They made history not by doing something good for the mankind, but by torturing, killing and terrorizing people. We’ve all heard about these villains, but do we actually know what they did that made them so unpopular? Going from bad to worse, find out what happens when power goes in the wrong hands with this list of the most notorious leaders in history, whom we simply love to hate!
1. Josef Stalin
Believe it or not. Josef Stalin was actually worse than Hitler, whom until now we thought was the worst leader in history. Stalin was the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1922 until his death in 1953, during which Ukraine suffered from a widespread famine. This famine which was caused by political and administrative decision rather than by some economic crisis is considered to be an act of genocide on the part of the government. Moreover, he ordered the execution of anyone who was considered as the enemy of the state. Around 10 to 60 million people lost their lives during his rule.
2. Adolf Hitler
Leader of the Nazis, this German dictator was responsible for the Holocaust during the Second World War in which over 14 million people, including 6 million Jews were put to death through mass gassing, starvation and exhaustion and disease resulting from slave labor. Death squads were also formed to shoot Jews in masses. Besides the Jews, homosexuals, gypsies and hippies were also targeted during the Holocaust. His reign of terror ended with his death in 1945 when he committed suicide by shooting himself while simultaneously biting into a cyanide capsule.
3. Vlad Tepes
The famous vampire character ‘Dracula’ was inspired by this evil prince of Wallachia, Romania who found immense pleasure in torturing people. Even though he used all forms of torture like burning, boiling, cutting off the limbs, mutilating sexual organs, driving nails in head and skinning etc, his most popular method or you could say his favorite one was impalement which is why he is also known as ‘Vlad the Impaler’. He ruled from 1448 to 1476 during which he lost and regained power three times.
4. Ivan IV of Russia
Also known as ‘Ivan the Terrible’, he became the first ruler of Russia to assume the title of Tsar in 1547. During his rule he built a wall around the city of Novgorod making its inhabitants prisoners in their own city. He did that because he thought that the chiefs of Novgorod were going to attack Poland. But his viciousness did not stop here, everyday between 500 to 1000 people were gathered from the city and were tortured and killed infront of him and his son. He was also responsible for the miscarriage of his daughter-in-law, whom he physically abused for dressing up immodestly, and the death of his son, whom he accidentally struck with a pointed staff during the argument that preceded after his daughter-in-law’s miscarriage. He died in 1584 while playing chess and is said to have been poisoned.
5. Pol Pot
Ever thought that wearing spectacles would cost you your life? Well this was what it was like in Cambodia under the rule of Pol Pot. This former leader of political party ‘Khmer Rouge’ ruled Cambodia as Prime minister from 1976-1979 and in these 3 years his government claimed up to 3 million deaths! Being a communist himself, he wanted a communist future for Cambodia, therefore Buddhist monks, Western-educated intellectuals, educated people in general, people who had contact with Western countries, people who appeared to be intelligent (for example, individuals with glasses), the crippled and lame, and ethnic minorities became victims of his terror. He had special killing fields set up for mass execution of these people. Many also died due to forced labor, starvation and disease. His rule which took the lives of 1/3 of the Cambodian population almost destroyed the country’s culture.
6. Idi Amin Dada
Idi Amin Dada came as a curse upon the people of Uganda when he took over the country in 1971 in a military coup, turning himself from a military officer to the President. His solution to erase tribalism in Uganda was simple, murder the tribes. Over the years, Ugandans would disappear in the thousands, their mutilated bodies washing up on the shores of Lake Victoria. Besides being a murderer, he was also a cannibal, something which he was actually proud of. His dictatorship, which lasted till 1979, claimed 100,000 to 300,000 lives for which he never showed any remorse. He himself died in a coma in 2003.
7. Genghis Khan
True he formed one of the world’s greatest empires, but this does not mean that he was a great ruler. Genghis Khan, leader of the Mongol Empire, was infamous for his ruthless massacres of the defeated populations and he found much pleasure in other’s despair. The following quote which has been ascribed to him is enough to give us an idea of what a terror he must have been:
Happiness lies in conquering one’s enemies,
in driving them in front of oneself, in taking their property,
in savoring their despair, in outraging their wives and daughters.
8. Saddam Hussein
From 1979 till 2003, this man ruled Iraq with an iron fist. Also known as the modern day Hitler, Saddam was infamous for using chemical weapons in war against Iran, invading Kuwait in the Gulf War and destroying all its oil fields and of course for torturing and killing people on his human shredder. He was executed on 30th Dec 2006.
9. Emperor Hirohito of Japan
When Japanese involvement in World War II is mentioned, the first thing that comes to our mind is the “Rape of Nanking” a name given to a six week massacre of Chinese civilians by Japanese troops. This six week carnage claimed around 300,000 lives. 20,000 women from age 8 to 70 were raped before being put to death. Pregnant women weren’t even spared. The man responsible for this atrocity is no other than Hirohito, the emperor of Japan who sent his troops to the city of Nanking. He later denied that he had anything to do with the Nanking Massacre, but this has been proven wrong with time. Many people even consider him to be the mastermind behind WW II.
10. Attila the Hun
Even after 1500 years of his death, Attila, leader of the Huns, is still considered the perfect example of barbarism and savagery. He invaded Western Europe and did not hesitate to execute anyone who came in his way. His most famous method of torture was tearing the victims apart by their limbs. He was nicknamed ‘Scourge of God’ by the Romans, after he almost destroyed their empire.