Top 10 World's Most Evil World Leaders
Throughout history, civilizations have seen several different kinds of leaders. There are those that rule with compassion for their people, those that seek the best only for the government's interest, and those that seem to have no regard for anyone but their own grotesque agenda. These tyrannical leaders are amongst the worst in history, causing millions of deaths and oppressing countless people just for their own personal beliefs. This list is subjective, debatable and should in no way reflect the people of the nations that these leaders represented.
Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh ruled over North Vietnam from 1951 to 1969, using cruel methods to ensure the region ran exactly as he wanted. During his reign, Ho Chi Minh enacted land reform that resulted in the execution of over 100,000 people, a move that was believed to have been enacted to remove class enemies. Ho Chi Minh implemented a 1 in 1,000 minimum quota for executions during the reform, meaning approximately 14,000 Vietnamese citizens would be murdered at Minh’s hands. Popular methods of execution included firing ranges, beheadings, and being beaten to death, though some victims were witnessed being thrown into open graves and covered with stones until crushed to death. Vietnamese political writer, Hoang Van Chi, documented that, during Ho Chi Minh’s oppressive rule, over 500,000 North Vietnamese perished.
Known best for his role in the Holocaust and World War II, the leader of the Nazi Party was also a menace to his own people, even before he became the Fuhrer. After the Reichstag Building was set on fire in 1933, Hitler urged then President of Germany, Paul von Hindenburg, to create the Reichstag Fire Decree, which essentially removed any restraints against the president in regards to taking emergency measures to protect public safety. It is believed that this was Hitler’s first step at solidifying the future of Germany under the Nazi party. Once made chancellor after Hindenburg’s death, Hitler created the Third Reich from the Weimar Republic, which became the basis for the Nazi Party. He removed any opponents of the newly formed party from Germany’s military. Hitler’s tyranny was most prevalent in the slaughtering of 5.5 million Jews and millions of other “racially inferior” individuals during the Holocaust. Today, many people still refute the evidence and believe the numbers are highly over-exaggerated or simply, entirely made up.
Mugabe may never have become Zimbabwe’s president had he not resorted to fear mongering to turn the country in his favor and rig presidential elections. He did this by orchestrating violence against his opponents, frightening them to the point of officially withdrawing from the election. Mugabe’s claim to fame was his land reform ideals in Zimbabwe. Rather than pursue land reform to better his people, Mugabe sought to punish those that supported the Movement for Democratic Change, which was quite the opposite set of ideals as Mugabe’s. He ordered the destruction of homes during Operation Murambatsvina, or Operation Drive Out the Rubbish. At the end of the operation, over 700,000 Zimbabweans lost either their life or livelihood and the reform, ultimately, did nothing to progress land reform. As Mugabe sought more for black citizens of Zimbabwe, his ideals became more tyrannical. This included the reform to the Zimbabwe constitution in 2000 that allowed the government to seize white-owned land. While the change never passed, white farmers started to mysteriously experience invasions of “war veterans”.
As the President of Iraq, Saddam Hussein oversaw the Republic of Iraq for 24 years. During that time, Hussein utilized methods of brutality to withhold his control over the dictatorship. Saddam’s entry into power came at his own demand after forcing the current leader at the time, Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr, to resign when the threat of a unification between Iraq and Syria was on the horizon, a move that would knock Hussein out of the running for leadership. Shortly after taking over for Bakr, Hussein brought together current Ba’ath party leaders and publicly ousted those that were for the Syrian unification. Of the 68 arrested for treason, 22 were executed. Hussein was also behind the Dujail Massacre, which was in response to assassination attempts against him, and the Al-Anfal Campaign, which resulted in overall death counts of over 100,000 people. Under his rule, Iraq had been involved in the Iran-Iraq and The Gulf Wars.
As the King of the Belgians from 1885 to 1908, Leopold II laid claim to the area of Central Africa known as the Congo, claiming the Congo Free State as his own; but the exploitation of the area came at a bloody cost. Congo’s natives, the Congolese, suffered an estimated 15 million deaths at the hands of Leopold’s regime. Leopold targeted the Congo for its supply of natural resources, including ivory and the raw materials needed to manufacture rubber. To accomplish the heft resource mining, Leopold resorted to enslaving local Congolese, using scare tactics to promote a productive work environment. When production quotas were not met, workers were beaten, maimed, executed and mutilated to be made examples of. Leopold’s brutal methods garnered the attention of writer’s Mark Twain and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, both lending their use of words to showcase the tyranny Leopold showed in the Congo. Eventually, Leopold relinquished the Congo after criticisms from the Catholic Party and Labor Party pushed the Belgian parliament into convincing him to let go of the area.
One of Mao Zedong’s greatest achievements was guiding the Chinese Communist Party through a bloody civil war to ultimate victory. The victory would allow Zedong to create the People’s Republic of China and rule over the state with brutality. Any person that posed a threat to the communist party would be put to death and to preserve the concept of Communist China, Zedong started the Cultural Revolution. Mao’s desire to spread communism was so strong that he was responsible for the deaths of upwards of 45 million people and for the implementation of execution quotas. Senior officials high up in China’s chain were purged from their positions, showing that no one was safe from Zedong’s stretch of tyranny. To act out his desires during the Cultural Revolution, Zedong enlisted China’s youth to create the Red Guard, who acted on behalf of Zedong to spread communism. During his rule, China was locked in numerous conflicts, including the Korean War, the invasion of Tibet, border wars with India and the Soviet Union, and hostile interactions with Taiwan.
Kim Il-Sung was the founder of Communist North Korea, basing his model of leadership on the Joseph Stalin’s rule of Soviet Union. Though it is believed that Kim Il-Sung was prepped for his leadership of North Korea by Soviet propagandist, Grigory Mekler, Il-Sung remained North Korea’s leader from 1948 to 1994 – a lengthy 46 years of oppression. Kim Il-Sung ensured that every aspect of North Korea was controlled by the government and, ultimately, himself. Like Stalin, Il-Sung created a system of gulags to ensure industrial production in North Korea was steadily manned, regardless of whether it was by someone that actually wanted to do the work. The gulags were typically people that Il-Sung claimed were guilty of political crimes, which was essentially an individual that disagreed with his ideals and methods. Il-Sung controlled even the media airwaves, allowing televisions and radios to have only one channel so he could regulate the information filtered out. The control of media was so strong that much of North Korea believed that it was the richest nation, which would strengthen popular opinion about Il-Sung.
Though he may best be known as the face of the immortal vampire, Vlad Dracula, Vlad the III or Vlad the Impaler, was far more than the basis of a mythical creature. Vlad was as tyrannical as they come, taking pride in his violent methods of dealing with enemies and dissent under his rule. Vlad was known for his extremely violent tenancies, which included impaling his enemies on spikes. Anyone from political opponents to citizens that may speak ill of him was subject to Vlad’s cruel punishment and torture. As a three-time Voivode of Wallachia, Vlad dealt often with the Ottoman Empire, the tension between him and the Ottoman Sultan, Mehmed II, erupting into a bloody battle that would have Vlad withdrawing to Moldavia. During his reign, Vlad is said to have tortured and killed anywhere from 40,000 to 100,000 people; his deeds made public in German printed pamphlets that claimed he roasted children and fed them to their mothers. Mehmed II, the conqueror of Constantinople, was said to have turned back from Vlad’s capital after witnessing 20,000 impaled corpses.
From 1922 to 1952, the Soviet Union and the Communist Party was overseen by Joseph Stalin. Initially a member of Lenin’s Bolsheviks, a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Party, Stalin was made the general secretary of the Communist Party’s Central Committee and, after the death of Lenin, consolidated Soviet power to be under his rule alone. In order to consolidate power, Stalin would have to perform a purge of the current party – an act that lead to banishment and execution of people he claimed to be opportunists and counter-revolutionary infiltrators. Though Stalin worked to change the Soviet Union’s economics system for the better, his focus on industrial labor lead to the creation of correctional labor camps, where millions of people were imprisoned into forced labor. Prior to dissolving the Soviet Union, it was estimated that Stalin was responsible for roughly 1.5 million executions, 1.7 million deportations, and 5 million people forced into labor.
From 1883 to 1945, Italy was home to a man that would turn the country upside-down with the creation of the Fascist Party. From December 24th, 1925 to July 25th, 1943, Mussolini and his Fascist ideals ruled over Italy with an iron fist, earning him the nickname of the Iron Prefect. Through his reign, Mussolini was responsible for the deaths of thousands of political opponents, and those that he didn’t kill he made a public example of, showing what it meant to not join him on his quest to create an empire akin to Rome. His death came at the hands of his own people in April of 1945 when his train was stopped as he tried to flee to Spain.