"Every time a dictator dies, or an atrocity is perpetrated, or details of the torture endured by those who lived through one regime or another escapes to the outside world, invariably the cry goes up that this must never be allowed to happen again. The unsavory fact is, however, that it does happen again, over and over, from one continent to another."-Shelley Klein, author of The Most Evil Dictators in History
Born Temujin, Genghis Khan set out at the age of 20 to unite all Mongol tribes under his rule with brutal and merciless military tactics. To avenge his father's murder by the Tatar Army, Temujin ordered the killing of ever Tatar male taller than 3 feet. After defeating the Taichi'ut tribe, the chiefs were boiled alive. By 1206, Temujin had defeated the powerful Naiman tribe, giving him control of central and eastern Mongolia. After major victories over other Mongol tribes, leaders made peace with Temujin, who became Genghis Khan, meaning "universal ruler." During later wars the Mongols used enemy survivors as human shields in the next battle. In a campaign against the Khwarizm Dynasty, one Governor Inalchuq was captured and executed by having molten silver poured into his ears and eyes (George R.R. Martin would be proud); the rest of the population was either slaughtered or enslaved. Genghis Khan died in 1227. The cause of his death remains a mystery, though most experts attribute his demise to illness.
Also known as the "Butcher of Uganda," Idi Amin's opponents faced three prospects—imprisonment, torture, or death (sometimes all three). Although precise numbers are tricky to get, it's estimated that between 100,000 and half a million Ugandans were killed and tortured at his hand. Amin ordered the Asian population out of Uganda, declaring an "economic war" on them and blaming them for the country's economic woes. As Asians left the country, businesses were closed and the economy worsened. Amin had a particular appetite for killing people in the most brutal ways, which including cutting off genitals and limbs and letting the victim bleed to death; flaying humans alive and making them eat their own flesh; making men line up and then forcing the first man to lie down, only to have his head smashed by the next one in line with a hammer and then that man would have to lie down, and so on; victims were made to sit in an ice bath outside and freeze to death slowly; women were systematically raped, tortured, and killed. Most bodies were thrown into the Nile where they were consumed by crocodiles.
One of the most influential kings of the Zulu Kingdom, Shaka Zulu is widely credited with uniting the Nguni people in Africa with brilliant military tactics using disciplined military regiments. His brutal reign was not fully realized until after the death of his mother when, with inconsolable grief, he began slaughtering citizens of his kingdom. After the funeral of his mother, he ordered his military to go out and kill anyone who was found not mourning properly. He outlawed the planting of crops and the use of milk for a year, and all the women found pregnant were murdered along with their husbands. His brutal reign came to an end when his half-brothers murdered him in 1828.
7.Vlad the Impaler
The inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula is just as scary as the blood-drinking monster. Vlad had a particular taste for blood and torture – and his name offers a clue . To impale his victims, he would insert a wood or metal pole through the body. Usually, it was inserted vertically so that the exit wound would be near the victim's neck, shoulders, or mouth. In most instances, the pole was not sharp to prolong suffering and, in most cases, it would take hours or even days for the person to die. The pole would be raised vertically to showcase the victim. But impaling his victims wasn't the only form of killing he enjoyed. He also drove nails through his victims heads, as well as burning, beheading, roasting children alive and then feeding them to their mothers, mutilation, and countless other atrocities. It's rumored that he would dip his bread in blood before eating it and often enjoyed eating feasts with his impaled victims around him (usually still alive and writhing). It's estimated that he killed anywhere between 40,000 to 100,000 people. Although a relatively small number compared to other evil dictators on this list, Vlad the Impaler earns a spot in the top ten simply for his sadistic pleasure of torturing and killing people.
The Cambodia communist dictator is responsible for torturing and killing the majority of Cambodians, an estimated 1 to 3 million people, or 25 to 35 percent of the country. He put the majority of Cambodians into slave labor, where most died from malnutrition, poor medical care, starvation, or execution. Many were clubbed to death or buried alive. Workers who made mistakes were flogged to death or shot. During his rule, Pol Pot ordered babies torn limb by limb; people were beaten to death with hammers and impaled with sharpened bamboo sticks. In order to make a perfectly equal society, he sent city people to work on the farms and farmers to work in the city, which resulted in widespread famine.
5.Kim Il Sung
Causing the death of around 3 million people, Kim Il Sung was the communist dictator of North Korea for 49 years. He killed all of the officers and rivals that fought alongside him in the Korean War, a war he started. He also exiled or executed the majority of his generals that fought in the war and placed around 200,000 political prisoners in concentration camps. His regime became so bad that when someone committed a crime, even so much as accidently dropping a picture of Kim Il Sung, their entire family was killed or sent to camps where they faced starvation, torture and death. One of the tortures made famous in his camps was making a prisoner kneel in a box motionless for months until death. Firing squads were plentiful in the concentration camps, as well. During his reign, upwards of 3.5 million people are estimated to have died from famine alone.
One of the most well-known leaders of the 21st century, Saddam Hussein instituted mass genocide against the Kurds, Shabaks, Assyrians, Madeans, and other ethnic groups that rebelled against his brutal regime. An estimated 2 million people died at his hand. He used mustard and nerve gas against the Kurdish town of Halabja, a population of 45,000, killing between 3,200 – 5,000 people. He used more chemical weapons against the Kurds during a genocidal campaign, killing between 50,000 and 100,000 Kurdish men, women, and children. No one was safe from imprisonment and torture. He often had the torture of his victims recorded and then replayed during dinner for his amusement.
Any evil dictator list is incomplete without Adolf Hitler, the leader of the Nazi Party of Germany responsible for the death of 17 million people. Prior to and during World War II, Hitler's forces engaged in the systematic extermination of anyone Hitler deemed unfit, particularly Jews. His concentration camps killed millions of Jews, Christians, mentally disabled, Gypsies, children, women and anyone who opposed his rule.
Responsible for more than 23 million deaths, Stalin is one of the most evil dictators the world has ever seen. After Lenin's death in 1924, Stalin became the new Communist leader of the Soviet Union. Stalin's Five-Year Economic Plan caused widespread famine as he forced all peasants to join state-owned farmers co-operatives. This famine hit the south of the Soviet Union particularly hard, as an estimate 3 million people died from starvation in Ukraine alone. Those who opposed the state-owned farm initiatives were deported or murdered, and the state seized their land. Those who survived were shipped to labor camps, similar to the concentration camps of Nazis, where they were worked to death or died of exposure, starvation and disease. Managers of state-operated factories and farms were executed if they didn't produce adequate numbers and, as more and more workers were killed, others had to take on more duties to meet quotas. Taking time off from work and breaks became a crime. Intellectuals, even those who didn't overtly criticize or disagree with Stalin, were sent to gulags as political prisoners. Stalin's "Great Purge" was a campaign to kill anyone opposed to him.
A Chinese revolutionary and communist leader, Mao tops the list as the most evil dictator in history by sheer arithmetic: at least 49 million people died as a result of his policies. During the first five years of his rule (1949-1953), Mao systematically killed between 4 and 6 million people by sentencing them to death or to the labor camps. His programs, Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, are said to have caused around 20 million deaths due to starvation. He baited intellectuals during his reign to critique him but, after doing so, had them executed. In the end, because of his policies and political purges, Mao caused the death of as many as 78 million people, making him the most evil dictator in history.