“Crazy” is a very vague word. It can refer to someone mentally ill, utterly evil or just plain ridiculous. Whatever your definition of this word is, here are the top ten craziest leaders in world history.
10. KIM JONG IL (North Korea)
For many people, his name suits him well. Kim Jong Il is really as ill as any leader can get. The current ruler of North Korea, he succeeded his father and the founder of North Korea, Kim Il-sung. He did not just replace his father, he proclaimed himself “Eternal President.” He has been consistently criticized by many contemporary leaders and international organizations for his lack of commitment to make the peninsula free of nuclear weapons.
The country also holds large concentration camps where 50,000 people including women and children who are accused of political crimes are being held. Violations of human rights are being reported left and right — murdering babies and enslaving inmates.
While his country is suffering, he enjoys a very luxurious lifestyle. He boasts North Korea’s finest wine cellar, containing 10,000 bottles of expensive wine. He also purchases bottles of Hennessy Cognac worth $700,000 every year. He had also spent more than $20 million on 200 Mercedes Benz S500 sedans added to the country’s pile of 7,000 Mercedes. He is also a huge movie fan with a collection of over 20,000 tapes.
Craziest quote: “National defense is the sacred duty of the young and all other people. “
Craziest moment: He showed off his country’s nuclear power by conducting two rounds of missile tests on July 5, 2006. The tests received immense negative reactions from the international community. But hey, it actually worked for him! Haha. Clever.
9. CHARLES VI THE FOOLISH (France)
Some people think they are fragile. Some people think they are transparent. But no person in his right mind would think that he is made of glass. Charles VI the Foolish was driven mad by a tragic incident called “Ball of the Burned,” where countless knights and ladies got roasted to death. The king’s life was spared by the heroic Duchess of Berry. Since then, the king became very extremely violent, lashing out at any person who came near him.
Then, he started believing that he was made of glass. He had thick iron bars inserted into his clothes to avoid “shattering.” And because his movements were restricted because of his “fragile nature,” he completely forgot about hygiene. He became so filthy that his body was infested with lice, pushing his wife Isabeau to embark upon lengthy affairs one after another. His reign was regarded as the lowest point of the history of France.
8. IVAN THE TERRIBLE (Russia)
Ivan IV was the first ruler of Russia to take the title of Tsar. Also known as Ivan the Terrible, this ruler is one of the most vicious mass murderers ever to live. In 1570, strongly believing that the elite of the city of Novgorod was planning to defect to Poland. he led an army and built walls around the city so that people could not escape. He would release his wrath by forcing 500 to 1000 people to be gathered and had them tortured and massacred in front of him and his son. This would happen every single day. In 1581, his daughter-in-law had a miscarriage after she was beaten by Ivan for wearing immodest clothes. This caused his son to engage in a heated argument with him. You wouldn’t want to argue with Ivan.
So what happened with the son? Let’s just say that he didn’t come out of the room alive after being stricken by his dad with a pointed staff.
Craziest quote: “To shave the beard was a sin that the blood of all the martyrs could not cleanse.’“
Craziest moment: The daily massacre of Novgorod.
7. ADOLF HITLER (Germany)
Adolf Hitler’s rise was a nightmare to the rest of the world. To many, this all-powerful Fuehrer was the incarnation of evil. Compared with him, other leaders like Franco and Mussolini looked novices when it comes to bringing terror to the world. Humanity sank to the abyss when he rose to power. His policies and ambitions of racial subjugation and territorial conquest had brought too much destruction and death to tens of millions of people. He ordered the Holocaust, the most well-known genocide in history, killing more than six million Jews just for being Jewish. Even with that fact alone, it is clear how sick and crazy this ruler was.
Craziest quote: “I do not see why man should not be just as cruel as nature.”
Craziest moment: The Holocaust.
6. JOSEF STALIN (Soviet Union)
Josef Stalin was the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. During his reign, Ukraine suffered from a widespread famine. It was so great that many had considered it to be an act of genocide on the part of the government. The total number killed in that period alone is said to have reached 10 million. The famine was not caused by any natural disaster or economic crisis. It was caused by direct administrative and political decisions. Stalin also ordered the killings of any person who was considered an enemy of the state. All in all, the total number of casualties that Stalin’s reign produces ranges from 10 million to 60 million. Others claim it was even more. His spot on this list is not because of any mental illness but sheer cruelty.
Craziest quote: “Death is the solution to all problems. No man - no problem.”
Craziest moment: The famine he imposed on Ukraine was sick enough. But it was just the tip of the iceberg.
5. POL POT (Cambodia)
Prime Minister of Cambodia from 1976 to 1979 and leader of the Khmer Rouge, Pol Pot is Southeast Asia’s version of Mao, Hitler or Stalin. Pol Pot almost completely ruined Cambodia’s culture by murdering the intellectuals in the country. Those who were just wearing glasses would be murdered. He had his own people massacred at a rate twice as fast as Hitler’s Nazi killed Jews. And it wasn’t just simple murders. He allotted and set up killing fields were people would be tortured then murdered.
During his reign, disease spread and starvation continued to send people to their agonizing death. Cambodians were living in absolute horror day and night. All these killed two million Cambodians. That’s one-third of the country’s population. Yes, Stalin, Mao and Hitler ordered the killings of much more people but given a longer term, Pol Pot would have exceeded their records.
Craziest quote: “I want you to know that everything I did, I did for my country.” Pffft. My ass.
Craziest moment: Every single moment of his reign.
4. VLAD THE IMPALER (Wallachia)
Vlad the Impaler, more popularly known as Dracula, was a prince known for killing people by impalement. But it wasn’t just impalement he was fond of. He also used several other forms of torture including disembowelment, flaying, burning, strangulation and boiling. The prince tortured thousands of people as he feasted while being surrounded by impaled corpses on stakes. He ordered the killing of every person in the city of Amlas. That’s around 20,000 people including women and children. He liked cutting off noses and ears, too.
He was particularly mad at boyars because it had been a pattern in history that boyars overthrew the ruling prince. Because of that and the fact that his father was assassinated by a boyar, he invited the boyars to his home and after a feast, he had the old ones impaled and the young ones enslaved. Once, he also invited the poor and sick of Wallachia to his home in Tirgiviste for a feast. After everyone ate and drank, he had the entire hall set on fire, killing everyone in it.
3. IDI AMIN (Uganda)
This Ugandan ruler executed 9000 soldiers from his own army during his first year of power. That’s two-thirds of the entire army force of the country. Who in his right mind would incapacitate his OWN military force? In 1975, he smugly declared himself to be “President for life.” That same year, he also staged a publicity stunt for the media, forcing white residents of the country’s capital city Kampala to carry him while he was sitting on a throne.
He also forced them to recite a loyalty oath and kneel before him. He also had the decapitation of the country’s political prisoners and broadcast the entire event on TV. He specified that the victims should be in white so everyone could easily see the blood.
Aside from that, he announced that he had defeated the British and wanted him to be called the “Conqueror of the British Empire.” How crazy is that?
Craziest quote: “I am the hero of Africa.“ Really, now?
Craziest moment: In 1972, he expelled 40,000 to 80,000 Pakistanis and Indians from the country after claiming that he had received “a message from God” in a dream.
2. SAPARMURAT “TURKMENBASHI” NIYAZOV (Turkmenistan)
Saparmurat Niyazov was the epitome of a deranged narcissist. First, he adopted the name “Turkmenbashi,” which literally means “leader of all ethnic Turkmen.” Next, like Amin, he declared himself “President for Life.” Then, he changed Turkmenistan into the unique country that it is now.
He changed the name of the airport in Asgabat, the capital city, to Turkmenbashi. He also replaced the name of the port city of Krasnovodsk to Turkmenbashi. Not only that, he also changed the name of many schools and streets to Turkmenbashi. A 670-pound meteorite came landing in the country; it was named Turkmenbashi. And believe it or not, he even renamed the month of January to, yep, Turkmenbashi. Gee, why are you not surprised?
He also ordered that his face be used as the logo of TV stations and appear on every bottle of vodka as well as every watch and clock in the country.
Apart from his self-aggrandizing changes, he also did several head-spinning, mind-blowing measures. In 2004, he had giant ice palace built in the middle of Karakum, the hottest desert in central Asia. The palace also included a bizarre zoo with penguins. Here are some more:
- He banned opera and ballet.
- Young men were forbidden to grow beard and long hair.
- News readers were prohibited to wear make-up.
- Libraries were ordered shut because, as Turkmenbashi cited, an average Turkmen does not read books.
- Listening to recorded music and radio was also banned, as well as lip-synching. Run for your life Ashlee Simpson!
Craziest quote: “Let the life of every Turkmen be as beautiful as our melons,”
Craziest moment: In 1994, he established a national holiday in honor of a melon. Today, the second Sunday of August is Turkmenistan’s National Melon Day.
1. CALIGULA (Ancient Rome)
Caligula loved his horse so much that he would give it jeweled necklaces and marbled stable complete with furniture and own servants. He also had a temple built and made his horse the priest of that temple.
He also had an insatiable sexual appetite. Particularly attracted to young women, he even committed incest with his three sisters.
In his first year of reign, he attended a wedding and ended up running off with the bride. He married her and divorced her after a few days. He also had intimate relations with men including Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, his sister Drusilla’s husband. Later, he forced Drusilla to marry him. Drusilla got pregnant but Caligula couldn’t wait to see his son so he disemboweled her to pluck the fetus from her womb. The next year, he had Lepidus murdered.
Caligula also demanded that he be honored and worshiped as a god. He erected a golden statue of his image and had it dressed the same way as he was every single freakin’ day. He also made himself believe that he was as great, if not greater than Jupiter. The actor Apelles was once asked who was greater between Jupiter and Caligula. If you’re wondering what Apelles’s answer was, well, Caligula had him chopped to pieces with a whip and praised his voice while he groaned. That wasn’t a pretty answer, no?
Craziest quote: To his senators, “My horse can do a better job than many of you men!”
Craziest moment: He proposed that his horse be one of the senators. Some claim that it wasn’t a proposal. He actually made his horse one of his senators.
Yes, the world is filled with crazy people. Some of them, we should be thankful for. To name some — Vincent Van Gogh, Virginia Woolf, etc. On the other hand, some will be remembered as utterly vicious and just plain crazy. You know which side the ten leaders above belong.