Saddam which means "he who confronts" was born in northern Iraq on April 28, 1927. He died on December 30, 2003. He graduated from primary school at the age of 18 and attempted to enter the military. He could not pass the test, but wore military uniforms later in life. Saddam joined the Baath Party at the age of 20 and lead his schoolmates in rioting. In 1959 he was assigned to the assignation squad but failed to assassinate the prime minister of the then ruling party in Iraq. He was forced to flee Iraq and exiled himself to Egypt where he lived for three years.
When the Baath Party overthrew the government in Iraq, Saddam was allowed to return from exile. The Baath Party remained in power for six months; Saddam was arrested, spent 18 months in prison until he escape two years later. Civil unrest brought the Baath Party back in power and Saddam was made vice-president in 1968. He officially took over the presidency on July 16, 1979.
He ruled Iraq with a heavy and brutal hand and used terror and fear to keep his power. From 1980 to 1988 Saddam's Iraq and Iran continually fought for power of the Middle East. Saddam used chemical weapons against his own people, the Kurds in March of 1988. In1990 Saddam invaded Kuwait. The United States responded by defending Kuwait in a military action (The Persian Gulf War).
March 19, 2003 the United States invaded in as search for weapons of mass destruction and to over through Saddam's regime. Saddam fled Baghdad, but on December 13, 2003 US forces found him hiding in a manmade hole. Saddam was put on trial, sentenced for his crimes against his people and executed by hanging.