In Fullmetal Alchemist, one of the characters is Bradley, who is:

  1. Addressed as "King Bradley"
  2. The Fuhrer
  3. The head of the army
  4. A homunculus (Pride or Wrath)

Now, I suppose it makes sense that given (4.), he could quickly climb up the ranks, perhaps even getting his superiors removed in various ways, and make it to position (3.). However,

  • Why is the Fuhrer also the head of the army (and I don't mean in the head-of-state sense, but rather an active officer)?
  • Did Bradley arrange for this union of offices to happen?
  • Is Bradley somehow the king of Amestris? King of something else? If not, why is he addressed that way? If so, how come the country has both a Fuhrer and a King?

PS - I've watched the earlier Anime series, but don't mind answers based on the Manga and/or "Brotherhood".

  • 1
    I've removed two tags because they don't seem to apply here. [history] because that's only really for the history of a story or a race of people and [backstory] because it's a redundant tag, that should be removed anyways and isn't really useful in anyway, nor is this question asking about a backstory (as opposed to a title). – Edlothiad Aug 11 at 20:25
  • @Edlothiad: I don't mind the second, but this is a question about the history of Amestris. Also, if "backstory" is redundant - what's the non-redundant tag for a character's backstory? – einpoklum Aug 11 at 20:26
  • There is none, there doesn't need to be a tag, it's 1. quite pointless, 2. not a tag a person can be an expert in. No one is an expert in backstories in general. A question doesn't need to be littered with tags, the title of your question is sufficiently detailed to make your question clear, tags shouldn't be used like on blogs to describe a question. There key elements for sorting questions. I'm not sure how a question about a character's title is really a question about the history of a place? – Edlothiad Aug 11 at 20:43
  • 2
    @Edlothiad: The possibility of being a tag expert is a secondary effect of a tag existing. Tags are first and foremost for searching the site, AFAIK / IMHO. – einpoklum Aug 11 at 21:00
up vote 21 down vote accepted

King is his name, not a title

Führer is the title of the leader and head of the army of Amestris; King is not part of the title. It's "Führer" King Bradley, not "Führer-King" Bradley.

What evidence do we have to claim this? Old spoilers ahead

  1. Every character from Amestris has a given name and a last name; it would be strange to have the leader of the country the only one with an unknown first name
  2. Roy Mustang and other members of the army claim to want to become Führer and not Führer-King
  3. When he was turned into the homunculus Wrath by Father and received his name, he is called King Bradley (not Führer King Bradley since he wasn't the leader yet).
  4. When you listen the anime in the original Japanese audio, the names of the characters (based on European names) aren't translated while the title Führer (like other military ranks) is spoken in Japanese. It sounds something like "Daisoto" Kingu Buraddorei, so you can simply listen to the original audio and check.

I won't go into further detail about how the leader of Amestris has political, military and homunculus power since Kevin's answer covers that pretty well.

  • 4
    +1, although (1) is a bit weak because a lot of royals use mononyms both in the real world and in fiction. – Kevin Aug 12 at 0:24
  • 2
    1. Not every character has a name and a last name: Dante; Van Hohenheim (maybe he has a first name, but we don't know it); Rose; Mugear; and I could probably name more. 2. That does not mean "King" is his name, that just means that "Fuhrer" is separate from King". 3. Now this is a sort of an argument, but "King" is not a name. 4. This is the winning argument. – einpoklum Aug 12 at 14:28
  • I know (1) is kinda weak but it adds. I tried to put the arguments in ascending order of strenght. – Ram Aug 12 at 16:31
  • 1
    Also Rose family name is Thomas; Van Hohenheim while a family name would sound like name and last name to a japanese unfamiliar with european family name. Dante and Mugear are from 2003 anime not from manga or brotherood and don't seem to follow the same pattern. – Ram Aug 12 at 16:37
  • "Dante" and "Mugear" aren't in the manga and were created purely by the Studio Bones staff, "Rose" is listed with the last name "Thomas" on the wiki, and "Van" is Hohenheim's first name. – Allison C Aug 13 at 18:52

This answer only addresses the manga and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, but it may also apply to the 2003 anime to some extent. In general, it is quite impossible to address all three canons because they diverged too far.

Amestris was founded for the explicit purpose of helping Father ascend to godhood. This is clearly stated in "The Shape of This Country" and numerous times thereafter. Furthermore, at no point is there any evidence in the anime or manga of civilian control of the military, except perhaps for Bradley himself (and he is clearly not a civilian, see for example "The Ishvalan War of Extermination" and several other episodes). We must therefore assume that Amestris is a de facto military dictatorship with Bradley at its head. Regardless of what title you want to give him, he was (publicly) in charge. However, it was not always this way, because Father founded Amestris shortly after destroying Xerxes (see "The Dwarf in the Flask" and subsequent episodes), and Bradley was far too young to have been king the entire time.

Officially, Bradley rose to his position through the ranks and achieved leadership through merit, but this is in fact a lie. He was a homunculus specifically groomed for the position, as shown in "Reunion." Before Bradley, the military collaborated directly with Father, and continued doing so when Bradley was unavailable (see the end of "Looming Shadows" and subsequent episodes). There was no actual need for Bradley to climb the ranks; Father wanted Bradley in charge of the country, and the military worked for Father.

Bradley was, in the end, a puppet of Father, created as a figurehead for the purpose of uniting Amestris and guiding it through the remaining wars necessary to set up the country-wide alchemy circle, especially the civil war in Ishval. As a human spliced with a philosopher's stone, he aged like any other human. This was critical to maintaining the charade that he was just like any other human. But it also meant that he could not be installed earlier, because he would have aged too much by the time of the Promised Day.

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