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here have been many attempts in history where different political leaders or people in high power tried to remove certain characters within the external environment in order to keep their dirty tracks clean without the possibility of having their dirty business reach out to the world.

The people that had been “removed” for the time were in most cases high ranking officers that knew everything about their leader or at least enough to have the whole population riot against them. The most interesting part in the process of removing such people was even removing them from public photos as if they never existed.

1. Nikolai Yezhov

Joseph Stalin and Nikolai Yezhov in 1937 (original) and next to it is a copy where Nikolai Yezhov had been removed from the picture after his assassination. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Nikolai Yezhov was promoted as the leader of the NKVD (Soviet Secret Police) between 1939 and 1940. This was a tense period within the Soviet political system, not only due to the Second World War but also due to the Great Purge coming to an end.

Nikolai Yezhov was assigned, just like the previous NKVD leader, to kill all of the other agents within the Soviet Secret Police at the order of Stalin as he felt frightened by the information these agents had about him.

After Yezhov followed his orders, Stalin had him killed, in a way beating the last nail in the coffin of Soviet secrets during the Great Purge. Western historians think that he “disappeared” as they believe the Soviet propaganda, but he was executed because Stalin didn’t even trust his own sons when it came to dirty business.

Stalin ordered that all of those who were executed within the NKVD had to be wiped from history, making sure that contemporary, as well as future generations, wouldn’t find out they even existed. They went so far as to not only delete Yezhnov from public pictures portrayed by the media but also remove any accounts and create rumors that he had betrayed the Soviet Union and allied with the fascists.

2. Qin Bangxian

Mao Zedong, right, known as Chairman Mao and founder of modern-day China had this image edited after he fell out with Po Ku, formerly left (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Qin Bangxian, better known as Bo Gu was the most important leader of the communist political party in China and quite a close acquaintance to Mao.

Due to some arguments regarding the military tactics used at the defense of Zunyi in 1935, Bo Gu was severely criticized for his major political mistakes and “replaced.”

Mao gave the order to not only have him executed and removed from all pictures but also to remind the Chinese population and the government that he had betrayed his country and joined the Chinese Nationalist Party.

3. Joseph Goebbels

Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels in 1937 (original) and a version where Goebbels was removed. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Known as Hitler’s right hand, he was always loved by his leader for his enthusiasm and fanaticism for fascism. Goebbels was designated as the head of Nazi propaganda in Germany, a role that ended up being very important towards the spread of fascism across Germany.

This meant that Goebbels had to understand Hitler’s vision as well as his ideology on how he wanted to control the German population with propaganda.

Although Hitler is notoriously known for removing people that he didn’t like, there is still a mystery surrounding what actually happened to Goebbels as well as why he was removed from the picture presented above from 1937.

Historians argue that during the last days of Nazi Germany Goebbels had doubts about Hitler as he knew that his denial would get everyone killed, so when he decided to run, he was executed due to Hitler being heartbroken by his right hand not believing in him.

Although, please take this with a pinch of salt as it is only an argument. All evidence does show that Gobbels had died inside the same bunker Hitler did so this picture is truly something that does not add up. Another plausible use of this picture was into making the allies believe that Gobbels was “taken out of the picture” for good as he played an important role during World War 2.

Nevertheless, this picture will probably remain a mystery in history.

4. Jang Song-Thaek

Jang Song-Thaek and his nephew Kim Jong Un in 2010 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

For something more recent we need to look at the case of Song-Thaek, uncle of the current dictator of North Korea, Kim Jong Un. Song-Thaek was more focused on following the ways of his brother Kim Jong-il, something that the new dictator didn’t agree with.

Although Kim Jong Un’s mentality drastically changed in the past few years, at the time, he was still considered quite young for his political position, and some of his choices were questionable at best. Seeing that his uncle didn’t agree with him, he had him tried by a special military tribunal and executed by a firing squad, although there are rumors that he was murdered by dogs.

After his execution, Kim ordered all the media outlets within North Korea to remove any sort of record about him, that includes any sort of pictures or information from history books.

Kim Jong Un seems to come the closest to deleting someone from history, although the western world has plenty of records and pictures of Song-Thaek, as we know, for North Korea, what is outside of their country does not really matter as no western information makes it past the border.

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