Hearts of Iron 4 (HOI4) – How to Change Ideology

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The Second World War is renowned for the many ideologically extremist movements of the century. In this huge battle between fascists, communists, democrats, and non-aligned, you will have to choose a side for your country as well in Hearts of Iron 4.

Though it should generally be easy to switch from one ideology to another, newer players have problems understanding how to get the switch done faster or without a country-shattering civil war.

Recommended Read: Hearts of Iron 4 – Poland Strategy Guide

Nobody likes civil wars, but nobody likes playing as a democratic country in HOI4 either, so we’ll have to improvise a bit and use the mechanics that the game lays in front of us.

To change ideology in Hearts of Iron 4, you either need to hire a Political Advisor who promotes an ideology and increases its support in the country or go down the focus tree to get events that get you where you want to get.

Table of Contents

All Ideologies in HOI4

There are only 4 ideologies in HOI4 that you can choose from to rule your country:

  • Fascism
  • Communism
  • Democracy
  • Non-Aligned

Fascism and Communism are the “offensive” ideologies, meaning they can justify war goals on any country at any time, and they can attack everyone whenever they want.

Democracies and Non-Aligned countries cannot do this, and they have to wait for the World Tension to rise first.

Non-Aligned is the middle ground between the extremist ideologies and Democracy since they can attack countries once World Tension is 25%, as long as they have a war goal.

They can also use most of the political choices, such as joining a faction, starting from 40% WT.

Democracies, on the other hand, can’t really do anything until World Tension is extremely high.

They can almost never declare war since they need 100% WT, and their only way to get into WW2 is to guarantee the independence of countries once WT reaches 25%.

The ideology of a country also decides what you can do in war and in peace treaties, as Democracies cannot puppet enemies, they can’t usually send volunteers, and they can’t conquer neutral lands occupied by their enemies.

Because of these mechanics, Democracies are considered by the HOI4 community “boring”, so most of us will want to change the ideology into one of the ones that can actually influence something in the coming World War.

How to Change Ideology in HOI4

There are only two ways you can change your ideology in HOI4 without using cheats:

  • Complete National Focuses
  • Hire an ideology-boosting Political Advisor

National Focuses

The most common way to change your ideology if you are playing an interesting country with a unique focus tree in HOI4 is to go down a different ideology focus tree branch.

Usually, most countries with a unique focus tree will have a political focus tree. This will allow you to go down the historical path or pursue a different path, such as monarchism.

Most countries will have a path for Communism, Fascism, Democracy, and Non-Aligned, which will usually be a monarchy.

You just need to look at the focus tree properly before you let the game speed on and see exactly which path you want to take.

Since there will be events and National Spirits down the focus tree that will increase the power of an ideology in the country, you will likely switch relatively fast.

Using the focus tree, you are very likely to ignore any normal ideology change mechanics that basic countries have to face, and you will just change the country’s ideology just by completing a focus down the branch.

Remember that this is only possible if you have unique and improved focus trees. If you don’t have any DLCs, you won’t be able to change the ideology of some countries, like Germany for example.

All the countries in the world that don’t have a unique focus tree, either in vanilla or through DLCs, will likely have advisors to help go through the ideology change.

Political Advisors

If you are playing a relatively irrelevant country in the coming World War, such as Luxembourg or Tibet, you likely won’t ever have an interesting focus tree.

The basic focus tree has a political path that you can only pursue if you have already changed your ideology.

To change your ideology as a minor country in HOI4, you will need to use the ideology-boosting Political Advisors. These are the Communist Revolutionary, Fascist Demagogue, and the Democratic Reformer.

Most countries that are “irrelevant” have those Political Advisors to allow them to change ideology and play however they want as that ignored country.

You will first need 150 Political Power, and you can then employ one of these guys to promote the ideology you want in your country.

Once you pick one of them to serve as your Political Advisor, you will get some new decisions under a category named “Ideology on the Rise,” “Ideology” being replaced by either Communism, Fascism, or Democracy.

As you can tell from the choices, there is no way to change your ideology to Non-Aligned as a country with a basic focus tree.

Non-Aligned is usually a relatively underwhelming ideology that is only made good through the use of the focus tree, so you won’t really want to change into it anyway.

You will now have the choice to either change your ideology peacefully using Political Power and being patient or forcing a civil war to quickly allow your chosen ideology to take over the country.

Generally, we recommend avoiding a civil war since it doesn’t help you at all, and you can just peacefully switch ideologies without any large repercussions.

Avoiding a Civil War

You will first need to take the Open Up Political Discourse decision for 75 PP, which will unlock three new decisions:

  • Expand Civil Support (25 PP)
  • Discredit Government (50 PP)
  • Hold National Referendum (100 PP)

The player’s ultimate goal is to get 50% support for their chosen ideology and then take the Hold National Referendum decision, which will finally switch you to the desired ideology.

The Expand Civil Support decision is decent, as it increases the daily support for your chosen ideology, but it will lower your Stability by 12%.

Discredit Government can also be good if you want to quickly increase your party’s power, but it will lower the Base Stability by 1%.

While you are going through this process, you will also occasionally get events that will increase your party’s power in exchange for Stability.

The best way to go through this and change your ideology in HOI4 is to wait and not take any decisions. The events will be more than enough to get where you want relatively fast.

How to Change Ideology Using Cheats (Console Command)

If you don’t want to go through the slow process of using the focus tree or a Political Advisor, you can always just use cheats to get what you want.

Here is how to use command console cheats to change your country’s ideology in HOI4:

  1. Press the “~” on your keyboard to open the command console.
  2. Type in “set_ruling_party *ideology*”, replace *ideology* with the desired ideology, and press Enter.
  3. Press “~” again to close the command console.

Instead of *ideology*, players will need to write f, c, d, or n, which each represents one of the four major ideologies in HOI4.

So, if you want the communists to rule the country, write “set_ruling_party c” without the quotation marks.

Cheats aren’t available in Ironman Mode, so make sure you are playing the normal version of the game.

That’s everything you need to know about how to change ideology in Hearts of Iron 4!

Have any input or suggestions for this guide? Let us know in the comment section below.

Adrian Oprea

Based in London, United Kingdom, Adrian Oprea is a Guides Writer. As a professional single-player RPG player, Adrian has often been stigmatized. He has decided to pour his frustration into writing guides!

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