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The Meaning of Dictator

- Dictator is a ruler who has complete power in a country, especially power which was obtained by force and is used unfairly or cruelly.

- Dictator is a leader who has complete power in a country and has not been elected by the people

- Dictator is someone who rules a country with complete power, has complete control over the armed forces, and destroys any political opposition

The Meaning of Dictatorship

- Dictatorship is a form of government in which one person or a small group possesses absolute power without effective constitutional limitations.

- Dictatorship is a government or a social situation where one person makes all the rules and decisions without input from anyone else.

- Dictatorship is a form of government characterized by a single leader or group of leaders and little or no toleration for political pluralism or independent programs or media.

- Dictatorship is a form of government characterized by a single leader or group of leaders and little or no toleration for political pluralism or independent programs or media.

The Dictator, Adolf Hitler of Germany

Characteristics of Dictatorship

1. Total wipe of Democracy. There is no democracy and no right to view or speech. 

2. Militarism as a means of achieving political goals. 

3. Excessive use of terror and propaganda in order to enforce will and punish, arrest without trial and threat to bis opponent.

4. Anti- semi fire-excessive racial segregation

5. Personality cult. Dictatorship is characterized by excessive worshiping of a dictator, obey without a question.

6. Mass killings and genocides of the opponents

7. Absence of freedom of press. The dictator controls news papers, magazines, books and radios, TV stations.

8. Extreme nationalism and super patriotism. The glories of the nation are pictured as right and just.

9. Denial of international peace and cooperation to refrain from international peace arrangement.

One of the factors that contributed to the rise of dictatorships was the Great Depression of 1929 –1933.

An economic depression refers to a slump in the economy of the country. In 1929 the economy of the entire world was hit by a period of depression therefore the great depression refers to the world wide business slump of the 1930’s characterized by high unemployment and low business.

Benito Mussolini (Italy) and Adolf Hitler (Germany)


Fascism was a political system that existed in Italy during the interwar period i.e. the First and the Second World War. The Italian version of fascism was "fascio" meaning a group or squad of a few determined superior men. In the period after world war one, the word Fascism was used to denote groups of people organized to fight communism and socialism by force.

Basic Principles of Fascism:

(a) Extreme nationalism
An emphasis was laid on building up the greatness and prestige of the Italian state, with the implication that one's own nation is superior to others. Thus the fascists wanted Italy to become a power in Europe.

(b) A totalitarian system of government.
The Fascist party removed all free election and banned all trade unions. All communications and the press were restricted by the government. All radio programs and newspapers were closely contoured by the state. This was important to protect the interest of the state which was more important than the interest of the individual.

(c) A one party state.
All political parties except the Fascist party were banned so that Italy became a one party state like the Soviet Union. All political meetings and associations were forbidden. The Fascist party members were mostly the elite of the nation who would win mass support with thrilling speeches and skillful propaganda.

(d) Economic self sufficiency.
This was seen a precondition in the development of the state, the government had to direct the economic life of a country although this was not to be through public ownership of the means of production.

(e) Military strength and violence.
Military strength and violence were an integral part of life.Mussolini himself once remarked that, "Peace is absurd, fascism does not believe in it". Hence Mussolini fostered the myth that they had seized power by revolution

(f) Opposed capitalism.
Fascism was strongly against capitalism which was associated with exploitation and oppression.The Fascists hated western capitalist countries such as Britain and France.


Mussolini was born in 1883; he was a violent and headstrong boy. He qualified as a teacher but soon he turned to journalism. Mussolini often remarked that Italy needed a dictator who will be able to make "a clean sweep".

Several factors can be advanced to explain why Mussolini and his Fascist party gained political in 1922. It should be emphasized that there was an atmosphere of general frustration in Italy.

(a) The Italians had been disappointed by the outcome of the Paris peace settlement in 1915. Italy joined the Great War and for the allied powers who had promised her many territories such as Trenton, part of Dalmatian, Trieste etc. Unfortunately Italy was not given all the territories she was promised. The Italians felt cheated in view that the gains from the conference could not match the costsof the war. The leadership was condemned as inefficient because it failed to defend the interest of the Italian.

(b) Spread of communism and socialism.
The growth of communism and socialism in Italy threatened the interests of the rich middle class. The rich middle class was the most powerful group that owned factories and industries in Italy. With the spread of the socialist propaganda to nationalize private enterprise, the economic interests of the middle class were threatened thus they gave their support to Mussolini whom they believed would stop the spread of communist.

(c) Internal insecurity.
Between 1919 and 1920, there was a wave of strikes accompanied by violence, coating of shops and occupation of factories by workers. Because of this it was clear that Italy needed a strong and determined leader which Mussolini seemed to be.

(d) Mussolini’s character and personality.
Mussolini had a strong character and personality and his fascist party was attractive to many sections of the Italian society Mussolini promised to store complete law and order, security and stability at a time when they were badly needed. In addition Mussolini also promised to transform Italy into a great world power.

Benito Mussolini


The Versailles treaty refers to the particular clauses (conditions or principles) which were given to Germany and which were accepted and signed by Germany at Versailles in 1919. The Versailles treaty was one of the post war settlements through which the leading powers during the Paris conference hoped to restore peace on the European continent and to avoid another crisis like World War one.

According to the peace markers (Britain, France and Russia) the Versailles treaty seemed to be an idea of peace settlement to the Germans, The treaty had a lot of unrealistic terms.

Terms of the Versailles Treaty

1. Germany armaments were strictly limited. Germany was only allowed a maximum of 100,000 troops just for domestic safety. Germany was not allowed to own military tanks and military air craft’s. The intention was to weaken Germany militarily and prevent her, from revenging; this would maintain peace in continental Europe.

2. War guilt clause.
The peace makers blamed Germany for the outbreak of world war one. The war guilty clause fixed the blame of World War one only on Germany and her allies.

3. War reparations.
Germany was to pay reparations for the damage done to the allied powers. The actual amount was not decided at Versailles but it was announced later that Germany was to pay 6,600 million USA dollars in 1921. This figure was too high to be effectively paid by a single country especially after the Great War.

4. Loss of territories.
Germany had to lose territories in Europe and Africa. In Europe Germany lost Alsace and Lorraine to France. In Africa Germany lost all her colonies such as Tanganyika, Togo, and Cameroon and present day Namibia which were taken and made mandate territories under the supervision of the League of Nations.

5. Establishment of the League of Nations.

The allied powers agreed to form an international organ which would maintain lasting peace in Europe. This organ was the League of Nations that was established in 1920.

The Versailles Treaty of 1919

Was the Versailles Treaty Realistic or Unrealistic?

1. Treaty was imposed on Germany.
The treaty was forced upon the Germans at Versailles where they were simply presented with terms and told to sign without opposing. The allied powers especially France were given many chances to criticize Germany but the Germans were not given any chanceto defend themselves.

2. Disarmament
The disarmament was strongly objected by the Germans claiming that 100,000 troops were to maintain law and order at a time of political uncertainty. The Germans became more aggrieved, later as it became clear that other powers were not disarming.

3. War guilty clause
The war guilt clause was also contested by the Germans on the grounds that Germany alone was to blame for the outbreak of world war one. The Germans argued that if other powers had not acted the way they did like forming counter alliances perhaps World War one would have been avoided.

4. War reparations
The war reparations were the final humiliation for the Germans.The allied powers forced Germany to pay 6,600 million dollars. The figure was too high to be effectively paid by a single country especially after world war one.

5. Repartitioning of Germany.
Another weakness of the Versailles treaty lay in the repartitioning of Germany whereby Germany was forced to lose her territories to other European countries for example the port of Dazing was given to Poland therefore subjecting some Germans to polish control.

6. Dominated by the three big powers.
The Versailles treaty was not fair because the revolutions had been dominated by the three big powers i.e. Britain, France and the U.S.A. It’s even clear that the resolutions favored Britain and France at the expense of Germany for example France gained 15 years custody of the Saar valley which was rich in coal while Britain gained some of the mandate territories like Tanganyika.

In spite of the above weakness and unfairness one can strongly argue that the Versailles treaty was fair to some extent.

1. It was fair to the French to regain Alsace and Lorraine which Germany had forcefully annexed following their defeat in 1871. This region was so rich in terms of coal and supported the French industrial revolution.

2. The treaty gave freedom to small nationalities that had been subjected to foreign domination for so long for example Poland was given her independence.

3. The treat forced Germany to disarm because; if it was not disarmed it would have been very difficult to maintain continental peace because Germany was capable of troubling Europe shortly thereafter.

4. It was fair for Poland a land locked country to be given access to the sea if it was to gain economic stability.

NB: Its worth noting that the French representatives had used the treaty not for achieving lasting peace in Europe but to revenge on Germany for defeating France in 1871. It is the unfairness in this treaty that caused future trouble for Europe and the world.

The Versailles Treaty of 1919


The crisis of 1929 – 1932 was the most profound crisis of capitalist production. It took European economies for four years. The crisis struck deeper in the United States of America.

Various Causes account for the Occurrence of the Great Depression.

(a) Wall street crushes
Wall Street is a street in New York City where buying and selling of shares takes place. The Wall Street crush marked the beginning of the Great Depression. The prices of shares were increasing rapidly forcing people to buy more and more shares, but suddenly the prices of shares started to fall drastically and the people had bought so many shares started to sell them at give away prices. Large number of individuals and enterprises who had lent out money to the capitalists to make an interest ran bankrupt because the capitalists failed to pay back the loans.

(b) Over production in the United States of America.
After world war one the USA became the leading economic power. In the 1920’s American factories and farmlands produced more and more products expecting world trade to continue to expand. Due to increased production that lacked enough demands, prices of commodities declined reducing profits, capitalists responding by cutting down production which led to reduction of the work force leading to widespread unemployment.

(c) Nature of capitalists’ production
The capitalists believed in the Laissez faire policy whereby the government does not intervene in economic activities, due to the tendency of capitalists to compete with one another; they tend to produce more than the existing demands which leads to fall in prices and therefore the fall in profits forces the capitalists to reduce production and close their factories which leads to unemployment.

(d) Concentration of wealth in the hands of the minority and poverty in the hands of the majority This lead to disproportion between investment and consumption. Due to poverty there will be inadequate demand which forces prices to fall leading to reduction in profits thus the capitalists are forced to reduce production and reducing the workforce which leads to widespread unemployment.

(e) Interdependence of countries.
Due to the interdependence of countries, a crisis in one country was bound to have serious consequences in another country. This explains why the Wall Street crush in the USA forced her to withdraw the loans that she had lent out to European countries hence having disastrous consequences in the European countries for example Germany failed to pay the war reparations.

(f) Protectionist policies.
Poor economic policies like protectionism were also for causing the Great depression. The USA during the inter war period pursued protectionism whereby it carried out discriminative policies against world economies. The USA introduced the “MC cumber tariff”in 1922 to shelter her economies against imports from other nations.

(g) Effects of World War 1.
The effects of world war one also contributed to the outbreak of the Great Depression.World war one lead to high production, low prices and profits hence was contributing to the Great Depression.

The struggling mother of a migrant family at a temporary camp in California during the Great Depression

Impact of the Great Depression on Europe and America

(Factors for rise of dictatorship)
The Great Depression had a tremendous impact on the metropolitan economies for a period of four years. The effects are the following:

(a) Massive unemployment.
The Great Depression was characterized with low prices that let to reduction in profit; the decline in profits compelled the capitalists to retrench workers thus leading to Massive unemployment rose from 3.2% in 1929 to 24.9% in 1939.

(b) Decline in production.
There was a massive fall in the levelof production activities; the Great Depression was characterized with falling prices and profits which forces the capitalists to reduce production and in some cases to close their industries and factors.

(c) Widespread poverty.
The Great Depression led to widespread poverty both in the United States of America and Europe. Poverty was due to low purchasing power which was caused by massive unemployment.

(d) Collapse of the agricultural sector.
The Great Depression contributed to the collapse of the agricultural sector, the fall in production was caused by the rising prices of farm implements such as tractors and fertilizers. Due to the rise of prices, farmers could not purchase the farm implements thus contributing to the collapse of the agricultural sector.

(e) Inflation
The Great Depression contributed to widespread inflation in both the United States of America and Europe. The Great Depression was characterized by low levels of production which later on pushed up prices due to rising demand for goods. In 1929 countries such as Germany and Britain were characterized by hyper inflation that reduced the value of their currencies.

(f) Collapse of international trade
The Great depression contributed to the decline of international trade because it was associated with hyper inflation which contributed to loss of the value of money thus discouraging trade among countries. The Great depression also contributed to the collapse of many commercial banks, this too contributed to the collapse of international trade.

(g) Rise of dictatorship in Europe for example Italy and Germany
(h) Decline in working conditions.


The world Nazism comes from the world “Nazi” which was a popular abbreviation for a member of Adolf Hitler’s political party called the National socialist party. Nazism was a dominant political system that arose during the inter war period. It was dominant in Germany.

Characteristics of Nazism

(a) The destruction of democracy.
The National socialist party removed all free elections and banned all trade unions. All communications and the press were restricted by the government. All radio programs and news papers were closely controlled by the state.

(b) Adoption of a one party state.
All political parties except the National socialist party were banned, so that the Germany became a one party statelike the Soviet Union. All political meetings and associations were forbidden.

(c) Glorification of the military.
There was creation of a large and strong military and police machinery. Hitler created a huge police force and a tough secret police called the "Gestapo". After 1933 Hitler withdrew Germany from the League of Nations and embarked on a policy of rearmament.

(d) Racism
The Nazi philosophy always emphasized Germany hatred for all foreign races especially the Jews. German text books were rewritten to fit in with the Nazi philosophy; the most obvious were History and Biology. History was distorted to reflect Hitler’s views that great thing can only be achieved by using force while Biology was dominated by the Nazi race theory which reflected the greatness of Germans as opposed to other nationalities.

(e) Expansionism
Hitler’s political party had two political aims,:-
- Re–uniting Germany that had been split by the allied powers in 1919.
- Obtaining for Germany a leading role in Europe in the form of oversees colonies.
In March 1938 Germany troops entered Austria without resistance and controlled it for seven years. They again over ran Czechoslovakia with little resistance and in 1939 they invaded Poland with the aim of liberating one million Germans.

(f) Dominated by totalitarianism.
Nazism was dominated by totalitarianism, Nazism believed that, “nothing should be above the state, nothing outside the state and nothing against the state” Hitler used to make remarks like, believe! Obey! Fight”

(g) Against capitalism.
Nazism was strongly against capitalism which was associated with exploitation and oppression. The Nazis hated Western capitalist countries such as Britain and France.

Adolf Hitler

Reasons for the Rise of Nazism in Germany

(a) The effects of the Versailles treaty.
The treaty was too harsh for Germany, for example it involved the partitioning of Germany and forcing her to pay reparations that were fixed at 6.5 million pounds. Hitler promised to overthrow the Versailles treaty and rebuild Germany into a great power again, hence the majority of Germans turned to Hitler and the Nazi party.

(b) The effects of the Great Depression.
The economic hardships brought about by the great depression shook the basis of the Weimar republic’s existence. Between 1929 and 1933, the unemployment problem worsened for example 6 million Germans were unemployed. The USA withdrew her loans scheme from the Germans which led to the decline in wages and fall in industrial production. The majority of the Germans turned to Nazism.

(c) The weakness of the Weimar republic.
The Weimar republic was declared after Kaiser William 11 fled in 1918. It was the first democratic republic with a democratic constitution.However the republic had a democratic constitution. However the republic had so many problems for example it lacked support from the Germans because they argued that it accepted the humiliating and unpopular Versailles treaty with its harsh terms consequently most of the Germans supported the Nazi party.

(d) Effects of world one.
The defeat of Germany in the Great War frustrated many Germans. Germans nationalists like Hitler often remarked that Germany was not defeated, but simply betrayed by the Kaiser’s government. There was widespread discontent in Germany, there was low production that led to scarcity of goods therefore contributing to hyper inflation for example in 1923 one British pound was equivalent to 20,000,000,000,000 marks where as in 1918 it was only 20 marks with all these hardships, the Germans turned to Hitler.

(e) The fear of a socialist’s revolution.
The bourgeoisie supported the Nazi party with the hope that it will keep out the communist policies and communism itself. Communism advocates for nationalization of private enterprises and redistribution of wealth hence the bourgeoisie decided to support Hitler who will protect their enterprises.

(f) The role of Hitler.
As soon as Hitler was appointed chancellor, he banned all political parties and declared the Nazi party as the only legal party thus playing a leading role to the rise of Nazism in Germany.

Factors for the Rise of Hitler into Power in Germany

Adolf Hitler was born in 1889 at Breionav, Austria Hungary on the border with Germany. Hitler earned his living by painting and selling post cards which obviously earned him little profits. In spite of this humble beginning and miserable experiences, Hitler became an outstanding politician and dictator on the European continent.  Several factors helped Hitler to rise to power:

(a) Popularity of the Nazi party.
The Nazi party was popular in Germany especially between 1932 and 1933. The party raised the hopes for national unity, revising a prosperous economy and improving the living conditions particularly for the unemployed. The party got support from the rich middle class namely the professionals, merchants, civil, servants and other white collar workers.

(b) Antipathy against the Versailles treaty.
Hitler became popular among the Germany nationalists because he promised to overthrow the Versailles settlement. Hitler reminded the Germans that the treaty would not be morally accepted because it discounted Germany yet it case Bismarck time and blood to build.

(c) The communist threat.
The big capitalists of Germany saw in Hitler the protection of their interests against the communists and the socialists. Communism and socialism had grown too strong in Germany because they advocated for nationalization and redistribution of wealth.

(d) Economic problems.
The economic hardships brought about by the great depression and world war one had disastrous effects in the Germans. There was general discontent and frustration which undermined people’s confidence in the Weimar Republic because it had no solutions, hence the Germans turned to Hitler.

(e) Strong personality.
It must be borne in mind that Hitler had a strong character in relation to his political opponents in 1933. He was the most powerful diplomatic figure in Germany politics and an orator of the 20 th century. He was so attractive to the Germans by his propaganda and political speeches. He exploited the corruption and mismanagement of the Weimar Republic.

(f) The weakness of the Weimar republic.
The Weimar republic was declared after Kaiser William II fled in 1918. It was the first democratic republic with a democratic constitution. However the republic had so many problems for example it lacked support from the Germans because they argued that it accepted the humiliating and unpopular Versailles treaty with its harsh terms consequently most of the Germans supported the Nazi party.

(g) Effects of world war one.
The defeat of Germany in the Great War frustrated many Germans. German nationalists like Hitler after remarked that Germany was not defeated, but simply betrayed by the Kaisers government. There was widespread discontent in Germany; there was low production that led to scarcity of goods therefore contributing to hero inflation for example in 1923 one British pound was equivalent to 20,000,000,000 marks where as in 1918 it was only 20 marks, with all these hardships, the Germans turned to Hitler.
Adolf Hitler

Effects of Fascism and Nazism in Europe

1. Outbreak of world war two.
The expansionist polices pursued by Mussolini had a great to play in the outbreak of the Second World War. Hitler and Mussolini wanted to control the whole world. Hitler attacked Australia, Czechoslovakia and finally Poland. The attack of Poland forced Britain and France to drop the appeasement policy and declare war on Germany that caused world war two.

2. Rise of dictators on the European continent.
The political systems of Nazism and Fascism contributed to the rise of dictators on the Europe continent. The governments of Germany and Italy were characterized with the absence of democracy. The press was under state control, political meetings and associations were prohibited. There was no freedom of speech.

3. Collapse of the League of Nations.
The policies of Hitler and Mussolini contributed greatly to the collapse of the League of Nations. The two leaders ignored the resolutions of the league, Italy attacked Ethiopia in 1935, and Germany attacked Austria in 1934 and Poland in 1939. The actions of Hitler and Mussolini weakened the League of Nations and accounted for the eventual collapse in 1945.

4. Weakened the economies of Europe. Nazism contributed to the decline of the economy of Germany and other European nations. Nazism contributed to the outbreak of the Second World War that contributed to widespread insecurity that disrupted economic activities.The European powers also invested many resources in the war, which contributed to their decline as world powers.

5. Terror and violence.
The policies of Nazism and Fascism brought terror and violence in Europe. Nazism was associated with racial segregation. The Germans believed that their race was the most superior race, they argued that the Jews were contaminating their race hence there is a need to eliminate them. Hitler killed many Jews in concentration camps; it is believed that six million Jews direct died in Nazi hands.

6. Abolition of free market economy.
The policies of Hitler and Mussolini contributed to the abolition of the free market policy in Germany and Italy. The state controlled the economy through price controls and quotas. There was also creation of massive public work as a strategy to address the unemployment problem.

7. Rise of Zionism.
The actions of Hitler to kill many Jews in concentration camps led to the formation of Zionist movement, this movement aimed at uniting all the Jews and settles them in Palestine. This movement started in the late 19 th century and reached its peak in 1948 after Hitler’s Holocaust. This led to the establishment of the state of Israel. The movements name is derived from Zion, the will on which the temple of Jerusalem was located. 

Benito Mussolini 


After the First World War, Japan was in a strong position in the Far East. Japan benefited much from the First World War, while European states were busy with the war, Japan provided the allies with shipping and other goods. During the war years her export of cotton cloth almost trebled and her merchant fleet doubled and her merchant fleet in tonnage. As the days went on, Japanese political affairs started to change.

The moment economic problems visited Japan, Parliamentary System was a driving force. Most of the ordinary people plus the army were interested with reforms. Militarism attracted many people and military groups started to be formed in japan, for instance the military officers met to discuss political affairs. They formed the society called “Issekikai” or One Evening Society. The society was organised in 1929 by 1929 by General Hideki Tojo, Nagata Tetsuzan, Yamashita Tomoyuki, Doihara Kenji, Ishiwara Kanji and Komoto Daisaku. There was another military organisation formed in 1930, the “Sakurakai” organised by Hashimoto Kingoro (1890-1954), this involved about 100 army officers with an inclusion of General Tatekawa.

Extremist actions increased in Japan in 1930’s and that became the error of militarism in japan, for example in March 1931 the millitary group tried to coup against the government. The conspirators  involved Hashimoto Kingoro, Okawa Shumei, General Koiso Kuniaki, General Tatekawa and General Sugiyama (the Vice Minister of War). Another event occurred in September 1931 in which the army officials wanted to assassinate Prime Minister Wakatsuki and others.

The “Blood Brotherhood League” was another extreme group exterme group which aimed to destroy the existing order by means of terror. The league had a support of Uchida Ryodei, Toyama Mitsuru and the top leader was a Budhist Monk Inoue Nissho (1886-1967). The league planned to assassinate Inukai, Wakatsuki, Inoue Junosuke, and Dan Takuma and by 1932 succeeded to assassinate Inoue Junosuke, and Dan Takuma.

Increase of extremist actions marked a new era of dictatorship in Japan and an end of Parliamentary Sytem and Party Government. The most irritating event occurred on May 15, 1932 when Prime Minister Inukai was assassinated, that event marked an end of Party Government, and Dictatorship came into open in Japan.

Before 1931 Japanese government was a democratic country with a constitutional parliamentary system with a cabinet  under a Prime Minister. The invasion of Manchuria a large province of China by Japanese army units  in 1931 marked the introduction of military involvement in government. The Japanese army units invaded and occupied Manchuria without the permission from the government to preserve  Japanese economic sector which was threatened  by the the Chinese and from there the  Japanese adopted  dictatorship  government as that of Italy and Germany.

The Pictures of Generals in the Imperial Japanese Army "The Kwantung Army"
Hideki Tojo, Nagata Tetsuzan, Yamashita Tomoyuki

Doihara Kenji, Ishiwara Kanji and Komoto Daisaku

Key Features of the Japanese Dictatorship System

1. The system favoured chauvinism. 
This is about prejudiced belief in the superiority of the Japan’s race. The system of Japan inspired japanism in the sense that japan would turn to her true character and values which have been eroded by the artificial ideas imported from the West by evil advisor to the emperor. Then, through Japanism, they aimed to extend their influence of the imperial way through the World. Some japanese like Okawa Shumei (1886-1957) inspired Chauvinistic feelings. He said, “It is my belief that the heaven has chosen Japan as the champion of the East”. Source: Mikiso Hane 1992:250.

2. Expansionism. 
Japan had a belief that, through expanding beyond can provide relief to her people. Several army officialls including  Ishiwara Kanji of the Kwantung Army supported the expansionist behavior of Japan. Then, Japanese expansion was insipired with the ambition to have places for surplus population. One Jangoist, known as Colonel Hashimoto Kingoro admitted that, “We are like a great crowd of people packed into a small and narrow room”  
Kita Ikki (1883-1937) was another man who inspired Japanese expansionism. In 1923, he wrote a “Plan for Reorganization of Japan”. He called for radical reorganization of political, social and economic affairs plus expansionism of Japan. He proposed that, Japan would expand to Australia and Eastern Siberia. But on 18th  September 1931, Japan invaded Manchuria.

3. The system in Japan was full of assassinations and conspiracies. 
Expansion of extreme groups in Japan influenced several assassinations. For instance, by 1932 Inoue Junnosuke, and Dan Takuma had been killed, and on 15th May 1932 Prime Minister Inukai was assassinated.

4. Dictatorship in Japan was anti-communist. 
Communists and other critical thinkers were expelled, for instance Professor Takigawa Yukitoki was a Law Proffessor being being expelled from Kyoto University because he wrote critical works. He was prevented from publishing books until the post war era. Then, General Araki Sadao (1877-1966) advocated the idea of Japanism and rejected Marxism and Materialsm in Japan, such an attitude threw away the communist ideas within Japan.  Also Japan was in poor terms with Soviet Union and in 1939 joined the Commintern Pact with Italy and Germany.

5. The system opposed democracy. 
Dictatorship in Japan was anti-democratic. Most of the army officials and some common people had no  interest  with the Parliamentary System. The Party Government ended in Japan on 15th  May 1932 when the Parliamentary Prime Minister was assassinated. Political Parties and free elections came into open in the post war era in the post war era. Several parties emerged including the Democratic Party under Hatoyama Ichiro, Liberal Party under Yoshida Shigeru and others.

6. The system was militarist. 
Most of the army officials supported and maintained the use of military force, for example the Kwantung army offocials like Hagaki and Ishiwara supported militarism. Others were the officials of the “Issekikai” including General Hideki Tojo, Nagata Hagaki and others, they inspired militarism in Japan. Through that principle, Japan became a military state and between 1931 and 1935 the arms expenditure rose two and a half times. On this area of military affairs, Japan aimed..... “Naval supremacy in the Western Pacific  and superiority over the Soviet army in the Soviet army in the Far East”. Source: Mikiso Hane: 1986:267 

The Japanese Army that waged World War II emerged in the 1870s and 1880s during the rapid modernizing period of the Meiji Restoration.

Driving Forces for the Rise of Dictatorship in Japan

1. Corruption caused many people to think of reforms 
Many politicians in Japan were corrupt and regulary accepted bribes from big business, sometimes fighting broke out in the lower house (the diet) as charges and counter charges of corruption were flung above to verify this. Corruption was a crucial problem in Japan, some government officials took bribes from a Major Rayon Company. An event led to Saito’s resigning in July 1934, he was a Prime Minister after Inukai. The corruption made military dictatorship inevitable in Japan.

2. Influential groups opposed democracy in Japan 
As pointed before that, most of the army officials were not interested with the party government. They wanted radical reforms under military system. Such men with extremist view were, General Hideki Tojo, Doihara Kenji and others. The army criticized Prime Minister Baron Shidehara Kijuro (1924-27) for his conciliatory approach to China. So, the army was itching to interfere in China which was torn with civil war.

3. End of the trade boom became a bridge to expansion of militarism in Japan.  
This is about the result of First World War, as the great trading boom of the war years lasted only until the middle of 1921, when Europe begun to revive and recover the lost markets. In Japan, unemployment and industrial unrest developed and at the same time farmers were hit by the rapid falling price of rice caused by series of bumper harvests.  When farmers and industrial workers  tried to organize themselves into a political party, they were ruthless suppressed by the police. Thus, the workers and the army and the right gradually became hostile to the parliament which pose a democratic but allowed the left to be suppressed and accepted bribes from big business.

4. Influence of fascism from other countries 
The Japanese observed success of Italy after creation of a police state. With such an influence, they started to ignore the constitutional government and step towards a police state as in Italy. In Italy, Fascism under Benito Mussolini came into open on 28th  October 1922. Within a short time, the fascists succeeded economically hence army officials were attracted in Japan to do same to Italy.

5. The Great Economic Depression, 1929-1933
The Great Economic Depression affected Japanese economy. For example USA introduced tariffs against Japanese goods so as to safeguard her industries which were falling due to economic depression. Furthermore  Japanese  witnessed  unemployment, low wages and shortage of food. The majority like workers and peasants blamed their government  hence were attracted to fascism system in order to solve their problems.

The Great Economic Depression had an influence. The G.E.D of 1929 to 1933 affected Japan in several ways. Several Japanese exports shrank disastrously and other countries introduced and raised tariffs against her to safeguard their own industries. Raw silk formerly exported to the United States of America was badly affected due to the Wall Street Crash, the Americans drastically reduced their imports of raw silk, so that by 1932 the price had fallen to less than 1/5 of 1923 figure. Such a catastrophe affected directly the farmers who relied for their livelihood on the production of raw silk as well as rice. Peasants and workers blamed the government and big businessmen, poverty increased specifically in the North. Most of the army recruits were peasants, consequently the rank and file as well as the officer class was disgusted with what they took to be weak parliamentary government. As early as 1927 officers were attracted by fascism and were planning to seize power and introduce a strong central government as a solution to economic problems.

6. Weakness of League of Nations acted as a trigger 
The League of Nations was formed after the First World War for the main purpose of maintaining World peace. For the case of Japan, the League of Nations failed to curb extremist actions. On September 18, 1931 Japanese Kwantung Army invaded Manchuria but the League of Nations failed to take any material action on the matter. Such league’s appeasement influenced the rise of extremist in Japan.

7. The case of Manchuria was more influential 
Manchuria was the right Chinese province. To Japan, the province was important as a source relief for Japanese people specifically during the Great Economic Depression. Officials  of the Kwantung Army were advocates of Manchuria, including Ishiwara Kanji and Itagaki Seishiro. So, the Japanese placed heavy investments at Manchuria. At the same time, the Chinese were trying to squeeze out Japanese trade and business which would have been a severe blow to Japanese economy already hard it by the depression. To preserve their economic potentials, the Japanese army units “The Kwantung Army” invaded Manchuria on September 18, 1931 without permission from the government. So, from that time, Japan started to practice extremist actions and the army started to control the state affairs by ignoring the party government. 

8. The disappointment over the Versailles Treaty of 1919
In this meeting the Japanese were denied racial equality and was not recognized as a powerful nation like Britain, France and USA. Apart from many advantages gained by Japanese in the meeting like given power over Pacific Micronesia and Shandong Province but the Japanese was not  satisfied hence decided to prefer military leaders.

9. Fear of communist political groups
The Kanto earthquake of 1923 caused fire out break which affected the city of Tokyo.The Koreans and Chinese who were living  in Japan were believed by the Army and the police to have started the fire with the assistant of communists and socialists. Most of them  were  killed in response, the communists and socialists  were arrested because of inciting the Koreans to riot.

10. The elite influence.
The elite in Japan opposed democracy. For example the elite insisted the army to assassinate civilian leaders who supported democracy. In 1932 Inukai Tsuyoshi  who was a Prime Minister was assassinated after he tried to arrest the Japanese army  in Manchuria. It was  influenced by the elite.

11. The weakness of the Emperor 
Hirohito was the Japanese Emperor  who was weak, he did not restrain the military actions and attacks like that of Manchuria because he was afraid to be ignored by the army with this  the development of  democracy was difficult in Japan under his leadership

12. The weakness of parliamentary system
The system limited the powers of the Prime Minister and the cabinet.The emperor was given power to dissolve a parliament at any time he think to do so also the military were responsible to himself only. The civilian leaders were powerless to the army even when they violate rule of laws.

    "Hirohito (1901-1989) was emperor of Japan from 1926 until his death in 1989. He took over at a time of rising democratic sentiment, but his country soon turned toward ultra-nationalism and militarism. During World War II (1939-45), Japan attacked nearly all of its Asian neighbors, allied itself with Nazi Germany and launched a surprise assault on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor.
Though Hirohito later portrayed himself as a virtually powerless constitutional monarch, many scholars have come to believe he played an active role in the war effort. After Japan’s surrender in 1945, he became a figurehead with no political power"

Doihara Kenji
"Doihara Kenji, 8 August 1883 – 23 December 1948) was a general in the Imperial Japanese Armyin World War II. He was instrumental in the Japanese invasion of Manchuria for which he earned fame taking the nickname "Lawrence of Manchuria," a reference to Lawrence of Arabia. 
As a leading intelligence officer, he played a key role to the Japanese machinations that led to the occupation of large parts of China, the destabilization of the country, and the disintegration of the traditional structure of Chinese society to diminish reaction to the Japanese plans by using highly-unconventional methods. He became the mastermind of the Manchurian drug trade and the real boss and sponsor behind every kind of gang and underworld activity in China.
After the end of World War II, he was prosecuted for war crimes in the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. He was found guilty, sentenced to death, and hanged in December 1948"


a) Their Similarities in their Internal and Foreign Policies

(i) They were extremely ant-communism
The dictators liked wars for expansion of their territories. For example the Japanese arrested the communists and Socialists for supporting Koreans riots

(ii) They struggled to make their countries self suffient
The dictators countries were suffered by the great economic depression, WWW I and the terms of Versailles Treaty hence they struggled to build their economy through industries, agriculture and improving infrastructure

(iii) Racism. In Germany Adolf Hitler  segregated the Jews who lived in Germany also Benito Mussolini was a racist. The Japanese segregated the Koreans and Chinese            

(iv) They attempted to organize a totalitarian state. For example they burned political parties, freedom of speech and controlled countries economic sectors like agriculture and industries.

(v) They were extremists. In Japan the Socialists and communists were arrested without apparent reasons while in Italy under Benito Mussolini the opponents were suffered furthermore in Germany they were murdered. For example Nazi murdered millions of Jews

(vi) They were expansionists. The Japanese invaded Manchuria in 1931, Italy under Mussolini invaded Greece (Corfu) in 1923, Ethiopia in 1935 and Albania in 1939 while Hitler invaded Austria and Sudetenland in 1938, Czechoslovakia and Poland in 1939.

(vii) They strengthened strong and large armies.

b) Their Differences in their Internal and Foreign Policies

(i) The extent of ruthless
The Germany system was more ruthless as because the Nazi killed many people. The Italy and Japanese dictators assassinated few opponents compared to Germany

(ii) The constitutional system. 
The Prime Minister in Italy and Japan were still remained although the Japanese Prime Minister was powerless compared to Benito Mussolini who was strong to the extent of ignoring King Victor Emmanuel. But in Germany Hitler was a top leader and no one to criticise his decisions

(iii) Religious tolerance
Hitler was totally against religion and the church he closed some of the churches who criticised him. The Japanese tolerant to religion activities while Benito Mussolini had a compromise with the church. For example in 1929 signed a treaty with the Pope of not interfering the churches’ activities.

(iv) Fascism position. 
The fascism policies took place in Japan and Italy but not in Germany

(v) The timing and the influence of Great Depression (1929-1933).
The Great Depression was not a cause for the rise of Italy as it came to power in 1922.But Germany and Japanese dictatorship were helped by the great depression to win mass support as they promised their people to solve their problems caused by the great depression like shortage of food, unemployment, inflation and poor provision of social services

(v) The  level of achievement reached. Germany reached self sufficiency because the Nazi made tremendous economic progress compared to Italy and Japan who were suffered with low level of development in industries, agriculture and poor provision of social services

Dictatorship in Germany, Italy and Japan led to World War II


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