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Posts Tagged ‘Dictators and Killers’

Josef Mengele

Posted by eGZact on November 1, 2007

AKA ‘Angel of Death’.

Country: Germany.

Kill tally: Directly responsible for the deaths of thousands at Auschwitz concentration camp.

Background: Following the First World War, the Treaty of Versailles penalises the defeated Germany, annexing land, imposing large war reparations, limiting the size of the German Army and blaming Germany and Austria-Hungary for starting the conflict. The new German Government, a coalition of left-leaning and centrist parties, attempts to rebuild the country but faces opposition from the right and extreme left. The instability is exacerbated by the failure of the domestic and global economies.

Adolf Hitler’s National Socialist (Nazi) Party exploits the situation, advocating national pride, blaming the Treaty of Versailles, the left, and Jews for the political turmoil and claiming to have a solution to the economic crisis. The Nazis reach a position from which they can seize power on 30 January 1933 when Hitler is appointed chancellor. More background.

Mini biography: Born on 16 March 1911 in Günzburg, Germany. His upper middle-class family are the proprietors of machine tools business. He is the eldest of three sons.

1930 – After finishing his schooling he studies philosophy at the University Munich, obtaining his degree in 1935, before going on to study medicine at the University of Frankfurt am Main, where he concentrates on physical anthropology and genetics. In 1931 he joins the Stahlhelm (Steel Helmets), an extreme right-wing and antisemitic organisation.

1933 – The Nazis reach a position from which they can seize power on 30 January when Hitler is appointed chancellor. Germany’s last election until after the Second World War is held on 5 March. Though the Nazis win only 44% of the vote Hitler persuades the Reichstag to pass the Enabling Law, allowing him to govern independently of the parliament for four years.

Hitler is now the Führer, the dictator of the fascist Third Reich, an empire where the individual belongs to the state, and where the state is fully controlled by the Nazis. Read the rest of this entry »

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Slobodan Milosevic

Posted by eGZact on October 29, 2007

AKA ‘Butcher of the Balkans’.

Country: Serbia.

Kill tally: Up to 230,000 killed and three million displaced.

Background: The southern Slavic states of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Macedonia begin to merge as a single nation following the First World War. But the legacy of a 400-year occupation by the Islamic Ottoman Empire and traditional tension between Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians frustrate attempts for unity. Following the Second World War, Yugoslav communists led by Marshal Josip Broz Tito take control of the government, declaring the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia on 29 November 1945.

The veneer of Yugoslav stability begins to crumble when Tito dies on 4 May 1980. The prosperous northern states of Croatia and Slovenia start to agitate for autonomy. Macedonia and the Muslim majorities in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Serbian province of Kosovo repeat the call. Serbia has political power under the federation and does not want change. The poorer southern state of Montenegro supports the centralised federation and backs Serbia. More background.

Mini biography: Born on 20 August 1941 in Pozarevac, 60 km southeast of Belgrade, in Serbia, Yugoslavia. He is the second son of a former Orthodox priest from Montenegro and a Serbian communist schoolmistress. Both parents commit suicide, his father in 1962, 15 years after abandoning the family to return to Montenegro, and his mother in 1973. An uncle, his mother’s brother, also takes his own life.

While attending high school in Pozarevac Milosevic meets his future wife, Mirjana Markovic. A doctrinaire Marxist who comes to be known as the ‘Red Witch’ and the ‘Lady Macbeth of the Balkans’, Markovic has family connections to the upper echelons of the Tito government. She will be a driving force behind her husband. The couple marry in 1965. They will have two children, Marija and Marko. Read the rest of this entry »

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Adolf Hitler

Posted by eGZact on October 28, 2007

AKA ‘Der Führer’ (The Leader).

Country: Germany.

Kill tally: Directly responsible for the deaths of over 46 million Europeans as a result of the Second World War.

Background: Following the First World War, the Treaty of Versailles penalises the defeated Germany, annexing land, imposing large war reparations, limiting the size of the German Army and blaming Germany and Austria-Hungary for starting the conflict. The new German Government, a coalition of left-leaning and centrist parties, attempts to rebuild the country but faces opposition from the right and extreme left. The instability is exacerbated by the failure of the domestic and global economies.

Mini biography: Born on 20 April 1889 in Braunau am Inn, Austria, into a lower middle-class family of peasant origins. His father, a customs official, is 23 years older than his mother, a domestic servant.

Hitler is dominated by his father and spoilt by his mother. His father dies in 1903, his mother in 1907. He has one half-brother, one half-sister, and one full-sister. In his youth, Hitler dreams of becoming an artist.

1903 – Following his father’s death, Hitler leaves school.

1907 – He goes to Vienna, the capital of Austria, where he attempts to pursue his dream of becoming an artist. However, he has only limited talent and is unable to gain admission to the Academy of Fine Arts, failing the entrance examination twice. In 1908, following the death of his mother, he moves to Vienna to live. Read the rest of this entry »

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Saddam Hussein

Posted by eGZact on October 27, 2007

Full name Saddam Hussein al-Majid al-Tikriti. AKA ‘Great Uncle’, AKA ‘Lion of Babylon’, AKA ‘Lion of Iraq’, AKA ‘Beast of Baghdad’. Saddam translates to ‘One Who Confronts’.

Country: Iraq.

Kill tally: Approaching two million, including between 150,000 and 340,000 Iraqi and between 450,000 and 730,000 Iranian combatants killed during the Iran-Iraq War. An estimated 1,000 Kuwaiti nationals killed following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. No conclusive figures for the number of Iraqis killed during the Gulf War, with estimates varying from as few as 1,500 to as many as 200,000. Over 100,000 Kurds killed or “disappeared”. No reliable figures for the number of Iraqi dissidents and Shia Muslims killed during Hussein’s reign, though estimates put the figure between 60,000 and 150,000. (Mass graves discovered following the US occupation of Iraq in 2003 suggest that the total combined figure for Kurds, Shias and dissidents killed could be as high as 300,000). Approximately 500,000 Iraqi children dead because of international trade sanctions introduced following the Gulf War.

Background: Following the First World War, Iraq is placed under British mandate. Iraqi nationalists, who believed their support for the British during the war would be rewarded with independence, rebel. Complete independence is finally granted in October 1932. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mao Tse-Tung

Posted by eGZact on October 26, 2007

AKA Chairman Mao, AKA ‘The Great Helmsman’. (Tse-Tung can also be spelt Zedong. Translated the name means ‘To Shine on the East’.)

Country: China.

Kill tally: 14 to 20 million deaths from starvation during the ‘Great Leap Forward’. Tens of thousands killed and millions of lives ruined during the ‘Cultural Revolution’.

Background: The Chinese begin to emerge as a distinct civilisation around 2500 BC. China develops as an imperial power in 221 BC when rival states are unified under the First Emperor. The following 2,000 years will see a succession of dynasties, although strict cultural traditions will gradually suffocate innovation and development. The increased influence of Western powers during the 19th Century and expansionary incursions by the Russians and Japanese further weakens the imperial system, which is also faced with growing internal dissent.

The republican revolution begins among discontented army units in Wuchang in Hubei Province on 10 October 1911 and quickly spreads. By late November 15 of country’s the 24 provinces have declared their independence. On 12 February 1912 the last Manchu emperor, the child Puyi, abdicates. On 10 March Yuan Shikai, the commander-in-chief of the Imperial Army, is sworn in as provisional president of the Republic of China at a ceremony held in Beijing.

Mini biography: Born on 26 December 1893 in the village of Shaoshan in Hunan Province, in China’s south. His family are prosperous peasant farmers. He has two younger brothers and one sister.

Mao lives with his mother’s family in a neighbouring village until he is eight. He then returns to Shaoshan to begin his education. When he is 10 he runs away from school. Following his expulsion from at least three other schools, his father refuses to continue to pay for his education. Read the rest of this entry »

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Benito Mussolini

Posted by eGZact on October 26, 2007

AKA ‘Il Duce’ (The Leader).

Country: Italy.

Kill tally: Over 400,000 Italians killed during the Second World War. At least 30,000 Ethiopians killed during Italian occupation of Ethiopia.

Background: The factious Italian confederation emerges from the First World War on the side of the victorious Allies and with its eastern African colonies in Eritrea and Somalia in tact. But serious economic problems plague the state. Inflation escalates and unemployment climbs. The political climate is also destabilised as left and right groups from around the country resume their struggle for influence.

Mini biography: Born on 29 July 1883 near Predappio in the Forli Province of Romagna, in northeastern Italy, into a working class family. His father is a blacksmith, his mother a school teacher.

1901 – After a difficult childhood during which he is twice expelled from schools for attacking fellow students but easily passes his exams, Mussolini obtains a teaching diploma and works for a year as a schoolteacher at Gaultieri, northeast of Parma, until he is dismissed.

1902 – By now a committed socialist, he emigrates to Switzerland, where he gains a reputation as a journalist, public speaker and political agitator. He is arrested and imprisoned several times. Read the rest of this entry »

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Joseph Stalin

Posted by eGZact on October 25, 2007

AKA ‘Koba’, AKA ‘Uncle Joe’. Stalin translates to ‘Man of Steel’.

Country: Former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR – Soviet Union).

Kill tally: Approximately 20 million, including up to 14.5 million needlessly starved to death. At least one million executed for political “offences”. At least 9.5 million more deported, exiled or imprisoned in work camps, with many of the estimated five million sent to the ‘Gulag Archipelago’ never returning alive. Other estimates place the number of deported at 28 million, including 18 million sent to the ‘Gulag’.

Background: The vast Russian Empire is thrown into turmoil in March 1917 after Tsar Nicholas II abdicates and the Imperial Government is replaced by a Provisional Government led by moderate socialist Aleksandr Fyodorovich Kerensky.

The Bolsheviks, a network of communists headed by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin and inspired by the writings of Karl Marx and Fredrick Engels, are opposed to the Provisional Government’s plan to establish a bourgeois democracy in Russia. They seize government in a coup d’état staged on 6 November, the so-called ‘Bolshevik Revolution’. (By the old Julian calendar the coup took place on 24 October and is therefore also known as the ‘October Revolution’.)

Civil war follows as the anticommunist ‘White Army’ battles the communist ‘Red Army’. Read the rest of this entry »

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