Why Do Dictators Wear Uniforms?
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Whenever someone mentions dictators, Hitler with his hand raised, standing on a platform amidst multiple soldiers in a military uniform comes to mind. Thinking about it, Stalin too is famously remembered in his crisp uniform.
That leads us to this pertinent question- Why, why do dictators wear uniforms?
Is it because it’s cool?
Historians have not ever thought of this question and most might point out- there are some dictators who have ditched the uniform.
However, if you sit down and think, there are multiple reasons why a military uniform might be popular with most of the dictators.
In history and mostly at the time of the World Wars, the famous dictator trio of Mussolini, Hitler and Stalin had all participated in wars before by taking part in the military.
Mussolini did a brief stint in the corps of the Italian army, Hitler fought in the WW1 and Stalin was a General during the Polish-Soviet War in 1922.
The medals that adorned their uniforms were won in battles or bestowed upon them.
Surprisingly, Hitler was qualified for every Nazi political decoration there was. Despite this he only ever wore his WW1 Iron Cross, Golden Nazi Party Pin, and the Wound badge in Black.
The Message a Uniform Gives
Any Military uniform makes a person look disciplined, agile and invincible. This might have also been a major factor in wearing uniforms.
In tough times, such as the World War, the Armed Forces were the strength of a nation. Wearing this uniform could convey to patriots and traitors alike that the dictator was trained in armed combat and as vicious and strong as any army man.
Uniforms also make people look shrewd and smart. Have you ever noticed this? Have a look at one picture where you’re wearing a uniform. There is something about an ironed shirt, batch and those grim colours that make heads turn for a second look.
The army uniform would also assert an authoritative aura. This was crucial in war ridden times when despair was everywhere and hope in scarcity.
An authoritative demeanour would also promise stability and remove the shadow of impending doom.
It is easily seen in videos that exist especially of Adolf Hitler giving speeches. It was not only his exemplary oratorship but also his crisp uniform that do the trick. It is of course first impressions that matter.
That military uniform, however little decorated it was, gave him the authority, shrewdness, smartness, strength that people longed to see, ultimately giving him immense power.
A more plausible explanation about why dictators wear uniforms may be that they were the heads of the Armed Forces.
The Head of any state, even in a democracy, is the Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces. It may the President or the Sovereign, they are given the powers as Commander-in-chief by law. In dictatorship, the Armed Forces are the key to achieve absolute authority.
In this case, it is a natural transition to don a military look.
Why not Regalia?
Talking about sovereigns, haven’t you wondered why dictators didn’t get Royal Regalia crafted for them? Bear skin and velvety soft robes, some shiny medals and a studded crown possibly made of the bones of people they had killed would look apt, wouldn’t it?
This would have screamed authority and potentially a high vanity. However in those times, such frivolities would have received the common people’s hatred. The commoners didn’t have money or food, the country’s treasury was almost non-existent. In such a state, crafting expensive suits for yourself, would not have gathered people’s support, a very essential element for the dictator’s wishes to be a success.
Besides, the 20th century was a time when most people began questioning the old traditions and customs. The European monarchs hardly retained any power after creating a Ministers Cabinet to do most of the work.
Dictators yearned for absolute power with no one to question their decisions.
And in that case, why do the Kings and Princes of the few Royal Families that still exist in Europe wear military uniforms?
This has a clear answer. Taking the most famous monarchy- the British Royal family in consideration, the male members of the family have all served in the military, some more than the others.
The Queen herself had taken part in the WW2 as a mechanic. She was the first female member of the royal family to ever serve in the military. A new military uniform had been designed for her. However since she was heir to the throne, she was not allowed to be stationed on the front lines.
These are all possible reasons I can think of about the question- Why do Dictators Wear Uniforms.
This might have been a very short article and it is that way because I would like to open this article to you. What do you think are the possible reasons Dictators wear uniforms? Comment below and add to the list.
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