Worst Dictators in History
Five political leaders in the last 130 years have been the architects of the most horrific genocides, systematic murders, blockades, brutal wars, and policy reforms history has ever recorded. Let’s have a closer look on them.
1. Adolf Hitler – 17 Million Deaths
Adolf Hitler poses in 1932, shortly before he becoming German Chancellor. Used as the modern world's measure for evil, the Austrian-born failed artist took over Germany using its own laws, kept an iron grip on it with a repressive police state and an ideology based on fear and hatred, and proceeded to engulf the world in war for six years, a conflict that claimed an estimated 70 million lives, military and civilian. Under his reign, he purged the lands under his control of Jews and other "undesirables" in what came to be known as the Holocaust, claiming some 17 million lives. Luckily for a couple of millions of people, something had gone wrong, so he commited a suicide along with his mistress Eva Braun.
2. Conqueror of the British Empire: Idi Amin
Idi Amin, who has died at an age thought to be 78, was one of the most brutal military dictators to wield power in post-independence Africa. While chief of staff of the Ugandan army, under Dr Milton Obote's civilian government, he seized power in 1971. He made himself president, with the rank of field marshal, and after eight years of power left Uganda a legacy of bloodthirsty killings and economic mismanagement. Parliament was dissolved; no elections were held; secret police - most of them in plain clothes - exercised absolute power of life and death; and the courts and the press were subjugated to the whims of the executive. The death toll during the Amin regime will never be accurately known. The best estimate, from the International Commission of Jurists in Geneva, is that it was not less than 80,000 and more likely around 300,000. Another estimate, compiled by exile organisations with the help of Amnesty International, put the number killed at 500,000. He might not be first by number of killed people, but hecertainly is at the top considering the way he was torturing and killing.
3. Mao Zedong - 49-78 Million Deaths
Breakdown: Policy reforms like the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. During his first five years from 1949 - 53 he is said to have systematically killed between 4 to 6 million people by sentencing them to die or by sending them to "reform through labor" camps. He organized mass repressions, established execution quotas, and defended his actions in these early years as necessary for securing power for "The People's Republic of China".By 1964 this movement was renamed the "four cleanups movement" whose goal was cleansing politics, economics, ideas, and organization of "reactionaries". This led to the formation of the "Red Guards" who were organized to punish intellectuals and take out Mao's political adversaries.
4. Pol Pot – Genocide in the 20th Century
An attempt by Khmer Rouge (Red Cambodians) leader Pol Pot to form a Communist peasant farming society resulted in the deaths of 25 percent of the country's population from starvation, overwork and executions. By 1975, the U.S. had withdrawn its troops from Vietnam. Cambodia's government, plagued by corruption and incompetence, also lost its American military support. Taking advantage of the opportunity, Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge army, consisting of teenage peasant guerrillas, marched into Phnom Penh and on April 17 effectively seized control of Cambodia. Once in power, Pol Pot began a radical experiment to create an agrarian utopia inspired in part by Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution which he had witnessed first-hand during a visit to Communist China. He began by declaring, "This is Year Zero," and that society was about to be "purified." Capitalism, Western culture, city life, religion, and all foreign influences were to be extinguished in favor of an extreme form of peasant Communism. All foreigners were thus expelled, embassies closed, and any foreign economic or medical assistance was refused. The use of foreign languages was banned. Newspapers and television stations were shut down, radios and bicycles confiscated, and mail and telephone usage curtailed. Money was forbidden. All businesses were shuttered, religion banned, education halted, health care eliminated, and parental authority revoked. Thus Cambodia was sealed off from the outside world. Throughout Cambodia, deadly purges were conducted to eliminate remnants of the "old society" - the educated, the wealthy, Buddhist monks, police, doctors, lawyers, teachers, and former government officials. Ex-soldiers were killed along with their wives and children. Anyone suspected of disloyalty to Pol Pot, including eventually many Khmer Rouge leaders, was shot or bludgeoned with an axe.
5. Joseph Stalin 23 Million Deaths
He was a memeber of the Bolsheviks. He was repeatedly arrested and imprisoned or sentenced to internal exiled for his activities but usually managed to escape. Nevertheless, between 1908 and 1917 he was free for only 18 months. He changed his name to Stalin, which translates to 'Man of Steel'. During the year 1913 he was arrested and exiled to Siberia, where he remained until March 1917, when a general amnesty is proclaimed following the abdication of the Tsar. On his return from exile Stalin rejoined the editorial board of 'Pravda' and was elected to the party's Central Committee, helping Lenin to organise a meeting of Bolsheviks that approved an armed uprising. So, his monstruous behaviour escalades – he killed Approximately 20 million, including up to 14.5 million needlessly starved to death. At least one million executed for political "offences". At least 9.5 million more deported, exiled or imprisoned in work camps, with many of the estimated five million sent to the 'Gulag Archipelago' never returning alive. Other estimates place the number of deported at 28 million, including 18 million sent to the 'Gulag'.