Before Infamy: Childhood Photos of History’s Most Evil People


The faces of the world’s most evil people are often frozen in our imaginations at one particular age – the age when they first began to build their infamy, or the age when their infamy reached its height. But, what were they like before they became dictators, torturers, mass-murderers, cult-leaders, and serial killers? Who were they? Was their evil always there, lurking beneath the surface, or did it develop over time?

These are the pictures of 25 of the world’s most recognizable evil people…pictures of them before they lived in infamy. Were they always evil? Or was their something else at work? We’ll let you decide.

1. Saddam Hussein

Saddam Hussein is best known for his tyrannical presidential regime in Iraq from the 1960s to the early 2000s. His regime created decades of conflict between Iraq and the rest of the world. He helped develop Iraq’s first chemical weapons program, and was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.

Before that, however, he was born on April 28, 1937, to a shepherd who disappeared shortly before he was born. His older brother died from cancer. His mother was severely depressed, and was unable to care for him. She sent him to live with his uncle when he was three, and then when his mother remarried, he moved back in with her. His stepfather abused him horribly until he went to school in the 1950s.

Photo taken circa 1947, age 10 (approximately).

2. Joseph Stalin

Joseph Stalin was the Soviet dictator in the USSR after Lenin’s death. He forced Russia into such rapid industrialization, that famine ensued – killing millions of people while millions of others were sent to death camps under his regime.

He was born on December 18, 1879, in a Russian peasant village. He was bullied his entire childhood, and because of this he developed an inferiority complex and a cruel streak. He did well in his schooling. His mother wanted him to become a priest. Instead, he joined a secret group in 1898, where he met Karl Marx and Vladmir Lenin…and the rest is history.

Photo taken 1892, age 13.

1 of 3
Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse