10 Real Life Historical Figures With The Highest Kill Counts

These ruthless dictators capture the most morbid part of the human imagination.

Stalin kill count
Public Domain

Throughout history, there have been a number of men and women who have obtained absolute power over a significant portion of the population. In some cases, these individuals have used their authority to make the world (or at least the region they rule) a better place.

However, all too often, we have seen world leaders prescribe horrific acts of murder and, in some cases, even genocide, once they come into power. For a variety of reasons, these types of ruthless dictators seem to capture the most morbid part of the human imagination. After all, it's hard for most of us to even fathom the thought of being responsible for the death of millions.

Nearly all of the leaders we are about to see are associated with the demise of at least a million people. The exact number of deaths associated with these characters is debatable, as is often the case with murder on this scale.

That being said, everyone can agree that the ten merciless rulers we're about to look at all amassed kill counts that can only be described as horrifying.

10. Suharto

Stalin kill count
State Secretariat of the Republic of Indonesia / Public domain

Suharto was a former general who would go on to become the second President of Indonesia. He was responsible for a military coup that resulted in the ousting of the nation's first president, Sukarno.

To put it mildly, Suharto was not fond of communism. During his rise to power, the ex-general was a key figure in a communist purge that would come to be known as the Indonesian mass killings of 1965-66 (aka the 1965 Tragedy). Among those killed were ethnic Abangan Javanese, Gerwani women, and (alleged) Chinese leftists.

In total, it is estimated that between 1 and 3 million people died as a result of the purge.

During his (roughly) 33 year rule, events like the Indonesian occupation of East Timor and the Papua conflict also significantly added to Suharto's body count.

In total, it is believed that the former military leader turned president is responsible for the deaths of between 900,000 to 3.4 million people.

In 1996, Suharto died of heart failure at the age of 86.


From 1999-2003 Jacques performed on the Florida independent pro wrestling circuit. He also has an amateur wrestling background and currently holds a certification in Krav Maga. Jacques graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2003, with a bachelor's degree in Political Science. He currently resides in Chicago, Illinois. Follow him on twitter @goodeals79.