What is Dictatorship; Definition of Dictatorship, Causes

We all know that the Dictatorship refers to the military government but we don't know the broad sense of the dictatorship.Here we will discuss in detail What is dictatorship; What are the real meanings of Dictatorship,it's causes and its feature 

What is dictatorship; Definition of Dictatorship: Causes of Dictatorship
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What is Dictatorship:

According to Ford, “Dictatorship is the assumption of extra-legal authority by the Head of the State.” 

Alfred says, “Dictatorship is the government of one man who has not obtained his position by inheritance but either by force or by consent, and normally by a combination of both. He must possess absolute sovereignty. All political powers must ultimately emanate from his will and it must be unlimited in scope. It must be exercised more or less frequently in an arbitrary manner by decree rather than by law. Finally, it must not be incompatible with absolute rule”.

Definition of Dictatorship:

A dictatorship is a form of government characterized by the absolute rule of one person or a very small group of people who hold all political power. While a dictatorship is a form of government in some nations, just as monarchy or representative democracy is the form of government in others, dictatorships are seen by non-dictatorships as dangerous and cruel because of the way they tend to treat their citizens.

Causes of Dictatorship:

Outbreak of the First World War:

The First World War broke out in 1914. In order to conduct the war successfully even in democratic countries, the executive captured all the powers of the government and Parliaments were pushed aside. There was no regard for the freedom and rights of the people. As such, democracy received a severe set-back.

The Treaty of Versailles of 1919 was based upon injustice:

The Treaty of Versailles (Paris Pact) was based on injustice. According to this treaty, Germany was bifurcated into two parts and they were handed over to. France, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Poland and League of Nations. Besides, a sum of £ 6,600 million was imposed as War-Indemnity on Germany. This compelled the people of Germany to think that only a strong government could bring about unification of the county and payment of reparation could be avoided. Thus, Hitler assumed power in 1933.

Though, according to the secret Treaty of London, Italy was to be given a new territory, yet after winning World War I, the governments of England and France did not fulfill that obligation. Italy suffered a heavy loss in World War I and she was very much disappointed. Pe’6ple believed that only a strong and powerful government could be effective at that stage. Thus Mussolini rose to power in 1922.

Incompetence of democratic governments:

After World War I democratic government were established in Germany and Italy. They had to face many crises from the very beginning. There was the problem of the unification t the motherland and Economic Depression in Germany.

In Germany, the Jews were traitors and they advanced money at a high rate of interest to France during the war. Communists were encouraging civil war on all sides and they were resorting to strikes. This hit the economy very badly. The democratic government of Germany could not do anything between 1920 and 1933. 

At last Hitler’s Nazi Party came to power, and it was determined to root out all these evils. In Italy too democratic government was established after World War I, but this could not solve the political and economic problem? Thus Mussolini ended the democratic government with the help of his Fascist Party and solved the political and economic problems by dint of his own ability and strength.

Lack of Democratic Traditions:

There was a lack of democratic traditions in Italy, Germany, Russia, Portugal and Spain. The people became restive and they transferred all their rights to dictators.

Inability to secure economic liberty:

In Russia, before 1917 revolution, Czar, Nicholas II was the ruler. He failed to take effective steps for the economic prosperity of the people. At the time of October revolution the Communists promised to remove economic disparities and guaranteed livelihood to all, with the result that the Communist revolution took place in Russia and the Communist Party established its dictatorship.

After World War II, Communist revolutions took place in China, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Finland, Poland, Hungary, Rumania and Czechoslovakia, because the governments of these countries failed to bring prosperity to their people. At present there is dictatorship of Communist Party in these countries.

Features of Dictatorship:

One Party, One Leader and One Programme:

In dictatorship only one party is allowed to exist and it is the dictator’s own party. Other political parties, associations and organizations are not allowed to function. These are banned. All opposition to the dictator is ruthlessly suppressed. Hitler used to say, “Swastika or gallows”.

One Leader:

Under dictatorship, leadership is given to a single man. Full faith is to be concentrated in the leader. The leader is supposed to represent national unity. He is considered to be a symbol of national prestige. He is the final authority in every matter and his word is supreme.

One Programme:

The whole country is supposed to have one political programme and it is the programme of dictator’s own party.

Absence of Individual Liberty:

The individual does not enjoy any liberty or rights under dictatorship. Maximum obedience to the laws is equated to the maximum liberty. People are not allowed any liberty of speech, association and press. All agencies of education and propaganda such as schools, colleges, radio, papers and films are controlled by the state. In the words of Mussolini “people do not want liberty but they want law and order.

” No criticism against the dictator is tolerated. People are supposed to believe and obey. Democratic slogans of liberty, equality and fraternity are replaced by slogans like duty, discipline and sacrifice. Mussolini asserted, “Liberty is a dead carcass, I kick it.”

National Glorification:

Dictators glorify their nations to an illogical extreme. A mad sense ol patriotism is inculcated in the minds of the people. They are made intensely nationalistic.

The state is regarded as the march of God on earth. The state is considered to be the end and the individual a means to that end. People are supposed to sacrifice their lives on the altar of state.

Glorification of War:

Dictators glorify war. War is considered to be essential for the normal health of body-politic. The state is all powerful and it must enhance its prestige. The dictators adopt a war-like policy and glorify brute force as the means for achieving national greatness. In the opinion of Hitler, “In eternal warfare, mankind has become great; in eternal peace it will be ruined.”

To quote Mussolini, “War is to the man what maternity is to the woman.”

Totalitarian State:

Dictatorship is a totalitarian state which controls each and every aspect of human personality, and takes into its fold all human activities in the social, economic, political, educational, religious and cultural spheres.

No margin for individual liberty is left behind. “Nothing against the state, everything for the state, nothing outside the state” is the basic principle of dictatorship.


Dictators preach racialism. The Germans under Hitler regarded themselves to be superior to the people living in the rest of the world. They claimed that they belonged to the ancient Aryan stock. As such they regarded themselves to be superior to others.

Similarly, the Italians claimed that they belonged to the race of the ancient Roman conqueror and that they had a divine mission to conquer the world.

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