Totalitarianism vs Military Dictatorship


Throughout General Idi Amin Dada's powerful reign, numerous persons have debated whether Amin was a totalitarian leader or a military dictator. While Amin had a regime that functioned like a totalitarian state, he came to power on a military bid. When Amin first came to power, the British press and most other countries declared Amin a military dictator, but the reality of the regime is apparent when one looks inside Uganda at the time.

Totalitarianism is when a government run by one supreme political group uses violence and force to suppress all opposition. A totalitarian government regulates the citizens' lives by mandating what goods are produced by industry; what the radio, television, and other information-based industries release through force and censorship; what books people may read; and other harsh restraints on the lifestyle of the individual. Amin's regime functioned exactly like a totalitarian state; he controlled Radio Uganda, shut down or demanded many Asian-owned businesses, and kept the civilians in continual fear through



[woman and child in Kampala]

terror and constant surveillance. The only difference was that instead of a political group controlling the government, the military controlled the government. While at first journalists around the world were thrown off by this, it became apparent as Amin's regime progressed that he intended to run a totalitarian state. Through terror, oppression, and violence, Amin made his mark on Uganda and the rest of the world. "Whether people like it or not, I have made history." [General Idi Amin Dada]




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