Special Report

The Most Ruthless Leaders of All Time

Source: Heinrich Hoffmann / Archive Photos via Getty Images

Adolf Hitler
> Country: Germany
> Years in charge: 1933-1945

Adolf Hitler is almost in a class of his own for ruthlessness. He bears responsibility for both World War II and the Holocaust.

Source: Biblioteca Virtual de Defensa / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

Francisco Franco
> Country: Spain
> Years in charge: 1938-1975

Francisco Franco ruled Spain as a dictator for 40 years. After winning the Spanish Civil War he had many of his opponents executed or imprisoned.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Khorloogiin Choibalsan
> Country: Mongolia
> Years in charge: 1939-1952

Khorloogiin Choibalsan was known as the “Stalin of Mongolia.” He initiated a political purge that led to the deaths of tens of thousands of Mongolians.

Source: FPG / Archive Photos via Getty Images

Mao Zedong
> Country: China
> Years in charge: 1949-1976

Mao Zedong ruled China for more than a quarter of a century. While attempting to create a communist paradise he caused a famine that is thought to have killed at least 45 million people.

Source: Keystone / Hulton Archive via Getty Images

Kim Il-Sung
> Country: North Korea
> Years in charge: 1949-1994

As dictator of North Korea Kim Il-Sung led the country into the Korean War. His economic policies resulted in famine. He also murdered opponents and abducted foreign nationals.

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