Wednesday, June 25, 2008

5 [most] imfamous tyrants before they were infamous.

You know great leaders make their choices early in life that pave the way for their illustrious careers. But what about the world's worst tyrants? Here's a look at the early lives of 5 rotten apples in the history barrel.

5. JOSEPH STALIN [1879 - 1953]

Place in History:
  • Soviet ruler from 1924 to 1953.
  • Fueled by a mad paranoia, Stalin is responsible for the murder and mass starvation of millions of soviet citizens. His forced collectivization of Soviet agriculture starved as many as 5 million people from 1932 to 1933. The political purges that followed from 1936 to 1938 may have killed as many as 7 million more.
  • His diplomatic and military blunders leading up to WWII contributed mightily to the 20 million Soviet military and civilian casualties during the war.
Before he was infamous:
  • Born Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, young Josheph entered a Russian Orthodox seminary in 1984, but he was kicked out of it at the age of 20.
  • He then went underground, became a Bolshevik revolutionary, and later adopted the pseudonum Stalin (which means 'Man of Steel').
  • Between 1902-1913, 'the man of steel' was arrested and jailed seven times, and sent to Siberia twice.
  • In 1917, he became the editor of "Pravda", the Communist Party newspaper. Stalin did not play a prominent role in the communist revolution of November 1917, but in 1922 he was elected general secretary of Communist Party, a post that became his power base.
  • Vladimir Lenin died in 1924, but it wasn't until after six years of maneuvering against opponents that Stalin emerged as Lenin's unrivaled successor in 1930.

4. MAO TSE-TUNG [1893-1976]

Place in history:
  • Leader of the Chinese Communist Party [1935] and the founder of the People's Republic of China, which he ruled from 1945 until his death in 1976.
  • Under such disastrous programs as 'The Great Leap Forward [1958-1960] ' and 'The Cultural Revolution [1966-1976]', more than 30 million people starved to death or were murdered outright by Mao's government and its policies.
Before he was infamous:
  • At the age of 13, this child of peasant farmers left home to get an education. He tried police school, soap-making school, law school, and economics before settling on becoming a teacher.
  • He attended the University of Beijing, where he became a Marxist and in 1921, at the age of 27, a founding member of the Chinese Communist Party.
  • In 1927 he alienated orthodox Marxists by arguing that peasants, not workers, would be the main force in the communist revolution.
  • It was not until 1935, following the 6,000 mile "Long March" to escape the Chinese government's brutal campaign against the communists, that he emerged as the party's leader.

3. POL POT [1925-1998]

Place in history:
  • Leader of the Cambodian 'Khmer Rogue' guerrilla movement, which seized control of the Cambodian government in 1975 and ruled the country until January 1979.
  • On Pol Pot's orders the cities were emptied and the urban population forced out into the countryside to work on collective farms that became known as "killing fields." Nearly 1.7 million Cambodians [20% of the entire population] were starved, worked to death or murdered by the Khmer Rouge.
Before he became famous:
  • Born Saloth Sar, Pol Pot lived in a Buddhist monastry for six years, and was a practicing monk.
  • He worked briefly as a carpenter before moving to Paris at the age of 24 to study radio electronics as a full scholarship.
  • While there he joined the French Communist Party. He later lost his scholarship and returned home in 1953, the same year that Cambodia won independence from France.
  • Over the next decade Sar rose through the ranks of the Cambodian Communist Party (the Khmer Rouge), and in 1963 he became its head.
  • In the mid 1970s he adopted the pseudonym, Pol Pot.

2. IDI AMIN DADA [ca. 1924-2003]

Place in history:
  • Ugandan dictator from 1971 to 1979.
  • In those years he expelled the entire Asian population of Uganda [more than 70,000 people] and is believed to have murdered as many as 400,000 people during the eight year reign of terror.
  • In 1979 he invaded the neighboring country of Tanzania; when the invasion failed and the Tanzanians counterattacked he fled into exile.
  • Eventually he settled in Saudi Arabia, where he died in August 2003.
Before he was infamous:
  • Amin, a member of the small Kakwa tribe of northwestern Uganda, was born in 1925 and raised by his mother, a self-proclaimed sorceress.
  • As a child he sold doughnuts (mandazi) in the streets.
  • In 1943, he joined the King's African Rifles of the British colonial army and went on to serve in the Allied Forces' Burma campaign during World War II. After the war he became a boxer and was the heavyweight champion of Uganda for nine years (1951-1960).
  • Amin continued his rise through the ranks of military and by the time Uganda became independent from England in 1962 he was one of only two African officers in the entire Ugandan armed forces.
  • President Obote appointed him head of the army and navy in 1966; fiver years later Amin seized power in a coup and declared himself president for life.

1. ADOLF HITLER [1889-1945]

Place in history:
  • Elected German Chancellor in 1933 and ruled Nazi Germany from 1933 until his death in 1945.
  • The Nazis murdered an estimated 6 million Jews and other people it considered inferior, including Gypsies, Jehovah's Witnesses, communists and homosexuals.
  • Hitler also started World War II, which killed as many as 55 million people.
Before he was infamous:
  • As a small boy, Hitler dreamed of becoming a priest, but by age 14 he'd lost his interest in religion.
  • As a young man he enjoyed architecture and art and dreamed of becoming a great artist, but when he applied for admission to the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, he was turned down (twice) for lack of talent.
  • He bummed around Vienna until 1913, living off an orphan's pension and what little money he made from odd jobs like beating carpets, and from selling paintings and drawings of Viennese landmarks.
  • When World War I broke out in 1914 he was living in Munich, where he volunteered for the Bavarian Army and was later awarded the Iron Cross.
  • Germany lost the war in 1918; the following year Hitler joined the German Workers Party at a time when it had only about 25 members.
  • He soon became its leader, and in 1920 the party changed its name to the National Socialist German Workers' Party (better known as the Nazis).

I went through many tyrants from the history, but I thought that these were the 5 tyrants who affected lives of millions of people. I sometimes wish that these people were not born, maybe our world would have been a better place to live today.


Bronson Mejia said...

"Josheph [Stalin] entered a Russian Orthodox seminary in 1984, but he was kicked out of it at the age of 20."!? To the author.Are you on dope? 1984?