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Reign of Terror: The 10 Most Ruthless Politicians in History

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Although most people do not consider violence as a desired method for pursuing political goals, the most ruthless politicians in history certainly do not agree. Horrible acts of terror have been perpetrated by these leaders over the course of their time in power, yet the reasons are not always clear. Some have justified their actions as means to an end, while others have tried to keep their transgressions a secret. Yet whether the most ruthless politicians of all time made their actions public or not, fear seems to be a common denominator in the societies they ruled over.


If you read one of our previous posts about the greatest empires in history, then you surely noticed that violence was abundant in those societies. However, the target of this aggression has rarely been the general population. Instead, minorities and so-called enemies of the state have suffered at the hands of such ruthless politicians. Yet what motivated these leaders to take such brutal action against these groups? In most cases the main reason was to unite the majority of the population behind a common goal or threat, using minorities as scapegoats for national problems. Thus, although the most ruthless politicians in history might seem like sociopaths at times, their actions were mostly intended to increase their power.

Political goals by no means justify kidnapping, imprisoning, torturing, and killing innocent civilians, but understanding their importance does contribute to a better understanding of history. In some cases the violence generated by the most ruthless politicians in history helped them hold onto power for a long period of time, and even harness additional support amongst the local population. The reasons of course are numerous, and it is not our goal to cover them in this article, although they are quite interesting. Instead, we simply wish to present you with the following cohesive list of the ten most ruthless and bloody politicians in history.

10. Saddam Hussein

Throughout his 24 years in power, the leader of the Ba’ath Party and President of Iraq persecuted and killed more than 600,000 people. His victims were primarily Kurds and Shi’ites, although political opponents also suffered the same fate as these segregated minorities.

When Saddam Hussein can only make #10 on our list of the most ruthless politicians in history, you know it’s going to be filled with unspeakable tyrants. Discover who they are on the following pages.

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