Saddam Hussein was influenced by a unique combination of people and events.
Saddam Hussein was born April 28, 1937 in the village of Ouja, near Tikrit in northern Iraq. He was born to a poor peasant family. His father was abusive and he was beaten many times and so Hussein ran away to live with his maternal uncle, Khairallah Talfah, who influenced Saddam's life tremendously. Several reports link Saddam to the murders of a schoolteacher and a cousin during these early years.
In 1957 Saddam joined the Ba'th Party at the age of 20. Also in this year Saddam was denied admission to the prestigious Baghdad Military Academy, most likely because he hadn't finished high school.
Later in 1958 he was a complicity in an assassination attempt against Abdul Karim Qasim, Prime Minister of Iraq. The attempt failed, it was planed so that when Qasim got in his car they would ambush him and fire on the car. Using powerful AK 47 the bullets went right through the car and they were basically firing on each other. Abdul was not hurt and got away safely, but two of six assassins died and Saddam fled to Egypt with a bullet wound in his leg. He spends the next four years in Egypt and completes high school.
February 1963-November 1963 First Ba'th regime in Iraq. Saddam, a mid-level operative, takes no part in the coup. After the collapse of the Ba'th regime in November 1963, Saddam takes charge of organizing a Ba'th security organ, "Jihaz Haneen." This becomes the core of the dreaded security apparatus after 1968. .
July 17-30 1968 The 2nd Ba'th regime takes over. A bloodless rebellion by senior Arab Nationalist officers and retired Ba'thist officers overthrows the regime of President Abd al-Rahman Aref. Saddam is the Deputy Secretary-General of the Ba'th party at the time, but plays a small role in the rebellion. Ahmed Hassan Al-Bakr, a relative of Saddam, becomes president and chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC).