Dictator power grab

How are dictator’s allowed to rise to power, with little or no opposition?


Name one, because I do not know one dictator who rose to power with little or no opposition. Or tell me what “little opposition” in your opinion is.

Hitler, Stalin, the Kim dynasty of North Korea. Putin. Just To name a few. They all eliminated any opposition by force. By state sanctioned murder. And by mass oppression of the people.

I agree, but they murdered existing opposition. But not non existing or little opposition. BTW Franco had to fight a long war and Mussolini`s blackshirts had given fashism its name.

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Sorry, I am only trying to understand your question, not to offend you.

Typically because they are underestimated by their opponents. Hitler was made Chancellor presuming that he would be overwhelmed by actual responsibility and controllable by his political opponents (von Papen, for instance.)

Stalin worked by carefully building up his ability to control the party (and the secret police), collecting offices and responsibilities until he owned the shop. He took on duties that his possible opponents believed would keep him so busy he’d not be a threat. His one threat was Lenin - or more accurately, Lenin’s will. He managed to suppress that, and he was off to the races.

Franco seized power by overwhelming his opponents by military force, and then making sure it could never rise again.

Castro seized power because Batista was so corrupt that the military abandoned him. Then Castro (or more accurately, Guevara - and gleefully, Guevara loved killing people like few others) killed everyone who could possibly oppose them.

Kim is a wild card. Kim was a creature of the Soviets. When Korea was partitioned, the Soviets picked him. He built a government (and a secret police) that crushed all opposition.

Hope this helps!


Thanks for the great reply. :+1:

It’s also worth mentioning that many historic dictators rose to power in states which did not have a rich free or democratic history. If the government has always been somewhat oppressive and corrupt, then with this next one, it often looks like you have little to lose. Only when they have become sufficiently powerful do they brute force their way into total control. @xfilesfc made a great reply on how some historic ones did it. All follows the same basic playbook. The Netflix documentary on “How to become a dictator” is also worth a watch. Probably not the best historic documentation, but it covers the basics and it’s entertaining as well.

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I will definitely be on the lookout for that documentary.
It is amazing how it keeps happening time and time again. And sadly will continue to happen.
Hopefully by the time the next generation of world leaders start to come into power. They will bring an end to dictatorship’s. They will go the way of the dinosaurs.

“How to become a tyrant” was actually the correct title. It’s pretty short with 6 episodes all under half an hour

ok… what about the dictators that were installed by the democratic powers (such as the US). the south korean dictator Rhee Syng or the south vietnamese one Ngo Dihn Diem?

So the complete answer would be some rise up as you told or put in place by stronger countries (well… to be precise, the last line about Kim says it…)

Well, to be fair, Syngman Rhee had impeccable centrist, anti-Japanese, and anti-communist credentials. He did resign after 8 years in power (by overstepping those powers, to be sure), so if he was a US-stooge-tyrant, he was an unusual tyrant.

DIem was put in power by the US; he was also removed (that is to say, murdered) by the US.

The one tyrant that I can think of the the US did put in power was the Shah of Iran, who was deposed by the Mullahs.

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Whoops, one more US-stooge: Samosa, in the epitome of a “banana republic.” That’s off the top of my head (which I want back :slight_smile:

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Mohammad Reza Pahlavi inherited from his father the position of shah of Iran because the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran (September 1941). Put in power by US was insisting that Soviet troops have to leave Iran in 1946?


Somoza in Nicaragua, as a tragedy Ortega is dooing well as a tyrant without US support


From my reading, the deposing of Reza Shah Pahlavi (father of Mohammed Reza Pahlavi - known generally, if inaccurately, in the West as “the Shah of Iran.”) was by the Russians and the British (the US not being in the war in September, 1941). The Shah was propped up by the US and British in 1947 by sabotaging the government of Mosaddegh, as I understand it.

Thanks for the spell cechk :slight_smile:

The crisis in Iran in 1953 was much Iranian made and less made by the US in my opinion.

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Thanks everyone for the great reply’s and for being civil about it. :+1: