In the field of political science, there are many forms of governments formed with specific characteristics differentiating each type from the other. The most common types are democratic governments, anarchy governments and the dictatorial governments. Of all these governments, there is a uniform characteristic that the mode of governance is what dictates the traits of the leader (James, 2010).
Having scantly looked at the common forms of governance, I would like to deal more closely with dictatorship. This is due to the increasing number of dictators in the world. Also, provided is a summarized analytical outline of the metamorphosis of dictatorship from the earlier centuries to the contemporary dictatorship. To have a glimpse on this transformation, the paper will review some dictators in the past and one in the present. This is under the thesis statement: creation of a perfect dictatorship.
A brief history of this form of governance traces back to the roman empires where the rulers were allowed to make decisions for their people even if the people were against such decisions. A good example would be during wars when the leaders were allocated absolute powers to command any person on what to do. This form of governance spread all over the world taking some basic transformations to the types of dictatorships that are present. In the past, dictators were chosen by the people to accomplish a certain mission and this was usually for a period of less than six months. This was the tradition in the Roman Empire but after Cornelius Sulla took the throne, he was declared a dictator for life. Julius Caesar took over from him but due to his corruption, he was assassinated. This led to decline of dictatorship until the rise of the napoleon leader during the French revolution in the 19th century. He is named as the first modern dictator who ran the whole government alone. He reformulated the constitution and led many wars. In our quest to seek similarities between ancient dictators, modern dictators and contemporary dictators, we will analyze Adolf Hitler of Germany and Fidel Castro of Cuba (Keegan, 1997).
This dictator was born in Austria and was a German ruler from 1933 to 1945 when it is presumed that be died in war. During his twelve year tenure as the leader of Nazi Germany, he was known to the whole world as the man who committed the largest numbers of atrocities. To begin with, he was the person who can be claimed to have ignited the second world way by attacking Belgium. This caused other countries in the west to turn against him and attack his country, a phenomenon that led to the actual sparking of the tension that resulted in the Second World War. There are several characteristics that can be used to describe the dictatorship of this leader (Jean, 2006).
- Use of tricky clauses to make him achieve is hidden agenda. To begin with, Adolf was elected as the chancellor of Germany and later as their leader but in a disguised manner turned all the people to be under his rule (Jean, 2006). To do this, two clauses which clearly explain the way he made it are:
- “If I do not have the inner conviction that I am doing the right thing, I will not do anything, not even if the whole of the Nazi Party tries to force me into action.” This quote was often heard from him and this it some sort of fear in the people and the soldiers. Commanders were forced to abide by this quote which he would translate to make them obey and work for him instead of working for Germany.
- The second clause is: “I hereby declare unconditional loyalty to the Führer of the German Empire and Nation, Adolf Hitler, supreme commander of the army, and I am prepared, as a courageous soldier, to lay down my life for this oath.” This was an oath administered to all the soldiers and their leaders as Adolf took office in 1934. This oath made Adolf the sole voice in German leadership at that moment. Anybody who complained was dismissed from the armed forces. (John, 1977)
- Use of violence to resolve situations. Generally speaking, all dictators can be claimed to be power hungry thus can do anything for power. This is what made Adolf attack Belgium and Poland with an aim of making them his territories. As a result, he used violence to conquer these regions and bring them under his control. This was a clear illustration of how he used violence to resolve even situations which would have been resolved peacefully. In the most remembered historic racial massacre, this leader ordered the murder of about two million Jews living in Germany. This incident showed that he was not a leader concerned about the diversity of the population he was leading but was only out to fight for supremacy and power (Fritz, 2000).
- Manipulation of the situation to gain advantage over the country. This was a tactical move performed by Adolf when he took the powers of the chancellor. Having been a soldier and knew how to plan and implement even risky missions, his election to head the coalition government gave him the ability to manipulate the situation to work to his advantage. His knowledge on politics played a very important role in securing him some added advantages over the other politicians. This led to his appointment as the leader of Nazi Germany in 1934 where he further manipulated the situation and exercised his powers to make the leadership a dictatorial. He began by the oaths administered to the armed forces and then disguised deprival of personal freedom.
- Seizing any window of opportunity. This is what this man did to turn Nazi Germany into a dictatorial region. When he learnt that he would not directly get the numbers that he wanted constitutionally, he devised a plan to burn down the building where meetings took place. He made the blame to appear on communists who he told the president that were planning to take over power by force. He sort absolute powers to deal with the situation and once he was granted the powers, he got what he wanted: a chance to silence the communists and build his name so as to gather the numbers that he wanted. This resulted in Adolf getting numbers that made him more like a president. After president’s death, he implemented his full law and completely silenced his political rivals. This made him easily turn Germany into a dictatorial region (Fritz, 2000).
- Anti-social behavior. From psychology, one of the key characteristics of dictators is to lead a life of self denial. This makes these people unable to appreciate others in life and think only of how to better their statuses without any regard to other people in the country. This is well exhibited by Adolf who seeks advantage over the others in the political arena. So as to ensure nobody tries to oppose him, he devises clauses which make the people bounded by the law and oaths to treat him as being above the law. (Fritz, 2000)
Lastly, like any other dictator, Adolf was afraid to let go of power thus instead of confiding to defeat during a war, he decided to kill himself and all the soldiers around him. This illustrates that dictators can only be removed from power by force or a similar approach but not self will.
This is a former Cuban leader who led the country from independence to 2011. This is an example of a man who ruled with full authority seeking only personal advantage without any consideration of international ties. For example, this leader was not involved with anything concerning the US yet the two countries are located at close proximity (Geyer, 1991).
Rise to power
Fidel rose to power in 1959 beginning as a prime minister of Cuban government. In this position, he was influential enough and was also the commander in chief of the Cuban armed forces. Having greatly pressed for the independence of this country, he grained favor in the eyes of the citizens and in the year 1976, he proclaimed himself the president of Cuba. In his rule, he made several changes similar to those made by Adolf to ensure that he changed the country into a dictatorial territory (Don, 2005). Some of the personal traits that made him succeed in converting the country into a pure dictatorial state include:
- Charisma. This leader is one of the most charismatic leaders that the 20th and 21st centuries have had. This leader led by example and was always focused on his main goal. However, this charisma can be claimed to be what led to his installation of dictatorial rule (Benjamin, 1992).
- Education. Fidel is a well educated and learned leader with a degree in law and politics. This gave him an added advantage while in the political arena to a point of creating situations that favored his rule alone. His education in US gave him an insight on politics and how to run a government according to personal interests (Benjamin, 1992).
- Ability to manipulate situations and learning of a political atmosphere. Looking deep at the way this person rose to power, Fidel is a man who manipulated the situation to work for him. He went into exile and came back to fight the rulers and after winning the battle, he turned to the people and installed in their minds that he would restore the constitution of 1940. This made the people trust him and with this favor, he was made the leader. However, after getting into power, he made radical changes which made the whole country a communist. The economy was nationalized and ownership of property also made public (communist). Privatization and capitalism government structure were erased from Cuba. This led to Cuba becoming a single party state, another advantage to Fidel. With nobody opposing him and having any personal property, Fidel was the only person with ability to make rules which were of personalized policies. This made him a very modern dictator who manipulated the situation to appear normal whereas he rules with an iron rod. (Benjamin, 1992)
Having tackled these two dictators in the world history, let us review some characteristics in which they are similar or dissimilar so as to come up with a perfect from of dictatorship.
- Intelligence. From the two discussed dictators, it is clear that if it were not for their intelligence, they would not have had the power. This is supported by Adolf’s knowledge in war and politics and similar knowledge for Fidel Castro. Taking this aspect into account, it helps the person or leader to manipulate the situation and make everything appear normal and attractive to the citizens while all that is a hoax to confuse the citizens. In this way, the citizens will be content with the government thus issues of rebellions will be minimized (James, 2012).
- Consciousness of the citizens. This crops from intelligence but requires the leader to have some added understanding of the different classes of people present in the region and thus have a way to deal with each and every class accordingly. For example, the leader must have understanding of how to deal with the rich, the politically powerful and the peasant. This results in gaining favor from all the people. This leads to a very effective means of leading known as divide and rule formula. (James, 2012)
- Dealing with the military. This is an aspect that most dictators use and make them very successful. However, to make the military always loyal, the dictator should make the military feel as if it is heavily involved in the process of governance. This would increase their loyalty and cooperation (James, 2012).
- Good external relationships. Taking a look at how most dictators are removed from power, there is always an appeal to external intervention. This results in invasion of the dictator by foreigners who come in to support rebels. To take care of this, the dictator should always listen even to the rebels and devise mechanisms to deal peacefully with them. This reduces chances of external invasion from countries seeking advantage. The dictator should as well have friends in the outer world to support him in case the foreigners decide to attack even without warning. For example, even in the US disapproved communism in Cuba and used sanctions to put pressure on Cuba, Cuba turned to the East who supported them. (James, 2010)
- Increased decentralization of power. As earlier postulated, the best way to rule is divide up the people and then rule. Communism is one of the main features that can be used to create a feeling of equality whereas the leader is in reality leading by an iron hand. In decentralized power, the people feel to have more powers but all of them controlled by their leader. This creates acceptance by the people thus no plans to evict the leader (James, 2010).
- Wisely crafted policies. This can play a very great role in keeping everything under control. Take a look at the way Adolf took over. He used wisely crafted policies and well calculated moves to woo the people to his side. With the people on his side, he had the ability to install dictatorship which was guided by the policies and the law hence the people had no means of directly criticizing him (James, 2010).
In conclusion, each and every form of governance requires understanding of the population. This helps the leader know what to do to the people to have their support and approval. This is because regardless of whichever form of government, the citizens must the considered greatly since they have the power to elect or remove a leader. For pure or hypothetically perfect dictator, it is clear that the leader must have a combination of skills and intelligence. Drawing some traits from the discussion, the dictator must exhibit: intelligence in working with the people, dividing and ruling and working with the weak points (Adolf and Fidel used these ideas), must have a firm knowledge base on the laws of the land so as to manipulate them perfectly (Adolf and Fidel did this) and great in creating anticipation (Fidel conquered using this tactic). The traits that are unique to each but are very important for a perfect dictator include: charisma, calculative and has the ability to easily create good international relations (Fidel) and a leader who does not shake or change his stand when he meets an obstacle (Adolf).
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Benjamin, R. 1992. The United States and the Origins of the Cuban Revolution: An Empire of Liberty in an Age of National Liberation. Princeton University Press
Don B. 2005. The Castro Obsession: U.S. Covert Operations against Cuba, 1959–1965. Washington, D.C.: Potomac Books, Inc
Geyer, G. 1991. Guerrilla Prince: The Untold Story of Fidel Castro. Little, Brown and Company
Fritz R. 2000. Hitler: Diagnosis of a Destructive Prophet. Oxford University Press
Keegan, J. 1997. The Mask of Command: A Study of Generalship. Penguin publishers
John T. 1977. Adolf Hitler: The Definitive Biography. Book Club Associates publishers
Jean R. 2006. Nazi Germany: Dictatorship. Retrieved from http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/Nazi_Germany_dictatorship.htm
James F. 2010. The minds of a dictator, Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/engineering-the-brain/201106/the-mind-dictator