From Mussolini to Saddam Hussein, dictators have had a profound effect on the 20th century. How did they seize and wield power? What forces rose up against them or resisted them in secret? How did they finally come to the bitter end?
“The Dictator’s Playbook” answers those questions in six immersive episodes, each a revealing portrait of brutality and power, every Wednesday at 9 p.m., beginning Jan. 9, on Arizona PBS.
Jan. 9: Kim Il Sung
Witness Kim Il Sung’s transformation from guerrilla fighter to brutal dictator of North Korea. How did he build the most controlled society on earth and launch a dictatorship that has lasted for three generations? Watch online.
Jan. 16: Saddam Hussein
Learn how Saddam Hussein ruled Iraq with an iron fist for over 30 years. To maintain power, he used fear, intimidation and violence like few others in history, but he made the fatal mistake of believing his regime could take on the whole world. Watch online.
Jan. 23: Benito Mussolini
See why Benito Mussolini was considered a pioneer among 20th century dictators. From undermining judges to indoctrinating children, he forged key tactics for seizing power. He also created fascism, an ideology that would plunge Europe into darkness.
Jan. 30: Manuel Noriega
Watch Manuel Noriega rise through the Panamanian military to become chief of intelligence — and then, military dictator. He spied for the United States, but in the end, money laundering, drug trafficking and political crimes led to his downfall.
Feb. 6: Francisco Franco
Learn how Francisco Franco used the tactics of colonial war to win control of Spain. Driven by a deeply conservative vision, he used torture, murder and incarceration to transform Spanish society.
Feb. 13: Idi Amin
See how Idi Amin used lessons learned in the colonial British Army to build a powerful dictatorship in Uganda. Though a combination of populist charm and brutal violence, he ruled for eight years — until his strategic blunders brought him down.