Two Old Codgers

How the World strikes us

What have these people got - the ones who have the power to rule our lives? The leaders who can make us go to war and can plant powerful ideas in our minds which make us blindly follow their lead? Put simply it is charisma. Here are some of the Charismatic leaders of recent times.
Corporal Hitler
Adolf Hitler was a German army corporal in WW1. His rise to power began in 1919 when he joined the political party known as the German Workers' Party which eventually became known as the Nazi Party. He rose to a place of prominence, being one of the best speakers of the party. A mere twenty years later he was responsible for WW2 in which as many as sixty-million people died.

Benito Mussolini came to power in 1922 and in 1925, he turned Italy into a one-party, totalitarian state, with himself as sole leader. His rise to power was remarkable. He went from being a journalist and a minor political figure to becoming prime minister of Italy within the space of five years. He was about five feet six inches tall and was reputed to have stood on a box when addressing the crowds from the balcony which overlooks Piazza Venezia, Rome’s answer to Trafalgar Square. On 28 April 1945, as the war in Italy came to an end,
mussolini dead

Mussolini and his mistress were executed and taken to the Piazzale Loreto in Milan, where they were dumped onto the street and then strung up by their heels in front of a garage.

There have been many others - all charismatic leaders all with a skill at using words and explaining ideas, which must be a great part of their charisma but physical appearance, education or skills don't seem to play a part. But is it so simple? As Shakespeare said in one of his famous quotations "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in our philosophy". Is there some other, almost mystical, mental connection which sets them apart?
Hitler speech

As an eleven or twelve year old I remember seeing newsreels of Hitler addressing tens of thousands at the great rallies which the Nazis organised. I couldn't understand the language but even at that age I can remember feeling the hairs on the back of my neck at as I listened.

Yet another digression! A house I lived in overlooked a large field which was used for five to ten horses, placed in the field by a variety of owners. It was interesting to see the group dynamics. There was always one dominant horse but I could never see why that particular one was 'The boss'. The group varied from week to week as horses came and went. One day a quite insignificant pony was added to the group and as usual there was a flurry of excitement among the horses, with much galloping and snorting.

Within a day or so this small horse had established him or herself as top horse. I'm afraid I can't explain just how this dominance manifested itself. It had nothing to do with violence, perhaps it was down to equine wisdom but within the herd or group there was a clearly defined pecking order and it was clear that the pony had the charisma.

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