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Autocracy Now is a podcast about historical dictators.

Autocracy Now is a podcast about historical dictators.
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Autocracy Now is a podcast about historical dictators.




The Future of the Show

An announcement regarding the future of the show. Hi all, So this is just a quick update to explain a little about the podcast, so that I don't just vanish without trace entirely. Autocracy Now! was the first show idea I had, way back at the end of 2016. I'd been a podcast fan for many years, and finally just decided to start podcasting for myself after listening to Mike Duncan of The History of Rome talk about it. Over the next few months, I wrote the first scripts - for Commodus, and...


Huey Long, Part VI: A Long Shot?

Could Huey Long's personality, travelling-salesman charm, and Share Our Wealth populism catapult him into the White House? In this episode, we find out. @physicspod @autocracynow


Huey P. Long V: Kingfishers and Filibusters

The good people of the United States Senate were not prepared for Huey P. Long. @physicspod @autocracynow


Huey P. Long, IV: Round Robin

“I would rather go down to a thousand impeachments than admit that I am the Governor of the state that does not dare to call the Standard Oil company to account so that we can educate our children and care for the destitute, sick, and afflicted.” Huey called mass rallies, warning his supporters to “beware the lying newspapers, pay no attention to what they say”. At the rallies, he quoted his favourite poem, Invictus: “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul!” This is...


Huey P. Long III: Schoolbooks and Blood

In 1928, Huey Long was riding high. He'd beaten all opposition and achieved the second step in his life-plan. Get elected to minor public office, check. Get elected to the Governorship, check. There's little doubt given everything we know about him that he was already angling for a seat in the Senate - although in his early addresses he was already lying about "ridding the state of corruption and waste... without ambition for ever again holding another public office." A bold claim for a...


Huey P Long II: The Campaign Trail

Huey Long pulled a man aside once, and, conspiratorially, explained his plans for 1924. "I'm gonna run for governer, and let me tell you how I'm going to win. In every parish, there is a boss, usually the sheriff. He has 40% of the votes, 40% are opposed to him, and the other 20% are in-betweens. I'm going to go into every parish and cuss out the boss. That gives me 40% of the votes, and I'll hoss trade 'em out of the inbetweens." So said Huey...


Huey Long Part I: The Whirlwind

Imagine, for a moment, that there was a politician in the United States very unlike the others. One who was willing to promise all things to all people, who had no qualms about changing his position on a daily basis. One who viciously attacked the establishment, made personal attacks on his opponents and gave them derogatory nicknames and violated every democratic norm in the book. One who fought against freedom of the press, and constantly denounced the 'lying newspapers', when they...


Stalin Episode XIII: The Fall of the Red Tsar

In 1953, in a final convulsion of paranoid violence, Stalin suffered a massive stroke. As his underlings jockeyed and vied for position, alternating between their lust for power and fear that the man who had dominated their lives for decades might recover, he passed from the world's stage. In this episode, we will discuss that passing, talk briefly about what happened afterwards, and attempt to get some kind of a handle on the legacy of Stalin - the leader who brutally butchered his own...


Simon Ings on Stalin and the Scientists

As we bring our series on Stalin to its conclusion, I'm posting the full and unedited interview with Simon Ings, author of Stalin and the Scientists, about Stalin's impact on the sciences. This originally appeared on the Physical Attraction feed - so on the off-chance that there's someone out there who listens to Autocracy Now but doesn't yet listen to my main show, go and check it out!


Stalin, Episode XII: The Red Tiberius and the Game of Thrones

Towards the end of Stalin's life, he became ever more paranoid, embittered, isolated, and vengeful. As his various ministers and members of the Politburo jockeyed for power and position around him, using his fits of paranoia to exact revenge on one another, the only thing that united them all was fear: fear that they would not outlive the dying old man, and instead, die at his hand. Autocracy Now can be found at and our sister podcast can be found at...


Stalin, Episode XI: The Big Three, Beria, and the Bomb

As World War Two wound down to a close, Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill held several meetings to carve up the world. After Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Stalin realised that nuclear weapons would be the main factor in the post-war balance of power - and ordered Beria, his sadistic head of the NKVD, to obtain one by any means necessary.


Stalin X: Stalin's City

The Second World War was an incredibly complex conflict, fought on multiple fronts between various aggressors. It's difficult to pinpoint an individual moment and describe it as the conclusive "turning point". But more historians will point to the Battle of Stalingrad than any other single event as the moment when the probabilities shifted, and the outcome of the war moved towards a Nazi defeat. In this episode, we'll describe Stalin's role in the war - including the brutality with...


Stalin, Episode IX: Barbarossa

The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact could only keep the peace for so long. Both the Nazi and the Soviet dictators knew that a bloody confrontation between them would likely determine the future fate of Europe. But when the moment came, on 22nd June 1941, and the Nazis invaded with the largest force ever mobilised in the history of warfare... Stalin wasn't ready. You can follow the show on and subscribe to us on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts. The back...


Stalin, Episode VIII: Before the Storm

Stalin's Great Terror took place in the 1930s, with its most bloodthirsty peak in 1937. Two years later, Nazi Germany would invade Poland and the Second World War would begin. But before the storm of war, there was a most remarkable peace treaty. You can listen to our sister podcast, Physical Attraction, at where you'll also be able to donate to the show; you can listen to all back episodes at or where-ever you listen to podcasts.


Stalin, Episode VII: The Common Enemy of Humanity

Stalin's "Great Terror" was not limited to eliminating his political rivals. Soon enough, detentions and executions were occurring according by quota. In 1937, the killing and persecution rose to its virtually indiscriminate peak. @autocracynow @physicspod


Stalin Episode VI: Devouring the Children

After the death of Kirov, Stalin would turn his wrath towards the Old Bolsheviks that remained as key revolutionary figures in his own right. His fellow Communists could remember a time when Stalin was not Lenin's divinely appointed successor; and for that, they had to be destroyed. Visit the website at, or our sister podcast at, where you can contact me with any concerns, questions, comments and so on.


Stalin Episode V: Nadya and Kirov

In the early 1930s, two mysterious (at the time) deaths occurred to people who were close to Stalin as he consolidated power as the supreme leader of the USSR. Follow the show @autocracynow and don't forget to subscribe and listen to the physics show at, where you'll also find a contact form and the opportunity to donate if you like what we're doing.


Stalin Episode IV: Revolution in the Economy

After consolidating power over his Bolshevik rivals, Stalin dispensed with Lenin's pseudo-capitalist NEP and replaced it with the top-down bureaucratic nightmare that was the Five-Year Plans. Follow us on Twitter @autocracynow, our sister podcast @physicspod, and subscribe to the show where-ever you listen to podcasts. Visit our online home at If you want to support independent podcasters and enjoyed this show, consider donating to help keep us going, or...


Stalin Episode III: Taking Control

As Lenin's health declined, Stalin sought to outmanouver his rivals in the Bolshevik party and consolidate single-handed, dictatorial control over Russia. Follow us on Twitter @autocracynow, our sister podcast @physicspod, and subscribe to the show where-ever you listen to podcasts. Visit our online home at If you want to support independent podcasters and enjoyed this show, consider donating to help keep us going, or buying a bonus episode of the physics...


Stalin, Episode II: Revolution and Civil War

In this episode, we'll track Stalin's life and career through one of the most tumultuous times in Russian history: the Revolutions of 1917 and the Civil War that would follow. In these early days, we see Stalin's autocratic and ruthless nature beginning to be exposed; and we also try to answer the question: how did a fringe group of fanatics and radicals seize control of one of the most powerful nations of Europe?