An autocratic leadership-a topic that is taught to management students. There is a word called ‘bad’ and its superlative is ‘worst’. You may have come across bad people in your life every now and then. Humanity too has experienced its share of bad people, but the worst people that came into this world were the autocratic rulers who ruined it for countless years and it is still happening today too! Here is a list of dictators and autocratic leaders including Saddam Hussein, Vladimir Lenin, Adolf Hitler, Bashar al-Assad etc who have committed some vilest crimes against humanity in history. Some of them are still alive and ruling! These men make us question the very principle of ‘humanity’ and a humane way of living life!
Crimes against humanity as described by Wikipedia are certain acts that are deliberately committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack or individual attack directed against any civilian or an identifiable part of a civilian population. Unlike war crimes, crimes against humanity can be committed during peace or war. They are not isolated or sporadic events but are part either of a government policy (although the perpetrators need not identify themselves with this policy) or of a wide practise of atrocities tolerated or condoned by a government or a de facto authority.
As you read this article, many innocent lives are being lost at the hands of these barbarians who are doing this just for personal greed and possession of power.
Since 2000, Bashar al-Assad’s stranglehold over Syria is described as an iron fist. He was elected by the Syrians as a person who could bring in major governmental reforms, but he eventually led the country to a civil war where he has been accused of using chemical weapons against people protesting against him! Bashar al-Assad has also been called out in the United Nations for his alleged crimes against humanity, but he is still serving his straight and third 7-year term as Syria’s supreme president. The birth of ISIS is also attributed as an uprising against Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
Ivan the Terrible
This leader ruled over Russia for over 5 decades in which his autocratic leadership expressed immense paranoia in trying to make his country as large as possible. The Massacre of Novgorod was his doing in which just to prove that he was the supreme ruler, 60,000 people were massacred ruthlessly for no particular reason.
Another example of autocratic leadership, Pot who was the leader of the Khmer Rouge for more than 3 decades, and being a communist leader of Cambodia, he resorted to executing about 2.5 million people who did not follow his ideas. Due to his radical transition to forced socialism, 25% of his country’s population was killed due to his idea of ‘sending city people to the farms and the farm people to the city’.
Saddam Hussein was a bigot in disguise who instigated various mass genocides against the Shabaks, Mandeans, Kurds, and Assyrians in order to curb ethnic groups in his region and to consolidate his power in Iraq. The death toll in such massacres climbed to about 2 million in total. He was eventually captured by the US forces in its invasion of Iraq trying to find Iraq’s alleged Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) and was hanged to death after a trial. Iraq meanwhile, is still trying to stand up on its legs since Saddam Hussein has been executed.
Being the President of Sudan, he successfully negotiated the end of the Civil War in his country by shaking hands with the Sudan People’s Liberation Army and meeting its demands. However, this agreement eventually led to more civil wars and genocide in Darfur that led to the killings of 400,000 people who died either due to ethnic violence or mass starvation.
Idi Amin was the 3rd president of Uganda who ruled the country for 8 years, during the 1970s, As a president, his leadership reeked of mismanagement and suppression, which led to the killing of about half a million people during his reign as a result of extrajudicial killings and genocide. His loss to Tanzania in the war bolstered his wish to conquer more lands, but eventually, he was exiled from the country until he died.
He brought about the “Red Terror” which was considered a systematic elimination of millions of people who did not agree with the idea of expanding USSR’s control over the world. No one other person in history has been subject to more assassination attempts than Lenin and is till date another most cited autocratic leaders of the world.
This autocratic leader belonged to Belgium. The colonial leader enslaved and killed over 15 million Congolese in order to make Congo a ‘free state’. European powers had given him control of the territory to improve the lives of the Congolese, but his sinister motives turned Congo into hell for the local people there.
Dubbed as the worst dictator in history and a prime example of autocratic leadership, his Nazi German party was responsible for the deaths of over 17 million people which included 6 million Jews in an ethnic cleansing ritual that led the entire world into war and mass starvation. Not only this, he was central to the Holocaust killings in which innocent Jewish, ethnic Poles, incurably sick people, Hitler’s political opponents, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Soviet prisoners of war were forced into concentration camps and stuffed into gas chambers to gas them to death! Do you think Adolf Hitler would ever be forgotten? Comment below!
This is not the end. Please read part -2 of this article to know more about some other autocratic leaders of the world.