Most infamous man of the 20th century

Most Infamous man of the 20th Century

  • Mao Tse-Tung

    Votes: 5 10.9%
  • Adolf Hitler

    Votes: 30 65.2%
  • Joseph Stalin

    Votes: 6 13.0%
  • Benito Mussolini

    Votes: 1 2.2%
  • Francisco Franco

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Emperor Hirohito

    Votes: 1 2.2%
  • Pol Pot

    Votes: 1 2.2%
  • Idi Amin

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Papa Doc

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Other

    Votes: 2 4.3%

  • Total voters


The Hairy Wookie
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The 20th century is seen as one of the bloodiest centuries during history. Two world wars and the collapse of the 19th century Empires led to dictators and tyrants coming to power and the slaughter of millions of people. I have listed the main ones, but other might be worse. For example Hitler was the leader of a country full of tyrants and brutal men, each could be considered themselves. Hirohito might have been only a figurehead and the main blame could be laided at Hideki Tojos feet, but both are better 'known' for their involvment in these bloody conflicts and oppression.
Just a few facts:
Hitler, Adolf - Leader of Germany. His actions led to WW2 in which an estimated 50 million people died. 11 million in the Holocaust, including 6 million Jews. 20 million Soviets
Stalin, Iosif Vassarionovich - During his hold on power in the USSR estimates of the amount of people wo died under him ranges from 10 million to 50 million. EU official figures puts the figures at 20 million,
Mao Tse-Tung - Willing sacrficed his own troops during WW2 to gain political power within the communist leadership. During the great leap forward estimates of 20 to 43 million died due to starvation and deprivation due to policies for production of grain that was sent overseas. The cultural revolution some 500 000 thousand killed for being 'against' the regime. Thousands of of pieces of Chinas historical heritage destroyed. (My votes with him)
Mussolini, Benito - Dictator of Italy. Slaughter of most of the population of Ethiopia when the Italians invaded. His system of government was a model for Hitlers policies and economics.
Franco, Francisco - Dictator of Spain. While not as bloody as the above still responsible for the deaths of 40 000 people. While neutral during WW2 Spain was used as a base for the German Navy
Emperor Hirohito - Emperor of Japan. Under his rule Japan became a nationlist state and expanded its sphere of influence beyond its borders into Korea and China. I'm sure you can read the plenty of threads on this forum about the aftermath of policies employed by the Japanese during WW2 and before in Manchuria and Korea.
Pol Pot - Born as Saloth Sar. Responsible for Year Zero in Cambodia. 1 in 8 Cambodians died due to his communist ideal, about 2 million people. Intellects (even those that looked like intellects), the crippled, disabled, minorites were all killed.
Idi Amin - Ugandan president and an utter thug IMO. 300 000 to 500 000 killed during his eight years of rule. Forced 50 000 Indian families to leave beacuse it was "revealed to him by God"
Papa Doc - Francois Duvalier and ruler of Haiti. Out of a 5 million population resposible for the deaths of 30 000 people, mainly opponents to his regime. Used Vodun and superstition to maintain control. Claimed that he put a curse on JFK and that is why he was assassinated. Forced people to give blood for about $2 approx and then sold it to the US for blood transfusions for $24approx
I picked "other" .

I feel Lee Harvey Oswald's killing of 1 man changed the world. Till Kennedy's death, the nation seemed to be filled with hope for the future. His death seemed to have killed our generation's dreams. I often wonder if the world would be vastly different if he had lived?


Adolf, he's worse than Mao IMHO.
I voted Hitler. He had the "advantage" of gaining notoriety in the first half of the century, thus ensuring his influence would spread over the rest of that 100 years. His visage is likely more recognizeable worldwide, he perpetuated arguably the most infamous "single" atrocity of the century, the Holocaust, and started a war that stretched across the globe. In terms of infamous figures of WWII, Stalin, Mussolini and Hirohito all take a back seat to Hitler, who's fiery oratory style and distinctive organization, the Nazis, are probably more well-remembered world wide than any of the other options.
I go with Hitler, too. He's the most well-known and well-referenced of all of them. That's the reason that there's the theory that the first person to bring up Hitler in an argument automatically loses, and there's the theory that says that the longer an argument goes on, the more likely someone will refer to Hitler. It's "most infamous," not "most reprehensible."
A most excellent thread!

And IMO your list, Mike, was pretty much "on the nail".

...But (just to be picky) I did think you were a little kind to Franco. 40.000 as far as I'm aware is the official figure regarding deaths directly attributed to the SCW. I think a little digging will possibly help you to prove that El Caudillo was probably responsible for (wait for it ... ) almost 2,000,000 lives that were lost, or at least destroyed or grievously affected by that rather horrible man. The persecution of Spanish dissidents and Republican sympathisers lasted way beyond 1939 ... right up to Franco's (drawn-out) death in the early 1970's. Quite a few people didn't even come out of hiding until he was deceased! He even "rubber stamped" the execution of some of his own relatives!

... And you didn't mention Augusto Pinochet or Muammar Gaddafi ... admittedly, small beer compared to the others ... but they did have their moments!

My own vote went for Hitler (Of course) ... but on further reflection ... perhaps Pol Pot should be right up there.

Nicely proposed and presented.

Thanks for the numbers on Franco, but I could only seem to come up with the 40 000 figure on most places I looked. It oesn't surprise, though, that he was responsible for more deaths.
I did think about Pinochet, along with General Lon Nol, Kim Il Sung, "Emperor" Bokassa, Jim Jones, but if I kept up with those the list would have been very long, so other seemed a better chioce. I left out Gaddafi because he is still in power and currently behaving himself up to a point. I think they need a few years of history to judge them after they have gone or left power to comment on. You never know Gaddafi might become a humanitarian (Oo, look a flying pig)
The Votes for Hitler doesn't surprise me, as Glenn and MeAndroo have pointed out he is the most referenced and probably influence most people because of that. I did go for Mao because of two books I have read, Wild Swans and Mao by Jung Chang. Mao is still semi-protected by the party line in China, so we don't hear as much about the atrocities he did,. The Cult of Mao still exists. Hitler might have been responsible for the holocaust and the war, but I find Mao worse because of his general disdain for his own people. If you dig around for Hitlers personal life you will find he had some good character traits, Mao didn't seem to have any.
Well, infamy isn't about how bad you were, but about how many people remember it--in that respect, Hitler wins hands down. Ask the average 12-year old who Stalin or Mussolini or Mao are, and they'll probably say they've never heard of them--but you can almost garuntee they've heard of Hitler and the Nazis.

In western society, the only better known villain is the devil. :D
I agree with Reiku on that point. However, Mycernius has made me think a little deeper about this. I still think that Hitler is the most infamous, but if Mao's actions were to be as well known as Hitler's, would he surpass him? It's mere speculation at this point, but interesting to think about. I wonder if it has something to do with western bias in the media (although that seems paradoxical if you think about it. If there were western bias you would assume that they would focus more on the atrocities of the non-western dictators/murderers, etc.).
I voted Hitler. Stalin and Mao may have had him on numbers, but Hiltler's evil was perpetrated on a much tighter time schedule. Also I think the number of deaths over all in WWII is a bit higher-- and he has to bear credit for starting it.
No doubt Hitler is the most infamous.

Stalin actually killed more people than Hitler, but he is not as notorious. Stalin should be no.1 when it comes to body count. :shock:

You should also have mentioned Saddam Hussein, Nicole Caessaeu, and that nutcase :D in North Korea. Some people might even want to add G.W. Bush to that list (lol).
How about Maciamo?

After that I think Stalin, becuase aside from his purgres, his actions and those of his successors resulted in half of Europe sitting around in a grey communist smog while the rest of Europe developed and moved on.
Mahoujin Tsukai said:
Stalin actually killed more people than Hitler, but he is not as notorious. Stalin should be no.1 when it comes to body count.
I think, Mao tops both Stalin & Hitler: Acc. to latest numbers by Rummel; Mao is responsible for 77m deaths. Hitler with a mere 21m & the SU with 62m are 3rd & 2nd on that list.

sabro said:
I voted Hitler. Stalin and Mao may have had him on numbers, but Hiltler's evil was perpetrated on a much tighter time schedule. Also I think the number of deaths over all in WWII is a bit higher-- and he has to bear credit for starting it.
Well, the war was already going on in Asia, when the Nazis attacked Poland. What's more, Poland was also attacked from the SU (strangely enough that wasn't enough reason for the Western allies to declare war on the SU, too).
On Franco ... some numbers ...

Mycernius said:
Thanks for the numbers on Franco, but I could only seem to come up with the 40 000 figure on most places I looked. It doesn't surprise, though, that he was responsible for more deaths........

Hi Mike!

I'm not surprised!

Discussing numbers like casualties (or anything else) with regard to the Spanish Civil War becomes somewhat ?giffy?h. Spain was the only Fascist dictatorship to survive 1945 (by many ... some thirty) years ... and many statistics were altered, covered up, hidden or denied until forgotten by all.
Essentially one has to rely upon authorative sources, but at the same time accept that there is a degree of ?geducated estimation?h in many of those figures. However, using several sources, the base source being Hugh Thomas' authoritative ?gThe Spanish Civil War?h (My ?gBible?h on this subject .... !), we can find the following – bear in mind that my last post mentioned more than deaths alone:


i)Directly due to combat: Nationalist – Approx. 90,000

ii) Republican – Approx. 110,000

iii)Murders/Executions behind the lines: Nationalist – Approx. 75,000

iv) Republican – Approx. 55,000

v)Air raids: An allowance (not verified) of approx.10,000.

vi)Malnutrition and disease attributable to the war – estimated at 25,000.

vii)Executions/Murders subsequent to the war, but attributable to it – 100,000 (... there must have been some authentication for that one !)

Total Deaths – perhaps 465,000 (give or take a few .... )

(If we take the ?gofficial?h (Spanish Government ?) figure of 40,000 – then approximately 36 people per day died from all causes attributable to the war .... heck! The United States is possibly matching that figure in Bagdhad, right now! I can't believe it.)


For each of the above – allow perhaps two parents and one sibling (who might have been on the other side ...!) or wife or girlfriend and/or children. Say, 1,395,000 folks.

Permanent Loss of Population:

Republicans who left the country as refugees and never returned – approx. 300,000

... at this point I will stop, without getting into the disasterous effect of the SCW on the economy of the country, the loss of jobs, impoverishment of working class society, loss of civil liberties etc. etc. etc.

No wonder Spain didn't ?gtake part?h in WWII – it couldn't afford it, and internally ... the whole damned thing would have flared up again! But we all know where Franco's heart lay .... he equipped a whole division and sent his Falangist volunteers to Russia Waffen SS uniforms! And if you were escaping from occupied Europe, Spain was not always the best ?gneutral?h territory to head for during the war either. If you were Jewish, Communist an ex-Republican Spaniard ... or just weren't wearing the right colored socks ... you could end up in a concentration camp ... and/or get sent back! (And we haven't counted the deaths attributable to that ...!)

And as Mycernius states, Franco provided (covert) U-boat facilities and even (covert) air bases for Germany's use during WWII.

When I was younger, I always used to wonder what so many British tourists saw that was so attractive about Spain .... I don't think they cared ..........

I'm rambling now. Sorry folks! ... but the Spanish Civil War is a little ?ghobby-horse?h of mine. A study of it would be good for younger folks ... it helped to shape the world we live in today. Trust me!

Apologies for rambling, but ... "Non Pasaran!"

Indeed an interesting and informative thread. I think it well balances the 'Greatest Contribution' threads while at the same time, avoids generalizations in that it points to the served rather than the servers.

Well, I thought about it. . . honestly, and just couldn't help but think that as far as the adjective 'infamous' goes--famous in a negative manner--Hitler would be my vote. It seems that on the international scale, over the time that has passed since WW II, that name comes up more often than not.

We would seldom hear or read someone being called, or compared to anyone other than, Hitler. It has happened even, saddly, on the forum before.
Hitler and art

When I was in highschool we did a project on Hitler and I've always wonder what will happen if he would just become an artist.... As a young boy, Hitler loved to spend his time drawing pictures of houses and buildings in the small town he lived in. One thing remarkable about Hitler is his abilit to look at a building for a minute and then later draw a detail sketch of it. When he noticed this talent of his, he dreamed of becoming a painter. It has been estimated, that if Hitler would have had a chance to study art, he could have had a decent career as a painter, or even a notable career as an architect – and even better; the world would have been saved from many evils.

Here are some of his paintings.
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Mao or Stalin because of the higher death toll, but I will go for Mao as he effectively destroyed the biggest part of the cultural and historic heritage of the Chinese civilisation.
Whoa, only two people voted for Stalin? WTF?:shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:
Stalin is the most "evil" man in world history! Hitler was evil, but he was only evil to those who he thought were "demonic" and "beastly" or weren't of his own. Hitler would never kill people he knows and respects, even if they messed up (he would at worse fire them). Hitler at least cared for a few people (close officials, Eva Braun, mother, other relatives, allies) as well as non-Jewish Germans (please note I am not apologizing for anything Hitler dead, I'm just trying to show that there is no comparison to Stalin).
Stalin has killed more people in pure genocide and indiscriminately killed. It didn't matter who you were, even if you glorified Stalin you can be labeled as a threat and put to death. Stalin killed all his close friends and evidence shows he even killed his wife too. He let his son rot in a Nazi prison. He literally didn't care about ANYONE! Stalin even killed his police chief! He hated his parents. Although I don't blame him for hating his dad, his hate for his mom had no need.
Mao did many similar things, but he learned it from Stalin. During WWII his Maoist philosophy was still in its infancy and copied many of the purge ideas of Stalin.
I cannot stress how much no one (except maybe Mao) comes close to how cold-hearted and brutal Stalin was to ANYONE!
It goes like this;
1. Stalin
big gap here
2. Mao
big gap here
3. Hitler
big gap here
4,5,6, everyone else.
How come Saddam isn't in that list? How about Kim Jong II and maybe even Fidel Castro?

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