Supreme leader
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A supreme leader or supreme ruler typically refers to the person among a number of leaders of a
state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, Un ...
, organization or other such group who has been given or is able to exercise the mostor complete authority over it. In a religion, this role is usually satisfied by a person deemed to be the representative or manifestation of a
Deity A deity or god is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena that are not subject to the laws of nature.https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/supernatural By definition, a supernatural manifestation or event require ...

Deity
or
God In monotheism, monotheistic thought, God is conceived of as the supreme being, creator deity, creator, and principal object of Faith#Religious views, faith.Richard Swinburne, Swinburne, R.G. "God" in Ted Honderich, Honderich, Ted. (ed)''The Oxfo ...

God
on Earth. In politics, a supreme leader usually rules over an
authoritarian Authoritarianism is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a mont ...
or
totalitarian 259x259px, Democracy Index by the Economist Intelligence Unit (2020): perceived authoritarian regimes in red, democracies in green, and color intensity ≈ regime intensity Totalitarianism is a form of government and a political system that prohi ...
government and have a
cult of personality A cult of personality, or cult of the leader, Mudde, Cas and Kaltwasser, Cristóbal Rovira (2017) ''Populism: A Very Short Introduction''. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 63. arises when a country's regime uses the techniques of mass medi ...
associated with them. Historic examples are
Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler (; 20 April 188930 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politician who was the dictator , the Kingdom of Italy, Italian dictator from 1922 to 1943 and Adolf Hitler, the Nazi Germany, German dictator from 1933 to 1945 A di ...

Adolf Hitler
() of
Nazi Germany Nazi Germany, (lit. "National Socialist State"), ' (lit. "Nazi State") for short; also ' (lit. "National Socialist Germany") officially known as the German Reich from 1933 until 1943, and the Greater German Reich from 1943 to 1945, was ...

Nazi Germany
,
Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
() of Fascist Italy, and
Joseph Stalin Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin . ( – 5 March 1953) was a Georgia (country), Georgian revolutionary and the ruler of the Soviet Union from 1927 until 1953. He served as both General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1922 ...
(, ) of the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
.


List of titles

Listed by date of establishment.


1920s/30s and earlier

*
Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
, dictator of Fascist Italy from 1922 to 1943, was known as ''
Duce ''Duce'' ( , ) is an Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regional I ...

Duce
'' ("The Leader"). *
Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler (; 20 April 188930 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politician who was the dictator , the Kingdom of Italy, Italian dictator from 1922 to 1943 and Adolf Hitler, the Nazi Germany, German dictator from 1933 to 1945 A di ...

Adolf Hitler
, dictator of
Nazi Germany Nazi Germany, (lit. "National Socialist State"), ' (lit. "Nazi State") for short; also ' (lit. "National Socialist Germany") officially known as the German Reich from 1933 until 1943, and the Greater German Reich from 1943 to 1945, was ...

Nazi Germany
from 1933 to 1945, was known as ''
Führer ( ; , spelled when the Umlaut (diacritic), umlaut is not available) is a German word meaning "leader" or "guide". As a political title it is associated with the Nazi Germany, Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler. Nazi Germany cultivated the ("leader ...

Führer
'' ("The Leader"). *
Emperor Hirohito Emperor , better known in English by his personal name , was the 124th emperor of Japan The Emperor of Japan is the head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a state (polity), st ...
, emperor of
Imperial Japan The was a historical and that existed from the in 1868 until the enactment of the post-World War II and subsequent formation of modern . It encompassed the and several , s, , and other . Under the slogans of and Japan underwent ...

Imperial Japan
from 1926 to 1947 and of State of Japan from 1947 to 1989. *
Antanas Smetona Antanas Smetona (; 10 August 1874 – 9 January 1944) was one of the most important Lithuanian political figures between World War I and World War II. He served as the first President of Lithuania from 4 April 1919 to 19 June 1920. He again served ...
, the authoritarian president of Lithuania, adopted the title of ''Tautos Vadas'' ("Leader of the Nation"). *
Karlis Ulmanis
Karlis Ulmanis
, the authoritarian president of Latvia, adopted the title of ''Tautas Vadonis'' ("Leader of People") and ''Nācijas Tēvs'' ("Father of the Nation"). *
Getúlio Vargas Getúlio Dornelles Vargas (; 19 April 1882 – 24 August 1954) was a Brazilian lawyer and politician who served as president of Brazil during two periods: the first was from 1930 to 1945, when he served as interim president from 1930 to 1934, ...
, dictator of
Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both and . At 8.5 million square kilometers (3.2 million square miles) and with over 211 million people, Brazil is the ...

Brazil
, named in his era since 1930 as "Supreme Leader of Revolution". *
Francisco Franco Francisco Franco Bahamonde (; 4 December 1892 – 20 November 1975) was a Spanish general who led the Nationalist faction (Spanish Civil War), Nationalist forces in overthrowing the Second Spanish Republic during the Spanish Civil War and ...

Francisco Franco
, dictator of
Francoist Spain Francoist Spain ( es, España franquista) or the Francoist dictatorship ( es, dictadura franquista, links=no), was the period of Spanish history Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indi ...
, assumed the title ''
Caudillo coin with the image of '' Generalísimo'' Francisco Franco Francisco Franco Bahamonde (, ; 4 December 1892 – 20 November 1975) was a Spanish general who led the Nationalist forces in overthrowing the Second Spanish Republic The ...
'', originally an honorary title for an army leader. *
Ioannis Metaxas Ioannis Metaxas (; el, Ιωάννης Μεταξάς; 12 April 187129 January 1941) was a Greek military officer and politician, serving as Prime Minister of Greece from 1936 until his death in 1941. He governed constitutionally for the first fo ...
, Greek dictator during the
4th of August Regime The 4th of August Regime ( el, Καθεστώς της 4ης Αυγούστου, ''Kathestós tis tetártis Avgoústou''), commonly also known as the Metaxas regime ( el, Καθεστώς Μεταξά, ''Kathestós Metaxá''), was a regime und ...
from 1936 until his death in 1941, assumed the title of ''Αρχηγός'' (Archigós, ) meaning "The Leader". *
Chiang Kai-shek Chiang Kai-shek (31 October 1887 – 5 April 1975), also known as Chiang Chung-cheng and Romanization of Chinese, romanized via Mandarin Chinese, Mandarin as Chiang Chieh-shih and Jiang Jieshi, was a Chinese Kuomintang, Nationalist politician, ...

Chiang Kai-shek
, ''de facto'' leader of
Kuomintang The Kuomintang (KMT) () is a major political party in Taiwan which originated as a revolutionary political party during the Republic of China (1912–1949), Republican Era on the Chinese mainland, where it is sometimes referred to as the Ch ...
Republic of China Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and No ...

Republic of China
, was sometimes referred as ''領袖'' (translit. ''lingxiu'' - "The Leader") *
Joseph Stalin Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin . ( – 5 March 1953) was a Georgia (country), Georgian revolutionary and the ruler of the Soviet Union from 1927 until 1953. He served as both General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1922 ...
, leader of the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
, decreed that he was to be officially designated as ''Вождь'' (translit. ''Vožd'' - "Chief", "Leader") from his fiftieth birthday in 1929. *
Rafael Trujillo Rafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina ( , ; 24 October 189130 May 1961), nicknamed ''El Jefe'' (, "The Chief" or "The Boss"), was a Dominican dictator who ruled the Dominican Republic The Dominican Republic ( ; es, República Dominicana, ...
, Dominican dictator from 1930 to 1961, assumed the nickname of " El Jefe" ("The Boss"). * Birger Furugård, leader of the Swedish National Socialist Party had the title of ''Riksledaren'' ("Leader of the Realm"). *
Subhas Chandra Bose Subhas Chandra Bose ( ; 23 January 1897 – 18 August 1945) was an Indian independence movement, Indian nationalist whose defiant patriotism made him a hero in India, but whose attempts during World War II to rid India of British Raj, Br ...

Subhas Chandra Bose
, an Indian revolutionary in the
Indian independence movement The Indian independence movement was a series of historic events with the ultimate aim of ending British rule in India The British Raj (; from ''rāj'', literally, "rule" in Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', ...
, was known as ''Netaji'' ("Respected Leader"). *
Engelbert Dollfuss Engelbert Dollfuss (german: Engelbert Dollfuß, ; 4 October 1892 – 25 July 1934) was an Austrian politician who served as Chancellor of Austria Austria, officially the Republic of Austria, is a landlocked country in the southern ...

Engelbert Dollfuss
and
Kurt Schuschnigg Kurt Alois Josef Johann Schuschnigg (; 14 December 1897 – 18 November 1977) was an Austrian Fatherland Front politician who was the Chancellor Chancellor ( la, links=no, cancellarius) is a title of various official positions in the governmen ...
, austrofascist leaders of
Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an ocean or whose coastli ...

Austria
from 1933 to 1938, were referred to as ''Bundesführer'' ("Federal Leader") as heads of the Patriotic Front.


World War II

*
Ante Pavelić Ante Pavelić (; 14 July 1889 – 28 December 1959) was a Croatian politician and dictator who founded and headed the fascism, fascist ultranationalism, ultranationalist organization known as the Ustaše in 1929 and governed the Independent ...

Ante Pavelić
, as dictator of the
Independent State of Croatia The Independent State of Croatia ( sh, Nezavisna Država Hrvatska, NDH; german: Unabhängiger Staat Kroatien; it, Stato indipendente di Croazia) was a World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII ...

Independent State of Croatia
, named himself ''
Poglavnik Poglavnik () was the title used by Ante Pavelić, leader of World War II Croatian movement Ustaše and of the Independent State of Croatia between 1941 and 1945. Etymology and usage The word was first recorded in a 16th-century dictionary compi ...
'' ("The Leader"). * Ferenc Szálasi, as dictator of the Government of National Unity (Hungary), Hungarian State, named himself ''Nemzetvezető'' ("Leader of the Nation"). * Josef Tiso, President of the First Slovak Republic, named himself ''Vodca'' ("The Leader") in 1942. * Ion Antonescu, as Prime Minister of Romania during most of World War II, named himself ''Conducător'' ("The Leader"). * Vidkun Quisling, leader of Nasjonal Samling and from 1942 Minister-President of the nominal Quisling regime, named himself ''Fører ("Leader").'' * Frits Clausen, leader of the National Socialist Workers' Party of Denmark, had the title of ''Fører ("Driver").'' * Anton Mussert, leader of the National Socialist Movement in the Netherlands, was allowed to use the title ''Leider van het Nederlandsche Volk'' ("Leader of the Dutch people") by the Germans in 1942. * Léon Degrelle, leader of the Rexist Party, was named ''Chef-du-People-Wallon'' ("Leader of the Walloons, Walloon people") in December 1944. * Jef van de Wiele, leader of the DeVlag party, was named ''Landsleider van het Vlaamsche Volk'' ("National Leader of the Flemish people") in December 1944. * Staf de Clercq, co-founder and leader of the Flemish nationalist Vlaamsch Nationaal Verbond, was referred to as ''den Leider'' by his followers. * Oswald Mosley, leader of the British Union of Fascists, was known as "The Leader". * Josip Broz Tito, leader of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia, was known as "Marshal of Yugoslavia, Marshal".


Cold War era

* Mao Zedong, the first Chairman of the Communist Party of China, Chairman of the Communist Party of China, officially named ''伟大领袖毛主席'' (translit. ''Wěidà Lǐngxiù Zhǔxí'' - "Great Leader Chairman"). * Deng Xiaoping, the supreme leader of the People's Republic of China and Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Communist Party of China, officially named "The chief architect of China's reform opening and modernization drive". * Kim Il-sung, Kim Il-Sung, the first head of state of North Korea, is officially referred to by the North Korean government as ''위대한 수령'' (translit. ''widaehan suryŏng'' - "Great Leader"). * Ho Chi Minh, the only one Chairman of the Communist Party of Vietnam, Chairman of the Communist Party of Vietnam is referred to many times as ''Lãnh Tụ'' (The leader of all), which has the Sino-Vietnamese vocabulary, Sino-Vietnamese root of the word "Lǐngxiù" (领袖) in Chinese, although the word "Lãnh Tụ" is also sometimes used to address a beloved or supreme leader of any other country. * Liaquat Ali Khan, the first Prime Minister of independent Pakistan was named as ''Quaid-i-Millat'' ("Father of the Nation") and ''Shaheed-i-Millat'' ("Martyr of Nation"). * Sukarno, the president of post-revolution Indonesia was known as the ''Pemimpin Besar Revolusi'' (Great Leader of the Revolution) and ''Bung Karno'' ("Comrade Karno"). * François Duvalier, the president-dictator of Haiti, obtained from the pocket parliament "Supreme Leader of Revolution" amongst other titles. * Ferdinand Marcos, the president-dictator of the Philippines, sometimes named as ''Pinuno ng Bansa'' "Leader of Nation". * Fidel Castro, the communist ex-president of Cuba was known as the ''Máximo Líder'' ("Greatest Leader"). * Enver Hoxha, the communist president of People's Socialist Republic of Albania, Albania was named as "The Leader", "Supreme Comrade", "Sole Force", "Great Teacher". * Nicolae Ceaușescu, the communist leader of Socialist Republic of Romania, Romania from 1965 to 1989, was sometimes referred to as ''Conducător''. * Mobutu Sese Seko, the president-dictator of Zaire, sometimes named as "Father of People" and "Saver of Nation". * Alfredo Stroessner, the dictatorial president of Paraguay from 1954 to 1989, was eulogized as ''Gran Líder'' and ''Único Líder''. * Abd al-Karim Qasim, Prime Minister of Iraq from 1958 to 1963, named as ''al-za'īm'' ("The Leader"). * Saddam Hussein, the president-dictator of Iraq from 1979 to 2003, named as "The Leader". * Muammar Gaddafi, the Brotherly Leader and Guide of the Revolution of Libya from 1979 to 2011. * Omar Torrijos, ''de facto'' dictator of Panama from 1968 to 1981, assumed the title ''Líder Máximo de la Revolución Panameña'' ("Supreme Leader of the Panamanian Revolution"). * Dési Bouterse, ''de facto'' leader of Suriname during 1980 military rule * The Supreme Leader of Iran, the highest-ranking political and religious authority in the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The first person to hold this title was the Ruhollah Khomeini, Ayatollah Khomeini * Pol Pot, former dictator of Democratic Kampuchea, Kampuchea


Post–Cold War era

* Hugo Chávez, former President of Venezuela, was called ''El Comandante'' (The Commander) by some people during his reign. *Xi Jinping, current General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, has been officially recognized as ''Lingxiu (disambiguation), lingxiu'', a reverential term for "leader", by the Politburo of the Communist Party of China, Party Politburo. * Kim Jong-il, former General Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea, is officially referred to by the North Korean government as ''위대한 령도자'' (translit. ''widaehan ryŏngdoja'' - "Honorable Leader") and "The Leader" (his father Kim Il-sung, Kim Il-Sung after death stayed as "Great Leader"). * Kim Jong-un, Kim Jong Un, current General Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea, was made "Supreme Guide" after his father Kim Jong Il, Kim Jong-Il died in 2011. * Ali Khamenei, current Supreme Leader of Iran since 4 June 1989. * Nursultan Nazarbayev, since 1991 the Chairman of the Security Council of Kazakhstan, and first President of Kazakhstan, was granted the title ''Елбасы'' (translit. ''Elbasy'' - "Leader of the Nation") by a parliamentary decision in 2010. * Saparmurat Niyazov, president of Turkmenistan in 1990—2006, was referred by his self-given titles ''Sardar'' ("Leader") and ''Türkmenbaşy'' ("Head of the Turkmens"). His successor Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow carries the title Arkadag ("Protector", "Patron"). * Nawaz Sharif, ex-prime minister of Pakistan, was made the Supreme Leader of his political party Pakistan Muslim League (N), PML-N after the Pakistan Supreme Court ruled that as he was disqualified under the constitution for dishonesty, he can no longer serve as the head of a political party. *Emomali Rahmon, President of Tajikistan, President of the Republic of Tajikistan since 1994, carries the title Пешвои Миллат (''Peşvoi Millat'' - Leader of the Nation).


References

{{Reflist Heads of state