I wouldn't say Hitler was the worst, the Jews have always been persecuted, by Antiochus Epiphanes, for example. Stalin was a horrible man forcing communism upon millions; but you are basically holding a contest of who is the worst. The winner: all of them, any person doing one bad thing is just as bad as a man who does a thousand.
Much the the candidates seem to be based on body count. If that's the case Mao or Stalin should win. If the worst tyrant ever is to be decided based on actions taken during peacetime or wartime. Stalin still wins, his reign saw a level of terror so high that even in death people still feared him. For everything he did from the planned starvation of his people to the gulags, Stalin should be considered the worst tyrant ever.
I think he was far worse than Hitler as Hitler was able to accomplish some good for Germany and the world as a whole. Under his leadership German scientist spearheaded research on cancer and public health issues.
Comments: You all raise an excellent point. Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot and Mao were all horrible,I agree, but what about Lord Vlad Tepes III, AKA Vlad the Impaler, the man upon whom Bram Stoker's Dracula was based? If we're talking of body counts, I know not the exact number he killed, but he killed them quite horribly and cruelly.
Such as located under the Atrocities section of the page on him located here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vlad_III_the_Impaler#Atrocities
|Vlad III Ţepeş has been characterized by some as exceedingly cruel. Impalement was Ţepeş's preferred method of torture and execution. His method of torture was a horse attached to each of the victim's legs as a sharpened stake was gradually forced into the body. The end of the stake was usually oiled, and care was taken that the stake not be too sharp; else the victim might die too rapidly from shock. Normally the stake was inserted into the body through the anus and was often forced through the body until it emerged from the mouth. However, there were many instances where victims were impaled through other bodily orifices or through the abdomen or chest. Infants were sometimes impaled on the stake forced through their mother's chests. The records indicate that victims were sometimes impaled so that they hung upside down on the stake.|
As expected, death by impalement was slow and painful. Victims sometimes endured for hours or days. Vlad often had the stakes arranged in various geometric patterns. The most common pattern was a ring of concentric circles in the outskirts of a city that constituted his target. The height of the spear indicated the rank of the victim. The corpses were often left decaying for months.
I'm going to have to go with Vlad the impaler too. From what I learned in history, he also had dinner while watching these acts. Almost as if there screams were music to his ears. As for Hitler, he was brought into a time of desperate means, and as for the extremely suffering German people, they just needed a scapegoat, lets pick the Jews, they are always the ones being messed with in history. Stalin, he was mean, but he wasn't a sadist. Yes he killed even his own Comrades, but at least it was mostly by gunshot. And as for Qin Shihuang, he just sounds like one of those spoiled kids that want everything and doesn't care how he gets it. Somehow he managed to get all the power, which definitely wasn't great.
Plato and Aristotle define a tyrant as, "one who rules without law, looks to his own advantage rather than that of his subjects, and uses extreme and cruel tactics -- against his own people as well as others".
"He who recognizes no humanity in others, loses it in himself."
-- author unknown
I would say Attila the Hun, he was more barbaric in nature and he was a leader who did not fear battle. He would be the first to chop a head with his own weapon before ordering someone else to do it. Yes he may not have an impressive kill count but he surely was feared in a good portion of the world.