When it comes to world leaders who run a country, you would hope that the person in charge is a stable and responsible leader. While that is usually the case (or at least that’s what they want you to think), there are some leaders out there that have done some questionable, bizarre and even terrifying things.
We all know the election of Donald J Trump was controversial as this ‘stable genius’ did all manner of strange things during his presidency. However, there are some world leaders whose antics couldn’t be covered up or justified by even the greatest public relations manager or spin doctor. So, just how strange are the things these world leaders have gotten up to? Let’s find out.
1. Bob Hawke
This beloved world leader, who served as the 23rd prime minister of Australia from 1983 to 1991, certainly solidified the reputation that Australians REALLY loving their beer, and in record breaking fashion. After attending the University of Western Australia, Hawke went on to study as a Rhodes Scholar at the prestigious Oxford University in 1953.
While there, he achieved more than just graduating from this most famous of universities, he managed to get himself into the Guinness Book of World Records by managing to chug a yard of ale, around 2+1⁄2 imperial pints or 1.4 liters of beer in an astonishing 11 seconds.
He wasn’t done there, as well into his 80s, he was attending a cricket tournament known as The Ashes in 2012, where, live on television and in front of thousands of cheering spectators he chugged a beer in a matter of seconds. He did the exact same thing, live on television, at the same tournament in 2014, cementing his legacy as an Australian icon.
2. Nicolae Ceausescu
After ascending to the leadership of the Romanian Communist Party as general secretary in 1965, and then becoming a fully-fledged dictator by 1974, this world leader implemented some brutal reforms that were considered tough, even by Soviet bloc standards. After instituting an austerity policy that starved many Romanians, you can understand why he might be a little paranoid.
But he would take that paranoia to a whole new level when he convinced himself that somehow he would be assassinated by someone poisoning his clothing. So much so, that he kept a stockpile of suits, heavily guarded under lock and key to protect them from being contaminated. So serious was he about this threat that once he had worn a suit, it was taken away and burned!
3. Andry Rajoelina
After a political crisis and military-backed coup in 2009 forced then-president Marc Ravalomanana to resign, the reigns of power in Madagascar were handed to a charismatic 34-year-old politician and businessman, Andry Rajoelina, making him the youngest person to ever serve as an African president.
Although his entrepreneurial ambition and charisma saw him rise to the highest office in the land, how it all started is certainly unusual for any world leader. As a teenager, Rajoelina was a popular DJ, and it was the spinning of those turntables that gave him the money to enter the world of business and then politics. How many world leaders can boast to their supporters that they can get you on the dance floor with some banging tunes?
4. Muammar Gaddafi
The eccentric (that’s putting it mildly) and highly divisive Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi dominated Libya’s politics for four decades and fostered a cult of personality. Although that in itself is not unusual behavior from vain, self obsessed authoritarians, Gaddafi took his appearance VERY seriously.
This world leader was determined to promote an image of himself as a sex symbol, so he went to some bizarre levels to remain youthful. While getting plastic surgery is not exactly uncommon for people who want to fight the aging process, Gaddafi would undergo plastic surgery at his private underground bunker sometimes without anesthesia.
If that weren’t hardcore enough, he would also wash his hands in the blood of a freshly killed deer. He claimed that the warm blood of the deer has special healing qualities and would help him maintain his youth.
5. Mikhail Gorbachev
As the last ever leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev is rightly remembered as the man who paved the way for the end of communism. As a hugely respected and influential world leader, Gorbachev was given many prestigious awards including the Otto Hahn peace medal and the Nobel Peace Prize.
However, one award you wouldn’t associate with the former Soviet Premier, or any world leader for that matter, is the Grammy Awards. Well, believe it or not, he actually won a Grammy in 2014! He won in the category of Best spoken word album for children for his work on a recording of Peter and the wolf. He didn’t win the award just for himself, as he shared it with fellow voice actor and former president Bill Clinton.
6. Kim Jong-il
Before this tiny tyrant took over from his father, the North Korean dictator Kim Il-sung, he took it upon himself to create a North Korean film industry. Obsessed with cinema, he had a library of over 15,000 movies (ironically, mostly American movies), Kim jong-il pondered the best way to establish his burgeoning film industry, before settling on the perfect solution, kidnapping.
After penning the book ‘On the Art of the Cinema’ the world leader ordered his goons to head to their southern neighbors and abduct acclaimed South Korean film director Shin Sang-ok and his actress wife Choi Eun-hee to build his film industry. The two would be forced to make movies for Kim jong-il between 1978 and 1986, before managing to escape to the American embassy while in Vienna Austria under the pretense of being interviewed about their great successes in building the North Korean film industry.
7. William Lyon Mackenzie King
As the 10th prime minister of Canada for three non-consecutive terms, this world leader is best known for his leadership of Canada throughout the Great Depression and the Second World War and his significant role in laying the foundations of the Canadian welfare state. What is not as well known is the ‘friends’ he would confide in.
Described by his contemporaries as a rather cold and distant man, King kept rather unusual friends in the form of ghosts! Only coming out after his death, King was known to hold regular seances to seek advice from dearly departed friends and relatives, including his mother and his dogs. One of the more bizarre claims is that one of his most important confidants was none other than the great Leonardo da Vinci.
8. Napoleon Bonaparte
The infamous French military and political leader has earned his place in the history books as the first emperor of France and one of the world’s greatest military leaders. However, long before he would cement his place in history as a world-renowned military leader, he intended to become a writer. Not an unusual choice of career, and he did pen a book about the history of his birthplace of Corsica. What is lesser known is the second book he authored, a steamy romance novel.
In 1795, this world leader was introduced to his brother Joseph’s wife’s sister, Desiree Clary, and became enraptured by her. The two would briefly become engaged and Napoleon would write a somewhat exaggerated account of their love affair, adding a dash of betrayal and death to his novella titled Clisson et Eugénie. Napoleon’s fictionalized account of his love affair would only be published years after his death.
9. Saddam Hussein
Ruling Iraq with an iron fist from 1979 until his overthrow and capture by a US-led coalition in 2003, Saddam Hussein has rightfully earned his place in history as a brutal dictator who was responsible for horrific bloodshed. However, it was what he did with his own blood that got him a place on this list.
Although it is hard to verify this, the story goes that over a period of two years in the late 90s, this world leader had allegedly ordered that 50 pints of his own blood should be withdrawn and used to pen a copy of the Islamic holy book, the Qur’an. The task was given to renowned Islamic calligrapher Abbas Shakir Joudi, and he did indeed produce the book Hussein had commissioned. How much of it contained the Iraqi dictator’s blood, if any at all, is still debated to this day.
10. Abraham Lincoln
Our 16th president of the United States, Honest Abe, is rightly remembered as one of America’s greatest heroes due to his role as savior of the Union and emancipator of enslaved people. However, the Civil War could have probably ended if Abe had just challenged Jefferson Davis to a wrestling match. Why? Because it turns out Lincoln was an extremely skilled wrestler.
This world leader was so skilled that some accounts claim that he took part in 300 matches and was only defeated once. While this might sound like a tall tale, the National Wrestling Hall of Fame took it so seriously that Lincoln was posthumously inducted in 1992.
Want to know more crazy but true stories about Honest Abe? Check THIS out!
Did you know about all of these interesting facts regarding world leaders? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!
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