Juggernaut: The Path of Dictatorship

Juggernaut: The Path of Dictatorship

Juggernaut: The Path of Dictatorship

Juggernaut: The Path of Dictatorship

Excerpt

In The Golden Bough SirJames Frazer has told how an attempt to answer a single question of detail brought him by degrees to the conception which underlies his monumental work. On a very small and humble scale, the present volume represents a similar experience. It grew out of a wish to discover how long dictatorships have lasted in times gone by. This question led almost imperceptibly to many others, until finally the fundamental issue was reached: why, how, and when does dictatorship come about? Why do people still bow down to Juggernaut?

To provide the materials out of which an answer to this question could be shaped a number of "case-histories" of dictatorship, from all places and periods of history, were brought together and analyzed. Shortly, broad relationships appeared, until it seemed possible to demonstrate that dictatorship, so often regarded as a manifestation of individual personality, is rather a phenomenon with roots deep in the economic, sociological, and psychological subsoil of history, springing up when conditions are favorable, enduring and passing away in accordance with apparently universal principles.

This is not, however, to underestimate the importance of the human factor in dictatorship. The character of the absolute ruler obviously can and does have profound effects on the history of his country. The case-histories which form the larger part of this book have so far as possible been kept informal and narrative in treatment, in order to throw emphasis on the dictators themselves -- how they arrived at power, what they achieved, what they left after them. For the essential nature of dictatorship reveals itself no less dearly and far more vividly in the actions of the man than in the statistics of the nation. His personal history is in a very real sense the history of the people whom he ruled. Grasp Robespierre and you grasp revolutionary France; grasp Hitter . . .

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