Whoever scrutinizes this photo of father and son, taken in 1926, will understand a lot. The father is forty-eight and the son seven. The contrast between them is striking in every respect: The huge, powerful Shah-father stands sulkily, peremptorily, hands on his hips, and beside him the small pale boy, frail, nervous, obediently standing at attention, barely reaches his father’s waist. They are wearing the same uniforms and caps, the same shoes and belts, and the same number of buttons: fourteen. The father, who wants his son — so essentially unlike him — to resemble him in as many details as possible, thought up this identity of apparel. The son senses this intention, and, though he is by nature weak and hesitant, he will try at all costs to resemble his despotic, ruthless father. From that moment two natures begin to develop and coexist in the boy: the inborn one and the parental one that, because of his ambitions, he starts to acquire. Finally he falls so totally under his father’s domination that when he becomes Shah many years later, he automatically (but also, often, consciously) repeats Daddy’s behavior and even, toward the end of his reign, invokes his father’s authority. But at this moment the father is assuming power with all his inborn energy and drive. He has an acute sense of mission and knows what he is after — in his own brutal words, he wants to put the ignorant mob to work and build a strong modern state before which all will beshit themselves in fear. His are the Prussian’s iron hand, the slavedriver’s simple methods. Ancient, slumbering, loafing Iran (on the Shah’s orders, Persia will hereafter be called Iran) trembles to its foundations. He begins by creating an imposing army. A hundred and fifty thousand men get uniforms and guns. The army is the apple of the Shah’s eye, his great passion. The army must always have money. It must have everything. The army will make the nation modern, disciplined, obedient. Everyone: Attention! The Shah issues an order forbidding Iranian dress. Everyone, wear European suits! Everyone, don European hats! The Shah bans chadors. In the streets, police tear them off terrified women. The faithful protest in the mosques of Meshed. He sends in the artillery to level the mosques and massacre the rebels. He orders that the nomadic tribes be settled permanently. The nomads protest. He orders their wells poisoned, threatening them with death by thirst and starvation. The nomads keep protesting, so he sends out punitive expeditions that turn vast regions into uninhabited land. A lot of blood flows. He forbids the photographing of that symbolically backward beast, the camel. In Qom a mullah preaches a critical sermon, so, armed with a cane, the Shah enters the mosque and pummels the critic. He imprisons the great Ayatollah Madresi, who had raised his voice in complaint, in a dungeon for years. The liberals protest timorously in the newspapers, so the Shah closes down the newspapers and imprisons the liberals. He orders several of them walled up in a tower. Those he considers malcontents must report daily to the police. Aristocratic ladies faint in terror at receptions when this gruff unapproachable giant turns his harsh gaze on them. Until the end Reza Khan preserves many of the habits of his village childhood and his barracks youth. He lives in a palace but still sleeps on the floor; he always goes around in uniform; he eats with his solders from the same pot. One of the boys! At the same time, he covets land and money. Taking advantage of his power, he accumulates incredible wealth. He becomes the biggest landowner, proprietor of nearly three thousand villages and the two hundred and fifty thousand peasants living in them; he owns stock in factories and banks, receives tribute, counts, totes, adds, calculates — if a splendid forest, green valley, or fertile plantation so much as catches his eye, it must be his — indefatigably, insatiably he increases his estates, multiplying his enormous fortune. No one may even approach the borders of the Shah’s lands. One day there is a public execution: On the Shah’s orders a firing squad kills a donkey that, ignoring all the warning signs, entered a meadow belonging to Reza Khan. Peasants from neighboring villages are herded to the place of execution to learn respect for the master’s property.