5. Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia (1431–1476):
Vlad III was born in November or December of 1431 in the Transylvanian city of Sighisoara. At the time his father, Vlad II (Vlad Dracul), was living in exile in Transylvania. The word for dragon in Romanian is “drac” and “ul” is the definitive article. Vlad III’s father thus came to be known as “Vlad Dracul,” or “Vlad the dragon.” In Romanian the ending “ulea” means “the son of”. Under this interpretation, Vlad III thus became Vlad Dracula, or “the son of the dragon.” (The word “drac” also means “devil” in Romanian. The sobriquet thus took on a double meaning for enemies of Vlad Tepes and his father.) Vlad is best known for the legends of the exceedingly cruel punishments he imposed during his reign and for serving as the primary inspiration for the vampire main character in Bram Stoker’s popular Dracula novel. In Romania he is viewed by many as a prince with a deep sense of justice. His method of torture was a horse attached to each of the victim’s legs as a sharpened stake was gradually forced into the body. The end of the stake was usually oiled, and care was taken that the stake not be too sharp; else the victim might die too rapidly from shock.The list of tortures he is alleged to have employed is extensive: nails in heads, cutting off of limbs, blinding, strangulation, burning, cutting off of noses and ears, mutilation of sexual organs (especially in the case of women), scalping, skinning, exposure to the elements or to animals, and boiling alive.
4. Idi Amin Dada (1 January 1925 – 16 August 2003):
Idi Amin Dada, who became known as the ‘Butcher of Uganda’ for his brutal, despotic rule whilst president of Uganda in the 1970s, is possibly the most notorious of all Africa’s post-independence dictators. Amin seized power in a military coup in 1971 and ruled over Uganda for 8 years. Estimates for the number of his opponents who were either killed, tortured, or imprisoned vary from 100,000 to half a million. He was ousted in 1979 by Ugandan nationalists, after which he fled into exile.
3. Ivan IV Vasilyevich (25 August 1530 – 28 March 1584):
Ivan IV of Russia, also know as Ivan the Terrible, was the Grand Duke of Muscovy from 1533 to 1547 and was the first ruler of Russia to assume the title of Tsar. In 1570, Ivan was under the belief that the elite of the city of Novgorod planned to defect to Poland, and led an army to stop them on January 2. Ivan’s soldiers built walls around the perimeter of the city in order to prevent the people of the city escaping. Between 500 and 1000 people were gathered every day by the troops, then tortured and killed in front of Ivan and his son. In 1581, Ivan beat his pregnant daughter-in-law for wearing immodest clothing, causing a miscarriage. His son, also named Ivan, upon learning of this, engaged in a heated argument with his father, which resulted in Ivan striking his son in the head with his pointed staff, causing his son’s (accidental) death.
2. Adolf Hitler (20 April 1889 – 30 April 1945):
Adolf Hitler was the ruler of Germany from 1933 to 1945. He established a brutal totalitarian regime under the ideological banner of National Socialism, or Nazism. Adolf Hitler was the leader of the German National Socialist party from 1920 and chancellor of the Reich from 1933. He was the man who planned the extermination of the Jews in Europe.By the end of the second world war, Hitler’s policies of territorial conquest and racial subjugation had brought death and destruction to tens of millions of people, including the genocide of some six million Jews in what is now known as the Holocaust.By April 1945, Hitler had become a broken man. His head, hands, and feet trembled, and he was tortured by stomach cramps. Eva Braun, Hitler’s mistress since the 1930’s, joined him at his headquarters in a bomb shelter under the Reich Chancellery in Berlin. She and Hitler were married there on April 29. The next day, they killed themselves. Aides burned their bodies. Seven days later, Germany surrendered.
1. Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin (18 December 1878 – 5 March 1953):
Stalin was General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union’s Central Committee from 1922 until his death in 1953. Under Stalin’s leadership, the Ukraine suffered from a famine (Holodomor) so great it is considered by many to be an act of genocide on the part of Stalin’s government. Estimates of the number of deaths range from 2.5 million to 10 million. The famine was caused by direct political and administrative decisions. In addition to the famine, Stalin ordered purges within the Soviet Union of any person deemed to be an enemy of the state. In total, estimates of the total number murdered under Stalins reign, range from 10 million to 60 million.