When I’ve looked at pictures of world leaders like Barack Obama and former Prime Minister Tony Blair, I’ve often been struck by how tall they appear in comparison to those around them. The same goes for Premier Stephen Harper of Canada who at 6’3″ is the world’s tallest leader.
Thinking about British Prime Ministers going back forty years or so, with the exception of Mrs. Thatcher [5’5″] and Harold Wilson [5’8″] all the rest of them have been between 5’11” and 6’1″. Here’s the list:
James Callaghan 6’1″
Alec Douglas Hume 6’1″
David Cameron 6’0″
Edward Heath 6″0″
John Major 5’11”
Tony Blair 5’11”
Gordon Brown 5’11”
The giant of British political life was however Lord Salisbury, Prime Minister between 1895 and 1902 who was 6’4”.
In the West, we tend to assume a relationship between power and height and it seems inconceivable these days that a short President or Prime Minister could ever be elected to power. I am though heartened to note that world leaders come in all sizes as the following chart shows.
At one end you have:
Barack Obama 6’1″ [USA]
Stephen Harper [Canada] 6’3″
At the other end of the scale however are:
Even this carefully composed shot can’t disguise their difference in height but amongst present day leaders, the prize for short-man goes to Kim Jong Ill at 5’3″.
Kim Jong Ill was however, tall compared with other world leaders from History…
David Ben Gurion the first Prime Minister of Israel was only 5′ 0”
Engelbert Dollfuss, Austrian Chancellor from 1932-34, stood 4ft 11in in his socks.
But the shortest world leader on record was Benito Juarez, five times president of Mexico between 1867 and 1872, at 4ft 6in.
So, if you are seeking the highest office in the land, don’t be put off by the fact that you are below average height. As the leader of a nation, you will be in good company.