List of titles used by dictators

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This is a list of titles used by authoritarian political leaders. Various authoritarian political leaders in various official positions assumed, formally or not, similar titles suggesting the power to speak for the nation itself. Most commonly the title is a form of "leader" or "guide", such as "Maximum Leader". See dictatorship.

In the 1940s and parts of the 1950s[edit]

Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. Hitler's policies and orders resulted in the death of over 40 million people.

Such titles used by heads of state and/or government during the Second World War include:

Other 'leaders' of contemporary political groups who never achieved power:

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 of the VNV (Flemish National League) in Flanders (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, the post of Landsleider van het Vlaamsche Volk ('Land leader of the Flemish people') of the new Reichsgau (integral 'Germanic' part of the Reich, in this case merely on paper) (Flandern, Vlaanderen in Dutch; capital Anwerp) went to another collaborating party, Devlag, in the person of Jef Van de Wiele (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 (in exile in Germany) of the Belgicist Rex Party.

Postwar era and the Cold War[edit]

Mobutu Sese Seko, Zaire's longtime dictator, embezzled over $5 billion from his country.

In the postwar era, dictatorship became a frequent feature of military government, especially in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. In the case of many African or Asian former colonies, after achieving their independence in the postwar wave of decolonization, 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, Cuba and the USSR managed to expand or maintain their influence zones by financing paramilitary 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 or capitalism was often used as justification for dictatorship.

Individual cases[edit]

  • In the North Korean hereditary system, Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il used the titles Great Leader and Dear Leader respectively.
  • In Mali, Moussa Traore gave himself the title President for Life, but was deposed in 1991.
  • In Belarus, the President Alexander Lukashenko 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.[2]

References[edit]