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History: Authoritarian Leaders of the twentieth century




Joseph Stalin as a young man  


Important information

History Today and Christian History - back issues

We subscribe to the hard copy of these wonderful journals. Check the Oliver catalogue to find the issue you want.

Search History Today's own website for references to articles. When you log into History Today using the login details on our Canvas page you can access the full article straight away.

History Today

There is an excellent article for example on Stalin's rise to power over Trotsky. Full article Volume 61 Issue 12, 2011.


Books from the collection


Print books



These links take you to databases we subscribe to.  Some may need a login and password.  These can be found on our Canvas page

Audiovisual material - authoritarian leaders



Excellent information is also available for the Authoritarian Leaders below from the following databases. Login details available from the library Canvas page

World History in Context

Modern World History Online

Abdul Hamid II (1876-1909)

Ottoman sultan from 1876 to 1909, under whose autocratic rule the reform movement of Tanzimat (Reorganization) reached its climax.

Vladimir Lenin (1917-1924)

The architect, builder, and first head of the Soviet state.

Benito Mussolini (1922-1943)

Ruled Italy as Prime Minister from 1922 to 1943

Adolf Hitler (1933-1945)

Leader of the Nazi Party (from 1920/21) and chancellor and Führer of Germany (1933–45). 

Causes of Word War II and Nazi Germany are two subject guides created for other assignments that will be helpful if you are researching Hitler for this essay. please click on the appropriate link below to access these pages.

Causes of Word War II

Nazi Germany

Francisco Franco (1936-1975)

General and leader of the Nationalist forces that overthrew the Spanish democratic republic in the Spanish Civil War (1936–39); thereafter he was the head of the government of Spain until 1973 and head of state until his death in 1975.

Juan Peron (1946-1974)

An army colonel who became president of Argentina (1946–52, 1952–55, 1973–74) and was founder and leader of the Peronist movement.

Kim Il Sung (1945-1994)

Communist leader of North Korea from 1948 until his death in 1994.

Mao Zedong (1949-1976)

Mao was the leader of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) from 1935 until his death, and he was chairman (chief of state) of the People’s Republic of China from 1949 to 1959 and chairman of the party also until his death.

'Papa Doc' Duvalier (1957-1971)

Nicolae Ceausescu (1965-89)​
Leader of Romania from 1965 until he was overthrown and killed in a revolution in 1989

Muammar al-Qaddafi (1969-2011)
Muammar Gaddafi ruled Libya as the African country's dictator for more than four decades before he was overthrown and killed in 2011.

Idi Amin (1971-9)
Ugandan president known for his brutal regime while in power.

Augusto Pinochet (1973-86)
General, politician and United States backed dictator of Chile between 1973 and 1990.

Pol Pot (1975-9)
A political leader whose communist Khmer Rouge government led Cambodia from 1975 to 1979.

Ayatollah Khomeini (1979-89)
An Iranian politician. He was the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Supreme Leader until his death in 1989.

Saddam Hussein (1979-2003)
Dictator of Iraq from 1979 until 2003, when the regime was overthrown by a United States-led invasion.

Slobodan Milosevic (1989-2000)
President of Serbia from 1989 to 1997 and President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 1997 to 2000.

Robert Mugabe (1980-2017)
The first prime minister of independent Zimbabwe from 1980. Ruled the country with increasingly dictatorial powers for 37 years.

Fidel Castro (1959-2008)
Revolutionary leader of Cuba from 1959 until 2008, when he stepped down after nearly 50 years of undisputed power.