Most ruthless leaders in History
Since our childhood we have been hearing and reading the stories of the violent and brutal leaders we had in history. The callousness of some of the ruthless leaders have gone to the extreme of ordering a tower to be constructed out of live men stacked and cemented together with bricks and mortar. It is also believed that the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan cut the hands of men who built the magnificent Taj Mahal, so that such a structure could not be constructed again.
These leaders are known for using their manpower mercilessly to achieve their political and military targets. It is quite shocking how these hateful and ruthless people became such successful and powerful leaders.
They ruled with an iron fist and a perpetual thirst for power. Their leadership resulted in the slaughter of thousands of people. Unfortunately history has propped more than its fair share of such leaders. Some of the leaders who are synonymous with bloodshed and brutality are listed here.
Adolf Hitler (1889 – 1945)
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“Any alliance whose purpose is not the intention to wage war is senseless and useless”
– Adolf Hitler.
The aggression in Adolf Hitler can be understood by his words!!
Adolf Hitler is the first name that comes to our minds when we talk about ruthless leaders. He is famous for his heartlessness and cruelty. Few names in history inspire such revulsion as him. He aimed to create a “master race” by eliminating Jews and political opponents by forcefully sending them to concentration camps, where they were left to die.
According to some historians, the Nazis under Hitler’s regime, killed about 11 million people. Hitler actively pursued an agenda of mass genocide of people. He initiated the Holocaust involving a well organized system of labor camps and concentration camps where millions of Jews were systematically killed in massive gas chambers and were even subjected to ghastly medical experiments. He spared none -women, children or the elderly.
By the end of World War II, Hitler’s policies, the territorial wars, racial control caused the destruction of much of the world. Under his leadership the Nazi party even tried to turn Christmas into a nonreligious holiday replacing Saint Nicholas with Odin the “Solstice Man” and putting swastikas on top of Christmas trees.
Adolf Hitler can definitely be considered as the most ruthless and bloodthirsty ruler in history.
Genghis Khan (1162-1227)
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Genghis Khan spent his teenage as a slave before going on to conquer a huge chunk of Central Asia and China. Legend has it that after his father’s death, Khan along with his family was forced to hunt for food. At the age of 10he is believed to have killed his older half-brother for not sharing the gathered food.
His style was extremely brutal, and history says that he mass slaughtered civilians. One of the known example is when he massacred the aristocrats of the Khwarezm Empire and killed the ruling class, with workers used as human shields. As per historic estimates, the Mongols’ attacks under his cold-blooded leadership may have reduced the entire world population by as much as 11 percent.
Censuses from the Middle Ages have shown that the population of China plummeted by millions during his lifetime. Rumor has it that during his invasion of the Khwarezmia Empire he ordered the beheading of all civilians, including the children and a pyramid of severed heads was erected in his honor.
Image: By незивестен [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Timur led military campaigns in western Asia. He was the founder the Timurid Empire and was the one who ordered the construction of a tower made out of live men, each stacked on top of another, and cemented together with bricks and mortar. He also once ordered a massacre to punish a rebellion and is believed to have played polo with the skulls of those he had killed in battlefield. He was the last of the mighty conquerors of Central Asia to achieve stupendous military successes. The sheer scale of poverty, bloodshed, and desolation caused by his campaigns gave rise to many ferocious legends.
Joseph Stalin (1878 – 1953)
Stalin set out a series of five year plans aiming to change Russia from a peasant society to an industrial country. In order to execute these plans he decided to seize the lands that were given earlier to the peasants and promoted collectivization through which the government was to take overs taking over farms and lands to increase food production.
Most peasants opposed this idea and were either sent to exile or executed as a punishment. They were sent to the Gulag, a system of labor camps maintained in the Soviet Union in which many people died. People were punished by burning their feet till the skin peeled off. Their eyes were gouged out and lips were cut off.
On a personal level too he is known to have been heartless. Historians say that when his wife died, he did not shed a single tear; even when the Germans captured his son, he did not try to negotiate and bring him back.He is infamous for his remark, “One death is a tragedy, one million is a statistic.” Throughout his reign he is said to be responsible for the death of 20 million citizens.
Attila the Hun (434-453)
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Attila ruled the Hunnic Empire from 434 to 453. He attacked Rome, whipping the provinces of all of Europe. He was dubbed “Flagellum Dei” (“Scourge of God”), and inspired fear across the Roman Empire.He killed his brother to be the king himself and reported to have killed one of his sons too. He is famed to have said, “There, where I have passed, the grass will never grow again.”
Ivan the Terrible (1533-47)
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Ivan IV of Russia is famously known as Ivan the Terrible. He was the Grand Duke of Muscovy and was the first ruler to be given the title of the tsar. As per historic documents he was a man with a complex personality, both described as intelligent as intelligent and spiritual and yet described as a raging monarch given to breakdowns and suffering from mental illness. He is believed to have enjoyed burning alive 1000s of people.
He had his soldiers build a huge wall all around his city to ensure that the citizens did not escape and he made them gather a large number of people every day who were then tortured and killed for his entertainment.
Pol Pot (1925-98)
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Pol Pot, the leader of the Khmer Rouge and the Cambodian Prime Minister from 1976 to 1979 was a harbinger of one of the most brutal and radical regimes. His was a rule of terror in which nearly a quarter of Cambodia’s population is believed to have died through torture, execution and starvation.
His government killed and displaced millions of people. He engaged in an ethnic cleanse of Cambodia by ordering executions of various minorities and foreigners.