As far back as ancient times, whenever civilizations fell into great crisis, people in desperation have almost invariably turned to a single individual who promised them better times.
Both the Greeks and Romans often conveyed dictatorial powers to someone in whom they entrusted people’s security and livelihood. Typically this was a battle-hardened general who could lead a city’s defenses and beat off an invading horde.
Of course, history is full of examples of men who did not give up power willingly once the crisis passed.
The ancient historian Herodotus lists as many as fifty ‘tyrants’ in his writings, a word that has its origins in ancient Greek despotic rulers.
For thousands of years, ambitious men have always taken advantage of crisis, social turmoil, and economic downturns to solidify their positions and take control… often creating even more destruction in their wake.
As an example, the 1920s economic crisis in the Weimar Republic had a huge impact in the rise of Adolf Hitler’s National Socialism.
One of Hitler’s key tenets was to abrogate the Treaty of Versailles, and in particular section 231 – the ‘war guilt’ clause that stuck Germany with debilitating war reparation payments.
His message resonated with millions of Germans who had seen their entire lives turned upside down by economic stagnation and one of the worst episodes of hyperinflation in history. ...