Top 10 Cruelest Leaders in World History

The World has been in turmoil from the time when people started chasing power and respect by any means possible. Some of them went too far, and their cruelty knew no bounds. Their thirst for power and respect made them do the cruelest things with an iron fist. Being leaders, they inspired millions of people under their regime, but that doesn’t glorify their action of cruelty against those, who didn’t follow them.
Whom do you think is the cruelest leader in World History? Is it Adolf Hitler, who is the sole reason for the Jewish Holocaust? Or, is it war mongers like Joseph Stalin? Unfortunately, we cannot accommodate all the cruel leaders in the list, but we will cover the worst of them.
Read on to know about the top 10 cruelest leaders in World History, whose atrocities will send a shiver down your spine.

10.Osama Bin Laden


Though not a leader in a common sense, Osama Bin Laden led a group of Islamic Extremists called Al Qaeda. He called himself as the 1ST General of Al-Qaeda. He is also believed to be the inspiration behind ISIS. Born in Riyadh to a wealthy construction magnate, he was an educated Muslim who believed that every Muslim should rise up to Jihad, or the Holy War, and try to create a separate state for all Muslims. Being with the Mujahidin in the Soviet War, he went on to create Al-Qaeda or “The Base”. His Pan-Islamic thoughts provoked him to attack the Western Civilization whom he thought to be influencing Muslim Lifestyle. Al-Qaeda was involved in the 1998 Embassy Attacks, 2001 World Trade Center attacks and several other attacks spanning all over the globe. According to estimates, he has taken about 10000 innocent lives in the name of Islam.

9.Attila the Hun


Now, we all know this man from his cruelty. Attila the Hun, was the leader of the Huns from 434 to 453. He was the most frightened enemy of the Roman Empire. Crossing the Danube, in those times was not easy, but Attila’s soldiers did that twice and plundered the Balkans on the way. Attila wanted to take Constantinople but was unable to do that. He invaded half of Europe, and lost in the battle of the Catalonian Plains. He devastated Italy, in the dream of invading Rome. He was so cruel, that legend has it, he killed and drank blood by tearing apart the limbs of his enemies. If we consider savagism in the list, Attila should be on the top. Estimates say, 2 million lives were taken by Attila the Hun.

8.Genghis Khan


Founder of the Mongol empire, Genghis Khan was feared all over the world. He started by uniting nomadic tribes of Northeast Asia, and then by invading and conquering most of Europe and Asia. He was a disciplined man himself, and he took all the nomadic tribes of Europe and Asia under his regime and formed the enormous Mongol Kingdom. In the way of invading the huge continents, he is known to have killed an estimate of 40 Million people and believed to have decreased the World Population by 11%. Some say Genghis Khan was not savage and he did not kill intentionally. But, he ravaged wars, and wars cannot be unintentional.

7.Pol Pot

Pol pot

A Cambodian Communist Revolutionary, Pol Pot, was the prime minister of Cambodia from 1976 to 1979. Pol pot believed in radical communism, and in the verge of making Cambodia a peasant farming society, he inflicted a genocide. According to Mao’s radical communism beliefs, Pol Pot transferred millions of Cambodian who were accustomed to living in Urban environment to the village as Slave labors. Pol Pot believed that this was the way a communist country should be. This mass evacuation, killed and displaced millions of people, most of them dying of starvation and diseases. 2 million people are estimated to have died under the leadership of Pol Pot.

6.Ivan IV of Russia


Known as Ivan the Terrible, he was the first ruler of Russia. As per various Historic sources, he has been explained as a complex personality who was very intelligent, yet exposed to mental illness. His rage was known to most of the people. In the inception of his regime, he ordered his soldiers to build a large perimeter so that the people cannot escape. He had huge frying pans in his castle, and he used to fry and burn people in those pans, and he enjoyed watching those. His son was also paranoid, who sat with his father every day to torture thousands of people in the court. Ivan also impaled people into posts and kept them as souvenirs. He has killed 60000 people as per estimates in his reign.

5.Vlad Tepes

Vlad Tepes

Vlad Temper ruled Wallachia from 1456 to 1462. He was commonly known as Vlad the Impaler. He was the fan of various types of tortures and is said to have innovated many types of unique tortures and punishments. Do you know the stories of Vampire? Vlad Tepes is the primary inspiration behind the Vampire. He used to have fun by torturing and by hurting the rectal and facial orientation of people. Thousands of people were tortured every day under his regime, and he used to drink and eat by sitting beside the corpses. Cutting of sexual organs and limbs of people was a normal day for him. He is said to have impaled every single person of Amla, Syria in 1460. He is said to have killed 40000 people in his reign.

4.Leopold II


Leopold II of Belgium was the king of Belgians from 1865 to until his death. He succeeded the throne from his father, Leopold I. He is mainly known for the brutality that he exhibited in the Congo free state, in the name of improving the lifestyle of Congo. Colonizing Congo, in the name of globalization, was just a play of Leopold II. His ulterior motive was to extract elephant ivory and rubber from Congo. For that, he relied on force labor, which killed around 3 million Congolese.

3.Joseph Stalin


Joseph Stalin was the leader of Russia (Then the Soviet Union) from 1922 to 1952 until his death. Some may argue that Stalin was a Bolshevik Revolutionary and is not eligible to be on this list. Joseph Stalin was the most powerful figure in History of his time. To keep the Soviet Union in his iron grip, he exercised many torturous schemes with his own countrymen. Hitler and Stalin were the same, and they both were warmongers. By his orders, in the 1930’s millions of Russians were killed or starved to death. Inhuman tortures to some of the people were also permitted by Joseph Stalin. In his brutal 30-year rule, he is believed to have killed around 20 million people.

2.Adolf Hitler

Adolf Hitler

We all know this man. The man with the butterfly mustache, that we all hate today. Adolf Hitler was a soldier in the First World War and then went on to become a powerful politician and eventually became the dictator of Germany, promising the Germans ‘Justice’. The main protagonist of the World War II and the Holocaust, which killed 6 million Jews brutally. His racial injustice to homosexuals, black people, and many other minorities brought about 10 million deaths in his reign. The largest genocide in world history is also in the name of Adolf Hitler when he killed some 6 million Jews in concentration camps. In fact, some historians say that Hitler also carried human experiments on Jews in the lust of making a Super-Soldier.

1.Mao Zedong

Mao Zedong

Mao Zedong is on the top of this list, for a simple reason of killing 45 million people. Some estimates say that it may have gone up to 78 million people. The founding father of Peoples Republic of China after a brutal civil war in 1949, Mao’s beliefs were radical. Mao’s “great leap forward” which meant that China’s economy will completely be dependent on Farming alone killed around 40 million people, because of the transformation of the People from Industry to the Farming lands. In the regime of Mao, due to the extensive farming, a big famine aroused thereby killing 13 million people, which Mao explained as “Half the people have to die, for half the people to thrive”. He regularly killed socialists, landlords and anyone who dared to counter him. Mao Zedong’s corrupt practices to be in power killed almost half the population of China during his reign.

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Sayan Banerjee

Hey, this is Sayan Banerjee. I am an engineering undergrad student, and I love to write on the political and social issues of India. I am also into android development, and love to do that, though, I am still in the learning thing. Have a Research Experience. A movie and a TV series buff, an aspiring photographer, i am a jack of all trades, but master of none.