What does it take to become a dictator these days? Creating the illusion of democracy helps, as does surrounding yourself with sycophants.
These and other telling characteristics of some of history’s most infamous dictators – fear and violence included – were scrutinized by Professor Frank Dikötter, author of a new book called How To Be A Dictator.
He told a sold-out club lunch on December 4 of a number of measures that need to be in place to create a successful dictator. Above all, he said, dictators including Hitler, Stalin, Mao, “Baby Doc” Duvalier and Mengistu of Ethiopia all benefitted from the cult of personality.
“The cult of personality was there to destroy common sense, to enforce obedience, to isolate individuals and crush their dignity,” Prof Dikötter said.
He also examined today’s dictators, including Vladimir Putin, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Xi Jinping.
Watch the video here