Tyrants in World History
and Mussolini: Fascist Dictators and Partners in
Dictators and tyrants are rulers who controls a
country with absolute authority and are not restricted by
a constitution or by laws. Dictators work in a
governmental system in which
the citizens do not possess the right to choose their own
leaders. This type of system is called a
Below are some of the worst dictators in recent
Castro--Founder of Communist Cuba, Castro took power
(1959-2008) through a revolution. He transferred power to
his brother in 2008. The Castro brothers ruled through
force and have driven hundreds of thousands of people to
flee Cuba for a better life in the United States. Castro
involved Cuba in multiple wars and revolutions throughout
Latin America and Africa.
Castro--Became leader of Cuba (2008-Present) upon the
illness of his brother, Fidel Castro. Raul worked with
Fidel to establish their Communist dictatorship and to
suppress basic freedoms for the Cuban people.
Ceausescu--Communist dictator of Rumania (1965-1989).
Ruled on the Stalinist model and through a cult of
personality. Considered one of the more ruthless
Communist rulers in Eastern Europe. Ceausescu was
overthrown and executed in a national uprising in
"Baby Doc" Duvalier --Haitian dictator
(1971-1986). Baby Doc Duvalier assumed leadership in
Haiti following the death of his father, Papa Doc
Duvalier. The younger Duvalier fled Haiti following a
popular uprising in 1986.
Doc" Duvalier--Haitian dictator (1957-1971). Upon his
death, his son became ruler of Haiti.
Franco-Dictator of Spain (1939-1975) who took power
after a long and bloody civil war.
el-Gadhafi--(1969-2011)--Eccentric, crazy, and
increasingly desperate dictator of Libya. Gadhafi went
into hiding after rebels seized most of the capital city
of Tripoli. He was found by the rebels hiding in a ditch,
and killed. See also
Libyan War 2011.
Also spelled Khaddafy, Qaddafi, Gaddafi.
dictator of Germany (1933-1945) who originally took
office through the German electoral system but quickly
threw out the constitution and ruled through force.
Responsible for millions of deaths by starting the
European portion of World
War Two and
thorugh the Holocaust, which was an attempt to destroy
all Jews in Europe.
of Iraq (1979-2003). Committed genocidal acts against
minority Kurds and Shiites in Iraq, began the Iraq-Iran
War, the Gulf
War by invading
Kuwait, and was finally overthrown in the U.S.-led
invasion generally known as the Iraq
Mao Zedong (also
spelled Mao Tse-tung)-Founder and ruler of
Communist China (1949-1976), Mao led the Chinese
Communist Party through a very long civil war, which he
won in 1949, and founded the People's Republic of China.
Mao's rule included several purges and bloody repression,
inlcuding the so-called Cultural Revolution, which
resulted in millions of deaths of people considered to be
threats to Communist Party rule. Mao also involved China
in the Korean
with Taiwan, the invasion
and occupation of Tibet,
a border war with India, border clashes with the Soviet
Union, and significant support for the communist side in
both the Indochina War and the followup Vietnam
Mussolini--Ruler of Italy (1922-1943). Took power
through the threat of force and dominated Italy as a
Fascist dictator until forced from power as a result of
World War Two. After his fall from power, he was captured
by Partisan guerrillas and executed along with his
mistress. Their dead bodies were then hung upside down in
front of a gas station. A good example of what should
happen to all dictators.
Pinochet--Dictator of Chile (1973-1990). Seized power
in a very bloody military coup in 1973, in which the
elected president was overthrown and killed. Pinochet is
one of the very few dicators who voluntarily gave up
dictaor (1924-1953). Set up the first Communist cult of
personality. Responsible for the deaths of millions in
his purges and genocidal policies against his political
Il-Sung--Founder of Communist North Korea. Ruled
(1948-1994) on the Stalinist model and set up a cult of
personality. Passed power on to his son in the first
hereditary transfer of power in a Communist system.
Started the bloody Korean
Jong-Il--Communist dictator of North Korea
(1994-2011) Inherited power from his father. Attempted to
set up one of his sons to inherit the country upon his
passing. Under the Kim Jong-Il, North Korea developed
nuclear weapons and engaged in dangerous nuclear
the U.S. and neighboring nations, and has engaged in
skirmishes with South Korea,
including the bloody attack on Yeonpyeong
Island in 2010. Kim
Jong-Il died on December 17, 2011
Communist dictator of North Korea (2011-Present)
Inherited power from his father, who died in December,
2011. Upon his introduction as "The Great Successor," Kim
Jong-Un was in his 20s, is known to have been educated in
a German boarding school, and is a fan of the Los Angeles
Lakers National Basketball Association (NBA) team. It is
unknown what the North Korean military thinks of their
young, new leader.
Tito--Founder and leader of Communist Yugoslavia
(1945-1980), Tito led Yugoslavia out of Soviet domination
and established himself as an independent Communist
leader outside of Soviet or Chinese domination. Tito kept
Yugoslavia's bickering ethnic groups under control, and
after his death in 1980, the country began to unravel,
finally disintigrating in the Yugoslav
Civil War which
literally destroyed the nation.
© 1998-20134 Roger A. Lee and