History abounds in examples of powerful men coming into prominence and dictating the course to be followed by the people. Dictatorship as a specific principle of government, however, arose only after World War I which was responsible for throwing out of gear the economic organizations of most of the state. The masses groaned under the burden of heavy taxation and large-scale unemployment.
The working classes were rebelling against their governments. The working classes derived inspiration from Soviet Russia where Lenin and Stalin were successful in overthrowing capitalism and establishing socialism. There was an imminent danger of their coming into power in a number of countries.
The capitalist monopolists rose equal to the occasion and established their dictatorships and horror of a socialist revolution was thus set at rest for some time. Thus the dictatorships were established in Italy under Mussolini, in Germany under Hitler, in Turkey under Mustafa Kamal Pasha, under King Alexander in Yugoslavia and under General Tojo in Japan.
Dictatorship is distinct from monarchy. Monarchy and dictatorship each are one man’s autocratic rule. But a monarchy comes to power either because of his hereditary claims or through conquest. A monarch does not have an organized political party of his own. A dictator comes to power either because of personal charisma, or through the help of an organized political party of his own.
Hitler, for example became the dictator of Germany through the support of Nazi Party. Mussolini came to be the dictator of Italy through the support of the Fascist Party. In the words of Alfred, “Dictatorship is the government of one man who has not primarily obtained his position by inheritance but by either force or consent and normally by a combination of the both. He uses his powers arbitrarily and his every decree has the force of law.”