Dictators and Tyrants in World History

Hitler and Mussolini

Hitler and Mussolini: Fascist Dictators and Partners in Tyranny

Dictators and tyrants are rulers who control 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 Dictatorship.

Below are some of the worst dictators in recent history..

Fidel Castro--Founder of Communist Cuba, Castro took power (1959-2008) through a revolution. He transferred power to his brother in 2008 and died on November 25, 2016. 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. See also Wars of Cuba

Raul 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.

Nicolae 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 1989.

Jean-Claude "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.

François "Papa Doc" Duvalier--Haitian dictator (1957-1971). Upon his death, his son became ruler of Haiti.

Francisco Franco-Dictator of Spain (1939-1975) who took power after a long and bloody civil war.

Muamar 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.

Adolf Hitler--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.

Saddam Hussein--Dictator 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 War.

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 War, hostilities 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 War.

Benito 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.

Video footage the execution of Benito Mussolini in World War Two

Augusto 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 power.

Joseph Stalin--Soviet 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 opponents.

Kim Il-SungKim 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 War in 1950.

Kim Jong-Il Kim 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 diplomacy with the U.S. and neighboring nations, and has engaged in occassional military skirmishes with South Korea, including the bloody attack on Yeonpyeong Island in 2010. Kim Jong-Il died on December 17, 2011.

Kim Jong-UnKim Jong-Un--The latest 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. Under Kim Jong-Un's rule, the North Korean leadership has seen bloody purges and an escalation of tensions with South Korea, Japan, and the United States. American President Donald Trump and Kim have engaged in verbal jousting, with Trump referring to Kim as "Little Rocket Man." Kim has responded in similar insulting fashion, and has threatened to use nuclear weapons on the U.S. These tensions have created concerns of a new Korean War.

Josip Broz 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.


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