Everyone knows the atrocities of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. But Hitler isn't the only leader in history with millions of deaths to his name, and surprisingly enough some of these tyrants were just as brutal and heartless, if not more so, than the man who orchestrated the murder of millions of Jews. Take, for example, Ivan the Terrible, who killed his own son, and the Pasha brothers, who orchestrated a movement so cruel that the Turkish government still refuses to acknowledge its existence. Or Robespierre, who sent thousands of Frenchmen to the guillotine for the most ironic reason. One thing is for sure: power can corrupt, and in these ten instances it corrupted in some of the most horrifying ways imaginable.
10 Maximilien Robespierre
9 Pol Pot
8 Idi Amin
7 Ivan the Terrible
Ivan the Terrible was supposed to inherit Russia when he came of age. In childhood, he was mistreated and neglected by the boyars - the ruling class - subjected to beatings, abuse, and molestation, as well as the countless murders he witnessed. At 13, he called a meeting of the boyars, after which he fed the leader to a pack of dogs and was shortly crowned czar. For most of his reign he focused on conquering, in which he was very successful, but upon the death of his wife he became unhinged and uncontrollably brutal.
He set up the Oprichniki, a police force that began killing church officials and performing “masses” that ended in orgies of rape and torture. Ivan also ordered them to massacre the sixty thousand citizens of Novgorod, who were tied to sleighs and run into a river after their archbishop was sewn into a bearskin and fed to hunting dogs. Many executions commenced in Moscow.
6 Saddam Hussein
5 Joseph Stalin
4 The Pasha Brothers
3 Vlad the Impaler
1 Leopold II of Belgium
King Leopold II of Belgium committed crimes against tribes in the Congo. During a wave of European imperialism, he conquered the Congo and established a brutal, 23-year long rule that included such atrocities as severing hands and genitals, flogging people to death, and burning villages. The affair began when Leopold’s men tricked Congolese chiefs into signing away their tribes into slavery in exchange for cloth. The Belgians established quotas of work that men had to meet each day or else face punishment such as flogging and the severing of hands. In one village that rebelled, Leopold ordered the men’s heads to be cut off and the women and children to be hanged. When Leopold died, he was arguably the richest man in the world because of the spoils of African slave labor.
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