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Posts Tagged ‘dictators’

Prince Yasuhiko Asaka and Matsui Iwane

Posted by eGZact on January 21, 2008

Kill tally: 200,000-350,000 Chinese killed during the ‘Rape of Nanking’.

Background: The final collapse of the Chinese Imperial Government at the start of the 20th Century brings in a 30-year period of instability to China during which the nationalist Guomindang (Kuomintang or KMT – the National People’s Party, or Nationalist Party), headed by Chiang Kai-shek, battle the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), headed by Mao Tse-Tung, for ultimate control.

Across the East China Sea, Japan becomes progressively more nationalistic and militaristic, seeing in China an opportunity to expand on territory occupied in Manchuria (now Dongbei Pingyuan, north of Korea) and Shandong Province (across the Yellow Sea from Korea) after the First Sino-Japanese War (1894-95) and during the First World War.

The Japanese military is seeped in the tradition of unquestioning loyalty to the emperor. Commands from superior officers are regarded as equivalent to commands from the emperor himself. Military leaders have direct access to the emperor and the authority to transmit his pronouncements directly to the troops. The emperor is considered divine and the seat of ultimate power.

Mini biography: Born on 2 October 1887 in Kyoto, Japan. He is a member of the Japanese imperial family and uncle-in-law to Emperor Hirohito.

1908 – He graduates from the Japanese military academy and is commissioned into the army as a sub-lieutenant.

1920-23 – He travels to France to further his military studies.

1927-29 – Japanese troops are sent to China to obstruct attempts by the Guomindang to unify the country. In June 1928 officers in the Guandong Army, the Japanese Army unit stationed in Manchuria, begin an unauthorised campaign to secure Japanese interests and precipitate a war with China. Both the Japanese high command and the Chinese refuse to mobilise. Read the rest of this entry »

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Ferdinand Marcos

Posted by eGZact on December 21, 2007

Country: Philippines.

Kill tally: No reliable figures but the Philippines democracy and economy ruined and possibly thousands killed.

Background: Spain colonises the Philippine archipelago during the 16th Century, naming the islands after King Philip II and establishing Manila (on the northern island of Luzon) as the capital in 1571. The indigenous population is converted to Roman Catholicism, although Muslim Filipinos in the south and upland tribes in the north resist any challenge to their traditional religious beliefs.

When the United States takes control of the archipelago following the 1898 Spanish-American War independence activists wage a guerrilla war against the new colonialists. The rebels are brought under control and political reforms introduced as the country prepares for independence.

The self-governing Commonwealth of the Philippines is established in 1935. Full independence is scheduled for introduction after a further 10 years, but the timetable is interrupted by the Japanese occupation of the country during the Second World War. Independence is finally achieved on 4 July 1946, though as the date would imply, the US retains significant influence.

Mini biography: Born on 11 September 1917 in Sarrat in the llocos Norte Province at the northwestern tip of Luzon. Both his parents are teachers. After completing his schooling, Marcos enrols to study law at the University of the Philippines.

1939 – In April Marcos is arrested in connection with the 1933 murder of a political rival of his father and has to complete his law degree while in custody. He stands trial in September and is and found guilty. Read the rest of this entry »

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Rafael Trujillo

Posted by eGZact on October 29, 2007

Full name Rafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina. AKA ‘El Jefe’ (the chief), AKA ‘El Chivo’ (the goat), AKA ‘Chapita’ (bottle top).

Country: Dominican Republic.

Kill tally: Around 20,000 Haitians killed in 1937. (Estimates of the number of Haitians killed vary from several hundred to 30,000.) An unknown number of Dominican dissidents and opposition figures killed during his 31-year reign.

Background: The Dominican Republic (República Dominicana) is established in February 1844. The Republic occupies the eastern two-thirds of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. Haiti occupies the western third.

Despite initial optimism a tradition of dictatorial “strong-man” (or “caudillo”) rule comes to be entrenched in the Republic, reaching its zenith 100 years later during the rule of Rafael Trujillo.

At the same time, longstanding tensions between the Dominican Republic and Haiti will assume a growing racial component as the fairer-skinned Dominicans come to feel threatened by and at the same time superior to their darker-skinned neighbours.

At the start of the 20th Century the United States begins to take a greater role in Dominican affairs, culminating in a US occupation that begins in May 1916 and continues to July 1924, when Horacio Vásquez Lajara is inaugurated as president and control of the country returns to the Dominican parliament. Read the rest of this entry »

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Kim Il Sung

Posted by eGZact on October 29, 2007

AKA ‘Great Leader’, AKA ‘Eternal Leader’, AKA ‘Suryong’ (Supreme Leader).

Country: North Korea.

Kill tally: About three million killed in the Korean War. Between 600,000 and one million North Koreans needlessly starved to death due to the economic legacy of Kim’s regime. (Some reports claim that as many as three million starved.)

Background: From an early date Korean political culture is characterised by isolationism and a strong desire to maintain the country’s independence. China, though treated with deference, is kept at arm’s length and relations with other neighbours are discouraged. Among Westerners Korea comes to be known as the ‘Hermit Kingdom’.

Nevertheless, the country is unable to stop encroachment by neighbours. Korea is made a Japanese protectorate in 1905 and is turned into a full colony of the growing Japanese Empire in 1910. By the 1940s there are about 700,000 Japanese in Korea, mostly working in government service. While the Japanese policies result in substantial economic growth, Koreans become second-class citizens within their own land.

Mini biography: Born on 15 April 1912 in Mangyongdae in the Pyongyang Province of northern Korea into what was probably a middle-class family. His birth name is Kim Song Ju. He is the eldest of three sons. Kim’s younger brother dies early. His youngest brother will serve with him until the mid-1970s. Kim’s father is a Christian and Kim attends church throughout his teens.

1919 – On 1 March a group of 33 intellectuals call for independence from Japan, sparking nationwide mass protests that continue for months despite harsh repression by the Japanese (the so-called ‘March 1st Movement’). The movement fails to win independence for Korea but does cause the Japanese to reform their administration. Read the rest of this entry »

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Francisco Franco Bahamonde

Posted by eGZact on October 29, 2007

AKA ‘El Caudillo’ (The Leader).

Country: Spain.

Kill tally: Tens to hundreds of thousands. One source says 500,000 killed in the Spanish Civil War, another claims two million executed alone. More sober estimates for executions put the figure at 35,000 killed either summarily or after a hasty court martial. According to military historian Antony Beevor, the figure for non-combatants and surrendered troops killed by Franco’s Nationalists during the war “must exceed 100,000 and may be closer to 200,000.”

Background: Spain becomes a republic in 14 April 1931 when King so XIII abdicates and goes into exile. However, the country is unable to maintain any political stability. A provisional administration is replaced first by a republican left government in October 1931 then a conservative government in November 1933 and finally by the Popular Front, a coalition of socialists and left republicans, in February 1936. Spanish conservatives become concerned that the Popular Front will turn the country into a communist state. The right-wing National Bloc openly appeals to the military to save Spain. The military acts in July 1936, sparking the Spanish Civil War.

Mini biography: Born on 4 December 1892 in El Ferrol in Galicia, northwestern Spain. His full name is Francisco Paulino Hermenegildo Teódulo Franco y Bahamonde. Franco’s father is a paymaster in the Spanish naval administrative corps. His mother is a pious and conservative upper middle-class Roman Catholic.

1907 – At the age of 14 Franco enters the Infantry Academy at Toledo, graduating three years later and receiving his first commission as second lieutenant. Read the rest of this entry »

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Radovan Karadzic, Ratko Mladic

Posted by eGZact on October 28, 2007

Country: Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Kill tally: Up to 200,000.

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.

Mini biography: Radovan Karadzic, Ratko Mladic.

Radovan Karadzic: Born on 19 June 1945 in Petnijca, a village near Savnik in the mountains of Montenegro. In 1960 he moves to Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia, where he studies medicine at the University of Sarajevo, graduating as a physician and psychiatrist. He also publishes poetry and books for children. In 1985 he is sentenced to three years imprisonment for embezzlement and fraud but never serves his time.

Ratko Mladic: Born on 12 March 1943 in the municipality of Kalinovik in Bosnia-Herzegovina. He pursues a military career in the Yugoslav People’s Army, rising to a command post. 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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Nicolae Andruta Ceausescu

Posted by eGZact on October 27, 2007

AKA ‘Genius of the Carpathians’.

Country: Romania.

Kill tally: An estimated 5,000 killed during the 1989 revolution that ousted Ceausescu. Possibly thousands of deaths per year during the 1980s from deprivations caused by an unnecessary austerity program. Tens of thousands more lives ruined during Ceausescu’s reign.

Background: Romania achieves independence in 1878, becoming a constitutional monarchy. The Romanian Communist Party is banned in 1924 because of its ties with the Soviet Union but continues to operate underground. The country is occupied by the Germans during the Second World War and falls behind the Soviet Union’s ‘Iron Curtain’ at war’s end. With Soviet backing the Romanian Communist Party takes control of the government. The king is forced to abdicate. On 13 April 1948 the government proclaims the Romanian People’s Republic and adopts a Stalinist constitution.

Mini biography: Born on 26 January 1918 in the village of Scornicesti, 130 km west of Bucharest in southern Romania. His father is a peasant. When he is 11 Ceausescu moves to Bucharest, the nation’s capital, to work as a shoemaker’s apprentice. 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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