Millions of people died due to wars, massacres, executions and famine under Joseph Stallin’s regime, during 1921–1953, but did you know that he actively promoted women’s rights in Russia. Girls were given equal and quality education, along with equal job opportunities.
Many people see the world as white or black, or good vs evil. But the reality is much more complicated than that. If anything modern TV shows like Breaking Bad, Orange is the New Black and House of Cards have taught us, it is that the heroes or the anti-heroes we cheer for are extremely complex characters who are indifferent to morality and sometimes make questionable choices, for which they would be scrutinized in media and general public, if those come to light. Yet, we cheer for them because we know their back story, and what led to them making those decisions, and we sympathize with them.
Looking deep into the tyranny of biggest leaders, dictators and mass murderers, we can learn that they too had people who followed them and sympathized with them, for a reason. In the modern world, we see those people as evil monsters, and mock their followers, but little do we realize that had we been present back then, we could have easily been one of those people.
1. Adolf Hitler
Apart from committing mass genocide and blaming all the problems on Jews in his pass time, Adolf Hitler took charge of Germany at a time when it faced one of its most terrible slumps in the modern era.
After years of great depression and massive inflation and widespread unemployment after the World War 1, Hitler rose to power on the promise of taking Germany towards a better future. And so he delivered. He built damns, railroads and world’s first freeways, known as Autobahns, and created other massive infrastructure in Germany, which boosted the economy and created many job opportunities.
The unemployment rates fell from 6 million to only 1 million. He rallied the nation towards a single purpose, in hindsight which might have been morally bankrupt, and made Germany a tremendous superpower in the Europe, in a matter of years through effective Dictatorship.. or you know, Leadership.
2. Genghis Khan
He was the man who single headedly brought down the Chinese population by Tens of Millions. As pointed out in the TV Show, Utopia, many people still consider it as a favour to humanity, because he potentially avoided birth of billions of humans to follow, who could have been a liability on our already overcrowded planet.
In all seriousness, he is also credited with introducing the world-famous, first ever international postal service called Yam. It was made possible due to big amount of post houses and messengers, who would travel 100s of miles per day, to deliver the messages. The system allowed material and information to travel at amazing speeds, making it very useful to the Merchants and Travellers, including the likes of Marco Polo.
And unlike many politicians of today, Genghis Khan was very tolerant to every Religion, and passed laws to ensure religious freedom for everyone under his wing. His motives may have been selfish, but he managed to keep his followers happy for a long time, as a result.
3. Josef Stalin
Another complex character in our history, Stalin paved the way for more things than just killing nearly 43 million people in his regime. Soviet Union was crippled by old industry, outdated technology and backwards mentality before he came to power.
Under him many industries boomed, and serious plans for economic development took place. Under his five-year plan, rapid industrialization began, making Soviet Union one of the most powerful economy in the world.
The agriculture industry in USSR also developed due to advanced technology and collectivisation, i.e., joining together of multiple small farms into 1 big farm.
Equal rights for women became a common place and for the first time in USSR’s history, complete economic, political and sexual equality of women was 1 of the main political agenda of a civilization.
You might know him as a great explorer, or a psychotic man who brought misery wherever he went, but you certainly weren’t expecting him to be a man featured on this list. He wasn’t an outright leader or an extremely powerful person, but he commanded his crew all across the globe according to his wishes and he certainly had some crazy notions, which makes him good enough to be here.
He was responsible for slaughter of over half a million people, on the places he enslaved, and some as a result of selling those slaves for profit.
He didn’t actually discover North America, but his voyages were brave none the less and introduced new trade routes for the entire Europe.
He was responsible for popularization of new sailing and navigating techniques which helped a lot of sailors in their following voyages, to travel much further and much more safely.
5. Mao Zedong
History’s most prolific serial killer, Mao Zedong of China, who was responsible for death of around 70 million people, due to forced labour, executions and starvation, holds the record for the maximum number of Democide under his rule in China, due to his horrible decisions.
Yet he was responsible for modernization of China after getting rid of corrupt and brutal dictators. He bought Hope, safety and prosperity to the Chinese land, while promoting status of women, and bringing educational and health reforms that laid the foundation of China being a world power, it is today.
Former president of Iraq, he was popular for his brutal dictatorship throughout the world. But in middle east, specifically in Iraq, he had a legion of following which culminated towards making him one of the most popular leaders.
He took stringent measures to remove illiteracy and passed harsh laws to punish those people who didn’t get their children admitted to school. He then made education free for everyone, from school to college, and helped build several institutes under his regime during 1980s. Those years are till date known as the golden years for Iraqi’s education.
He helped build infrastructure, agriculture, healthcare and several other necessities which improved quality of life, and life expectancy in Iraq, specifically for the middle class. It is fair to say that his effect on Iraq was long-lasting and monumental.