15 episodes

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!

Real Dictators Noiser

    • History
    • 4.6 • 674 Ratings

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!

    General Tojo Part 2: Kill All, Burn All, Loot All

    General Tojo Part 2: Kill All, Burn All, Loot All

    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.
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    • 42 min
    General Tojo Part 1: The Young Samurai

    General Tojo Part 1: The Young Samurai

    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.
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    • 34 min
    Papa Doc Part 3: Vampire of the Caribbean

    Papa Doc Part 3: Vampire of the Caribbean

    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.
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    • 32 min
    Papa Doc Part 2: Haiti’s Dictator vs JFK

    Papa Doc Part 2: Haiti’s Dictator vs JFK

    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.
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    • 39 min
    Papa Doc Part 1: The Voodoo Tyrant

    Papa Doc Part 1: The Voodoo Tyrant

    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.
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    • 50 min
    Mao Zedong Part 3: The Cultural Revolution

    Mao Zedong Part 3: The Cultural Revolution

    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.
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    • 49 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
674 Ratings

674 Ratings

Navo18 ,

Awesome work!

This podcast is amazing. Thank you for making things both in-depth and easy to understand.

AaronBriscoe ,

Upsets the commies

Clearly a great podcast. A few commenters here are upset that these historians correctly pegged what communism nearly always turns into.

Meat=Murder ,

Then There Were Stable Geniuses

Thank goodness our own gangsta-in-chief is an idiot! That’s my takeaway from this podcast.

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