Hundreds of millions of deaths can attributed to only 10 world dictators. From communists to fascists, this list includes all of the worst dictators you could imagine. Dictators are people who rule with absolute power, and although there have been some world dictators who used it benevolently, they’re mostly evil. “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely” Lord Acton. This is a list of 10 world dictators who killed the most people.
Kim Il Sung
Kim Il Sung is responsible for the deaths of at least 1.6 million political opponents and civilians through starvation, and invading South Korea. Kim Il Sung was the leader of North Korea since its founding 1948, until he died in 1994. He invaded South Korea in 1950, which ended in military stalemate. South Korea was backed by the United States, and United Nations, where as North Korea had the help of China, and the Soviet Union. It resulted in 2.5 million wounded and dead civilians overall. Kim Il Sung created a Workers State, and a planned economy. This was stable at first, but eventually began to decline, which is a common pattern for those kinds of economies.
Ismail Enver Pasha
Ismail is responsible for the Armenian Genocide, which killed 800,000 – 1,800,000 people. He led the Young Turk Revolution. He systematically murdered over 1 million Armenians from 1914 to 1923. Some of them were starved to death, and others were sent on forced marches until they died. They killed any able-bodied men, and then sent women, children and old people on death marches through the Syrian Desert. Often they were randomly robbed, raped and massacred during the journey. They also made sure to round up the intellectuals, as world dictators often do, and kill the majority of them. There are still Armenian communities living diaspora because of this.
Lenin was responsible for the deaths of millions of people, and initiated the Russian Civil War. He led the Red Army, against the White Army. The Red Army were Bolshevik communists, and the White Army was a mix of different groups, backed by many foreign powers in order to halt communism. The war resulted in the deaths of 7 to 12 million people. It was one of the worst wars Europe had ever seen. The Red Army was victorious, and, Lenin went on to start the Soviet Union, a one party dictatorship. It was dedicated to creating a communist utopia, it failed miserably. Lenin was one of the leading figures during the Russian Revolutions, he campaigned for an end to the war, land for the people, and bread to the workers.
Hideki Tojo is responsible for the deaths of five million Japanese during world war two. While prime minister of Japan, he was responsible for the attack on Pearl Harbour, which dragged the USA into the war. Tojo tried to shoot himself in the heart four times, and missed every shot. After being nursed back to health, he was arrested and executed after the war. He was nicknamed razor, and killed millions of civilians in China, and thousands of POWs. He served various roles throughout his life. As Home Minister, he encouraged the practice of eugenics, and as Education Minister, he implemented nationalist indoctrination.
Hirihoto was the emperor of Japan from 1926 to 1989. He killed an estimated 6 million people, and committed the now infamous, Nanking massacre. In Nanjing, Japanese troops raped and murdered massive numbers of Chinese civilians. It was a six week long massacre killing possibly more than 300,000 people. It started as soon as the Japanese captured Nanking. Military records on the incident were potentially destroyed after Japan surrendered in 1945, which makes it hard to know exactly what happened. Hirohito also authorised the use of gas weapons produced by Unit 731, over 370 times. Historians believe he should have been held accountable for various war crimes.
Chiang Kai-Shek is a Chinese dictator, who killed, possibly 10 million people. He committed 228 massacres during his 18 year rule. He was leader of the Kuomintang or KMT, a nationalist party. Shek put on a northern expedition, and managed to reunify the most of China under him. In 1947 war broke out between the KMT and the communists. The KMT lost and it led to the rise of Mao. Chiang escaped and established a government in Taiwan. Here he ruled Taiwan with an iron fist, and committed atrocious genocides. Chiang shot doctors, lawyers, scholars, and other important people to cripple the public against him.
King Leopold II
Leopold II is one of the most brutal, but strangely unknown dictators in history. He enslaved 8 million Congolese, and killed thousands. The way he killed was incredibly brutal, working them to death, and torturing any who opposed him. He started a colonial empire in the Congo, with the goal of getting as rich as possible, through exploiting a much poorer group of people. Leopold was allowed to start his colony under the agreement that he would improve the lives of the people, he completely ignored this promise. He killed 1 to 15 million people, by forcing them to hunt, mine gold, and harvest rubber.
Hitler killed an estimated 30 million people. The most well known of this is the holocaust, which killed six million Jews. He was also responsible for the less well known Generalplan Ost, a genocide of millions of Slavic people. He killed them through the hunger plan, where he purposely starved millions of Soviets, whom he saw as an inferior race. This killed between 4.5 and 13.7 million people. In total the holocaust killed potentially 17 million people, if you include non-Jews. Hitler also started World War Two, in his conquest for “living space”, which led to millions of deaths.
Stalin is probably the most infamous communist dictator, he’s responsible for about 40 million lives. As Lenin grew closer to death, he worried about how much power, Stalin had accumulated, and after he died, Stalin took his place. He led the Soviet Union, and committed horrible atrocities. In only 12 years in power he killed between 40 and 62 million people. The Gulag was a series of labour camps where he sent political dissidents to work as slaves. Many of them worked until they died of exhaustion. He also committed genocides, including Holodomore. He stole food from Ukraine, and then blocked off the country, forcing them to starve, to subjugate any nationalistic ideas.
Mao is the most deadly of all world dictators. Through communist policies he starved millions of people, possibly as many as 80 million. He killed any intellectuals who disagreed with him, he put people in labour camps, and condoned beating and stoning people to death in struggle sessions. His great leap forward campaign was supposed to transform the country from an agrarian economy into a socialist one, but instead it caused the Great Chinese Famine. A famine that lasted 3 years, and killed an estimated 15 to 45 million people. As world dictator go, few really come close to the destruction and devastation caused by him.