Who Was the Most Ruthless Political Leader Who Ever Existed?

Who Was the Most Ruthless Political Leader Who Ever Existed?

Here’s the grim thought for today that we all need to learn to live with: the history of our world is often brutal and sad. Thousands of wars have existed in the past, and unfortunately, many more will probably occur in the future as well.

While we spoke about wars in the recent past of this publication, it’s time to focus our attention on those political leaders who have been known for their cruelty and deadly decisions that have led to the deaths of numerous people. However, we need to keep in mind that saying which was the most ruthless political leader in the history of the world is pretty subjective. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t speak about some of those leaders who are often considered among the most ruthless, so let’s cut to the chase:

Mao Zedong (1893-1876, China)

We’ll save those you have in mind as the last, so let’s start with Mao Zedong, the founding father of the People’s Republic of China. He led the country through the Chinese Civil War and started radical social and economic policies, such as the Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Forward. Such policies caused the death of millions of people through persecution, famine, and political violence.

The death toll during the Great Famine, which took place between 1959 and 1961, determined by the Great Leap Forward, is estimated by historians to be between 15 and 45 million souls.

The Cultural Revolution, which occurred between 1966 and 1976, led to purges, persecution, and deaths, with estimates ranging from hundreds of thousands to a few million people.

Saddam Hussein (1937-2006, Iraq)

Saddam Hussein was the President of Iraq, and he led the country for a few decades, a period during which he engaged in aggressive military actions. He committed human rights abuses and even used chemical weapons against his own people, especially during the Anfal campaign against the Kurds.

Estimates of the death toll during the rule of Saddam Hussein vary, but it is most probably in the hundreds of thousands.

Pol Pot (1925-1998, Cambodia)

Pol Pot was responsible for the Cambodian genocide from his position as the leader of the Khmer Rouge. Roughly 1.7 million people lost their lives as a result of execution, starvation, and forced labor.

Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge were influenced by radical communist ideology. Also, it’s important to keep in mind that the regime of Pol Pot harbored a deep mistrust of intellectuals, professionals, and urban populations, viewing them as possible threats to the agrarian communist vision.

Vlad Tepes (1431-1476, Wallachia)

Vlad the Impaler (Vlad Tepes in Romanian), who was the Voivode of Wallachia (a region in the Romania of the present-day) three times between 1448 and 1476/1477, when he died, is also often considered one of the most ruthless political leaders because of his sadism when it came to punishing those who committed major felonies.

The favorite method of execution of Vlad Tepes was the impairment. Vlad Tepes was associated with the legend of Dracula due to the ruler’s ruthless ways of dealing with those who didn’t obey the law.

Adolf Hitler (1889-1945, Germany)

Adolf Hitler was the leader of Nazi Germany, and he orchestrated the Holocaust, which meant a systematic genocide of about six million Jews, along with other categories of people. The aggressive foreign policies of Hitler also played a major role in starting World War II.

Joseph Stalin (1878-1953, Soviet Union):

The leadership of Joseph Stalin was marked by mass executions, purges, forced labor camps known as Gulags, and man-made famines. Millions of people died as a result of Stalin’s policies.

The Great Purge and the Holodomor (the Ukrainian famine) are among the major contributors of the deaths of millions of people because of Stalin’s policies.

We should all keep in mind that debates about the exact number of deaths caused by the political leaders mentioned in this article still persist.

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