List of titles used by dictators
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
Such titles used by heads of state and/or government during the Second World War include:
- Vožd' (Russian for "Leader" or "Chief" in reference to Stalin being the Chief or a guide to the working class) – referred to Joseph Stalin, dictator of the Soviet Union.
- Führer ("leader" or "guide") Adolf Hitler, from 1933 to 1945 dictator of Germany (formally "Führer and Reich Chancellor").
- Duce (from Latin dux meaning "guide") Benito Mussolini, from 1925 to 1943 dictator of Italy (formally "Head of Government").
- El Caudillo de España ("the Chieftain of Spain") Generalísimo 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. During World War II he maintained the neutrality of Spain. In fact the titles of Franco and Salazar (in Portugal) 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 it would indicate that the Spanish People had been luckily spared from the Soviet invasion.
- Vodca ("Leader") monsignor Jozef Tiso, from 1942 self-styled, in Slovakia, President 1939–1945 (acting to 26 October 1939).
- Naczelnik Państwa (Chief of State) Józef Piłsudski, dictator of Poland from 1926 to 1935.
- 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 Nezavisne Države Hrvatske ("Chief of the Independent State of Croatia") Ante Pavelić, in power in Croatia 10 April 1941 – 6 May 1945.
- Vidkun Quisling, Fører ("leader", "guide"), Minister-president of the Nazi puppet government in Norway, and after Reichskommissar Josef Terboven the highest official in occupied Norway, reporting directly to Adolf Hitler.
- Conducător ("leader"), a title used by Ion Antonescu and Nicolae Ceaușescu in Romania.
- Leider ("leader"), a title used by Anton Mussert, the leader of Nationaal-Socialistische Beweging (National Socialist Movement) in the Netherlands. Though styled "leader" under the German occupation, he was not a real dictator as he had little actual power. In fact Arthur Seyss-Inquart was in charge of the Netherlands on behalf of the Nazi regime.
- Nemzetvezető ("leader of the nation"), a title used by Ferenc Szálasi, the chief of the Nyilaskeresztes Párt (Arrow Cross Party) who succeeded Miklós Horthy in Hungary.
- Arhigos ("chief" or "leader"), a title used by General Ioannis Metaxas of Greece's 4th of August Regime.
- Adipati ("chief of state" or "generalissimo"), the title used by Ba Maw of the Japanese satellite State of Burma
- Udhëheqësi [i partisë dhe i popullit] ynë i madh, Our great guide [of the party and of the people], the most common title used by Albanian communist dictator Enver Hoxha.
- Or even simply President as did for example, Getúlio Vargas 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 of the "Iron Guard" in Romania.
- El Jefe 'The Chief' Jorge González von Marées of the Chilean Nacistas (Chilean-Spanish word for "Nazis"), who failed a coup d'état in 1938.
- Vozhd 'Leader' Konstantin Rodzaevsky of the Russian Fascist Party, only active in exile in Manchuria, 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 of the U.S. Silver Legion of America.
- Adrien Arcand, self-proclaimed Canadian Führer
- Tindis or Tandis (leader of a confederation of barangays) used by the Sakdalista Party leader Benigno Ramos during the Commonwealth of the Philippines, under United States 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 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
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.
- In the North Korean hereditary system, Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il used the titles Great Leader and Dear Leader respectively.
- Muammar al-Gaddafi, once de facto Libyan head of state, used the titles "Guide of the First of September Great Revolution of the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya" and "Brotherly Leader and Guide of the Revolution".
- In Romania, Communist Party leader and president Nicolae Ceauşescu even had the same title, Conducător (Romanian for leader), as earlier dictator Marshal Ion Antonescu.
- Saparmurat Niyazov, the late president for life of the Republic of Turkmenistan, and former leader of the Turkmen communist party and later of the Democratic Party of Turkmenistan (the country's only political party), assumed from 22 October 1993 the unique, paternalistic national title Turkmenbashi (Türkmenbaşy in Turkmen), which means "Head of (all) the Turkmens".
- 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.
- "Bizarre, brutal and self-obsessed. Now time's up for Turkmenistan's dictator". The Guardian. December 22, 2006.
- Rice: Russia's future linked to democracy, CNN, 20 April 2005