When a political figure becomes popular enough, it becomes easy for him to gain fanatical followers. If the politician decides to cultivate these followers, he may possibly become the center of a broad political cult that elevates him beyond the realm of politics to an almost religious figure – at least among the faithful.
Many of history's most famous and infamous leaders had their own political cults, whether they liked it or not. Let's take a look at some of the strangest ones.
10th Chairman Mao
Mao Zedong, the great man of Chinese communism, is a strange case when it comes to political cults. While he definitely had a pretty strong cult thing during his reign, his cult of personality made an unexpected leap to the next level in the 1980s, a decade after his death. Over time, the public saw him as a "godman," a sort of saint with certain human characteristics (see: Decades of Anarchy, Purges, Famine, and Mass Murders), but with a strong aura of power and authority. There is also the fact that his stated message of making everyone the same could be considered a kind of Messiah for the common man … even if you forget all that terrible things. The profitable lines of mao-related goods probably did not hurt either.
As a communist country, China generally disapproves of "spontaneous" cults, but obviously the country that formed around the Great Helmsman managed to get past it. The more the intellectuals of the country expressed their aversion to Mao, the more they liked the citizens (who considered the intellectuals as lazy and greedy). And so in 1993 there was already a statue of Mao, which is supposed to do wonders.
. 9 Napoleon Bonaparte
Although he once owned Europe, Napoleon was an insecure, small man with a variety of inferiority complexes. The Emperor wanted to be especially prepared to make things look as good as possible. Therefore, it is not surprising that he developed a sense of self-promotion that eventually led to a cult of revered motifs in his environment.
Napoleon made his name in 1796 when he was given command of the French army of Italy. He stunned Paris with a series of bulletins that greatly exaggerated the importance and scope of every little fight they had, increasing the opponent's bravery and emphasizing his own tactical abilities. In just a few months, the government, its own troops and were in awe of the public and built on this foundation so far that even the less successful events of its later campaign in Egypt were "stuff of legend. "At that time, many Frenchmen believed that he was essentially a fairytale hero of prophecy to save the nation. At that time, France was an easy choice for Napoleon.
The later mistakes and the downfall of Emperor Napoleon I brought his reputation to a standstill, but a few years after his death a cult formed around him, which made him a further saving and posthumous figure political mastermind. Napoleon's nephew Louis-Napoleon, who was himself a propaganda master, used his kinship aptly to gain control of the nation and become the first president of France. In just three years he succeeded in gaining dictatorial power and finally as Emperor Napoleon III. To climb the French throne.
. 8 Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini the Italian dictator and inventor of fascism, was from the beginning in the political cult game. To create a nation that was completely loyal to him and him alone, he made sure all the news editors were in his pocket and ordered the teachers to swear on his regime. To look better, he threw huge sums of money into various projects that earned him advertising spots abroad and in Italy. In the meantime, his potential opponents were toothless in official and, if necessary, unofficial ways.
To say that Il Duces personality cult project was a success is an understatement. In fact, the Mussolinikult succeeded quite easily to survive the man himself. Even in the 2010s many Italians believe that Il Duce was indeed a man of honor, and much to the dismay of German tourists, who have less appreciated the memory of their dictator, Mussolini's merchandise remains a common sight in the country.
. 7 Francois Duvalier from Haiti
Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier was initially a man of the people (or at least he claimed to be a man of the people), but once he gained control of Haiti, he would not let go , With his keen interest in vodou (voodoo), he founded a brutal militia called Tonton Macoute – the Bogeymen. With their help, Duvalier's corrupt, ruthless government slowly began to isolate and destroy the country, while Papa Doc himself began culturing .
When it came to getting on the podium, Duvalier did not play around. He forced his people to sing and dance in his honor in front of his palace in Port-Au-Prince. He rolled in his eye-catching, bullet-proof sedan, stopping now and then to throw money at the crowds gathered. He even had the Lord's Prayer rewritten so that it was all about him: "Our doc working in the National Palace is your name."
Yet was his strongest weapon in Papas political cult arsenal Ruf as Vodou -Master. He often bragged about his supernatural powers and said that his enemies could not defeat him because he was "already an immaterial being". He used slow movements, terrible glances, and threatening, whispering speeches to create the image of some kind of pop culture voodoo priest you're probably just imagining. Spiritual forces or not, his very real Tonton Macoute made him an extremely scary enemy … especially since it was rumored later in life that he personally tortured people.
. 6 Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein, the former dictator of Iraq, is a very good example of what happens when a political party lays all its eggs in a magnificent but unscrupulous basket. Over the years, Saddam's Ba'th party has used their efforts to make their captain look good and strong. Over time, this turned to hero worship, and in the mid-1980s, the Ba'th bought their own propaganda about Saddam.
As such, Saddam's reign from 1979 until his fall in 2003, which had become known, was quite similar to other personages. The country was littered with massive monuments to honor the dictator, and arguably the most famous, the " Hands of Victory" arc in Baghdad was actually modeled on Saddam's own hands. The man himself endeavored to cultivate his reputation, and emphasized not alone for fear of governing . Much of his popularity was based on the fact that he undertook many strategic acts of goodwill, from salary increases to general amnesties (excluding political prisoners, of course).
The Gulf War did not damage his image – around 1991 his reputation spread like wildfire over the "Arab, Muslim and Third World" as L.A. Times said . In fact, he was so popular at the time that people were shouting out loud, "Saddam is God!"
. 5 Philippe Petain, National Socialist Marionette Ruler of Vichy France
Marshal Philippe Petain is a curiosity on this list because his "cult" came from legitimate heroics in the First World War but he later relegated his name in the mud with the Nazis in World War II on the side. Petain was almost sixty years old when he was promoted to brigadier general, and in 1914 proved to be an outstanding commander in the Battle of the Marne. Until 1916 he was General, who should stop the German offensive in Verdun. Yes, the battle of Verdun. He was the guy who mastered the impossible task of keeping the line … even though it cost the lives of 350,000 of his men.
Petain emerged from World War One as one of France's most famous heroes, and his massive popularity earned him a number of influential positions. Among other things, he was instrumental in the construction of the Maginot Line .
Unfortunately, the older Petain tended to right-wing political views. When the Second World War came and France pocketed hits, he was hastily promoted to Prime Minister and in 1940 charged with concluding an armistice with the Germans. Soon, the 84-year-old was the front runner in the Nazi part of France, known as Vichy France. It was not long before he turned into a Hitler-backed despot, eager to free his corner of the country from the "morally decadent" who happened to be the same people who persecuted the Nazis. As you can probably expect, pretty much all of them hated Petain after the war, and the old man was immediately convicted of high treason and sentenced to death. However, this was later transformed into a life in prison.
In a way, Petain's personality cult has survived to this day. He remains a popular figure in the right wing of the country, regularly (and largely unsuccessfully) trying to stain his legacy by claiming to be a "crucified savior of France" who has not only sacrificed his own reputation To help France escape the fate of Poland. but also secretly stabbing Hitler by tempting him to stay away from North Africa, allowing the Allies in 1945 to win the war. Of course, sources suggest that mentioning these claims as "revisionist" is a waste of an absolutely good opportunity to use the word "absurd".
. 4 Getulio Vargas from Brazil
Getulio Vargas the longtime president of Brazil, wore a whole series of hats over the years. He is the most influential leader in modern history in the country, who held the highest authority from 1930 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1954. He is rightly responsible for a whole series of economic and social reforms that have helped to bring the country up to date. He came to power by overthrowing the oligarchs-dominated former government, and some of his actions were directed against rich and influential landowners and businessmen, earning him the nickname "Father of the Poor". He drove the good ship Brazil through a politically turbulent Great Depression and even personal defense of the occasional coup attempt.
On the other hand, he was an important dictator for about 15 years, and his last term was marked by ultranationalism and scandal. Well.
Vargas' entire "Father of the Poor" Schtick was fertile ground for a cult of personality that reappeared in  his suicide  in 1954. He left two documents: A handwritten note boasting: "To the wrath of my enemies I leave the inheritance of my death" and a much more detailed letter known as " Carta Testamento " and means a testamentary letter. The Carta Testamento presented Vargas' vision of the future of Brazil and in some ways undermined its political opponents. The importance and authenticity of the documents has been much debated ever since, but it seems that Vargas has managed to keep its personality cult alive and to influence 20th century Brazilian politics from beyond the grave.
. 3 Fidel Castro
Toward the end of his life, the Cuban leader Fidel Castro clearly told his people he did not want to become a cult. In fact, his last wish – or rather the demand – was that no statues should be built in his honor and no buildings or streets named after him.
While this appears to be touching humility for a man who already has a Wikipedia article about things named after him, Castro's story does not really paint the image of a man who shies away from worship. According to the Havana Times (19659005), Castro's road to fame was actually very similar to notorious personalities like Mao Tse Tung, Mussolini, Muammar Gaddafi and even Hitler: they were all charismatic climbers, but later they seized power and continued a barrage of propaganda and Suppression free, which created a personality cult. The Guardian describes some of Castro's particular tactics: from his characteristic beard-and-cigar look to his use and appropriation of slogans such as "Hasta la victoria siempre", "I am the revolution" and "socialism or Death ", it was clear that he was the face of the Cuban Revolution – of course, along with his martyr-countryman Che Guevara.
To be fair, Castro claims he does not want to appear on billboards, and it looks like most of the posters and murals he depicts are inspired by inspired artists rather than dictatorship propaganda dictated by Castro granted, because he kept the media on a leash. On the other hand, it's a pretty good sign that your personality cult is already at a decent stage when people volunteer to plaster your face across the country.
. 2 Adolf Hitler
The political cult that formed around Adolf Hitler in National Socialist Germany was something of the time of the worship of the Emperors in ancient Rome. The title he adapted was Fuhrer, which stands for "Führer" and was used to demonstrate his full and complete authority. The obligatory welcome of the Third Reich was "Heil Hitler", which, combined with the infamous one-armed greeting of the Nazis, merely made a person's welcome a full tribute to the Fiihrer. Photos, busts and portraits of the Nazi leader were everywhere and he was routinely portrayed as Germany's Savior .
This was of course a deliberate tactic that enabled Hitler to keep his motives in an iron grip. He also started the political cult game well before the Second World War. In 1936 he spoke at a party congress about himself as a frontier worker: "It is a miracle of our time that you have found me," he said. "And I thought that you are the happiness of Germany!" Foresight was clearly not one of his self-proclaimed savior skills.
. 1 Josef Stalin
Josef Stalin was a member of Lenin's first Politburo after the 1917 Russian Revolution brought forth the Soviet Union. When Lenin died in 1924, he quickly took power himself. His close relationship with the military certainly did no harm to his mission, but his main strength was his carefully crafted personality cult.
As a member of the inner circle of Lenin, Stalin could conceive of himself as an extension of the late-revolutionary, whose actions he characterized as infallible and "flawless". By combining the personality cult of the dead Lenin with his own actions I was able to "lend" power from his predecessor, strongly suggesting that every one of his actions came from Lenin's legacy – and since Lenin was perfect, it meant that he was perfect too. Soon he coined traditions and festivals in his own image, always mindful of incorporating much of the old together with the new, Stalin-centered things, so that the change was easier to swallow … and to further intertwine with the stuff of Russian / Soviet identity.
Stalin's main instrument for maintaining his cult was the press. Almost every story about him was pure propaganda that presented him as a wise, beloved genius and even gave him the unofficial title of pope. Again, this name was not a coincidence, as the Russian priests were generally called "fathers", which created the image that Stalin was both the church and the earthly power. Overall, the dictator was so terribly efficient that he built his political cult, as his successor Nikita Khrushchev 1956 – three years after the death of the man – publicly denounced the personality cult to Stalin and stunned.
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