, pub-6663105814926378, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 10 Deadliest Dictators in History 4289

10 Deadliest Dictators in History

10 Deadliest Dictators in History

The reign of the last Russian Tsar, Nicholas II, is often overshadowed by the events of its final years, marked by revolution, chaos and ultimately execution at the hands of the Bolsheviks. Yet the last of the Romanovs was uniquely cruel and repressive in his own right, and one out of touch with the social reforms of Europe.

Inheriting the throne from his father, Alexander III, he was woefully unprepared for the technological and social changes of the 20th Century. His role in military defeats to Japan in 1905 and Germany in 1917 led to increased social unrest, which Nicholas brutally repressed.

The 1905 and 1917 Russian Revolutions and their subsequent purges contributed to the deaths of thousands across the country. With evident Romanov support anti-Semitic pogroms, established between 1903 and 1906, killed thousands more. It is estimated that 1 million souls died as a indirect result of the decisions of Nicholas Romanov II.

From 1948 until his death in 1994, Kim Il Sung was North Korea. His word was law, and his policies contributed to the deaths of 1.5 million of his own subjects. That’s ignoring his role in the starting the Korean War, which alone killed 2.5 million civilians on both sides of the border.

Kim created the system of Songbun, which separated North Korean society into desirable and undesirable classes. Your position would impact your access to education, employment, medicine and food. Widespread famine, brought about by ineffective policies, threatened many more. Throughout his reign, Kim was also paranoid, and would ruthlessly persecute those he deemed a threat to the regime. Public executions and enforced disappearances were commonplace, and a network of kwanliso, or labour camps, existed were starvation, torture, exposure and sexual assault was a fact of life.

In July 1908, a young officer in the army of the Ottoman Empire emerged as a leader of the Young Turk Revolution, which restored the constitutional monarchy. Within six years the officer, Enver Pasha, became the de-facto ruler of the Ottoman Empire, ruler of her military and was responsible for some of its worst crimes.

Of particular note is the Armenian Genocide, which began in 1915 with the removal of Armenians from the regular army into labour groups, who would later be liquidated. On his watch, beginning on 24th April 1915, Armenians were rounded up by the ruling CUP party and deported to remote areas and systematically executed.

Victims were burned, drowned, poisoned or shot. Those who weren’t directly executed were half starved, as evidenced by neutral observers from America and the Ottomans own ally Kress von Kressenstein. In total an estimate 1.5 to 1.8 million people were exterminated in this fashion. Enver Pasha himself would die in battle, in 1922.

The Cambodian Civil War is often overlooked due to its larger neighbour, the Vietnam War, to the East. However once the U.S. had withdrawn from that conflict in 1975, the North  Vietnamese invaded Cambodia to assist its Communist cousins the Khmer Rouge, and it’s leader Pol Pot.

Pol Pot, real name Saloth Sar, carried out a program of re-education, determined to return Cambodia to Year Zero; The erasure of all modern, Western and intellectual influences. Teachers and artists were deported to the rice fields, non ethnic Cambodian were executed and anyone incapable of work was killed.

In some cases wearing glasses was enough to merit execution, and because inexperienced farmers were put into the fields, famine spread. Torture became a fact of life, as brainwashed children would regularly beat, inform on and kill victims. Between 1975 and Pol Pot’s removal in 1979, a UN report estimated that between two and three million were killed.

There is some question as to how much overall power Emperor Hirohito had over the Empire of Japan between 1936 and 1945. However as supreme leader, he held ultimate authority over the military, and evidence suggests he was not afraid to use it. The Japanese in China were notorious in their brutality towards the native population, with Unit 731 renowned for conducting horrific experiments on live Chinese prisoners. And Hirohito personally authorised the use of poison gas 375 time during the battle of Wuhan in 1938.

Massacres of civilians and surrendered soldiers were expected, and cities such as Nanking became infamous for the inhuman treatment meted out to the people. In Korea and the Philipines, women were pressed into becoming prostitutes for the Japanese, known as Comfort Women. With Japan’s surrender, the U.S. administration recognised the necessity for Hirohito to remain in power, and the emperor was exempt from trial for the deaths of approximately 9 million people. He died in 1989, still on the Chrysanthemum Throne.

As King of the Belgians, Leopold was often regarded as a liberal reformer, creating free schools and adopting universal male suffrage in 1893. However as Sovereign of the Congo Free State, he was responsible for the degradation and deaths of an estimated 10 million Congolese people.

As personal owner of the Congo, he exploited the people to extract a fortune in ivory and rubber. The people were pressed into forced labour, and any sign of defiance was met with mutilation and arbitrary death. Disease, famine and encouraged inter-tribal oppression accounting for a large number of the death toll.

The punishments were unusually cruel, even by the standards of 19th century colonial Europe, and they swiftly became known as the “Congo Horrors”. International opposition to Leopold’s cruelty came to a head when the Belgian parliament forced Leopold to relinquish control of the Congo to the state in 1908. Leopold would die in 1909, and with him memories of his atrocities in Africa.

Adolf Hitler’s crimes have become renowned not so much for their cruelty but for the horrifyingly mechanical methods used. On his election to power in 1933, a creeping policy of social cleansing was enacted, starting with the expulsion of Jews and Communists from political positions.

By 1941 this had morphed into the “Final Solution”; A policy of extermination of the Jewish people. However the Holocaust wasn’t a Jewish only program, but instead any “undesirables” under Nazi control. This included the mentally ill, the physically handicapped, Romani gypsies, homosexuals and political prisoners.

Through concentration camps, ghettos and Einsatzgruppen squads who would murder in occupied territories, approximately 11 million were murdered due to Hitler’s orders. This is of course not even factoring in the Second World War caused by his international aggression, which would add many millions more.

On Lenin’s death in 1924, the future of the Russian Revolution rested on who would succeed him. One candidate was Josef Stalin, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and he immediately began to take control. By 1929, he had in effect become a dictator.

On his orders, the Kulaks, or middle class farmers, of the USSR were arrested and later liquidated on allegations of hoarding grain. In 1929 the policy of mass collectivisation led to decreased productivity and famine which devastated vast sections of Russia and Ukraine.

Political opponents were either shot or sent to the gulags of Siberia, were conditions were conducive to starvation and disease. Official Soviet records also note that 800,000 people were shot by the Stalin regime, however the real figure could be much higher. Stalin himself remained paranoid of those around him, and died in 1953.

During the first quarter of the 20th Century, monarchies that had stood for centuries crumbled in the face of popular revolutions, and China was no different. However out of the chaos of Chinese Civil War and Second Sino-Japanese War, Mao Zedong rose to power in 1949.

Thanks to Mao’s Great Leap Forward, which used unproven farming techniques, China experienced a 25% drop in grain production between 1959 and 1961. As a result the Great Chinese Famine caused an estimated 30 million to starve to death or suffer from chronic malnourishment.

Worse still was the Cultural Revolution, a social reform movement implemented in 1966 as a means of purging China of lingering capitalist or imperialist sympathies. Mao actively endorsed the Red Guard, who persecuted millions. Spies and revisionists were executed, their children taken away and given to “better” families. Torture, rape and suicide were regular occurrences. The true figure of those who died during this time may never be known, however conservative estimates have put the victim count at two million.

Ruling an empire stretching from the Yellow Sea to the Caspian, Genghis Khan is can be considered one of the very few men in history who truly changed the world. However whereas others have done so through science or art, the Khan did so through sheer violence.

As a chief on the Mongolian steppes, Genghis, or Temujin as he was known, united all the competing tribes into one single Golden Horde. Temujin gained a reputation for offering two choices; Tribute or death. Cities who chose to resist had every living creature inside the walls put to the sword, and the earth was salted to prevent future settlement.

Figures from the 13th century can’t be entirely accurate. However current estimates suggest that due to Genghis Khan’s conquests and the resulting famines, more than 10% of the world’s population died, upwards of 40 million. Yet his descendants may have been worse. The Black Death, which killed a third of Europe’s population, is believed to have arrived on the continent via a Mongol Army.

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