Reza Khan Maxim, the former junior officer, Ghazagh commander, participantin the Coup d'Etat, Sardar Sepah, prime minister, and now THE KING!This man was unusual, and forever stays that way. One of the most misteriouscharachters in the history fo this ancient realm, and target of many love/hatefeelings. Never there has been anyone like him, so much under criticismand praise. The Shah who ruled by power, both his mind and his tongue!The master of insult, and the most unsophisticated successor to the throneof Cyrus. A patriot, or a traitor? Truly loved Iran, or genuinly embracedpower?
Reza Khan started his reign in a typical way. Get rid of your enemies!His famouse "Black List" soon came to an end when all of thenames were crossed out. He killed anybody who was against him, and of whomhe thought of as a threat. The famouse and sharp tongued Modarres, thepoet Eshghi, the prince Nosrat ol Doleh, the politician Teimoor Taash,the lawyer Daavar, the army commander Tonekaboni, and hundreds of others.He decided to make his dynasty the one and only. He even changed his lastname to a glorious one. Pahlavi, the name of ancient area that the victoriousAshkanids came from.
With a lot of useful advise from his advisors, namely Forooghi who wasin turn advised by English ambassador, he started "modernizing"the country. Rail Roads, industries, removal of women's hejab, enforcingthe uniform, and etc...Somehow, it looks like he was copying Peter I.
He faced a lot of criticism, but he did not left them unanswered, andthe people who voiced them, un-dead! Brutal, shameless, and a true dictator,he forced Iran's way through the modern world, out of the 400 year sleep,but this draggings also left a few scars, in some rather sensetive areas.
He sent his son to Switzerland to study, and then made him marry Fuziah,the daughter of King of Egypt, supposedly the most "Modern" ofMuslim countries, and a protectorate of Britain. He brought Telephone,Radio, cars, buses, and electricity to the cities, and also some stupidwestern architecture! He made modern cities, relying for their survivalon the backward villages who still used ancient methods of agriculture.
As the very first action of his reign, he decided to make the countrysafe. Thus he fought and defeated bandits and feudals, as well as anarchistsand independence movements. He defeated Khazal, the local ruler of Khoozestanprovince who wanted to creat the "independent" state of Arabestan.He demolished uproars caused by likes of Semitghou, and put and end tobandits like Yamout Torkemans. He created a working rail way system thatattached the west of the country to the east, although it is true thatthe country needed North-South connection more. More than anything else,he created a safe enviroment for the British to safely dig the earth andfind the oil and sell it for themselves.
He installed and fired several prime ministers until he found a goodone, Mokhber Ol Slataneh Hedayat, an old, inteligent, German educated,statesman whose best quality was obedience. Reza Shah's best advisor andthe only one of early advisors who survived him, was Mohammad Ali Foroughi.Openely Anglophile, and really smart, Foroughi was the connection betweenthe British Ambassadors and the Shah. He was the wining piece of Reza Shah'schess game, and he did act as the powerful man in times of trouble, likethe time that the reign of Reza Shah came to an end.
Satisfying the wishes of the British for a long time, the now old kingwas disappointed in the British and tired of their greed. With the apearenceof the new power, Hitler, and his message of Aryanism, Reza Shah who wasthe ruler of the only people in the world who cinsidered themselves Aryan,and also a ruler tired of Hitlers main enemy, England, started lookingforward to Germany's victory in the war. This, as we all know, was a deadlyexpectation, and it ended his reign, in a fast and shoking way.
Iran delaired itself neutral in the war, but the British and Russianforces invaded the country in a surprise attack, and forced the Shah toresign in favour of his naive 22 year old son, Mohammad Reza. The old Shahdid, and then he was sent to end his days in an island off the coast ofAfrica, the Napoleon's end should have been an unexpectedly honourableend for a Shah.
Mohammad Reza became the Shah, the Aryamehr, Bozorg Arteshtaran, andreigned the country for 37 years, and he also ended his days in exile,you all know that: 1979.