Unfortunately, dictators are a part of reality both past and present. The truth is, 2.6 billion or 37 percent of the world’s population are ruled by dictators. Only 11 percent of the more than 7 billion people on earth are in fully democratic countries, and according to the recent democracy index this trend of expanding dictatorships is not improving.
With the continuous spread of dictatorship, more despicable leaders are born. Here are the deadliest of all these diabolic leaders:
10. Bashar Al-Assad
Bashar Al-Assad is the current leader of the dictatorship-ruled Syria and is front and center of nearly every news report around the world. When Al-Assad was first elected in 2000, no one expected him to be this ruthless. He was promising reform and gave hope to his subjects. Yes, all leaders do that to gain people’s trust, but would you really expect a guy to break his promises when you see him play with children like this?
Things took a bad turn when Al-Assad started releasing orders for mass crackdowns and military sieges on the Arab Spring protesters. These orders gave birth to civil wars in the country. Since then, over 110,000 people have died. Al-Assad is currently chased by the United Nations for the crimes he committed against humanity.
9. Mengistu Haile Mariam
Ethiopia always takes a spot on the list of countries with the highest poverty rate, but they may have it worse being ruled by our next dictator—Mengistu Haile Mariam.
Mariam headed the Derg Party, the communist group that ruled Ethiopia for more than a decade, from 1974 to 1987. One of the first few things that this dictator announced during his introductory speech was to put an end of the revolution and the death of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party, a political party that aimed to remove the feudal system, overthrow monarchy, and create a democratic republic. Emphasizing his points in speeches with bottles of blood from his pedestal, he instilled fear in his people.
Mengistu Haile Mariam brought an end to the lives of 1.5 million people. To make things a little worse, when the family of these deceased asked for the body of their beloved, he asked them to pay for taxes.
8. Kim Il-sung
Another serious contender is the lesser known but ever dangerous former North Korean leader, Kim Il-sung who remained in power until his death in 1994.
While most would use guns, Kim used force and deception to get what he wanted. When he knew that his subjects were slowly losing respect for him, he found a way to put the blame on the United States. He made his people believe that the USA started a biological attack on their country, which led to a pandemic in North Korea. To complete his act, he took the lives of 1.6 million of his people.
7. Pol Pot
Every leader has his own ideals for the country he takes care of, but this particular dictator took his goals and ambition to another level.
Infamous Cambodian leader Pol Pot wanted a country where everyone was equal. To start building his ideal nation, he ordered the farmers to work in the city and the city workers should start doing farm works. The system didn’t work the way he expected it to, so he punished his people by depriving them their right to nutrition, medication, and education.
A total of 1.7 million people were killed under his order for not agreeing to his ideals.
6. Ismail Enver Pasha
Ismail Enver Pasha was at the top of his game during the Balkan wars and the First World War as the head of the Turkish-ruled Ottoman empire and the leader of the Young Turk Revolution in 1908.
To his detriment, he lost battle after battle, and people found out that he was actually a poor leader of armies. To redeem himself and change the image people had of him, Ismail Enver Pasha slaughtered 1.5 million Armenians and another million people from different races.
5. Hideki Tojo
Hideki Tojo, a general in the Imperial Japanese Army, wasn’t satisfied with his current position that he assumed the positions of army minister, home minister, foreign minister, education minister, commerce minister, and prime minister. During WWII, Tojo allied with Germany’s Hitler in hope that he would rise to power alongside the party’s leader. Five million lives were taken under the order of Tojo. Of course, he is best remembered by the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 that brought American into the war.
4. Leopold II of Belgium
Believing he would be able to help the people have a better life, the European colonial nations handed the Congo Free State over to Leopold II of Belgium. Little did they know that the leader would use it for an evil plan.
During his twenty-three-year rule, Leopold II used mercenary force and drove his subjects to gather rubber and ivory from the abundant natural environment they had. He set a quota to be met by his people. When they weren’t able to reach their numbers, their hands were cut off.
The evil dictator gained a lot from the exploitation. History has it that he instigated some of the worst atrocities. In numbers, Leopold II enslaved and executed a total of 15 million Congolese.
3. Joseph Stalin
Following the death of Vladimir Lenin in 1924, Joseph Stalin rose to power from the mid-1920s until his death in 1953. During his reign, Stalin wanted the Soviet Union to boom, so he let his social ideals govern the nation. Unfortunately, his new socialist economy, which he thought would make the country better, led to the starvation of almost 10 million constituents.
Activists then started to show up, to question his leadership. Because of this, the Great Purge was launched. Every person who opposed Stalin’s ideals was killed, making him responsible for the death of 23 million people.
2. Adolf Hitler
He might just be the most famous on the list. Adolf Hitler‘s deeds were something no one could have foreseen.
Hitler was the leader of the infamous Nazi party. He used anti-communism ideals and black propaganda, often accusing international communism and capitalism as part of a Jewish conspiracy, just to gain support and win the 1932 German presidential elections.
When he was able to successfully step into the presidential seat, Hitler promised to eliminate all Jews from Germany. He wanted to build a new world order as an opposition to the Britain- and France-dominated post-WWI international order, which he believed was unjust. What happens next is well documented for the ages.
Hitler held power for eleven years, between 1934 and 1945. Aside from the countless crimes he committed against the human race, the dictator killed over 17 million people, 6 million of which were Jews.
1. Mao Zedong
Just when everyone thought Hitler was the worst, then rose former Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong. What makes him the most devilish of them all? He ordered the killing of 78 million people.
Mao Zedong’s thirst for power was hard to quench. In the five years following his election, he ordered to kill 6 million people. Between 1958 and 1962, Mao’s communist ideals led to the starvation and death of over 45 million Chinese. Some of his victims were tortured ’til they died. Lastly, any enemy of the state that time was executed by Mao in the blink of an eye.
Watch the videos about these dictators below:
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