Dictatorships usually end in two ways: a child takes the place of the older dictator, or the people rise up and depose their tyrant after years of abuse. One of these ends happens much more often than the other. You can probably guess which one is more prevalent.
Sadly, many of the worst dictators in history did not reach the end they probably deserved. Many of them escaped unscathed. Those who did not escape justice met a pretty gruesome fate, but strangely satisfying (for the rest of us, not for them).
There is no reason to feel bad for these five people who met their creator, and we’ll tell you why.
1. Muammar Gaddafi
Gaddafi, no matter how you spell his last name, came from a poor Bedouin family in Italian-controlled Libya during WWII. He rose through the ranks of the Libyan Royalist Army until he ousted King Idris in 1969. After taking power, he transformed Libya into a repressive socialist state which assassinated its own people (as early as first day) until its own end in 2011.
He was captured by Libyan rebels while hiding in a drainage ditch. After dragging him outside and beating him, he was shot and a bayonet thrust where the sun does not shine. They put his bruised body in an ambulance bound for the rebel town of Misrata and he was never seen alive again. The next time her leftovers saw the light, they were in a mall’s freezer.
2. Benito Mussolini
The infamous ruler of fascist Italy during WWII came to power with the promise of restoring Italy into a new Roman Empire. Its aggressive foreign policy has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of people from bombings, wars and forced colonization. This all happened before Italy joined WWII. As we all know, the war did not go well for Italy, nor for Mussolini.
After more than 20 years in power, the invasion and bombardment of the country by the Allies, as well as the Nazi presence there, led the Italian government to remove him from his post as leader. Nazi Germany saved him and reinstated him for a year and a few changes, but Communist supporters caught up with the leader and his mistress as they tried to escape to Spain. They were both shot and hung upside down at a petrol station in Milan.
3. Anastasio Somoza Debayle
Somoza came to power in 1967 as head of the Nicaraguan National Guard, succeeding his brother, who had succeeded their father. Somoza’s reign was characterized by a sharp decline in literacy, economic power, malnutrition and severe repression. When a general uprising under the Sandinista front broke out, he only suppressed his people. He even killed an American journalist live on television.
The Sandinistas eventually prevailed and Somoza was forced to flee Nicaragua for Paraguay, taking with him much of the country’s wealth. Within a year, a seven-man Sandinista assassination squad killed Somoza’s car near his home with an anti-tank RPG and left the ex-dictator on fire in the car while shooting everyone down. .
4. NgÃ´ ÃÃ¬nh Diá»m
Diem came to power in Vietnam as the French were driven out. He was the last prime minister of the country until his split in 1955. In assuming the leadership of South Vietnam, he became ardently anti-Communist and anti-Buddhist, which led to widespread repression of the population. He and his family used the country’s wealth and military for their personal business.
His reign ended in 1963 after the ROV Army quickly overthrew the government and forced Diem and his brother to flee Saigon. They were captured and thrown into an armored personnel carrier, where they were bayoneted. Diem was shot in the head for good measure.
5. Nicolae CeauÈescu
CeauÈescu was the last communist ruler in Romania and his fate was probably the reason why there were no others. He seized power in 1965 and quickly made Romania the most repressive country in the entire Soviet sphere, which says a lot about his iron fist. Its economic policies of selling off virtually all of the country’s industrial and agricultural production have resulted in massive shortages and hunger, as well as large numbers of dying orphans. He is believed to have killed thousands of people in just over 30 years.
After a state visit to Iran in December 1989 that sparked a revolt in the town of TimiÈoara (which was quickly and violently suppressed), CeauÈescu returned and gave a catch-all Christmas speech. After an hour of speeches, the crowd turned on him and started a rebellion across the country. He and his wife were forced to flee, but were captured by the police, handed over to the army, tried and then executed.