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30 Worst Atrocities of the 20th Century
The Hemoclysm ^ | Last updated June 2000 | Matthew White

Posted on 10/31/2001 2:45:33 PM PST by vannrox

30 Worst Atrocities of the 20th Century

The Hemoclysm

"I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it." -- Jack Handy

Year by year death toll of the century's atrocities:


The 30 or so worst bloodlettings of the Twentieth Century have (probably) been...


Death Toll Event Dates
1 50,000,000 Second World War (Some overlap w/Stalin. Includes Sino-Japanese War and Holocaust. Doesn't incl. post-war German expulsions) 1937-45
2 48,250,000 China: Mao Zedong's regime. (incl. famine) 1949-76
3 20,000,000 USSR: Stalin's regime (incl. WW2-era atrocities) 1924-53
4 15,000,000 First World War (incl. Armenian massacres) 1914-18
5 8,800,000 Russian Civil War 1918-21
6 4,000,000 China: Warlord & Nationalist Era 1917-37
7 3,000,000 Congo Free State [n.1] 1900-08
8 2,800,000 Korean War 1950-53
9 2,700,000 2nd Indochina War (incl. Laos & Cambodia) 1960-75
10 2,500,000 Chinese Civil War 1945-49
11 2,100,000 German Expulsions after WW2 1945-47
12 1,900,000 Second Sudanese Civil War 1983-
13 1,700,000 Congolese Civil War 1998-
14 1,650,000 Cambodia: Khmer Rouge Regime 1975-79
15 1,400,000 Afghanistan: Civil War 1980-
15 1,400,000 Ethiopian Civil Wars 1962-92
17 1,250,000 Mexican Revolution 1910-20
18 1,250,000 East Pakistan: Massacres 1971
19 1,000,000 Iran-Iraq War 1980-88
19 1,000,000 Nigeria: Biafran revolt 1967-70
21 800,000 Mozambique: Civil War 1976-92
21 800,000 Rwandan Massacres 1994
23 650,000 French-Algerian War 1954-62
24 600,000 First Indochina War 1945-54
25 500,000 India-Pakistan Partition 1947
25 500,000 Indonesia: Massacre of Communists 1965-67
25 500,000 Angolan Civil War 1975-94
25 500,000 First Sudanese Civil War 1955-72
25 500,000 Decline of the Amazonian Indians 1900-99
30 365,000 Spanish Civil War 1936-39
31 350,000 Somalia: Civil War 1991-
? Unknown North Korea: Communist Regime 1948-

The totals here are subject to the usual margins of error. They also contain all varieties of atrocity: battle deaths, civilian casualties of war, democide, famine caused by the economic disruption, etc.

Although each of these is a distinct event, many are closely inter-related. Stalin (#3), Chiang Kai-shek (#7) and Mao Zedong (#2) were major players in World War Two (#1), which was clearly a sequel to World War One (#4). The Russian Civil War (#5), which paved the way for the rise of Stalin, was an integral outgrowth of World War One. The anarchy that swept China following the overthrow of the monarchy brought Chiang to power, put Mao in conflict with him, and encouraged the Japanese invasion. The fall of the Japanese Empire following World War Two left Korea up for grabs (#8), and Mao's army was among those who tried to grab it.

It's very possible, therefore, that future historians will consider these events to be mere episodes of a single massive upheaval -- the "Hemoclysm", to give it a name (Greek for "blood flood") -- which took the lives of some 155 million people. All in all, over 80% of the deaths caused by Twentieth Century atrocities occurred in the Hemoclysm.

It divides neatly into two parts -- Eastern and Western. The Eastern Hemoclysm began with the overthrow of the Manchu dynasty in China in 1911 leading to 38 years of Civil War and a Japanese invasion. In 1949, the bloodbath of the interregnum gave way to a greater bloodbath as the Communists consolidated power under Mao (who died in 1976). When seen as a continuum, this phase of Chinese history was a 65 year nightmare which took some 75 million lives.

The first sparks of the Western Hemoclysm were the Balkan Wars (1912-13) which quickly ignited the First World War. This brought down four of the most powerful monarchies in Europe, leading to a power vacuum which was eventually filled by the Nazis in Germany and the Communists in Russia, who came into conflict during the Second World War. The death of Stalin in 1953 finally extinguished the Western Hemoclysm after the loss of some 80 million lives.

If it weren't for the fact that the Second World War is considered to be a single event, we could probably consider the Eastern and Western halves of the Hemoclysm to be distinctly unrelated pieces of history.

A series of events which may or may not be related to the Hemoclysm are the wars and massacres which ravaged Indochina from 1945 to 1980. The first of these (1945-54) was obviously spawned by the Second World War, and we can easily trace a chain reaction which led from this to the next and the next (#23-#9-#11); however, each subsequent war took it farther and farther from the central events of the Hemoclysm, so I have not included the 5 million Indochinese dead in the total.


Proportionality

If we're going to be pointing fingers of blame for the savageness of the Century -- and you know you want to -- raw numbers are probably not enough. There have been plenty of episodes of concentrated brutality that don't show up on the list above simply because the affected population is so small. Meanwhile, a major reason that Russia and China stand so prominently at the top of the list is that they have so many potential victims to begin with. Therefore, I've taken all the episodes of mass killing of the 20th Century and divided them by the population of the country that suffered the losses.

The 25 highest percentages of national populations killed during periods of mass brutality:

If you look carefully at the chart with the intention of determining which race, religion or ideology has been the most brutal, you'll see a pattern emerge. It's quite a startling pattern, so I'd rather you find it by yourself. Go back and take a second look. I'll meet you at the next paragraph after I explain that, honestly, I did not manipulate the data. I simply took the most likely death toll (military and civilian) among the natives of each country (such as all the South Vietnamese -- ARVN soldiers, civilians and Viet Cong -- who were killed in the Vietnam War), and divided it by the population of that country (prewar). I didn't take, say, only the military dead, or only the victims of genocide. I didn't arbitrarily decide to split one horror into two in order to make each seem smaller (the only borderline case is that I calculated the Russians dead from WW2 and Stalin separately. A judgement call.), or eliminate countries of a certain size. No, I had no predetermined point to prove. I did the math and let the chips fall where they would. (Here are the raw numbers if you want to check behind me.)

That's why I was so startled to discover that there is absolutely no pattern to the chart. If I had simply picked 25 countries out of a hat, I could not have gotten a more diverse spread than we've got here. We've got rich countries and poor countries; industrial and agrarian; big and small. We've got people of all colors -- white, black, yellow and brown -- widely represented among both the slaughterers and the slaughterees. We've got Christians, Moslems, Buddhists and Atheists all butchering one another in the name of their various gods or lack thereof. Among the perpetrators, we've got political leanings of the left, right and middle; some are monarchies; some are dictatorships and some are even democracies. We've got innocent victims invaded by big, bad neighbors, and we've got plenty of countries who brought it on themselves, sowing the wind and reaping the whirlwind. Go on -- take a third look. Find any type of country that is not represented among the agents of a major blooding, and probably the only reason for that is that there aren't that many countries in that category to begin with (There are no Hindu or Jewish countries on the chart, but then, there's only one of each on the whole planet, and they're both waiting in the wings among the next 25.).

In a way, it's rather disheartening to realize that we can't smugly blame the brutality of the century on the Communists, or the imperialists, or the Moslem fundamentalists, or the godless. Every major category of human has done it's share to boost the body count, so replacing, say, Moslem rulers with Christian rulers, or white rulers with black rulers, is not going to change it at all.


to Table of Contents

Last updated June 2000


TOPICS: Editorial; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS:
I found this a real good read in support of the 2nd Amendment.
1 posted on 10/31/2001 2:45:33 PM PST by vannrox (MyEMail)
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To: vannrox
Kasey Kasem notes that the election of Bill Clinton is at #31 and rising fast(I'd use top 40 lingo and say "with a bullet", but I don't want a visit from the secret service or any of the couple of hundred Million Moms).
2 posted on 10/31/2001 2:50:49 PM PST by Diddle E. Squat
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To: Diddle E. Squat
Meanwhile, a major reason that Russia and China stand so prominently at the top of the list is that they have so many potential victims to begin with.

I think there's a flaw with his reasoning here. He seems to think that a country with a population of 10 that kills 5 of its own is worse than a country of 100 that kills 49 of its own. Just because there are more victims is irrelevant; it's body count that matters, and the Commies win out, hands down.

3 posted on 10/31/2001 3:01:46 PM PST by Rightwing Canuck
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To: vannrox
Sorry, but I see a pattern here. Plenty of killing in countries ruled by communist parties, dictators, tyrants, military juntas, atheists, and fuehrers, but none in countries ruled by a God-fearing people.
4 posted on 10/31/2001 3:02:10 PM PST by copycat
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To: Rightwing Canuck
Oops replied to wrong person. Sorry.
5 posted on 10/31/2001 3:03:15 PM PST by Rightwing Canuck
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To: vannrox
That's why I was so startled to discover that there is absolutely no pattern to the chart.

Au contraire. Re-examine your data: there are NO democracies among the top 25 countries. Therefore U.S. foreign policy of the last 50 years, that of encouraging democracy, has been vindicated.

6 posted on 10/31/2001 3:03:57 PM PST by Forgiven_Sinner
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To: Diddle E. Squat
I see a pattern in the last chart. I count 8 of the 25 as African, 6 of the 25 as Eastern European(7 if you count Germany), 3 Middle Eastern, 3 Asian. But if you draw a belt from Germany to Vietnam, you get 12 of the 25. So seems to me that Africa and this Eurasian belt(don't forget China and Russia get up there in raw numbers), account for the vast majority of these atrocities. Or in other words, places less impacted from Judeo-Christian influences.

But I guess that's not the answer I'm supposed to come up with.

7 posted on 10/31/2001 3:05:31 PM PST by Diddle E. Squat
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To: vannrox
Note how the genocides occur almost exclusively in nations marked by godlessness or Islam? Where God isn't, Death is.

I'm not ascribing this necessarily to religion per se, but to the morality that derives from religion. And in the Peace Sweepstakes, it would seem that Christianity is emerging as the top contender.

8 posted on 10/31/2001 3:08:03 PM PST by IronJack
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To: vannrox
Read Rudy Rummel's "Democide" web page (you can find it via a Google search). This guys numbers go pretty light on the communists. Rummel shows higher numbers attributable to them.
9 posted on 10/31/2001 3:12:15 PM PST by Wonder Warthog
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To: vannrox
and people think muslims are barbarians.
10 posted on 10/31/2001 3:18:10 PM PST by gfactor
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To: vannrox
and people think muslims are barbarians.
11 posted on 10/31/2001 3:18:17 PM PST by gfactor
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To: vannrox
Rachel Carson has arguably caused more human deaths than any other person in history. Her book, Silent Spring, created an anti-DDT frenzy among radical environmentalists, resulting in the banning of the pesticide, and the deaths of millions who died of malaria throughout the world.
12 posted on 10/31/2001 3:28:27 PM PST by Conservative
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To: Diddle E. Squat
"Or in other words, places less impacted from Judeo-Christian influences."

Brother Andrew has suggested a pattern. He has said that every people group that Christians refused to take the gospel to has (and will) turned brutality toward Christain groups and/or nations. Notice that currently, the gospel is limited in it's spread into muslim nations. FWIW

13 posted on 10/31/2001 3:36:10 PM PST by woollyone
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To: vannrox
Bump.
14 posted on 10/31/2001 7:04:29 PM PST by Denver Ditdat
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To: vannrox
I found this a real good read in support of the 2nd Amendment."

Eloquent, relevant, and exact.

**bumped**

15 posted on 10/31/2001 7:27:05 PM PST by nicollo
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To: IronJack
Christianity went through its killing-spree period when the best weapons were pikes and matchlocks (the Thirty Years' War). The fanatics of the time did their best, but their best just doesn't stack up very well against the power of a modern industrial state.
16 posted on 10/31/2001 8:08:20 PM PST by steve-b
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Comment #17 Removed by Moderator

Comment #18 Removed by Moderator

To: vannrox
Then why does Hollywood make only “Holocaust” movies about mass killings?
19 posted on 10/31/2001 8:30:03 PM PST by Fred25
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To: steve-b
Oh, if we're recounting the history of Christian aggression, why stop with the Thirty Years' War? Why not trot out the Inquisition, the Crusades, and the Jesuit "invasion" of the New World?

All of which 1) took place a few hundred years ago, not yesterday; and 2) pale in comparison to the ongoing slaughter sponsored by godless communist regimes and the theocracies of Allah the Red-Handed.

20 posted on 11/01/2001 3:49:20 AM PST by IronJack
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To: vannrox
I found this a real good read in support of the 2nd Amendment.

But then, what isn't?

21 posted on 11/01/2001 4:09:23 AM PST by Mason
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To: hogwaller
I agree that humans are humans, ie evil; that's the premise of Christianity. Let's divide the slaughter between Christian involvement and no Christian involvement:

Non Christian:

USSR: Stalin's regime (incl. WW2-era atrocities) 20,000,000 (This doesn't seem to include the Ukranian political famine, which was 6-15 million by itself.)

First World War (incl. Armenian massacres 1-2 million) (WW I by itself could be considered a "Christian" war).

Holocaust: 6,000,000 various unwanted, mostly Jews.

Russian Civil War 8,800,000

China: Warlord & Nationalist Era 4,000,000

Congo Free State 3,000,000

Chinese Civil War 2,500,000

Second Sudanese Civil War 1,700,000

Congolese Civil War 1998- 14 1,650,000

Cambodia: Khmer Rouge Regime 1975-79 15 1,400,000

Afghanistan: Civil War 1980- 15 1,400,000

Ethiopian Civil Wars 1962-92 17 1,250,000

East Pakistan: Massacres 1971 19 1,000,000

Iran-Iraq War 1980-88 19 1,000,000

Nigeria: Biafran revolt 1967-70 21 800,000

Mozambique: Civil War 1976-92 21 800,000

Rwandan Massacres 1994 23 650,000

First Indochina War 1945-54 25 500,000

India-Pakistan Partition 1947 25 500,000

Indonesia: Massacre of Communists 1965-67 25 500,000

Angolan Civil War 1975-94 25 500,000

First Sudanese Civil War 1955-72 25 500,000

Decline of the Amazonian Indians 1900-99 30 365,000

Somalia: Civil War 1991- ? Unknown

North Korea: Communist Regime 1948-

Christian nation involvement

WW I - 15,000,000 I think the Christian nations must bear the blame for this one.

Korean War The North attacked the south and the world came to its defense.

2nd Indochina War (incl. Laos & Cambodia)

German Expulsions after WW2 I'm not familiar with this--were 1.7 million Germans killed?

Mexican Revolution 1910-20 18 1,250,000

French-Algerian War 1954-62 24 600,000

Spanish Civil War 1936-39 31 350,000

Conclusions: people are evil. Christianity seems to mitigate some of it. The death total and incident total seems less for the Christian nations.

22 posted on 11/01/2001 4:59:42 AM PST by Forgiven_Sinner
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To: vannrox
Funny, I thought global warming just had to be in there somewhere...
23 posted on 11/01/2001 5:07:43 AM PST by Mr. Bungle
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To: Diddle E. Squat
You beat me to it, I felt the re-election should be at least number 2.
24 posted on 11/01/2001 5:13:33 AM PST by cav68
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Comment #25 Removed by Moderator

To: Rightwing Canuck
I agree. It would seem that the author did in fact manipulate the data until he found a way to divert attention from the plainly obvious conclusion.
26 posted on 11/16/2001 1:26:59 PM PST by watchin
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To: hogwaller
I don't believe there's ever been a Buddhist war.

In the 1500s Japan was engulfed in war, and they were Buddhist at the time, I do believe, though whether competing strands of Buddhism were a component of the wars I am ignorant.

27 posted on 11/16/2001 8:20:26 PM PST by Rightwing Canuck
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To: Mr. Bungle
"Global warming" is just behind the unforgetable 'Clingon-Romulan War'...Good thing the 'Federation' stepped in or else this list would have been much worse...
28 posted on 11/16/2001 8:38:57 PM PST by F16Fighter
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To: vannrox
The degree to which socialism is actually carried out, regardless of the carrier belief which sustained it , predicts the death rate rather well. I suspect the degree to which capitalism and democracy is allowed to flourish would have an opposite correlation.
29 posted on 11/16/2001 8:50:57 PM PST by Nateman
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To: vannrox
I wonder why there is no account of the 1.5 Million Armenians (added to the several hundred thousand Greeks) exterminated in the Asia Minor Holocaust by the Turks between 1915-1923.
30 posted on 11/16/2001 9:12:13 PM PST by rightisright
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