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Top Ten Most Evil Dictators of All Time (in order of kill count)

Some people make horrible decisions, others are just bad presidents, a few are bloodthirsty, many are extremists, a couple are warmongers, and all of these guys are a mix. Ten of our political leaders in the last 130 years have been the architects of the most horrific genocides, systematic murders, blockades, brutal wars, and policy reforms history has ever recorded.

Where to begin? Maybe an icebreaker for you next dinner party? Did you know the word “genocide” was coined in 1943 to describe when the Armenians were slaughtered haphazardly by Turkish leader Ismail Enver? Until then there was no specific word for it in our language. It makes me think about how much more cognizant we’ve become in this last century to these events. So, a quick toast between you and I to a more peaceable future where less of what follows below is allowed to happen. Sit back, but don’t relax.

10. Yakubu Gowon (1.1 million deaths)

Breakdown: 1 million civilians on the wrong side of a blockade caused by a war of secession in Nigeria and 100,000 soldiers who died in that war.

It starts as many sad stories do with precious beautiful oil. It had been found in the Niger delta where tensions were already high between the Eastern region (led by Ojukwu) and the rest of the country (governed by Yakubu). A dummy agreement was signed between them called the “Aburi Accord”, but it meant nothing to either leader. Yakubu started to put pressure on the region, and tested how much sway he had in the area versus Ojukwu. Well Ojukwu being no slouch declared secession from the rest of Nigeria and became the “Republic of Biafra”. This began a war that caused the deaths of 100,000 soldiers, and much worse, a blockade on the region which starved 1 million civilians.

9. Mengistu Haile Mariam (400,000 – 1.5 million deaths)

Breakdown: As president of Ethiopia and colonel of  “the Derg” (communist militia) Mengitsu systematically killed those against him in the “Red Terror” campaign.

Mengistu Haile Mariam is (as in still alive) a politician who presided over Ethiopia from 1974 to 1991. The way he got into power was by smothering the previous president Haile Selassie although he has denied those rumors. His biggest claim to fame is the Ethiopian Red Terror which was a campaign of repression led by the Derg (communist militia in Ethiopia).

In his introductory speech Mengitsu yelled, “Death to counterrevolutionaries! Death to the EPRP!” Then he took three bottles filled with blood and threw them to the ground.

It was an auspicious beginning to say the least. Thousands were killed and found dead on the streets in the years that followed. Much of the murdering can be attributed to the friendly neighborhood watch there known as “Kebeles”. As if killing innocents wasn’t enough they would then charge the family a tax to return the dead body to them. The tax was aptly named “the wasted bullet”! Are you serious Mengitsu? However there was an even more gruesome fate of being left on the street where wild hyenas would fight over the dead. The campaign has been described as one of the worst mass murders ever in Africa. Mengitsu is even known to have garroted people to death.

8. Kim Il Sung (1.6 million deaths)

Breakdown: Unpopular among his people Kim used the U.S. as a scapegoat and forced the country to believe in his delusion or else.

Before our very own Kim Jong-Il was his murderous father Kim Il Sung who led North Korea in a terrible direction. He fought for a command economy that allowed the government to make all decisions for the country. For various reasons the people never seemed to love the man, and so his hold on power was tenuous at best. Like most crazies he blamed somebody else, in this case the USA, and said they had spread disease throughout its population. He also pulled a Stalin, and had large-scale purges. His underlying reason was that it would scare people into believing he was telling the truth.  Kim’s purge was a little different than Stalin’s though in that there were no trials.  During his tenure prison camps sprung up all over the country to contain the ever growing masses of people against Kim Il Sung.

7. Pol Pot (1.7 million deaths)

Breakdown: Forced city folk to relocate to farms and forced them into hard labor.

Pol Pot was the leader of the communist movement in Cambodia. He attempted to “cleanse” the country and it resulted in the death of an estimated 1.7 to 2.5 million people. There was an interesting policy going around called agrarian collectivization which he put into practice in the late 1970’s. Basically it forced city folk to head out to the farms to do some labor and vice versa for farmers. As you might guess, and hindsight is 20/20, neither group was very good at their new jobs. Pol didn’t stop at enslaving his own people though. He also didn’t feed them well, gave them little medical care, and executed many of them. The net result was killing off approximately 1/5 of the Cambodian population!

6. Ismail Enver Pasha (2.5 million deaths)

Breakdown: 1,200,000 Armenians (1915) + 350,000 Greek Pontians and 480,000 Anatolian Greeks (1916-22) + 500,000 Assyrians (1915-20)

He began his career as a Turkish military officer and leader in the Young Turk revolution. Eventually he rose to power and led the Ottoman Empire in both Balkan Wars and World War I. As a war minister Enver was not very useful, and was defeated over and over. His crushing loss at the Battle of Sarikamish needed a scapegoat, and that’s when he decided to blame Armenians for the failure. That is what began what is now known as the Armenian Genocide. The word “genocide” was coined to describe this event.

Etymology from Wikipedia:
Coined in 1943 by Raphael Lemkin (1900–1959), a Polish-Jewish legal scholar, to describe what the Turkish government (ca 1915–18) perpetrated against the Armenian people, now called the Armenian Genocide. From the stem of Ancient Greek (génos), “race, kind” or Latin “tribe, clan” (-cide).

5. Hideki Tojo (5 million deaths)

Breakdown: Waged unprovoked wars against China, USA, Netherlands, and France.

Hideki Tojo was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army. He assumed the position of Prime Minister and held Army Minister concurrently. As if that wasn’t enough he also held other major positions like Home Minister, Foreign Minister, Education Minister, and Commerce Minister. His major contributions to education were teaching militaristic and nationalist indoctrination. His version of homeland security was approving eugenics measures which essentially made a distinction between pure blood and mixed blood Japanese families.

During World War II Tojo started winning battles and the public loved him for it. He really bought into the Nazi Kool-aid, and held steadfastly with Germany. When the tide turned, and he began losing, it was devastating. Eventually he went into seclusion. He was tried for war crimes and found guilty of waging wars of aggression, wars in violation of international law, and waging unprovoked war against many countries. Not to mention ordering, authorizing, and permitting inhumane treatment of Prisoners of War.

4. Leopold II of Belgium (2-15 million deaths)

Breakdown: Created a colony called the “Congo Free State”, enslaved its people, and forced them into labor plants.

Leopold II was the King of the Belgians, and believed in colonialism. He thought acquiring colonies overseas was essential to a great country and was always scheming. The problem was Belgium really didn’t care, and so Leopold went into business for himself. He started a company that seemed like it was doing good called the International African Society. A year later he used that company to travel to Congo, laid claim to a plot of land 14 times the size of Belgium, and made 14 countries agree (USA included) that he was free to rule it with his own private militia. He then forced the indigenous populations into forced labor, created a bustling rubber industry, and abused his workers grievously.

Missionary John Harris on returning from Congo said:
“I have just returned from a journey inland to the village of Insongo Mboyo. The abject misery and utter abandon is positively indescribable.”

Estimates of the death toll range from two to fifteen million which could all have been avoided if 14 countries didn’t hand him the keys to the car!

3. Adolf Hitler (17 million deaths)

Breakdown: Concentration camps and civilians in WWII.

Adolf Hitler was the leader of the Nazi Party. He was the absolute dictator of Germany from 1934 to 1945. He gained support by promoting values like German nationalism and anti-semitism. Hitler was appointed chancellor in 1933 and began the Third Reich. Hitler was power hungry as all hell, hated the shit out of Jews (and others), and wanted  hegemony in Europe. The militarization that was needed to complete such a lofty goal led to the outbreak of World War II. Nazi forces engaged in the systematic murder of as many as 17 million civilians, an estimated six million of whom were Jews, and 1.5 million Romanis.

2. Jozef Stalin (23 million deaths)

Breakdown: The great purges and Ukraine’s famine.

Jozef Stalin was the first Secretary of the Communist Party from 1922 – 1953. After Lenin’s death in 1924, he became the leader of the Soviet Union. Stalin didn’t take long in launching a new economy that screwed up food production across the country so bad it caused massive famine. Between 1922-23 it reached such catastrophic proportions everything went to shit. In Ukraine this dark period is known as Holodomor. Its widely believed that Soviet policies caused the famine there and was designed as an attack on Ukrainian nationalism. Estimates on the total number of casualties within Soviet Ukraine range from 2.6 million to 10 million! During the late 1930s Stalin launched another wonderfully titled initiative called the Great Purge (also known as the “Great Terror”). It was a paranoid campaign to kill off the people who opposed him, and his targets were often executed.

In 1939 Stalin agreed to a non-aggression pact with the Nazis. Eventually Germany violated the pact, the Soviet Union joined the allies, and they racked up 23.9 million deaths (the largest death toll in the war).

1. Mao Zedong (49-78 million deaths)

Breakdown: Policy reforms like the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution.

Mao Zedong was a Chinese revolutionary, political theorist, and communist leader who led the People’s Republic of China. Mao, while controversial, is still widely considered a savior of the nation. I did a semester abroad in China in 2001 after falling in love with its history, and was surprised in my conversations that many people thought Mao had done 70% – 80% good things. During  his first five years from 1949 – 53 he is said to have systematically killed between 4 to 6 million people by sentencing them to die or by sending them to “reform through labor” camps. He organized mass repressions, established execution quotas, and defended his actions in these early years as necessary for securing power for “The People’s Republic of China”.

His social programs the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution are two of the most ill-fated, poorly named, initiatives ever. The first was an effort to rapidly industrialize China. His focus was on making China a premier exporter of steel, and to this end he asked everybody to make  it. The problem was it got many citizens to make smelting shops in their backyards. Not only was the steel of little value, but it was made from everything lying around the house including their own cooking supplies! Without the tools to make food, no money coming in from the steel, and no money to survive ~ a lot of people starved to death. The estimates on this program alone are 20 million deaths! Think about that number. Really think about it. Then ask yourself… why would you EVER let someone back into power after such an insanely bad decision.Well, they took the reigns away from him for a short time.

In the interim Mao started the socialist education movement. He aimed the concept at young ones who would eventually wrest the power away from the older guard. By 1964 this movement was renamed the “four cleanups movement” whose goal was cleansing politics, economics, ideas, and organization of “reactionaries”. This led to the formation of the “Red Guards” who were organized to punish intellectuals and take out Mao’s political adversaries. The Cultural Revolution was now underway, and its overriding mission was to abolish: Old Customs, Old Culture, Old Habits, and Old Ideas. Something Mao fervently believed in was that destruction and chaos could bring re-birth. So he told his followers to destroy buildings, sacred objects, talk back to ones elders, punish them, turn them in, and kill those who did not agree. By 1968 things were starting to look pretty good for Mao all over again, and so he put into place the decade long “Down to the Countryside Movement” which forced young intellectuals to move out to the country to become farmers. Sadly, the people he pushed out there were the same Red Guards who had helped him get power. Estimates of the death toll are between 40,000 – 7 million depending on who you ask.

Finally, there is the 100 flowers movement which just needs an abbreviated mention here. Mao asked people to come forth and tell him how he should govern China.  Intellectuals and liberals bit at the chance to tell him what they really thought, and were encouraged by the Communist party to do so. Then in a sudden change of heart, or an incredibly crafty mission to out his haters, the government persecuted 500,000 of them who were considered to be “dangerous thinkers”.


Mao is essentially like that girlfriend/boyfriend who keeps on taking a shit on you, but is so damn charming you hardly notice. His policies and political purges from 1949 to 1976 caused the deaths of 49 to 78 million people.

The moral of the story is ~

Let’s stop allowing evil political dictators to take office. And if we do have someone bad in office we can find better ways to get them out than murdering them, wars, and aggressive confrontations.

149 thoughts on “Top Ten Most Evil Dictators of All Time (in order of kill count)”

  1. Andy says:

    Any retards wish to list US presidents here must needs head examinations.

    Especially to a retard named Paul, no U.S. president during the great depression let 20-25% of his people starved to death during their period of govern.

  2. Dave says:

    Wiki Timur…this guy killed 5% of the worlds population in his time…even MAO, with his 78million only killed 2% of the world populace.

  3. Ata Ikiddeh says:

    1) Top Ten most evil dictators of all time and you included Gen Yakubu Gowon, that’s a joke. You say he blockaded the East-but how was the East able to import and bring in weapons but not food?
    2) Your analysis is about leaders who caused the death of their own people? What about leaders who aided and abetted the deaths of people who were not citizens of their country?

  4. John says:

    Its not the man in charge who is responsible for all the deaths, its the people who allow themselves to want to be governed and have people they deem better than themselves to be their leaders. People don’t have enough confidence in themselves and they end up voting for the (best on tv) personality for their leaders…..p.s. read Freuds writings and you will see the world for what it really is….take control of your own life

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  7. Hawk says:

    What about evil Srilanka tamil tiger prabakaran as well as Mahinda Rajapaksha and his clan low life rascist gotabaya rajapakshe and his rascist executioner sarath fonseka .Rajapakshe brothers are notorious worst than pol pot.Sooner or later, corrupt rajapakse family will have the same fate of gaddafi and saddam! Fear for the White Van .People are traumatised when ever they see a white van Only in Srilanka. The world should intervene before more journalist are shot and murdered, foreign,tourist are murdered and gang raped by governing party hoodlooms ,Media surpression, Christians and miniorities place of worship vandalised and harassed.

  8. Jesus says:

    You forgot about the biblical god. I don’t remember the exact count but he killed like 100 million. He’s probably not real but that kill count is significant.

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  11. ALovingJesusChristServent says:

    Hey Mr or Mrs Jesus
    2 things I have for you

    1) Is God only kill some people because they where blasphemous and evil plus THATS from the beginning of our life until now so compared to theses people who killed millions in a few years is it that bad

    2) WHEN (not if) Jesus Christ comes and you see him and Jehovah God you will fall to your face and weep and you will be in that fiery lake that Revelations 20:10 states you my poor brother will be thrown in there and the smoke of your torment will be forever and ever it will never end

    Come to the light before its to late Jehovah love us all DONT deny the gift that you can recieve from God

    God bless DONT deny Jehovah or Christ

  12. DolphinFlogger says:

    What about Genghis Khan? Over 50mil when the world had a much smaller population. A true a$$hole, and had successors that continued his terror. Should be 1 on this list, hands down

  13. Phil says:

    Hi, what i dont like about your picture is your No.1 “killer”. You put your highest kill number and it looks like Mao was the worst creature ow the world ever. I have read a lot about his life and China’s history. I lived there couple of years and I could talk to many local people. It is true the Chinese think that Mao was right in 3/4 things he’s done – this is how they are taught at schools. Maybe interesting is that during his “reign” China’s population GREW by some 57% (300million) – he just akes people to have more children to ba able to fight USSR after they became hostile to each other. Then for sure he was not natural born killer like other his colleagues from your schedule. Definitely he did not order to organize a killing corporation like Hitler with headquarters in Auschwitz with detailed designed technology of killing and utilizing the remains of the killed. Definitely he was not killing on purpose whole generation of people like Stalin did in Syberia. Definitely he was not organizing war campaigns that costed lives of millions. What he was – he was a rural worker that cam to enormous political power. Having great leadership abilities but no experience and education he made many mistakes on the society of 700 million people. This lead to many deaths resulted from stupid political campaigns – mostly from unsufficient food supply problem (by destroying private farming, etc.). Similar was done by Stalin in Ukraine in 30ties of XX century – when several millions of poeple died because they could not produce food on their own.
    Assuming – it is worth reading than watching pictures as your picture does not represent the truth and makes some natural born bastards no 2,3 or 4 or 10th. If you were counting the exact number of deaths resulted from direct/indirect order it would differ very much.
    By the way – Harry Truman killed some 200 thousand japanese civilians in several weeks with atomic bomb.

  14. Bart says:

    Where is Suharto on this list. He should be 8 or 7 but he was a CIA and Chicago School sponsored dictator.

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  16. Bill says:

    They all suck..

  17. Future Dictator says:

    The World needs some people like him in order to maintain the balance of the ecosystem! But one thing I want to ask where are Bush Jr. and Barack Obama? Their drones and warplanes killed several millions in the middle east whom the count is only known to the deserts of Arabia.

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  20. W. R. Marsh says:

    To: poster who calls himself “Jesus:”

    Sorry, you’re mistaken. God didn’t kill those people. He gave them life. Other people killed them. Think it through. That’s the truth: people kill people.

  21. Jack Falk says:

    I do not see the Catholic church on this list! More people have been killed in the name of Christ then in all the rest of the list combined!

  22. Ben says:

    hey ALovingJesusChristServent,

    STFU. You sound as brainwashed as those morons in China who worship Mao even though he was a piece of shit. The difference is they worship someone that actually existed. You once outgrew the ridiculous concept of a fat man in a red suit who would deliver you presents, it’s about time you outgrew this childish fairy-tale idea of some Jewish saviour and associated heaven.

    For the record, the word god is not a proper noun and should not be capitalised. There are many gods in the history of mankind.

    Finally, it’s most humourus how you make excuses for the tyrannical piece of crap that god is portrayed as in the bible. You sound as deluded as the North Koreans who make excuses for Il Sung’s crimes.

    You’re nothing more than a naive idiot who wouldn’t know truth if it bit you in the ass.

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  25. joe says:

    mao zedong is my idol

  26. Chris C. says:

    What are your SOURCES? I find it quite disingenuous that all these numbers are thrown as if they were facts, yet no sources are mentioned. The number of deaths during wars, in particular, where there is no mention of the victors’ victims, is especially disturbing to me.

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  33. nope says:

    Enver pasha is not killer its a bullshit

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  36. doug says:

    Proving once again that government is evil.

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  39. JackTaraz says:

    Why is George Bush, Jr. and Dick Cheney NOT on this list???
    They killed 5-10 MILLION Iraqi’s in the last few years.
    They SHOULD have been indicted and prosecuted before the World Court in the Hague.
    Yet, he hear NOTHING about that.
    So, are WE the worst country regime in history? We do not even admit that our Dear Leader killed more than most on this list!

  40. One more says:

    What rank is Idi Amin on the list?

  41. adam says:

    i think mengustu hailamariam is the most evil leader in the world

  42. Arkun says:

    Enver Pasha wasn’t a Dictator(!)…He was a big patriot and Turanist commander in the Ottoman Empire era. This is Western’s disgustings propaganda their work together with Armenian lobbies against to Enver Pasha for years.

    Why don’t they never talk about of Armenian Dashnak-Sutyun gang’s massacres that their were committed against to innocent and unarmed Turkish people at Anatolia in 1915 year? In these savage massacres we have lost of our thousands of people…Western world can’t see these massacres and killings, but they want to make to Enver Pasha a scapegoat in their fake historical claims like that.

  43. Fred says:

    And who was it that killed millions in Hiroshima and Nagasuki IN JUST TWO DAYS?

  44. Dave says:

    I am just glad Napoleon did not make the list, as bad as any dictator is he did a lot of good for the freedom and advancement of Europe and mankind

  45. joe says:

    You forgot the Mongol empire, though I know it’s much older, they slaughtered more than 50 million people.

  46. Richard Gennis says:

    Its all relative.
    In terms of killng people Pol Pot goes down in history as the deadliest.
    Nearly one third of fellow countrymen and women killed because they didnt meet the idealogical demands.

  47. Durrr brains says:

    This was from 2010 …. Idiots

  48. J.R. says:

    King Leopold II never visited Congo and Congo is 76 times bigger than Belgium.

  49. Peter Chuen says:

    And they only find Muslims the terrorists …. smh

  50. teller123 says:

    I have a feeling we are going to see a leader from the United States added to this list in the very near future.

    Going back to the very first comment on this page and naming God and a mass murderer is completely false and 99% of the people that think that have never bothered to understand why those particular beings were commanded to be killed. In order to do that you must first understand Genesis 6. Those cities were inhabited by the the descendants of the Nephilim or the fallen one. The were not human and God deals with them exactly the same every time. We are going to see those things back here again in the near future if they’re not among us already. As it was in the days of Noah so shall it be….

    As a bonus for those of you that also think God condoned slavery, another common accusation by those who have done little to no study, I would just state that one must understand the day and meaning of that word in that day. It is not quite the same as we know it. In fact you may want to read the word and definition in the original text.

  51. Sebastian says:

    Ben sucks lol

  52. ??? says:

    Mao Zedong is fucking crazy.

  53. mikaela says:

    No matter how many people these men killed they are still some of the greatest men/ women in the world. they revolutionised the way we think, the way we act, and the way we use the knowledge today. These humans are who we have to thank for giving the history of our species the characteristics that required to learn from and build into. If every species had a boring history there would the mistakes be to learn from. If history was full of rainbows and lollipops and sweet little children that did everything perfectly. knowone would learn. We have these Men/women to thank.

  54. john werneken says:

    Author thinks the nonviolent way of removing these maniacs to be what, exactly/

  55. David says:

    You forgot Lincoln. Authorized a war that killed over 800,000 men, women and children.

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  58. Whocares says:

    Haha Wow you guys make me laugh. From the slandering of America to god bashing and then all of the morons that try to correct the other morons. Literally maybe one fourth of you actually know what you’re talking about. As far as God or Jesus all that stuff is your own opinion so it really does no good to put it up here as if it is relevant at all to dictators. To all the people who hate America in other countries, I dare you to say bad things about your own country and see what happens to you. To the people who live in America and slander it personally I think you’re all garbage and unpatriotic and can GTFO but because America is a democracy and we have freedoms of speech you can say all of these stupid things and you won’t be persecuted for it. Then again I just sat here and read these comments for like an hour so maybe I’m the biggest idiot on here but it was pretty funny so it was worth it. Also if anybody tries to call me out and comment on my comment I want you to know that I really don’t care and will probably never be back on this thing so I’ll prolly never see it. First comment of 2015!

  59. Adonis Raji says:

    I think the fact that Yakubu Gowon of Nigeria is named on this list has made it grossly unreliable. History is awashed with sadists who kill just for the kicks it brings. If a man like Idi Amin didn’t make the list and leaders who started wars to shield their inadequacies are acceptable in the opinion of this author, no seriousness can be attached to the list. In the last fifty years alone, leaders like Charles Taylor, Muhamar Gadaffi etc. have caused more deaths for no honourable cause than to enrich themselves.
    Among his people, Gowon was a man who had to defend a country he was leading in a war he didn’t start where the aggressor, (Ojukwu) was being equipped by some of the so-called developed countries. If Ojukwu’s people were starving, why weren’t they supplied food by the same people who supplied the weapons?

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