The most durable dictators in twentieth-century Europe were Communists dictators. The final lecture in the series shows how Stalin established the pattern of Communist dictatorship, and asks how far the 'cult of personality' survived the process of 'destalinization' that followed his death in 1953.
The third lecture in the series asked why so many European states fell victim to dictators in the interwar years. It looked at a variety of dictators for an answer, including Metaxas in Greece, Franco in Spain, Dollfuss and Schuschnigg in Austria, and the dictators of a number of countries in Eastern Europe.
The second lecture in the series turned to Germany, where the economic depression that began in 1929 destroyed the Weimar Republic and ushered Hitler and his Nazi Party to power. Hitler's dictatorship combined intensive political repression with comprehensive propaganda, racial engineering and preparation for European conquest.
The first lecture set the scene by analysing the devastating effects of the First World War on Europe, and goes on to focus on Italy, where a recently introduced democratic political system disintegrated, giving way to the Fascist dictatorship of Mussolini in the 1920's.