In the course of history, there had been a number of people who had done things that have left the world cringing in fear and horror. These individuals have committed beyond odious crimes and have earned every ounce of abomination one can possibly comprehend.
So who are they? Here are ten of the all-time worst people in history to have ever walked the face of this planet, based on the sheer scale of their atrocities:
1. Attila the Hun
There are few characters in history that can compare to Attila the Hun and the degree of wickedness he unleashed upon the people in his time. Leader of the Hunnic Empire, the Khan of the Huns in the 5th century served as Western Europe’s very personification of greed and ruthlessness. His empire extended from the Danube River to the Baltic Sea and from Germany to the Ural River.
Due to his successful invasion of the Eastern Roman Empire in 441, Attila was encouraged to take things further and spread his invasive wings to the West. Through Germany and Austria, as well as other targets, he passed unopposed, bringing every Tom, Dick, and Harry in Attila and his army’s path to their knees. With a lot of mayhem and destruction attributed to his name, Attila the Hun truly was the barbarian of anyone’s nightmares.
2. Adolf Hitler
Surely, you didn’t forget about this particularly brutal and wicked historical figure. The mere mention of this Chancellor of Germany still sends shivers down the spines of scores of people worldwide. The murders of about six million people during the Holocaust changed the course of history forever. Too bad Hitler committed suicide. A lot of furious, livid, and enraged people would have loved to get their hands on him.
3. Pol Pot
From 1976 to 1979, Pol Pot served as Cambodia’s Prime Minister as well as the Khmer Rouge’s leader. One of the worst policies he ever adopted was an extremely radical form of agrarian communism. He forced all the city dwellers to move to the countryside in order to engage in back-breaking work in collective farms and other projects supported by forced labor. Under his regime, Pol Pot managed to wipe out an estimated one-third of the total population through executions, malnutrition, inadequate medical care, and forced labor.
The victims of the Khmer Rouge’s mass executions, which were performed in Killing Fields, were laid to rest in mass graves. These killings were often done by the use of sharpened bamboo sticks, axe handles, spades or hammers to save on ammunition costs. If there was a contest for evil cheapskates back then, he would’ve surely bagged the top prize.
4. Mao Zedong
This infamous communist leader of the People’s Republic of China is responsible for more than 50,000,000 deaths through his land reform and class warfare. In 1958, Mao launched his second Five-Year Plan, also known as the Great Leap Forward.
The Great Leap Forward was suppose to show the world that a country can thrive on an alternative model of economic growth. But it did exactly the opposite. It showed the world the chaos and frailty of a state-run economy. It also caused a country-wide famine that caused millions of lives. It was also revealed later that mass killing and torture was at the very foundation of the Great Leap Forward. It is estimated that at least 3 million people died from torture under the hands of Mao and his regime.
5. Idi Amin Dada
With approximately 100,000 to 500,000 deaths caused during his regime, Idi Amin Dada is among the most notorious people in history. If you’re a bit heartless, you’d think that it was probably a reasonable measure to get the population under control, but if you were among the victims (or your lineage is), you’d think his atrocity is just beyond human comprehension.
As Uganda’s President and military leader, Amin was one of those infamous people who did everything they could to make everyone’s life a living hell. Among many others, extrajudicial killings, abuse of human rights, nepotism, ethnic persecution, corruption, and political repression were some of Amin’s claims to evil fame.
6. Ivan IV of Russia
From the year 1533 to 1547, Ivan IV of Russia was Muscovy’s Grand Duke. More popularly known as Ivan the Terrible and Russia’s first leader to be addressed as Tsar, Ivan IV committed acts that only people devoid of conscience are capable of doing.
Believing that the city of Novgorod’s elite were devising a treacherous plan against him, he had his soldiers construct walls around the city’s perimeter to foil any of their attempts to escape. Every day thereafter, an estimated 500 to 1,000 people were gathered by his troops, made to suffer under torture, and were sent to their awful deaths. All these were done right in front of the Russian dictator and his son in 1570. Eleven years later, Ivan the Terrible did some things that proved just how worthy he was of his moniker. He caused his pregnant daughter-in-law to have a miscarriage when he beat her for dressing up “immodestly.” This, in turn, led to a fiery argument between him and his son, with the former striking the latter with a pointed staff and “accidentally” killing him.
With all his brutal crimes, Nero can be aptly called as one of the worst people in history. He was the one who ordered the six-day fire that broke out in the major city and brought to the ground all the major portions of Rome in AD 64. What’s even worse is that while all hell broke loose, Nero was reportedly enjoying listening to music, as if nothing happened. As if that wasn’t cruel enough, he pointed the finger at the Christians and persecuted them for the acts he committed.
8. Vlad the Impaler
Being one of the inspirations for the world-renowned vampire novel, Dracula, Vlad the Impaler can’t justify his title any better. His favorite hobbies include the following: cutting off noses and ears, exposing people to the harsh elements or animals, mutilating sexual organs, cutting off limbs, burning people, and a lot of other acts of pure torture (for his victims) and undiluted enjoyment (for him).
9. Joseph Stalin
When Stalin was in power, Ukraine experienced a famine like no other. The number of deaths is estimated to be around 2.5 million to about 10 million. Although the exact number is unknown, one thing’s for sure, the death toll of that cataclysmic event was so high that plenty of people consider it to be an utter genocide act as a result of one man’s hostile government, political decisions, and other inimical administrative actions. Add to that the purging of Soviet Union’s “enemies of the state,” Stalin’s regime is responsible for up to 10 to 60 million deaths (depending on who you ask).
10. Emperor Hirohito of Japan
Another name that has made it to this list of the most infamous people in history is Japan’s Emperor Hirohito. One of the acts that make Hirohito such an evil person was the Rape of Nanjing, which used to be China’s capital and is now called Nanjing. The war crime was committed in the later part of 1937, with the cruelty and bloodshed lasting for about six weeks. During the entire duration of the episode, a great number of victims, including women and kids, were killed. Murder, arson, looting, and rape became even more rampant as the death toll climbed to as much as 300,000.
Although the Rape of Nanjing was during Emperor Hirohito’s reign, there seems to be quite a big debate as to how much Hirohito knew of the atrocious acts and if he was the person primarily responsible for the massacre. There are quite a few in academia who seem to think that the militarist faction within his government were primarily responsible.
There are plenty of people who have done things to earn outright abhorrence from others. Yet, none can be worse than what the people on this list had done. Let’s hope history doesn’t repeat itself and we have seen the worst of humanity’s evil.