hoped. Their nationalist leaders, too weak to gain control independently, were simply used as pawns.

Such Nazi collaborators include De Leider "leader" Staf De Clercq
Staf De Clercq
Staf De Clercq was a Flemish nationalist collaborator, co-founder and leader of the Flemish nationalist Vlaamsch Nationaal Verbond .-Biography:...

 of the VNV (Flemish National League) in Flanders
Flanders
Flanders is the community of the Flemings but also one of the institutions in Belgium, and a geographical region located in parts of present-day Belgium, France and the Netherlands. "Flanders" can also refer to the northern part of Belgium that contains Brussels, Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp...

 (the Dutch-speaking northern majority of Belgium), who had dreamed of a 'Diets' nation uniting Flanders, the Netherlands and Frans-Vlaanderen (the French part of historic Flanders, united with Belgium into one military occupation zone and Reichskommissariat). Even when the Germans decided in December 1944, after the allied breakthrough, to carve up Belgium, leaving only bicultural capital Brussels under the Reichskommissar
Reichskommissar
Reichskommissar , in German history, was an official gubernatorial title used for various public offices during the period of the German Empire and the Nazi Third Reich....

, the post of Landsleider van het Vlaamsche Volk ('Land leader of the Flemish people') of the new Reichsgau
Reichsgau
A Reichsgau was an administrative subdivision created in a number of the areas annexed to Nazi Germany between 1938 and 1945...

 (integral 'Germanic' part of the Reich, in this case merely on paper) (Flandern
Flanders
Flanders is the community of the Flemings but also one of the institutions in Belgium, and a geographical region located in parts of present-day Belgium, France and the Netherlands. "Flanders" can also refer to the northern part of Belgium that contains Brussels, Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp...

, Vlaanderen in Dutch; capital Anwerp) went to another collaborating party, Devlag
Devlag
Deutsch-Vlämische Arbeitsgemeinschaft , better known as DeVlag, was a pro-Nazi organization active in Flanders during the German occupation of Belgium...

, in the person of Jef Van de Wiele
Jef van de Wiele
Fredegardus Jacobus Josephus van de Wiele was a Belgian Flemish Nazi politician.-Nazism:...

 (1902–1979), 15 December 1944–1945, in exile in Germany as the Allied controlled all Belgium since September 1944; meanwhile in the Francophone south of Belgium, partially reconquered by German troops (December 1944 – January 1945), the equivalent post of Chef du Peuple Wallon ('Leader of the Walloon People'), at the head of the Reichsgau Wallonien, went to Léon Degrelle
Léon Degrelle
Léon Joseph Marie Ignace Degrelle was a Walloon Belgian politician, who founded Rexism and later joined the Waffen SS which were front-line troops in the fight against the Soviet Union...

 (in exile in Germany) of the Belgicist Rex Party.

Postwar era and the Cold War

In the postwar era, dictatorship became a frequent feature of military government, especially in Latin America
Latin America
Latin America is a region of the Americas where Romance languages  – particularly Spanish and Portuguese, and variably French – are primarily spoken. Latin America has an area of approximately 21,069,500 km² , almost 3.9% of the Earth's surface or 14.1% of its land surface area...

, Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

, and Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

. In the case of many African or Asian former colonies, after achieving their independence in the postwar wave of decolonization
Decolonization
Decolonization refers to the undoing of colonialism, the unequal relation of polities whereby one people or nation establishes and maintains dependent Territory over another...

, presidential regimes were gradually transformed into personal dictatorships. These regimes often proved unstable, with the personalization of power in the hands of the dictator and his associates, making the political system uncertain.

During the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

, the [cubian and the USSR managed to expand or maintain their influence zones by financing paramilitary
Paramilitary
A paramilitary is a force whose function and organization are similar to those of a professional military, but which is not considered part of a state's formal armed forces....

 and political groups and encouraging coups d'état, especially in Africa, that have led many countries to brutal civil wars and consequent manifestations of authoritarianism. In Latin America the threat of either communism
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

 or capitalism
Capitalism
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

 was often used as justification for dictatorship.

Individual cases

  • In the North Korean hereditary dictatorship, Kim Il-sung
    Kim Il-sung
    Kim Il-sung was a Korean communist politician who led the Democratic People's Republic of Korea from its founding in 1948 until his death in 1994. He held the posts of Prime Minister from 1948 to 1972 and President from 1972 to his death...

     and Kim Jong-il
    Kim Jong-il
    Kim Jong-il, also written as Kim Jong Il, birth name Yuri Irsenovich Kim born 16 February 1941 or 16 February 1942 , is the Supreme Leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea...

     of North Korea
    North Korea
    The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

    , have used the titles Great Leader and Dear Leader respectively.

  • Muammar al-Gaddafi
    Muammar al-Gaddafi
    Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar Gaddafi or "September 1942" 20 October 2011), commonly known as Muammar Gaddafi or Colonel Gaddafi, was the official ruler of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977 and then the "Brother Leader" of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 to 2011.He seized power in a...

    , once de facto Libya
    Libya
    Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

    n head of state
    Head of State
    A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

    , used the titles "Guide of the First of September Great Revolution of the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
    Jamahiriya
    Jamahiriya may refer to:* a concept in the Political philosophy of Muammar Gaddafi* the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya ruled by Gaddafi * a Savage Republic album, see Jamahiriya Democratique et Populaire de Sauvage-See also:...

    " and "Brotherly Leader and Guide of the Revolution".

  • In Romania
    Romania
    Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

    , Communist Party leader and president Nicolae Ceauşescu
    Nicolae Ceausescu
    Nicolae Ceaușescu was a Romanian Communist politician. He was General Secretary of the Romanian Communist Party from 1965 to 1989, and as such was the country's second and last Communist leader...

     even had the same title, Conducător (Romanian for leader), as earlier dictator Marshal Ion Antonescu
    Ion Antonescu
    Ion Victor Antonescu was a Romanian soldier, authoritarian politician and convicted war criminal. The Prime Minister and Conducător during most of World War II, he presided over two successive wartime dictatorships...

    .

  • Saparmurat Niyazov
    Saparmurat Niyazov
    Saparmurat Atayevich Niyazov; , was a Turkmen politician who served as President of Turkmenistan from 2 November 1990 until his death in 2006...

    , the late president for life
    President for Life
    President for Life is a title assumed by some dictators to remove their term limit, in the hope that their authority, legitimacy, and term will never be disputed....

     of the Republic of Turkmenistan
    Turkmenistan
    Turkmenistan , formerly also known as Turkmenia is one of the Turkic states in Central Asia. Until 1991, it was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic . Turkmenistan is one of the six independent Turkic states...

    , and former leader of the Turkmen communist party and later of the Democratic Party of Turkmenistan
    Democratic Party of Turkmenistan
    The Democratic Party of Turkmenistan is the only political party in Turkmenistan. The DPT was led by former Soviet provincial Party leader Saparmurat Niyazov from the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s until his death in 2006...

     (the country's only political party), assumed from 22 October 1993 the unique, paternalistic national title Turkmenbashi (Türkmenbaşy in Turkmen
    Turkmen language
    Turkmen is the national language of Turkmenistan...

    ), which means "Head of (all) the Turkmens".

  • In Belarus
    Belarus
    Belarus , officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered clockwise by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno , Gomel ,...

    , the President Alexander Lukashenko
    Alexander Lukashenko
    Alexander Grigoryevich Lukashenko has been serving as the President of Belarus since 20 July 1994. Before his career as a politician, Lukashenko worked as director of a state-owned agricultural farm. Under Lukashenko's rule, Belarus has come to be viewed as a state whose conduct is out of line...

     violated human rights during his rule over the country, as well as arrested opposition members. Belarus has been called “the last true remaining dictatorship in the heart of Europe” by the former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
    Condoleezza Rice
    Condoleezza Rice is an American political scientist and diplomat. She served as the 66th United States Secretary of State, and was the second person to hold that office in the administration of President George W. Bush...

    .

See also

  • Constitutional dictatorship
    Constitutional dictatorship
    A Constitutional dictatorship is a form of government in which dictatorial powers are exercised during an emergency. The dictator is not absolute and the dictator's authority remains limited by the constitution....

  • Despotism
    Despotism
    Despotism is a form of government in which a single entity rules with absolute power. That entity may be an individual, as in an autocracy, or it may be a group, as in an oligarchy...

  • Dictatorship of the majority
  • Elective dictatorship
    Elective dictatorship
    An "elective dictatorship" is a phrase coined by the former Lord Chancellor of the United Kingdom, Lord Hailsham, in a Richard Dimbleby Lecture at the BBC in 1976. It describes the state in which Parliament is dominated by the government of the day...

  • Fascism
    Fascism
    Fascism is a radical authoritarian nationalist political ideology. Fascists seek to rejuvenate their nation based on commitment to the national community as an organic entity, in which individuals are bound together in national identity by suprapersonal connections of ancestry, culture, and blood...

  • Generalissimo
    Generalissimo
    Generalissimo and Generalissimus are military ranks of the highest degree, superior to Field Marshal and other five-star ranks.-Usage:...

  • Kleptocracy
    Kleptocracy
    Kleptocracy, alternatively cleptocracy or kleptarchy, is a form of political and government corruption where the government exists to increase the personal wealth and political power of its officials and the ruling class at the expense of the wider population, often without pretense of honest...

  • Maximum Leader
    Maximum Leader
    The title of "Maximum Leader" has been used by, or to describe, a number of politicians, including, but not limited to:* Fidel Castro...

  • Military dictatorship
    Military dictatorship
    A military dictatorship is a form of government where in the political power resides with the military. It is similar but not identical to a stratocracy, a state ruled directly by the military....

  • Military rule (disambiguation)
  • Negative selection (politics)
    Negative selection (politics)
    Negative selection is a political process that occurs especially in rigid hierarchies, most notably dictatorships, but also to lesser degrees in such settings as corporations or electoral politics....

  • People's democratic dictatorship
    People's democratic dictatorship
    "People's democratic dictatorship" is a phrase incorporated into the Constitution of the People's Republic of China by Mao Zedong.The premise of the "People's democratic dictatorship" is that the Communist Party of China and state represent and act on behalf of the people, but possess and may use...

  • Plutocracy
    Plutocracy
    Plutocracy is rule by the wealthy, or power provided by wealth. The combination of both plutocracy and oligarchy is called plutarchy. The word plutocracy is derived from the Ancient Greek root ploutos, meaning wealth and kratos, meaning to rule or to govern.-Usage:The term plutocracy is generally...

  • Police state
    Police state
    A police state is one in which the government exercises rigid and repressive controls over the social, economic and political life of the population...

  • Stalinism
    Stalinism
    Stalinism refers to the ideology that Joseph Stalin conceived and implemented in the Soviet Union, and is generally considered a branch of Marxist–Leninist ideology but considered by some historians to be a significant deviation from this philosophy...

  • Totalitarianism
    Totalitarianism
    Totalitarianism is a political system where the state recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible...

  • Tyrant
    Tyrant
    A tyrant was originally one who illegally seized and controlled a governmental power in a polis. Tyrants were a group of individuals who took over many Greek poleis during the uprising of the middle classes in the sixth and seventh centuries BC, ousting the aristocratic governments.Plato and...

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