Season 2022 – Talk 12 – 5 Villains from History
In 5 Villains from History our five speakers explain the villany of these characters who are responsible for many deaths, often in unpleasant ways.
Warning: the details may be upsetting to some.
Click a thumbnail below to view the image gallery that accompanies the talk.
In the first part of this talk Jenny Staple tells us about Vlad III, also known as Vlad the Impaler because of his favoured method of execution. He is also known as Vlad Dracula.
Vlad was Voivode of Wallachia three times between 1448 and his death in 1476/77. He is often considered one of the most important rulers in Wallachian history and a national hero of Romania.
Vlad’s father and eldest brother are murdered in 1447. Vlad replaces his second cousin as Voivode in 1448 and exacts revenge on his enemies.
A hero to the poor and oppressed but a villain to big business and the US. A doctor, a terrorist or, depending on your view, a freedom fighter. An image on millions of T shirts. You choose.
Ian Wallace weaves the fascinating story of Che, his travels and his activities to foment revolution.
Michael A’Bear tells the story of Idi Amin, a man he describes as a ‘rotter’. People believe that he was born around 1925, however no none is sure of the exact date.
Michael tells us that his father abandoned the family after naming his son after himself. The young Amin grows up with his mother’s family in a farming area.
He joins the Kings African Rifles as an assistant cook in 1946 and, by 1952, becomes a Corporal. In Michael’s opinion he should have remained a Corporal!
He falsely claims to have served in Burma in the Second World War. By July 1961 he has risen to be a Lieutenant, one of Uganda’s first two commissioned officers. When Uganda becomes independent in 1962 his rise through the ranks continues.
One officer says of him ‘Idi Amin is a splendid type and a good rugby player, but virtually bone from the neck up, and needs things explained in words of one letter’. Unfortunately he seizes power in a military coup and becomes a military dictator. Estimates of the number killed by his regime vary between 300,000 and 500,000.
Another person where people have ‘Marmite‘ views. The China of Mao’s youth is ruled by a corrupt dynastic aristocracy and warlords and so the majority of citizens count for nothing.
In 1921 Mao becomes a founder member of the Chinese Communist Party and over the years works his way up the hierarchy. He suffers a number of rebuffs but is always proven right.
In 1934 he leads the Communists on the Long March to North West China. On 1 October 1949 Mao announces the formation of the People’s Republic of China which he leads as Chairman until 1976. Alan Freeland explains all!
James Warren Jones:
A Vicar, a supposed ‘man of God’, a person who persuades his followers to take poison in a mass murder/suicide and one who says ‘I was ready to kill by the third grade’.
Jones forms a religious cult where his followers must give up their assets and do as he instructs. He is in contact with some powerful people in the US, including Walter Mondale, J Edgar Hoover and Rosalynn Carter.
The cult moves to Jonestown in Guyana. Following a fact finding visit in 1978, Congressman Leo Ryan and four others are shot by Jonestown’s Red Brigade. The residents of Jonestown drink Flavor Aid laced with a number of sedatives and cyanide.
Listen to the podcast and hear our five speakers tell the story of these ‘5 Villains from History’. Then decide who to save!
About this podcast:
This is an edited recording of a talk given to the Farnham u3a World History Group.
It is not possible to use some of the images from the original talks for copyright reasons.
The Farnham u3a site is here.
AKM Music licenses Media Magazine for use as the theme music.
© The MrT Podcast Studio and Farnham u3a World History Group 2018 – 2023