I have looked at who deserves to be included in my list of the world’s 10 worst heads of state of the last 150 years. The reason why I concentrate the list in this interval is simply to make it a bit clear. This means that people such as Qin Shi Huang and Genghis Khan are not on the list.
The heads of state and reasons
The list takes into account the use of brutality, the number of people killed and the state leaders’ lack of empathy. I have also taken into account the political objective. The list contains men from 4 different parts of the world.
Hitler is the head of state in modern times who has received the most attention. Direct cause of World War 2. Adolf Hitler’s path to power in Germany was also a path to abolish democracy. An ideology built on the belief that people were of different value, depending on which people they belonged to, is far from my way of thinking. Attempts at ethnic cleansing of Jews are well known. The Holocaust claimed 6 million Jewish lives. Other peoples also suffered, in Hitler’s plan was also the exploitation of slaves who he saw as an inferior people.
The era after Lenin’s death in the Soviet Union is referred to as the Stalin era. Joseph Stalin was the architect behind the extermination of anyone who could be thought to pose a danger to the ruling Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Through the Gulag camps , he sent hundreds of thousands of opponents to slave labor. In these camps, thousands died of disease, starvation and in some cases also executions. Stalin’s attempt to reform agriculture in the Soviet Union was a disaster. In particular, this went beyond Ukraine, where as many as 7-10 million Ukrainians starved to death. Many describe this as proven genocide. The genocide is often referred to as the Holodomor . After World War II, several countries were occupied by the Soviet Union, among these were the three Baltic countries.
Current President of Russia. Throughout his years as head of state in Russia, he has systematically dismantled the democratic institutions that his predecessor Boris Yeltsin built up. During his time as president, Russia has also started or been very involved in several wars. This applies to Russia’s war in Chechnya, Georgia, Syria and Ukraine. Wars that have largely affected the civilian population. The wars have also revealed clear violations of international law and war crimes. Rapes and executions of civilians have been common. Under Putin’s regime, political opponents are also imprisoned and independent media are closed. Russia has gone from a country on the way to democracy to a country on the way to a totalitarian society.
China’s de facto leader from 1949 until his death in 1976. After the Communist Party took power in China, Mao began work on reforming the country. The Great Leap was the term for the upheaval China had to take in a short time according to Mao. From a society with small farmers, to a modern industrial society and where agriculture was to be run as a collective farm. The Cultural Revolution was a goal to take away all old traditions, culture and all political thinking that was wrong. The result of these reforms was famine, killing of opponents and persecution. Figures as high as 70 million dead as a result of failed experiments have been suggested among scientists.
Head of state in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge regime from 1975-79. Of the country’s 8 million inhabitants, an estimated 2 million died. Some were executed, others died of torture and even more died of starvation due to the failed policy. The executions were cruel, among other things, living people were pushed into caves where it was impossible to get up. Feel free to read my blog about the carnage in Cambodia. Pol Pot’s regime wanted to turn Cambodia into a peasant state, completely without money. The country’s intellectuals were persecuted and killed, as were opponents of the regime.
King Leopold II
Belgium’s King Leopold II had his own private area in Africa. There he exploited the people for slave labour. Area was Congo. Between 5 and 10 million died as a result of executions, malnutrition and exhaustion from hard work. The king had his own army to look after his African slaves. If they did not work hard enough, they were punished. Cutting off hands was common. Finally, the world community reacted to what happened in the Congo. The government of Belgium eventually deprived the king of the area that was called the “Congo Free State”. Now it was ruled as a Belgian colony with the name “Belgian Congo”. The king was so unpopular that the people shouted “Fuck” when his coffin was carried through the streets of Belgium after his death in 1909. Read my blog about Leopold II
In 1973, Augusto Pinochet took power in Chile after a bloody military coup, supported by the United States. At least 3,000 people were killed during the coup. Thousands have also simply disappeared and never been accounted for. It is said that living opponents of Augusto Pinochet were dropped into the sea from a helicopter to die and never be found. 30,000 were also tortured during the coup. Please read my blog about the coup.
Uganda’s dictator from 1971-79. He was often referred to as the “Butcher of Africa”, which describes his brutality. Hundreds of thousands were killed, mostly belonging to a few tribes in Uganda. Pure massacres took place. Idi Amin also expelled all Asians from the country, which led to great opposition in the international community and economic decline. The brutality was also aimed at anyone imaginable, or said something that the dictator did not like.
Dictator of Italy from 1922 to 1943. He is considered the founder of fascism. Mussolini showed brutality towards his opponents. Executions of communists and socialists. The fascist party abolished the fragile Italian democracy. To great protest from the left. The goal of Mussolini was also to recreate the old Roman Empire. This meant that areas on the Horn of Africa, along the Mediterranean and the Balkans were to be subordinated to Italy. Mussolini was a clear source of influence for Hitler in Germany. During the war, Italy was Germany’s closest ally.
Dictator of North Korea since 2012. Took over as the country’s leader from his father Kim Jong-il. North Korea is perhaps the world’s most closed country and it is difficult to get a full overview of what is happening in the country. Killing opponents is common. Torture is probably also common in interrogations and prisons. Under Kim Jong-un, the country has been rearming up militarily and has developed nuclear weapons. The country constantly launches rockets to test them, these rockets are part of North Korea’s provocation against other countries in the area. North Korea is today a close ally of Putin’s Russia.