Who is the most successful conqueror in history

These are the 25 most ruthless leaders of all time

One man's hero is another's tyrant, according to a famous doctrine.

While we can argue with the validity and virtue of various political intentions, some other cold-hearted methods cannot be glossed over.

In the end, it makes no difference how a historian tries to interpret different actions - trying to build a tower made of living men piled on top of each other and cemented in with bricks is just brutal.

Business Insider compiled a list of the most ruthless leaders of all time - including women and men who used ruthless tactics to achieve their political and military goals.

All of the people on this list ruled before 1980 - none of them are alive anymore. The people are listed in chronological order.

These are the 24 most brutal leaders of all time

These are the 24 most brutal leaders of all time

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  • Qin Shi Huang

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  • Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (aka Caligula)

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  • Attila the Hun

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  • Wu Zetian

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  • Genghis Khan

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  • Tomas de Torquemada

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  • Timur (aka Tamerlane)

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  • Vlad III, Prince of the Wallachai (aka Vlad Drăculea or Vlad the Impaler)

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  • Tsar Ivan IV (aka Ivan the Terrible)

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  • Queen Mary I (aka Bloody Mary)

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  • Countess Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed (aka the Blood Countess)

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  • Maximilien Robespierre

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  • King Leopold II of Belgium

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  • Mehmet Talat Paşa

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  • Vladimir Lenin

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  • Benito Mussolini

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  • Joseph Stalin

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  • Adolf Hitler

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  • Khorloogiin Choibalsan

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  • Francisco Franco

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  • Mao Zedong

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  • Pole pot

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  • Idi Amin

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  • Augusto Pinochet

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