Dictators and Despots Quiz


By: Staff

4 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

You there! Yes, you. If you know what's good for you, you'll take this quiz to learn about various practitioners of tyrannical, despotic and authoritarian behavior. Just try refusing.

First, let's define some terms. Which of these terms can mean a person granted total power in an emergency?

The original "dictators" were put in place during times of emergency.


Someone who holds unlimited and absolute power is called …

Despots and dictatorships are extremely similar, but we mostly call nonmonarchs dictators.


Who founded the National Fascist Party?

Before fascism began to be synonymous with dictatorial and despotic leaders, it was a movement that would (in theory) revolutionize government and the state.


Mussolini was aided by armed squads called …

The Black Shirts became the national militia.


What despot's name was originally Saloth Sar?

Pol Pot was his "revolutionary" name, but it has no actual meaning.


What was Pol Pot's original occupation?

One of the world's worst perpetrators of genocide was a high school civics teacher.


Who led the Chinese communist revolution?

Zedong took over leadership of China in 1928.


As part of Mao's "Great Leap Forward," people had to …

Again, one thing despots love: overthrowing traditional systems.


Mere hours after Bashar al-Assad's father(and Syrian president) Hafez al-Assad died, the legislature passed an amendment lowering the minimum age of the president to what?

It lowered the age to 34, , conveniently also Bashar's age. Bashar al-Assad then ran unopposed for president.


While Syria is majority Sunni, Assad's background is a sect of Shite Muslims called …

Only 10-15 percent of Muslims in Syria are Shiite, and Alawites make up a smaller segment.


What dictator's birth supposedly was accompanied by a double rainbow?

Hard to say whether Kim Jong Il's birth was accompanied by a double rainbow, but it seems unlikely.


Under Kim Jong Il's leadership in the late 1990s, hundreds of thousands of North Koreans died of …

Called the "arduous march," the famine was extremely severe.


Kim Il Sung was given what title after death?

Kim Jong Il was named chairman of the National Defense Commission after his father's death, but he added "supreme leader" to his resume later for good measure.


Idi Amin expelled whom from Uganda in 1972?

Any Asian who was not a nationalized Ugandan was ordered to leave the country in a move that wrecked the economy.


Amin used what to maintain his grasp of power?

Amin attacked ethnic groups and enemies.


How many people were estimated to have been killed under Amin's presidency?

About 300,000 people were killed. Amin's government was eventually overthrown in 1979.


Moammar Gadhafi overthrew the monarchy of what country?

Gadhafi ruled Libya for more than 40 years before being ousted in the Arab Spring.


Gadhafi's manifesto, which was required reading for Libyans, was called what?

"The Green Book" is a somewhat incomprehensible collection of Gadhafi's beliefs and ideology.


How long did Nicolae Ceausescu rule Romania?

Ceausescu was in power from 1965 until he was killed in a revolution in 1989.


What did Ceausescu outlaw?

He wanted to increase Romania's population, but maternal death rates skyrocketed, with 87 percent of them attributed to unsafe and illegal terminations.


Francois Duvalier held tyrannical power over Haiti for 14 years. What was his cute nickname?

It's a very sweet name for a guy who led the regime that killed an estimated 30,000 to maintain power.


After Duvalier's death, the "president for life" title went to …

Jean-Claude Duvalier, or Baby Doc, was Francois' son who took over the family dictatorship.


Ruhollah Khomeini became Iran's religious and political leader by what means?

Khomeini may have been violently opposed to opposition, but he was installed by a vote of the people.


The Komiteh was a government agency that roamed the streets enforcing what during Khomeini's rule?

The bands of men were looking for any infraction against Islamic law, including Western music or attending a party with alcohol present.


What other well-known dictator understood the importance of establishing a dictatorship within legal means?

Let's not forget that Hitler's Nazi Party won support through popular election.


Speaking of one of the world's most famous dictators, Hitler did try to foment insurrection during what event?

The Beer Hall Putsch, an unsuccessful 1923 attempt to seize power, led to a prison term for Hitler.


How many Russians died in a series of famines after Joseph Stalin instigated collectivization where farms were grouped together and owned by the state?

Estimates vary, but millions of Russians lost their lives.


Ivan the Terrible was the first what?

Ivan was born a prince but proved to be tyrannical and violent.


While Fidel Castro eventually became the leader of a one-party system in Cuba, he was initially given what title in the revolutionary government?

He was commander in chief. Manuel Urrutia was a moderate president, but Castro eventually took over as head of government.


Augusto Pinochet was responsible for more than 35,000 cases of torture during his time ruling what nation?

According to a National Commission on Political Imprisonment and Torture report, Pinochet committed many human rights abuses while ruling Chile, but died before he could be tried.


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