What 25 major world leaders and dictators looked like when they were young

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Wikimedia

Sometimes it’s hard to imagine what politicians and dictators were like before they left their marks on the global stage.

We collected old photos of major leaders, past and current, to give a taste of who they once were.

Unfortunately, we were limited by photo availability, so not every major figure from the 20th and 21st centuries made it into the post.

Check the pictures out below.

Editor’s Note: This post was inspired by an earlier feature written by former Business Insider reporter Mike Bird.


Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in a military service uniform in an undated photograph.

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Wikimedia

Kim Il Sung, the former leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, as a 16-year-old in 1928. He joined a communist youth organization around that time and was arrested and jailed for activities with the group.

Source: Britannica


An undated photo of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman. He was first made deputy governor of Riyadh in 1954, at about age 19.

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Wikimedia

Source: Britannica


German Chancellor Angela Merkel with fellow Christian Democrat Lothar de Maiziere in 1990.

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Wikmedia

Russian President Vladimir Putin as a young child in Russia in the 1950s.

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Wikimedia, The Kremlin

Eight-year-old Justin Trudeau, future prime minister of Canada, feeds pigeons with his father, then prime minister Pierre Trudeau, in Venice in 1980.

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Massimo Sambucetti/AP

Joseph Stalin, who later became the leader of the USSR, in 1902, a few years after he dropped out from seminary school.

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Wikimedia

Future Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi appeared on Italy’s Ruota della Fortuna (Wheel of Fortune) in the early 1990s at age 19. He won the equivalent of tens of thousands of euros.

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Youtube/italfilmsubs

Former Cuban President Fidel Castro’s yearbook photo from 1945. The caption reads: “Distinguished student and a fine athlete. Very popular. Will study law and we have no doubt he will have a brilliant future.”

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Diario de la Marina/AP

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as a child, left, with his family in 1956. His father, Shintaro Abe, was foreign minister between 1982 and 1986.

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Wikimedia

A mugshot of Benito Mussolini, who later became the leader of the Italian Fascists, after his arrest by Swiss police in 1903.

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Wikimedia, via State Archives of the Canton of Berne

Aung San Suu Kyi, state counsellor of Myanmar, as a 6-year-old in 1951. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 but has since been criticized by rights groups over her failure to speak up for minority groups.

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Wikimedia via Freedom from Fear

Source: BBC


Dictator Adolf Hitler as a baby.

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Bundesarchiv

Queen Elizabeth II, right, practices bandaging with her sister, Margaret, who both joined the 1st Buckingham Palace Company of Girl Guides, in 1943. The two stripes on her uniform indicate that she’s patrol leader.


Pope Francis — back when he was still Jorge Mario Bergoglio — as a student, circa 1948-49.

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Wikimedia, Colegio Salesiano Don Bosco de Ramos Mejia

Former US President Bill Clinton on a pony near his childhood home in Arkansas.

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Jeff Mitchell/Reuters

British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, then president of the Oxford Union, speaks with Melina Mercouri, Greek minister for culture, in 1986.

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Brian Smith PN/Reuters

Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff, center, in an undated photo with her family. The Senate of Brazil suspended her powers and duties for up to six months in May 2016.

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Wikimedia via Biografia

Then Lt. Col. Hugo Chavez, center, walking with military intelligence officers after being arrested for trying to overthrow Venezuela’s government in a failed coup in 1992. He was elected president several years later.

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Andres Leighton/AP

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 1986, when he was the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations.

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Ed Bailey/AP

US President Barack Obama with his grandparents, Stanley Armour Dunham and Madelyn Dunham, in New York in the 1980s.

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Obama for America

Former US President Franklin D. Roosevelt with a bow and arrow, circa 1890.


Former US President George W. Bush served in the Texas Air National Guard from 1968 to 1973.

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Wikimedia

Nicolae Ceausescu, the former head of Romania’s Communist Party, as a 16-year-old, in 1934.

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Wikimedia

Mahatma Gandhi, right, with his brother Laxmidas in 1886.


And now check out …

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Wikimedia

22 brutal dictators you’ve never heard of