8 of History's Deadliest Dictators You Never Heard of ...


Everyone has heard of Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini – three of the most feared dictators who played a major role during WW2 and were responsible for the slaughter or displacement of millions of people. But there are (or were) many other dictators out there who could definitely be placed in the same boat as them because of what they used their power for.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Please subscribe for your personalized newsletter:


Idi Amin Dada

Idi Amin Dada Genocide and extrajudicial killings – that is what history remembers of Idi Amin Dada, the man who ruled Uganda with an iron fist for 8 years (1971-1979). Despite his short rule, he was one of the deadliest dictators in history, having been responsible for the deaths of more than 500,000 people.


Emperor Hirohito

Emperor Hirohito Although Emperor Hirohito is not the deadliest dictator ever, he did lead Japan into WW2, and there is considerable debate about whether or not he was responsible for the war crimes committed by his army and regarding how much control he actually had.


Despite his controversial legacy, Hirohito's role in Japan during this tumultuous period gained attention due to the nation's militaristic expansion and the horrific atrocities, such as the Nanking Massacre. Historians argue over whether he had full command over the Imperial Japanese military or if he was a symbolic figurehead manipulated by his government. Following Japan's surrender, he was a central figure in the country's reconstruction and renounced his divine status to help Japan transition to a democratic state, thereby casting a complex shadow on his historical standing.


Chiang Kai-Shek

Chiang Kai-Shek This is one ruler who had good intentions, but somehow ended up killing about a million people trying to put his ideas into motion. Chiang Kay-Shek was known as the “white terror” for purging China of his opposition as he tried to stabilize the country.


Wilhelm II

Wilhelm II Emperor of Germany until 1918, Wilhelm II remains famous – unlike most of the dictators on this list – for his inept decisions while guiding his country's military. Millions of people died as a result.


Wilhelm II, often remembered for his luxurious mustache and pompous military attire, had a penchant for aggressive foreign policy and military expansion that ultimately paved the way for World War I. His leadership style, marked by frequent meddling in military affairs, contributed to strategic blunders that had catastrophic consequences for Europe. Despite his regal lineage, Wilhelm's overbearing approach and disastrous tactical choices not only cost the lives of millions but also led to the downfall of the German Empire and his own abdication following the war's end.


Yakubu Gowon

Yakubu Gowon Gowon is remembered for his ruthless military tactics in an unjustified war against Ojukawu of western Nigeria over oil deposits discovered in the Niger delta. Despite an accord having been signed, it failed to keep peace, and in the war that came later on, Yakubu Gowon became responsible for the deaths of more than a million civilians.


Yakubu Gowon was a Nigerian military leader who served as the Head of State of Nigeria from 1966 to 1975. He is remembered for leading the country through a civil war from 1967 to 1970, in which more than one million people were killed. He also oversaw the introduction of the Petroleum Decree, which gave the federal government control of oil production and revenues. After leaving office, he became the Chairman of the African Union's High-Level Panel on Darfur, and was involved in several other peace initiatives. He is also remembered for his efforts to promote economic growth and development in Nigeria, and for his support of the African Union.


Kim Il Sung

Kim Il Sung Kim Il Sung was one of North Korea's most ruthless and delusional dictators. He ruled by force and didn't care much about his people. At one point, he blamed the US for the country's dismal state and even ended up killing 3 million of his own people to manufacture the “proof” that the US had unleashed an epidemic in the North Korean countryside.


Ismail Enver Pasha

Ismail Enver Pasha Ismail Enver Pasha led the Ottoman Empire in the First World War and the Balkan Wars and has become known as experienced on the battlefield, but very bad at actually leading his army. What he is most known as, however, is being a sore loser: after his army's shameful loss at Sarikamish, he butchered more than 1.5 million Armenians and another million other people just to compensate.


Pol Pot

Pol Pot Probably the most ruthless dictator on this list, Pol Pot was considered Cambodia's #1 criminal. He was responsible for millions of deaths while trying to create a classless peasant society. People died of starvation, disease or through execution, and one detention center became so deadly that only 7 people of the 20,000 prisoners held there survived.

It takes balance, compassion and intelligence for a leader to truly exercise his responsibility and make a difference. Unfortunately, the people listed here have proven what can happen when those traits are not present in the leaders we put our faith into. But how many others have abused their power throughout history? Do you know any other deadly dictators from times gone by?


Feedback Junction

Where Thoughts and Opinions Converge

Know the lot of them! My daughters were at boarding school with bothNigerians you mention. Have seen Big Daddy Amin. Lived same time as most of these. You ought to add Oboti of Uganda too! And how about the crazy ,murderering, self styled Emperor Bokassa of Central Africa ? And he built a huge basilica there !

Firstly, to even hint that Barak Obama and/or George Bush belong on this, or any other list of "dictators" is just plain ignorant. Everyone is entitled to an opinion about both presidents, but clearly you have no understanding of the definition of "dictator" when you casually mention two U.S. Presidents while referring to Idi Amin or Pol Pot. And if this is the list of "lesser known" dictators, I'd hate to see the list of "unknown" ones. Seriously, if you do not recognize at least 5 of these men, you need to bush up on your world history!

One could mention Ukrainian president Janukovitch for sure in this article!

Not a fan of the writer slapping up the German flag. I think Germany has done a lot to move past that part of their history.

Apart from the two dictators in Africa there were others, in West Africa including Charles Taylor in Liberia whom was responsible for the war in Liberia and Foday Sanko in Sierra Leone, he was responsible for starting the civil and breeding hundreds of young men into rebels and creating what is known as blood diamond, killing and mutilating hundreds and thousands of innocent people for diamonds.

I agree with lizmarkovich

Good read, more articles like these please

Great article aj

what abt hitler??

Never heard of? :-(

Related Topics

what is the most unknown language things science cant answer real wizards scary military projects ozymandias zen pencils male stripper dance moves weird experiments george washington nelson hawaiian hunks recurring dream meaning

Popular Now