10 most ruthless leaders of all time

Adolf Hitler: By the end of 1941, Hitler’s German Third Reich empire (and Axis) included almost every country in Europe plus a large part of North Africa. He devised a plan to create his ideal ‘master race’ by eliminating Jews, Slavs, gypsies, homosexuals and political opponents by forcefully sending them to concentration camps, where they were tortured to death. According to reports, the Nazis killed about 11 million people under Hitler’s regime

Attila the Hun - After killing his brother, Attila became the leader of the Hunnic Empire, centred in present-day Hungary. He expanded the empire to present-day Germany, Russia, Ukraine and the Balkans. “There, where I have passed, the grass will never grow gain,” he remarked on his reign

Genghis Khan -Khan spent time as a slave during his teenage years before he united the Mongol tribes and went on to conquer a huge part of Central Asia and China. His style is characterised as brutal, and historians say he slaughtered civilians en masse

Idi Amin dada - General Amin overthrew an elected government in Uganda via a military coup and declared himself president. He then ruthlessly ruled for eight years, during which an estimated 3,00,000 civilians were massacred. He also drove out Uganda’s Asian population (mostly Indian and Pakistani citizens), and spent large amounts on the military, both of which led to the country’s economic decline

Joseph Stalin - Stalin forced quick industrialisation and collectivisation in the 1930s that coincided with mass starvation, the imprisonment of millions of people in labour camps, and the ‘Great Purge’ of the intelligentsia, the government and the armed forces

Mao Zedong - Under the communist leader, industry and agriculture was put under state control in China. Any opposition was swiftly suppressed. Mao’s supporters point out that he modernised China. Others point out that his policies led to the deaths of 40 million people through starvation, forced labour and executions.

Queen Mary I (aka Bloody Mary) - The only child of the King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, Mary I became queen of England in 1553 and soon reinstalled Catholicism (after previous rulers championed Protestantism) as the main religion and married Philip II of Spain — a Catholic. Over the next few years, hundreds of Protestants were burned at the stake, and for that she earned the nickname ‘Bloody Mary’

Timur Lung - Timur led military campaigns through a large part of western Asia, including modern Iran, to Syria. In present-day Afghanistan, he ordered the construction of a tower made out of living men, one stacked on top of another and cemented together. He also ordered a massacre to punish a rebellion and had 70,000 heads built up into minarets

Vladimir Lenin - ?In 1917, Lenin led the October Revolution to overturn the provisional government that had overthrown the czar. “During this period of revolution, war and famine, Lenin demonstrated a chilling disregard for the sufferings of his fellow countrymen and mercilessly crushed any opposition,” the BBC reported

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