World domination

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World domination (also universal domination ) is domination over the whole of humanity or (based on premodern history) the known world. This unreached state was the goal of various powers and movements, and the term also served as an ideal catchphrase. The idea of ​​world domination already arose in antiquity and in this sense was valid in relation to the world known to those who made the claim (such as that of the Roman Empire ) or as a hegemonic claim, which, however, did not necessarily have to be implemented politically. The closest thing to real domination of the entire world was the British Empire .

The pursuit of world domination in a pejorative sense was subordinated to various groups and political systems in modern times and is still a popular topic in entertainment media to this day .


In historical research, various world empires or hegemonic powers are described as "world domination", for example the Roman Empire , the Mongol Empire under Genghis Khan or the Habsburg-Spanish colonial empire under Charles V , in which the sun never set, or the British Empire, which in 1922 had a population of 458 million people (a quarter of the world population at that time) and an area of ​​about 33.67 million km² (about a quarter of the earth's land mass). In fact, all of these structures only ruled over a fraction of the earth's surface and the world's population.

Emperor Heinrich III. with scepter and orb , miniature from the pericopes of Henry III. around 1040

The idea of ​​world domination was already represented in antiquity : from the ancient oriental empires to the Roman Empire. In Roman times, unlimited Roman rule was explicitly propagated ( imperium sine fine ). In late antiquity this was combined with the Christian concept of unity, which was also important in the Middle Ages . The emperors of the Holy Roman Empire saw themselves at least ideally (not necessarily realpolitically) in the sense of the imperial idea as "world rulers" and represented a claim to universal rule. While the universal claim to rule in the early Middle Ages could still be formulated without any problems, it lost strength after the investiture dispute . It was emphasized again during the Staufer period , but then remained politically insignificant in the late Middle Ages (except in the early 14th century). World domination was also claimed by the papacy in the Middle Ages ( Dictatus Papae , Bulle Unam Sanctam , papal primacy ), but could not be enforced in the secular area.

The sultans of the Ottoman Empire also made this claim since the 15th century. Sultan Suleyman I, for example, justified him theologically in negotiations prior to his siege of Vienna in 1529:

“Because there is only one God and only one heaven, it is just that there should be only one head and ruler on the earth: He wants to be the same and not lay his head gently until they and all of Christianity are conquered under his power . "

The Napoleon biographer August Fournier interpreted the wars of Napoleon I against the British Empire, the Austrian Empire and other empires as a "struggle for world domination". It was also from Marxism a world revolution predicted so the destruction of bourgeois rule in all countries of the world and the establishment of a global dictatorship of the proletariat organized as a "world socialist republic." For the political scientist Hannah Arendt , the pursuit of world domination is one of the hallmarks of totalitarian systems . Whether Adolf Hitler and the National Socialists also strived for world domination or colonial world domination is controversial in historical research.

The accusation of striving for world domination was and is a widespread means of discrediting a group or a system of thought . This was assumed, among other things


In the Christian context, Jesus Christ is referred to as the (last) world ruler or world ruler . This means, on the one hand, that in the spiritual sense he is already present as Christ the King and ruler of all that exists. In eschatology , as the returning Messiah, he should first become ruler of the world and replace the antichrist who previously ruled with the help of Satan .

Popular culture

In the entertainment media, the character of a super villain or mad scientist striving for world domination can be found quite often , for example with Dr. Mabuse , in the James Bond films , in the DC Universe or - as a parody - in the animated series Pinky and the Brain .



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  2. ^ Angus Maddison: The World Economy: A Millennial Perspective . Ed .: OECD . 2001, ISBN 92-64-18654-9 , pp. 98, 242 .
  3. ^ Niall Ferguson : Colossus. The Price of America's Empire. London 2004, p. 15.
  4. Othmar Hageneder : Weltherrschaft im Mittelalter , in: Mitteilungen des Institut für Österreichische Geschichtsforschung 93, 1985, pp. 257–278.
  5. Hans-Lukas Kieser: Jihad, World Order, "Golden Apple". The Ottoman imperial ideology in the context of west-eastern history , in: Richard Faber (ed.), Imperialism in history and present . Königshausen and Neumann, Würzburg 2005, p. 183.
  6. Peter Stern von Labach : Occupation of the instead of Vienna jm jar when one counts after Cristi birth thousand five hundred and in the twenty-newnundzigisten recently announced , Vienna 1529, p. 14 ( digitized , spelling adjusted).
  7. August Fournier: Napoleon I. - A biography. Second volume: Napoleon's struggle for world domination. Second edition, Freytag / Tempsky, Leipzig / Vienna 1905.
  8. ^ Hannah Arendt: Elements and origins of total domination . Anti-Semitism, imperialism, total rule , new edition Piper, Munich and Zurich 2008, pp. 635, 641 fu ö.
  9. Konrad Heiden , for example, believed in Hitler's plans for world domination : Adolf Hitler. Eine Biographie , Vol. 2, Zurich 1937, p. 240; Günter Moltmann: Hitler's ideas of world domination , in: Otto Brunner and Dietrich Gerhard (eds.), Europe and overseas. Festschrift for Egmont Zechlin , Hamburg 1961, pp. 297–240; Milan Hauner: Did Hitler Want World Domination? , in: Journal of Contemporary History 13 (1978), pp. 15-32; Andreas Hillgruber , Finally enough about National Socialism and World War II? Research status and literature , Düsseldorf 1982, pp. 34–35; Jochen Thies: Architect of world domination. Hitler's final goals , Droste Verlag, Düsseldorf 1985; Hans-Ulrich Wehler : German history of society. Volume 4: From the beginning of the First World War to the founding of the two German states 1914–1949 , CH Beck, Munich 2003, p. 848; Michael Grüttner : The Third Reich. 1933–1939 (=  Handbook of German History , Volume 19), Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart 2014, p. 206. Axel Kuhn , among others, argue against this : Hitler's foreign policy program . Klett, Stuttgart 1970; Dietrich Aigner: Hitler and world domination . In: Wolfgang Michalka (Ed.): National Socialist Foreign Policy . Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 1978, pp. 49-69; Eberhard Jäckel : Hitler's rule. Implementation of a worldview . Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, Stuttgart 1986.
  10. Angelika Benz: Illuminati . In: Wolfgang Benz (Hrsg.): Handbuch des Antisemitismus . Volume 5: Organizations. De Gruyter Saur, Berlin 2012 ISBN 978-3-11-027878-1 , p. 322 (accessed via De Gruyter Online).
  11. Frank Oliver Sobich: "Black Beasts, Red Danger". Racism and anti-socialism in the German Empire , Campus, Frankfurt and New York 2006, p. 264.
  12. ^ Documents from Johannes Zischka: Die NS-Rassenideologie. Power tactical instrument or action-determining ideal? Peter Lang, Bern 1986; Jacob Katz, From Prejudice to Annihilation. Anti-Semitism 1700–1933 , CH Beck, Munich 1990; Norman Cohn, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The Myth of the Jewish World Conspiracy , Elster, Baden-Baden 1998
  13. Mona Körte: Ahasuerus . In: Wolfgang Benz (Hrsg.): Handbuch des Antisemitismus. Volume 3: Concepts, ideologies, theories. De Gruyter Saur, Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-598-24074-4 , p. 5 (accessed via De Gruyter Online).
  14. For example Bolko von Richthofen and Reinhold Robert Oheim: Weltherrschaft. The development of Russia into a great power. The goal and path of Soviet communism , KW Schütz, Oldendorf 1981.