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A diktat is a statute, harsh penalty or settlement imposed upon a defeated party by the victor, or a dogmatic decree. The term has acquired a pejorative sense, to describe a set of rules dictated by a foreign power or an unpopular local power. The phrases "To impose its values" or "give orders" can be synonymous with giving a diktat.



The term is from the German language, derived from the Latin past participle dictātum. [1] It arose from Dictatus Papae, which attempts to resolve the struggle of the priesthood and the Empire in the Holy Roman Empire.

German language West Germanic language

German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol (Italy), the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are also strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.

Historical use

The term was used for the first time in 1919[ citation needed ] in a French newspaper about the Treaty of Versailles imposed on the defeated Germany. It was particularly used in Germany to refer to that treaty. It was referred to as such because its terms were presented to Germany without allowing it to negotiate its terms. Other occurrences in Germany were the Treaty of Saint-Germain in 1919 and the Treaties of Tilsit in 1807, and in Czech and Slovak for the 1938 Munich Agreement.

Treaty of Versailles one of the treaties that ended the First World War

The Treaty of Versailles was the most important of the peace treaties that brought World War I to an end. The Treaty ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919 in Versailles, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which had directly led to World War I. The other Central Powers on the German side of World War I signed separate treaties. Although the armistice, signed on 11 November 1918, ended the actual fighting, it took six months of Allied negotiations at the Paris Peace Conference to conclude the peace treaty. The treaty was registered by the Secretariat of the League of Nations on 21 October 1919.

Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye (1919) treaty signed on 10 September 1919

The Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye was signed on 10 September 1919 by the victorious Allies of World War I on the one hand and by the Republic of German-Austria on the other. Like the Treaty of Trianon with Hungary and the Treaty of Versailles with Germany, it contained the Covenant of the League of Nations and as a result was not ratified by the United States but was followed by the US–Austrian Peace Treaty of 1921.

However, the term came into popular journalism use during the years of the Cold War where there was talk of the politburo diktats from Moscow to describe and characterize the commands by the bureaucrats of the former USSR towards its satellite countries. [2]

Cold War State of geopolitical tension after World War II between powers in the Eastern Bloc and the Western Bloc

The Cold War was a period of geopolitical tension between the Soviet Union with its satellite states, and the United States with its allies after World War II. A common historiography of the conflict begins between 1946, the year U.S. diplomat George F. Kennan's "Long Telegram" from Moscow cemented a U.S. foreign policy of containment of Soviet expansionism threatening strategically vital regions, and the Truman Doctrine of 1947, and ending between the Revolutions of 1989 and the 1991 collapse of the USSR, which ended communism in Eastern Europe. The term "cold" is used because there was no large-scale fighting directly between the two sides, but they each supported major regional conflicts known as proxy wars.

Politburo executive committee for a number of political parties

A politburo or political bureau is the executive committee for communist parties.

It is also used in India with a very negative meaning. Police in Jharkhand have used it to describe rules enforced by local Maoists. [3] Another use was in referring to a directive from the Drug Controller General of India’s concerning launches of new drugs. [4]

Jharkhand State in Eastern India

Jharkhand is a state in eastern India, carved out of the southern part of Bihar on 15 November 2000. The state shares its border with the states of Bihar to the north, Uttar Pradesh to the northwest, Chhattisgarh to the west, Odisha to the south and West Bengal to the east. It has an area of 79,710 km2 (30,778 sq mi). The city of Ranchi is its capital and Dumka its sub capital.

Diktat is sometimes used in Europe to refer to directives of governments against large groups as in the case of the dispute between the European Union and Microsoft regarding license information on how Windows communicates over a network. [5]

European Union Economic and poitical union of states located in Europe

The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 28 member states that are located primarily in Europe. It has an area of 4,475,757 km2 (1,728,099 sq mi) and an estimated population of about 513 million. The EU has developed an internal single market through a standardised system of laws that apply in all member states in those matters, and only those matters, where members have agreed to act as one. EU policies aim to ensure the free movement of people, goods, services and capital within the internal market, enact legislation in justice and home affairs and maintain common policies on trade, agriculture, fisheries and regional development. For travel within the Schengen Area, passport controls have been abolished. A monetary union was established in 1999 and came into full force in 2002 and is composed of 19 EU member states which use the euro currency.

Microsoft U.S.-headquartered technology company

Microsoft Corporation (MS) is an American multinational technology company with headquarters in Redmond, Washington. It develops, manufactures, licenses, supports and sells computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, and related services. Its best known software products are the Microsoft Windows line of operating systems, the Microsoft Office suite, and the Internet Explorer and Edge web browsers. Its flagship hardware products are the Xbox video game consoles and the Microsoft Surface lineup of touchscreen personal computers. As of 2016, it is the world's largest software maker by revenue, and one of the world's most valuable companies. The word "Microsoft" is a portmanteau of "microcomputer" and "software". Microsoft is ranked No. 30 in the 2018 Fortune 500 rankings of the largest United States corporations by total revenue.

In the Italian press, there is a wide use of diktat to refer to events of the political sphere. The term is used to refer to either union demands against politicians, to the demands of politicians towards its allies to achieve cohesion, or to refer to imposition of rules or acts of various kinds. [6]

Italy republic in Southern Europe

Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a country in Southern and Western Europe. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia and the enclaved microstates San Marino and Vatican City. Italy covers an area of 301,340 km2 (116,350 sq mi) and has a largely temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. With around 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth-most populous EU member state and the most populous country in Southern Europe.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused the United States of endangering the international order by trying to "remake the whole world" for its own, Putin excoriated the United States for escalating world conflicts by "unilateral diktat" and imposing sanctions that he said were aimed at pushing Russia toward "economic weakness", while he denied that Russia aspires to rebuild an empire or reclaim its Cold War-era stature as a superpower. [7]

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  1. "WordReference Definition & Etymology" . Retrieved 1 February 2013.
  2. Marples, David R. (1999). Belarus : a denationalized nation. Amsterdam: Harwood Academic. p. 21. ISBN   9057023431.
  3. "Maoists' diktat to villagers: Use traditional instruments, modern equipment is banned" . Retrieved 1 February 2013.
  4. "Uncertainty clouds drug regulator's diktat on launches" . Retrieved 1 February 2013.
  5. "Microsoft finally bows down to EU diktat" . Retrieved 1 February 2013.[ permanent dead link ]
  6. "The dictates of the CGIL Prodi: Raise taxes" . Retrieved 1 February 2013.
  7. "Russia's Putin blames U.S. for destabilizing world order" . Retrieved 24 October 2014.