The 7 Craziest Dictators In History

Published January 14, 2014
Updated November 7, 2023

Saddam Hussein’s Solid Gold Cache

Saddam Hussein

Source: NBC Chicago

The question of whether Saddam Hussein was insane will likely be debated by historians for many years. Former Iraqi official Tariq Aziz, once the foreign minister and deputy premier under Hussein, has gone on the record to say that the President of Iraq was mentally unstable when he decided to invade Kuwait in 1990.

Others would describe Hussein as a malignant narcissist, a personality disorder in which people afflictedare grandiose, self-centered, oversensitive to criticism and unable to feel empathy for others.

Hussein is said to have based his regime on the time when the Soviet Union’s government was ruled by Stalin, one of Hussein’s heroes.The two men never met, but some have observed that they look very similar, particularly in images when both have mustaches.


Saddam Hussein's Gold

Source: Wired

Among the more bizarre stories about Hussein that have surfaced since his defeat and death in 2003 was his decision to have large amounts of blood drawn so that he could have a Qur’an written with it. According to those involved with the macabre project, the leader had blood removed regularly over a two-year period. The result is 605 pages of the holy book transcribed with 27 liters of Hussein’s life force.

Another discovery that was more a testament to excess than insanity was Hussein’s collection of grenade launchers, pistols and assault rifles made from gold. No gold weapons of mass destruction were unearthed, however.


If you enjoyed this article on history’s most infamous dictators, check out our other articles on life inside North Korea and Pablo Escobar facts that will blow your mind!

Savannah Cox
Savannah Cox holds a Master's in International Affairs from The New School as well as a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, and now serves as an Assistant Professor at the University of Sheffield. Her work as a writer has also appeared on DNAinfo.
Savannah Cox
Savannah Cox holds a Master's in International Affairs from The New School as well as a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, and now serves as an Assistant Professor at the University of Sheffield. Her work as a writer has also appeared on DNAinfo.