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Real Dictators

Author: Noiser Podcasts

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Real Dictators is the new podcast series hosted by Paul McGann (Dr Who, Luther, Withnail and I) that explores the hidden lives of history’s tyrants.

Also, check out our other podcast, Real Narcos. Out Now!

15 Episodes
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Trailer: Real Dictators

Trailer: Real Dictators

2020-04-1103:365

How does a single human being convince thousands to kill for them and millions to turn a blind eye? Real Dictators is the new podcast series hosted by Paul McGann (Dr Who, Luther, Withnail and I) that explores the hidden lives of history’s tyrants. We encounter the American-trained doctor, “Papa Doc” Duvalier, who used modern medicine to convince the people of Haiti that he was a Voodoo god. There’s Kim Jong-il, who developed nuclear warheads alongside blockbuster movies. There’s Mao Zedong – the peasant’s son who transformed China, presiding over the catastrophic Great Chinese Famine and the bloody Cultural Revolution. And Joseph Stalin, the man who turned Russia into a superpower and set the stage for the Cold War, while upending and destroying the lives and livelihoods of millions of his own people.  Real Dictators fuses immersive, dramatic storytelling with interviews with world-renowned experts. The voices of historians sit alongside an array of regime insiders such as Jang Jin-sung – a former psychological warfare officer for Kim Jong-il – and François Benoit, a survivor of ‘Papa Doc’ Duvalier’s reign of terror. New episodes each Wednesday from May 2020. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Kim Jong-il built a volatile rogue state with nuclear missiles trained on its enemies – all while living a life of the utmost luxury. In the first episode of Real Dictators, we piece together the early life of this tyrant and that of the country he came to rule. Kim Jong-il is born during World War Two. His father – Kim Il-sung – fights the Japanese and helps found the state of North Korea. After the War, son and nation grow up together, as Kim Jong-il begins his own rise to power. Historians trace Kim’s early years, while defectors from North Korea reflect on the propaganda they grew up with. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Kim Jong-il has risen to become head of North Korean propaganda, under the rule of his strongman father. Now, he hatches an audacious plan to turn North Korea into a filmmaking powerhouse. South Korea’s finest actress and leading director are kidnapped and find themselves on boats bound for the North. Elsewhere, Kim launches a charm offensive at the armed forces, readying the ground for his coronation. And his father dies, leaving the path to power seemingly clear. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Installed as dictator, Kim Jong-il builds an all-powerful state that rules the lives and minds of its people without mercy. North Korea is wracked by famine. The people adapt to survive - we hear from one man who flouted the rules on trade and commerce and paid a horrific price. With the country starving, lurid rumours emerge about how the ‘Dear Leader’ spends his leisure time. And Kim Jong-il begins work on an arsenal of nuclear weapons that will spook the world and pave the way for his own son’s ascent to power. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Joseph Stalin - the “man of steel” - was the party secretary who plotted a route to absolute power, becoming head of the Eastern Bloc and, in time, chief nemesis of the United States. But how did a man from the Georgian frontier of the Russian Empire do it? In 1917, the 300-year-old Romanov Dynasty collapses. The communist Bolsheviks storm the Winter Palace and seize power. From this band of revolutionaries, a future bloody dictator - a man with an extraordinary backstory - begins to emerge. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
With the First World War underway, Stalin’s journey to becoming a brutal dictator grinds into gear. After the War, Russia is turned upside down. Stalin thrives in the chaos, masterminding a string of elaborate takedowns of his rivals. Rising to party leader, Stalin visits a ruthless purge on his enemies. The dreaded secret police cleanse the country of so-called traitors. Rural society collapses under this onslaught. But Stalin’s brutality does not go unchallenged. The peasants revolt, while a showdown with his own wife at a dinner party has tragic consequences. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Stalin’s regime hits the rocks when Adolf Hitler launches Operation Barbarossa and invades Russia. Nazi tanks plough towards Moscow in a devastating advance. Stalin’s legacy is forged in this fight to the death. In his final years, the strongman succumbs to cardiac problems. His tools for progress have been famine, slavery and execution. Yet to this day, some of his countrymen and women lionise him as the man who turned Russia into a superpower. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In the centre of China’s capital city, Beijing, lies a corpse that no one dares remove. It’s been 44 years since Mao Zedong’s body was laid to rest in the grandiose Chairman Mao Memorial Hall. He may be gone but he is not forgotten. To some, he’s the father of modern China. To many others, he’s a sadistic thug - a man willing, even happy, to sacrifice millions of lives in pursuit of power and economic dominance. Mao Zedong is born in Hunan Province in 1893. Growing up on his father’s farm, he consumes books and ideas. He becomes a devoted left-wing activist. Mao’s rise to the top of the Communist Party is littered with violent outbursts, setting the tone for the decades to come. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
With an army of devoted followers, Mao Zedong comes down from his hilltop headquarters and engages his Nationalist enemies in battles across China. Finally, victory belongs to the Communists. Crowds flock to Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, as Mao walks on stage to rapturous applause. With China in a mess after years of Nationalist rule, Mao is greeted by many as a hero. But life under the new Chairman is about to get a whole lot worse. Installed as Supreme Leader, Mao sets about revolutionising the way his people live, work and think. His ‘Great Leap Forward’ is intended to be an economic masterplan. Instead, it incurs an inconceivable death toll - driving people across the land to the wildest extremes of human behaviour. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Mao’s ‘Cultural Revolution’ sets out to purge the minds of an entire population. At the same time, the Supreme Leader continues to live a life of debauchery and excess - as the man who used to be his personal physician remembers. Mao’s propaganda machine seems invincible. But as the Chairman ages and his health deteriorates, the security of his legacy is anything but ensured. Eyewitnesses to his brutality reflect on what Mao means to China today, more than 40 years after his death. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Just a few hundred miles south of Florida, across the Caribbean Sea, lies Haiti. From 1957 to 1971, this tropical island nation was ruled by a would-be demigod. For 14 years, François Duvalier - better known as “Papa Doc” - wielded the twin powers of state violence and voodoo. His embezzlement of foreign aid turned an economy rich with potential into the poorest country in the West. Real Dictators takes you behind the scenes of Papa Doc’s maniacal regime. His victims and adversaries tell the story of the medical doctor who became the butcher of his people. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Ensconced in the Presidential Palace, Haitian dictator “Papa Doc” Duvalier crushes an attempted coup without mercy. Spooked by this near miss, Duvalier forms his own private militia called the Tonton Macoute. They take their name from a terrifying bogeyman of Haitian mythology and will go on to kill as many as 60,000 Haitians. Desperate to prevent communism taking hold in the Caribbean, the United States initially helps to prop up Papa Doc’s administration. Better the devil you know… But as the horrors of the regime become unavoidably clear, President Kennedy decides the time has come to lay down a marker. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
François Duvalier has created a terrifying cult of personality around himself. Not only is he President for Life; he claims to be an immaterial being - a spirit that will hover over Haiti even after his body dies. With near-godlike status achieved, his thoughts turn to his legacy. The groundwork is laid for the President’s son, Jean-Claude, to inherit power. This young man they call “Baby Doc” sits waiting in the wings. Meanwhile, regime loyalists devise increasingly sinister and corrupt methods to line their own pockets. Our contributors reflect on the legacy of Papa Doc - a name that will forever haunt the nightmares of Haitians. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
General Hideki Tojo was the man who led Japan into World War 2 and oversaw some of the most horrific war crimes in recorded history. Tojo did not hold absolute power - his means of imposing his will were more nuanced than that. But he more than earns his place at this table. Ruling under a compliant Emperor, Tojo gathered power to himself. This is the story of the minister who outgrew his master, the bureaucrat whose relentless work ethic took him to the apex of Japan’s totalitarian military state. Hideki Tojo is born in 1884. Japan is an emerging power on the world stage, a nation growing in confidence and ambition. We chart Tojo’s upbringing through the 1880s and ‘90s, before the man they call “The Razor” begins his journey up the greasy pole of Japanese politics. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
We return to Japan and the story of the workaholic army officer who rose through the ranks to lead his nation into total war. Hideki Tojo restores discipline to the military following the Aizawa Incident. He is promoted to Major General and rewarded with command of the secret police - the Kempeitai. The Imperial Japanese Army invades China and embarks on a campaign to terrorise the civilian population. Kempeitai operatives set up a research lab where they carry out horrific medical and weapons experiments, seeking a decisive edge over Japan’s enemies. This is only the beginning. Before long, spurred on by Prime Minister Tojo, the nation readies itself for war with the United States. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Comments (27)

Tony

Thus far the dictators being introduced were from the 20th century (Modern times). I'd love to see more stories from other eras.

Nov 20th
Reply

Shahd Belhaj

Do one of Gadaffi

Nov 17th
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ID20295183

Really enjoying this series.

Nov 14th
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saeed shekari

when new episodes are gonna be released? I cannot wait for them 😍

Oct 22nd
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Enzo Misuraca

missing this podcast. would love some new episodes

Oct 19th
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Dj G

where are the rest of them?

Oct 14th
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Andrew Robinson

Loving the layout & very informative. Still waiting on some more episodes though, only found upto episode 13.

Oct 9th
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Jose Carlos Melo

really really good....im a 25 years old's cuban so I'm looking forward to heard about Fidel. Saludos desde La habana

Oct 7th
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Mwau Andrew

Loved the North Korea Series, good story telling as well...

Sep 27th
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Ajay Bhat-(AJ)

awesome podcast

Sep 23rd
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Lexios

Noice

Sep 6th
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Ian Stirling

Amazing, put together so good. Thanks

Aug 22nd
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Sahil Pal

Lovely podcast

Aug 18th
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Broni Harris

Thanks for all your hard work and pleases keep them coming! This podcast is brilliant and of excellent quality.

Aug 1st
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Biggest Dave

Really enjoying this! Can anyone suggest any other good podcast series?

Jul 26th
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Tom Reid

Great podcast, so informative and well structured

Jul 23rd
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Anneke Roberts

incredibly good , loved format, and very interesting, have recommended to quite a number of people , pity I seem unable to find the Hitler episodes

Jul 18th
Reply (3)

Paul Murray

What a fantastic format. Absolutely fascinating and authoritative to boot. Love love love it.

Jul 16th
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Hideka Hideka

wow I did not know Stalin had such a bad life

Jul 13th
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Gary Cregg

Absolutely amazing podcast. Love it!

Jul 11th
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