History has shown that man has the power to do anything, and being unimaginably evil is no exception. But whether it's Adolf Hitler's persecution of the Jews or Osama Bin Laden's 9/11 terrorist attacks, people forget that at one point in their lives, they were merely innocent children.
It's a disturbing truth, but one which is worth bearing in mind when questioning the actions of history's most derided people. And whether they were cold killers or arriviste dictators, they all started life the same way we did. They played with their toys, hugged their mothers, and they probably didn't judge people based on who they were.
With that in mind, here are 10 well-known childhood photos of some of history's most maligned figures.
1. Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler would lead the Nazi party for 11 years, and in that time, his racist, nihilistic and authoritarian regime would be responsible for millions of deaths, with those of the Jewish faith suffering most.
However, the ruthless dictator was born into a middle-class family and had an upbringing far removed from the brutal antics that would characterise his reign as leader of the Third Reich. In fact, as well as singing in his local choir, an 8-year-old Hitler is even reported to have dabbled with the idea of priesthood.
2. Osama Bin Laden
As much as he'd have had you believe, Osama Bin Laden wasn't born into an impoverished family high in the mountains. He was actually born into an extremely wealthy Saudi family who had a history of doing deals with various American business owners, including the former one-term American president, George H.W. Bush.
With a fortunate and privileged upbringing, it's even more surprising that Osama Bin Laden decided to resent the West the way he did.
3. Kim Jong-il
The late North Korean tyrant was born into riches and even received his degree in Malta, which is ironic considering he always wanted North Korea to remain as isolated and homogenous as possible.
Responsible for one of North Korea's worst famines, not to mention withholding basic rights from citizens, Kim Jong-il's policies fitted well with his creepy appearance, an appearance which, even in his earlier years, appeared ominous.
4. Joseph Stalin
Joeseph Stalin didn't persecute members of a single religion, but he did adopt a nihilistic approach to his rule and killed anyone who disagreed with him and is believed to have claimed more than 50m people according to the British historian Norman Davies.
Like Hitler, Stalin also entertained the idea of priesthood and even trained as one before converting to atheism in his last year.
5. Ted Bundy
Ted Bundy was an American serial killer and rapist who was responsible for the deaths of at least 30 women, though criminologists and detectives believe the figure to be higher.
Sentenced to death for his crimes and killed by electric chair at Flordia State Prison in 1989, Ted Bundy's crimes are considered the most horrific in American criminal history.
6. Dr. Josef Mengele
Between 1943-1945, Dr. Mengele was the chief physician for the Nazis at Auschwitz and his cruel experiments on the thousands imprisoned there quickly became the stuff of nightmares.
Intent on carrying out Hitler's wishes of a master Ayrian race, he performed all kinds of horrific experiments with little regard for the inmate's well-being and would rarely ever use anaesthesia or antiseptic.
He escaped to Brazil after WWII ended and despite an international manhunt, was never caught.
7. Timothy McVeigh
With terrorist attacks proliferating since the tragic events of 9/11, you could be forgiven for forgetting about the 1995 bomb that went off at Oklahoma's Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.
The attack, orchestrated by the American, Timothy Mc Veigh, would kill 168 people and injure a further 600.
8. Anders Behring Breivik
Anders Behring Breivik was responsible for the deaths of 77 people- 69 of them children- following the successful detonation of a carb bomb in a nearby summer camp. After the bomb, the far-right sympathiser then killed others with a handgun before being apprehended by officers.
Reasoning the attacks when being interviewed by police, the serial killer said that he wanted to raise awareness to his manifesto, which expressed disdain for Muslims, feminists and multiculturalists.
9. Mao Zedong
Responsible for more deaths than any other known dictator, Mao Zedong's reign of terror from the years 1949-1976 resulted in the deaths of well over 70m people- more than both Hitler and Stalin combined.
His disastrous Great Leap Forward Policies were blamed for the high number of fatalities, policies which aimed to promote greater levels of collectivism within agriculture but instead led to severe food shortages and one of the worst famines in human history.
Coupling his ill-judged economic reforms with the genocide of millions of his people, some historians believe the dictator caused the death of over 70m people.
10. Heinrich Himmler
After a succession of promotions, Heinrich Himmler was charged with overseeing the infamous concentration camps.
Due to the role his position dictated, which included supervising the gassing of prisoners and working others till they dropped dead, Himmler is considered one of the Holocaust's primary perpetrators.