The course of human history has been shaped by inspirational leadership. Incidentally, it has also been put out of shape by awful dictatorship. These are men who put who put human virtues to shame. Some of them were extremists, some war-lovers, and many others were absolutely bloodthirsty. The shame they put on humanity concluded into the most brutal genocides, the bloodiest wars, and worst policy reforms. Call it their political vendetta, racial intolerance or sheer moon-sickness, it is such shame to note that millions of people lost lives to please the will of selfish, coward men. Here are the top 10 worst dictators of all time.
Ten Worst Dictators
10. Yakubu Gowon
Yakubu Gowon is widely held responsible for the tension that occurred in the Niger delta. Back then, the eastern region was under the reins of Ojukwu. The rest of the country fell under the leadership of Yakubu. While there was a dummy agreement between the two leaders, it eventually turned out that neither of them took the ‘Aburi Accord’ seriously. Yakubu did the obvious by putting pressure in the eastern region. Ojukwu was already considered a man of short patience. He immediately declared the eastern region as the Republic of Biafra. The war resulted in the death of 100, 000 soldiers and an additional 1 million civilians died due to the blockade starvation.
9. Mengistu Haile Mariam
Mengistu Haile Mariam is regarded as one of the worst dictators from Africa. He was the president of Ethiopia and the colonel of the communist militia called “the Dreg”. Mengitsu inflicted systematic campaigns to kill all those who would rise against him. The campaign has been titled the Red Terror campaign. Many people believe that he got to power by throwing out the previous president Haile Selassie. The dictator spelled out death right in his introductory speech. In a grand display of power, he smashed three blood-filled bottles to the ground. In the following years, thousands of men were found dead upon the streets. Besides, the family was imposed with a tax for collecting the dead.
8. Kim Il Sung
Kim Il Sung was a politician that represented quintessential North Korean dictatorship. He was genuinely unpopular among his own people. He also levied some serious (and largely false) charges on the U.S and accused the country of spreading disease in his population. But for some reason or the other, Kim Il Sung never enjoyed the confidence of his countrymen. He was a great exponent of political purging and staged the purges rather dramatically. The countries jails were always overloaded during his reign. This was owing to the rising number of protestors against one of the worst dictators in history.
7. Pol Pot
Cambodia was too notorious a place to host dictators. But Pol Pot changed it all. In his attempt at cleansing the country, he brought death to about 1.7 to 2.5 million people. He forcibly moved the city folk to villages and pestered them to practice hard labor. In the late 1970’s, he pushed his policy of agrarian collectivization into practice. The city folks were forced to move to the farms. More shockingly, he forcefully inducted farmers into the city. As it turned out, none of the groups turned out well at their respective jobs. Additionally, improper medical care, malnutrition, and rampant execution wiped off a fifth of the Cambodian population.
6. Ismail Enver Pasha
Ismail Enver Pasha rose the political ranks after participating in the Young Turk ‘crusade’ as a military leader and army officer. Not many would have then believed that he would go on to become one of the worst dictators in history. He was in command of the Ottoman Empire in the Balkan Wars and World War I. He failed as a war official and suffered many consecutive defeats. He blamed the Armenians after the loss at Sarikamish. The mass murder of Armenians led to the coining of the term genocide.
5. Hideki Tojo
Hideki Tojo is remembered as one of the most notorious dictators in history. As part of his unprovoked adventures against France, Netherlands, USA, and China, he killed several innocent people. As a general in the Japanese army, he enjoyed far more power that he should have. In fact, he also acted as the Prime Minister and the Supreme army commander. Additionally, he also became the face of the Home Ministry, Foreign Ministry, Education Ministry and Commerce Ministry. Aside making things really difficult for his own country, Tojo also levied serious and inhumane torture on the prisoners of war.
4. Leopold II of Belgium
Leopold II of Belgium is one of the lesser known dictators of history. He is the creator of the colony named the “Congo Free State”. He tortured the people of the colony and made them his slaves. They were forced to work in labor plants. He was one of the many Belgian kings who were great fans of colonialism. He believed that acquiring colonies in distant lands was essential for a great nation. But the nation did not connect with his idea and he went about carrying his missions himself. He effected mass poverty in Congo with nods from 14 countries.
3. Adolf Hitler
If you are talking about evil dictators, you are talking about Adolf Hitler. He was the founder and leader of the Nazi party in Germany. He was also the supreme and undisputed leader of Germany till 1945 after his ascension to the throne in 1934. Unlike other dictators of his time, Hitler gained the support of his nation through promoting German nationalism. Hitler is responsible for the killing of 17 million people, out of which 6 million were Jews. The torture done on concentration camp victims was horrendous.
2. Jozef Stalin
From 1922 to 1953, Jozef Stalin served as the Communist Party’s first secretary. He took over the reins of the Soviet Union after Lenin’s death in 1924. The new economy launched by Stalin turned out to be a true dictators’ move. It affected the nation’s food production in such a way that there was a massive famine. This is the same dark period that Ukrainians refer to as Holodomor. Some viewed this as a direct attack on Ukranian nationalism. Up to 10 million people lost their lives in the Soviet Union.
1. Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, unlike many other dictators that inflicted mass deaths and suffering, is considered as the savior of the nation by many Chinese. In fact, most Chinese believe that four-fifth of the things that Mao did, were actually good for the People’s Republic of China. But he killed about six million people in his first five years of rule. He forced the production of steel on all Chinese citizen and most of them would use house materials to make steel. Millions of people lost lives to starvation and poverty.