Everyone has a past—a fact that’s easy to forget with high-profile figures such as world leaders. But like the rest of us, these icons were once youthful and nowhere near as powerful as they were (or are) today. The following pictures of young world leaders before they were famous show that they weren’t unlike their constituents; they too posed for school portraits, went on field trips, and played sports. From these unassuming images, it can be hard to believe that the men and women seen here would someday hold large influence over a country.
Knowing the reputation of people like Joseph Stalin, Vladimir Putin, and Richard Nixon, seeing them as youths is almost surreal. No one looks benevolent nor menacing in these photos. Rather, they’re seen here as everyday people who don't yet know the great power they will later hold. And more importantly, the millions of folks that will be affected by just one of their decisions.
With their power and reputation, it's easy to forget that world leaders were once young.
Donald Trump at New York's Military Academy
Vladimir Putin in 1966
Angela Merkel in 1973
George Bush at Yale University sometime between 1964 to 1968
Princess Elizabeth II of England at 18 years old in 1945
These pictures of world leaders young give us insight to who they were before fame.
Bill Clinton meeting President John F. Kennedy in 1963
Nelson Mandela in 1961
Kim Jong-il with his father Kim Il-sung and mother Kim Jong-suk in 1945
In each photo, these youths appear as everyday people who don't yet know the great power they'll soon hold.
Fidel Castro in 1955
John F. Kennedy at age 10 in 1927
Pope Francis as a boy
Hilary Clinton around 1969
14th Dalai Lama
Richard Nixon wearing his football jersey during the 1930s