A” top 10 dictators of modern times” should not be missed. This is because these influential characters had a crucial role not only in the history of their own countries but in the history of the entire world. They killed, abused, suppressed millions of people and condemned their peoples to a life of slavery. Let’s all hope that all these atrocities are a matter of the past, that we all learned from our own mistakes and will be able to avoid such things from happening again. Here are the top 10 dictators of the modern times:
1. Mao Zedong (1893-1973)
Chairman Mao has the honour of opening this list. He was the head of the Chinese Revolution and the creator of the current People’s Republic of China. Though he is officially seen as a hero in China, he is actually responsible for almost destroying the Chinese culture and society during his so-called social programs, the “Great Leap Forward” and the “Cultural revolution” which were intended to industrialize the country rapidly. What is most important, he caused the death of a smashing 40 to70 million people, directly, and indirectly, through its badly inspired policies.
2. Joseph Stalin (1878-1953)
Stalin is one of the most famous, though evil, figures of our history. The First Secretary of the Communist Party, he followed Lenin at the leadership of the Soviet Union. He was as well accused of having caused the deaths of millions by means of his awful economy project which led to a disastrous famine. As if it wasn’t enough, he also commanded the death of all those who dared opposing him in a horror campaign called “The great Purge”.
3. Adolf Hitler
This could not be a top 10 dictators of modern times if Hitler was not present. We all know who he was: the leader of the Nazi party and the sole ruler of Germany, Hitler is among the most hated (if not THE most hated) person who ever lived. Not only was he the cause and the initiator of World War II (the bloodiest war in history) but he was also responsible for the death of 17 million civilians, of which around 6 million Jews and 1, 5 million Romanis.
4. Pol Pot (1925-1998)
Pol Pot was another communist leader, this time in Cambodia. He led the Khmer Rouge, until 1998, when he died. Pol Pot became “famous” after imposing his own vision of an agrarian socialism. According to this policy, he forced city people to relocate to the countryside and work in agriculture, while farmers were relocated to cities. This policy did not turn out well. Actually, it resulted in a disaster which ended the lives of as many as 2,500,000 people by means of famine as well as poor medical care and killings.
5. Hideki Tojo (1884-1948)
A general in the Japanese army, as well as the Prime Minister of Japan during most of the World War II, this individual was responsible for the attack on Pearl Harbor. His many crimes include the violation of international law, cruel treatment for the prisoners of war, as well as engaging the country in unnecessary wars. In his own country, he ordered the instauration of the eugenics measures, (which differentiated Japanese citizens into pure blood and mixed blood). For his many crimes, he was sentenced to death and hanged in 1948.
6. Vladimir Lenin (1870-1924)
Lenin has a deserved place in the top 10 dictators for being the creator of the Soviet Union and the head of the October Revolution. An enthusiastic socialist, he was the one to show the Red army the way to victory in the famous Russian Civil War which put an end to imperialism in Russia. As a result of Lenin’s actions, the first socialist state in the world was born. Unfortunately, he did not live to enjoy the fruits of his work and died in 1924, after suffering three strokes that left him paralyzed and mute one year before passing away.
7. Nicolae Ceau?escu (1918-1989)
Ceau?escu was a Romanian dictator, succeeding Gheorghe Gheorghiu Dej in the function of leader of the Communist party and head of the Romanian state. As such, he was the second and also the last dictator of the country. After being a moderate leader in the first decade, he changed policy afterwards and instituted a terror regime, apparently, the toughest within the entire Soviet bloc. Among the many controversial decisions he took was that of making abortion illegal and divorce extremely difficult (in an attempt of increasing the population of the country), that of exporting all the Romanian goods, while forcing his own country to face food, gas, electricity and heating shortages (as an attempt to pay the Romanian external debts). He was executed for his various crimes (among which genocide) during the revolution which put an end to communism in Romania.
8. Idi Amin (1925-2003)
Idi Amin was the so-called president and a self-promoted Field Marshal of Uganda. The list of crimes he committed is huge and ranks him as one of the top 10 dictators of modern times. Except for his abuse of power, persecution of minorities, corruption and political oppression, he was also guilty of killing about 500.000 people. After years of violence and corruption, Idi Amin was exiled from the country by the joined troops of Uganda National Liberation Army and Tanzania People’s Defence Force and established himself in Saudi Arabia, where he died of kidney failure in 2003.
9. Francisco Franco (1892-1975)
Spain faced the same struggles as the rest of the Europe in the years before the World War II. The monarchy having collapsed, it was hard for the Spaniards to decide if to adopt the communist or the fascist ideology. In this time, Franco was making his own plans. After a coup d’état which went wrong, the Civil War started. Franco was victorious in this war and became the official Head of State and later, the regent of Spain. Under his leadership, women were suppressed, as well as minorities and the use of the other languages in Spain (Catalan, Galician, Basque) was forbidden.
10 Fidel Castro (1926 – )
Fidel Castro was the President of Cuba until 2008. His government lacked the atrocities which characterised most of the dictatorships of the other leaders on this list, thus being a rare case of successful socialist regime. He retired from his function in 2008, after 49 years of controversial rule. Fidel Castro deserves a place in the top 10 dictators list, not for his human rights abuses but rather for the unstained image he succeeded to maintain during his long dictatorship.