There have been cruel leaders at all times and ages, but the ruthlessness of these leaders surpass all in human history.
One man’s hero is another man’s tyrant, a popular maxim goes. No matter how a historian tries to spin it, ordering a tower to be constructed out of live men stacked and cemented together with bricks and mortar is downright brutal.
Here’s a list of the most ruthless leaders of all time:
1. Adolf Hitler
This sickly psychopath and megalomaniac transformed the world in which we live, taking with him more than 11 million victims, in Europe and the whole world. Ruler of Germany from 1939 to 1945, his despicable actions included the genocide of millions of Jews.
He devised a plan to create his ideal ‘master race’ by eliminating Jews, Slavs, gypsies, homosexuals and political opponents by forcefully sending them to concentration camps, where they were tortured to death. According to reports, the Nazis killed about 11 million people under Hitler’s regime.
2. Idi Amin Dada
The death toll of his regime amounted to half a million out of 10 million. He was feared for feeding victims alive to crocodiles. He kept the decapitated heads of political enemies in his freezer, although he said human flesh was generally “too salty” for his taste.
General Amin overthrew an elected government in Uganda via a military coup and declared himself president. He then ruthlessly ruled for eight years, during which an estimated 3,00,000 civilians were massacred. He also drove out Uganda’s Asian population (mostly Indian and Pakistani citizens), and spent large amounts on the military, both of which led to the country’s economic decline.
3. Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, also known as Chairman Mao, was a Chinese communist revolutionary who was the founder of the People’s Republic of China, which he ruled as the chairman of the Chinese Communist Party from the establishment of the PRC in 1949 until his death in 1976.
He lived from 1893-1976. The “Great Leap Forward” (1958-1962) one of the most insane experiments in social engineering ever. a few years later, the dictator launched the “Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution” in 1966. Millions of people were persecuted.
Under the communist leader, industry and agriculture was put under state control in China. Any opposition was swiftly suppressed. Mao’s supporters point out that he modernised China. Others point out that his policies led to the deaths of 40 million people through starvation, forced labour and executions.
4. Joseph Stalin
Stalin forced quick industrialisation and collectivisation in the 1930s that coincided with mass starvation, the imprisonment of millions of people in labour camps, and the ‘Great Purge’ of the intelligentsia, the government and the armed forces.
5. Pol Pot
Under him, Money was abolished and all citizens were made to wear the same drab black clothing, which made Mao costumes look fashionable. Intellectuals were summarily murdered—this included people who wore glasses
6. Leopold II
Leopold II was the second King of the Belgians from 1865 to 1909 and, through his own efforts, the owner and absolute ruler of the Congo Free State from 1885 to 1908.
On February 5, 1885, Belgian King Leopold II established the Congo Free State by brutally seizing the African landmass as his personal possession. Rather than control the Congo as a colony, as other European powers did throughout Africa, Leopold privately owned the region.
Millions of Congolese inhabitants, including children, were mutilated, killed, or died from disease during his rule. Failure to meet rubber collection quotas was punishable by death. Forced labour was instituted to increase production.
7. Kim Il-Sung
Kim invaded South Korea in 1950, and in this war some 3 million people perished, including 12-15% of North Korea’s population. Subsequent Stalinist economic policies and widespread repression led to poverty and famine in which millions, died.
8. Mengistu Haile Mariam
Mengistu himself is alleged to have murdered opponents by garroting or shooting them. Human Rights Watch describes his regime as “one of the most systematic uses of mass murder by a state ever witnessed in Africa.” Over 2 million people were killed
9. Saddam Hussein
Saddam was notable for using terror against his own people, including mustard and nerve gas to subdue the Kurds. He attacked Iran in 1980. The war ended in a stalemate and one million dead. he invaded Kuwait in 1990, and another 85,000 dead.
10. Josef Mengele
He selected victims to be killed in the gas chambers The experiments he performed on twins included amputation of limbs, intentionally infecting one twin with typhus or, and transfusing the blood of that twin into the other. Unfortunately, he was never captured
The only child of the King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, Mary I became queen of England in 1553 and soon reinstalled Catholicism (after previous rulers championed Protestantism) as the main religion and married Philip II of Spain — a Catholic. Over the next few years, hundreds of Protestants were burned at the stake, and for that she earned the nickname ‘Bloody Mary’.
Timur, later Timūr Gurkānī, was a Turco-Mongol conqueror who founded the Timurid Empire in and around modern-day Afghanistan, Iran and Central Asia, becoming the first ruler of the Timurid dynasty. As an undefeated commander, he is widely regarded as one of the greatest military leaders and tacticians in history. Source: Wikipedia
Timur led military campaigns through a large part of western Asia, including modern Iran, to Syria. In present-day Afghanistan, he ordered the construction of a tower made out of living men, one stacked on top of another and cemented together. He also ordered a massacre to punish a rebellion and had 70,000 heads built up into minarets
13. Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan, born Temüjin, was the founder and first Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history after his death.
Khan spent time as a slave during his teenage years before he united the Mongol tribes and went on to conquer a huge part of Central Asia and China. His style is characterised as brutal, and historians say he slaughtered civilians en masse.