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By R.J. Rummel

Note that I completed this study in November 1993 while still engaged in collecting democide
data. Not all the democide totals I mention here may be complete, therefore. For final figures on
communist megamurderers, see my summary Table 1.2 in my Death by Government. For all
final estimates, see the summary table in Statistics of Democide

With the passing of communism into history as an ideological alternative to democracy it is time
to do some accounting of its human costs.

Few would deny any longer that communism--Marxism-Leninism and its variants--meant in
practice bloody terrorism, deadly purges, lethal gulags and forced labor, fatal deportations, man-
made famines, extrajudicial executions and show trials, and genocide. It is also widely known
that as a result millions of innocent people have been murdered in cold blood. Yet there has been
virtually no concentrated statistical work on what this total might be.

For about eight years I have been sifting through thousands of sources trying to determine the
extent of democide (genocide and mass murder) in this century. As a result of that effort** I am
able to give some conservative figures on what is an unrivaled communist hecatomb, and to
compare this to overall world totals.

First, however, I should clarify the term democide. It means for governments what murder means
for an individual under municipal law. It is the premeditated killing of a person in cold blood, or
causing the death of a person through reckless and wanton disregard for their life. Thus, a
government incarcerating people in a prison under such deadly conditions that they die in a few
years is murder by the state--democide--as would parents letting a child die from malnutrition
and exposure be murder. So would government forced labor that kills a person within months or
a couple of years be murder. So would government created famines that then are ignored or
knowingly aggravated by government action be murder of those who starve to death. And
obviously, extrajudicial executions, death by torture, government massacres, and all genocidal
killing be murder. However, judicial executions for crimes that internationally would be
considered capital offenses, such as for murder or treason (as long as it is clear that these are not
fabricated for the purpose of executing the accused, as in communist show trials), are not
democide. Nor is democide the killing of enemy soldiers in combat or of armed rebels, nor of
noncombatants as a result of military action against military targets.

With this understanding of democide, Table 1 lists all communist governments that have
committed any form of democide and gives their estimated total domestic and foreign democide
and its annual rate (the percent of a government's domestic population murdered per year). It also
shows the total for communist guerrillas (including quasi-governments, as of the Mao soviets in
China prior to the communist victory in 1949) and the world total for all governments and
guerillas (including such quasi-governments as of the White Armies during the Russian civil war
in 1917-1922). Figure 1 graphs the communist megamurderers and compares this to the
communist and world totals.

Of course, even though systematically determined and calculated, all these figures and their
graph are only rough approximations. Even were we to have total access to all communist
archives we still would not be able to calculate precisely how many the communists murdered.
Consider that even in spite of the archival statistics and detailed reports of survivors, the best
experts still disagree by over 40 percent on the total number of Jews killed by the Nazis. We
cannot expect near this accuracy for the victims of communism. We can, however, get a probable
order of magnitude and a relative approximation of these deaths within a most likely range. And
that is what the figures in Table 1 are meant to be. Their apparent precision is only due to the
total for most communist governments being the summation of dozens of subtotals (as of forced
labor deaths each year) and calculations (as in extrapolating scholarly estimates of executions or

With this understood, the Soviet Union appears the greatest megamurderer of all, apparently
killing near 61,000,000 people. Stalin himself is responsible for almost 43,000,000 of these.
Most of the deaths, perhaps around 39,000,000 are due to lethal forced labor in gulag and transit
thereto. Communist China up to 1987, but mainly from 1949 through the cultural revolution,
which alone may have seen over 1,000,000 murdered, is the second worst megamurderer. Then
there are the lesser megamurderers, such as North Korea and Tito's Yugoslavia.

Obviously the population that is available to kill will make a big difference in the total democide,
and thus the annual percentage rate of democide is revealing. By far, the most deadly of all
communist countries and, indeed, in this century by far, has been Cambodia under the Khmer
Rouge. Pol Pot and his crew likely killed some 2,000,000 Cambodians from April 1975 through
December 1978 out of a population of around 7,000,000. This is an annual rate of over 8 percent
of the population murdered, or odds of an average Cambodian surviving Pol Pot's rule of slightly
over just over 2 to 1.

In sum the communist probably have murdered something like 110,000,000, or near two-thirds
of all those killed by all governments, quasi-governments, and guerrillas from 1900 to 1987. Of
course, the world total itself it shocking. It is several times the 38,000,000 battle-dead that have
been killed in all this century's international and domestic wars. Yet the probable number of
murders by the Soviet Union alone--one communist country-- well surpasses this cost of war.
And those murders of communist China almost equal it.
Figure 2 shows the major sources of death for those murdered under communism and compares
this to world totals for each source for this century. A few of these sources require some
clarification. Deaths through government terrorism means the killing of specific individuals by
assassination, extrajudicial executions, torture, beatings, and such. Massacre, on the other hand,
means the indiscriminate mass killing of people, as in soldiers machine gunning demonstrators,
or entering a village and killing all of its inhabitants. As used here, genocide is the killing of
people because of their ethnicity, race, religion, or language. And democide through deportation
is the killing of people during their forced mass transportation to distant regions and their death
as a direct result, such as through starvation or exposure. Democidal famine is that which is
purposely caused or aggravated by government or which is knowingly ignored and aid to its
victims is withheld.

As can be seen in the figure, communist forced labor was particularly deadly. It not only
accounts for most deaths under communism, but is close to the world total, which also includes
colonial forced labor deaths (as in German, Portuguese, and Spanish colonies). Communists also
committed genocide, to be sure, but only near half of the world total. Communists are much less
disposed to massacre then were many other noncommunist governments (such as the Japanese
military during World War II, or the Nationalist Chinese government from 1928 to 1949). As can
be seen from the comparative total for terrorism, communists were much more discriminating in
their killing overall, even to the extent in the Soviet Union, communist China, and Vietnam, at
least, of using a quota system. Top officials would order local officials to kill a certain number of
"enemies of the people," "rightists", or "tyrants".

How can we understand all this killing by communists? It is the marriage of an absolutist
ideology with the absolute power. Communists believed that they knew the truth, absolutely.
They believed that they knew through Marxism what would bring about the greatest human
welfare and happiness. And they believed that power, the dictatorship of the proletariat, must be
used to tear down the old feudal or capitalist order and rebuild society and culture to realize this
utopia. Nothing must stand in the way of its achievement. Government--the Communist Party--
was thus above any law. All institutions, cultural norms, traditions, and sentiments were
expendable. And the people were as though lumber and bricks, to be used in building the new

Constructing this utopia was seen as though a war on poverty, exploitation, imperialism, and
inequality. And for the greater good, as in a real war, people are killed. And thus this war for the
communist utopia had its necessary enemy casualties, the clergy, bourgeoisie, capitalists,
wreckers, counterrevolutionaries, rightists, tyrants, rich, landlords, and noncombatants that
unfortunately got caught in the battle. In a war millions may die, but the cause may be well
justified, as in the defeat of Hitler and an utterly racist Nazism. And to many communists, the
cause of a communist utopia was such as to justify all the deaths. The irony of this is that
communism in practice, even after decades of total control, did not improve the lot of the
average person, but usually made their living conditions worse than before the revolution. It is
not by chance that the greatest famines have occurred within the Soviet Union (about 5,000,000
dead during 1921-23 and 7,000,000 from 1932-3) and communist China (about 27,000,000 dead
from 1959-61). In total almost 55,000,000 people died in various communist famines and
associated diseases, a little over 10,000,000 of them from democidal famine. This is as though
the total population of Turkey, Iran, or Thailand had been completely wiped out. And that
something like 35,000,000 people fled communist countries as refugees, as though the countries
of Argentina or Columbia had been totally emptied of all their people, was an unparalleled vote
against the utopian pretensions of Marxism-Leninism.

But communists could not be wrong. After all, their knowledge was scientific, based on
historical materialism, an understanding of the dialectical process in nature and human society,
and a materialist (and thus realistic) view of nature. Marx has shown empirically where society
has been and why, and he and his interpreters proved that it was destined for a communist end.
No one could prevent this, but only stand in the way and delay it at the cost of more human
misery. Those who disagreed with this world view and even with some of the proper
interpretations of Marx and Lenin were, without a scintilla of doubt, wrong. After all, did not
Marx or Lenin or Stalin or Mao say that. . . . In other words, communism was like a fanatical
religion. It had its revealed text and chief interpreters. It had its priests and their ritualistic prose
with all the answers. It had a heaven, and the proper behavior to reach it. It had its appeal to
faith. And it had its crusade against nonbelievers.

What made this secular religion so utterly lethal was its seizure of all the state's instrument of
force and coercion and their immediate use to destroy or control all independent sources of
power, such as the church, the professions, private businesses, schools, and, of course, the
family. The result is what we see in Table 1.

But communism does not stand alone in such mass murder. We do have the example of Nazi
Germany, which may have itself murdered some 20,000,000 Jews, Poles, Ukrainians, Russians,
Yugoslaves, Frenchmen, and other nationalities. Then there is the Nationalist government of
China under Chiang Kai-shek, which murdered near 10,000,000 Chinese from 1928 to 1949, and
the Japanese militarists who murdered almost 6,000,000 Chinese, Indonesians, Indochinese,
Koreans, Filipinos, and others during world War II. And then we have the 1,000,000 or more
Bengalis and Hindus killed in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) in 1971 by the Pakistan military.
Nor should we forget the mass expulsion of ethnic Germans and German citizens from Eastern
Europe at the end of World War II, particularly by the Polish government as it seized the German
Eastern Territories, killing perhaps over 1,000,000 of them. Nor should we ignore the 1,000,000
plus deaths in Mexico from 1900 to 1920, many of these poor Indians and peasants being killed
by forced labor on barbaric haciendas. And one could go on and on to detail various kinds of
noncommunist democide.

But what connects them all is this. As a government's power is more unrestrained, as its power
reaches into all the corners of culture and society, and as it is less democratic, then the more
likely it is to kill its own citizens. There is more than a correlation here. As totalitarian power
increases, democide multiplies until it curves sharply upward when totalitarianism is near
absolute. As a governing elite has the power to do whatever it wants, whether to satisfy its most
personal desires, to pursue what it believes is right and true, it may do so whatever the cost in
lives. In this case power is the necessary condition for mass murder. Once an elite have it, other
causes and conditions can operated to bring about the immediate genocide, terrorism, massacres,
or whatever killing an elite feels is warranted.
Finally, at the extreme of totalitarian power we have the greatest extreme of democide.
Communist governments have almost without exception wielded the most absolute power and
their greatest killing (such as during Stalin's reign or the height of Mao's power) has taken place
when they have been in their own history most totalitarian. As most communist governments
underwent increasing liberalization and a loosening of centralized power in the 1960s through
the 1980s, the pace of killing dropped off sharply.

Communism has been the greatest social engineering experiment we have ever seen. It failed
utterly and in doing so it killed over 100,000,000 men, women, and children, not to mention the
near 30,000,000 of its subjects that died in its often aggressive wars and the rebellions it
provoked. But there is a larger lesson to be learned from this horrendous sacrifice to one
ideology. That is that no one can be trusted with power. The more power the center has to
impose the beliefs of an ideological or religious elite or impose the whims of a dictator, the more
likely human lives are to be sacrificed. This is but one reason, but perhaps the most important
one, for fostering liberal democracy.


* Unpublished essay, November 1993.

** Note as of 1998: the case studies resulting from that effort were published in Death By
Government; the statistics and statistical analyses are in Statistics of Democide.


By R.J. Rummel

A massive amount of research has been done on the Holocaust, the most extensive, best organized,
thorough, and unlimited case of genocide in the modern age. The second most studied genocide has been
that of the Armenians in Turkey. But little research has been done on other genocides per se, and virtually
no systematic historical or comparative research has been done on genocide in general. There are
collections of studies on different genocides.1 There are exemplary lists of genocides.2 But until the
publication of my Death By Government 3 and availability of its auxiliary work, Statistics of Democide,4
the field has been lacking a comprehensive collection of all the genocides and mass murders to have
occurred.5 Moreover, there are few attempts to compare the occurrence of genocide to other forms of
mass murder or to fit genocide within a larger context of mass killing. Finally, there has been virtually no
systematic attempt to assess the underlying conditions and causes of genocide.6 Here I will present and
describe results as yet unpublished that may help fill this void.7 And in the process I will try to save the
idea of genocide to mean that for which we badly need an exclusive concept--the murder of individuals
by virtue of their ethnicity, race, religion, language, or nationality.

At its the core there is no doubt as to what genocide is--all recognize that the Nazi program to
kill all Jews was genocide. Nor is there any doubt that the Bosnian Serb massacre of Bosnian
Moslems and vice versa, or the slaughter of Hutu by Tutsi and Tutsi by Hutu in Rwanda was
genocide. But was genocide also the recent massacre of helpless villagers in the Sudan by
government forces fighting a rebellion, the 1965-1966 Indonesian army purge of communists,
the 1948 assassination of political opponents by the Nationalist government on Formosa, the
1949-1953 "land-reform" executions of landlords in communist China, or the 1975-1980 rapid
death of inmates in Vietnamese re-education camps? What about non-killing which has been
called genocide, such as the absorption of one culture by another, the disease spread to natives by
contact with colonists, the forced deportation of a people, or African slavery?

Let me remind the reader that in international conventions and the professional literature,
genocide was initially defined in part as the intentional destruction of a people because of their
race, religion, ethnicity, or some other indelible group membership. As now well known, the
origin of the concept is the 1944 work by Raphael Lemkin on Axis Rule in Occupied Europe:

New conceptions require new terms. By "genocide" we

mean the destruction of a nation or of an ethnic group. This
new word, coined by the author to denote an old practice in
its modern development, is made from the ancient Greek
word genos (race, tribe) and the Latin cide (killing), thus
corresponding in its formation to such words a tyrannicide,
homicide [sic], infanticide, etc. Generally speaking, genocide
does not necessarily mean the immediate destruction of a
nation, except when accomplished by mass killings of all
members of a nation. It is intended rather to signify a
coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the
destruction of essential foundations of the life of national
groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves.
The objectives of such a plan would be disintegration of the
political and social institutions, of culture, language,
national feelings, religion, and the economic existence of
national groups, and the destruction of the personal
security, liberty, health, dignity, and even the lives of the
individuals belonging to such groups. Genocide is directed
against the national group as an entity, and the actions
involved are directed against the individuals, not in their
individual capacity, but as members of the national group.8

Of course this was written at the height of the Jewish Holocaust, a clear case of a regime trying
to exterminate a whole group, its intellectual contributions, its culture, and the very lives of all its
people. There was an immediate need for some way of conceptualizing this horror and
"genocide" did it. During the Nuremberg trials of the Nazi war criminals and in the post-war
discussion and debate over how to prevent such killing in the future, "genocide" became
commonly used. And in incredible little time, it passed from Lemkin's pages into international
law. In 1946 the United Nations General Assembly recognized that "genocide is a crime under
international law which the civilized world condemns, and for the commission of which
principles and accomplices are punishable." Then two years later the General Assembly made
this concrete. It passed the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of
Genocide. This international treaty, eventually signed by well over a majority of states, affirms
that genocide is a punishable crime under international law, and stipulates the meaning of
genocide to be

any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national,
ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;

(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical
destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Note that the Convention is consistent with Lemkin's definition and elaboration. Relevant here,
the gravity of both is that genocide is the intent to destroy in whole or part a group. One way of
doing this is to kill members of the group, but also genocide includes the intent to destroy a
group in whole or in part by other means, such as by preventing births in the group or causing
serious mental harm. That is, by both definitions, genocide does not necessarily include killing
group members.
In the early years of its use "genocide" was applied almost entirely to the Jewish Holocaust and
then, especially through the work of Armenian scholars, to the mass murder of Armenians by the
Young Turk regime during World War I. However, scholars increasingly have come to realize
that restricting the killing aspect of the concept to those murdered by virtue of their group
membership does not even account for the millions of non-Jewish Poles, Ukrainians, Yugoslavs,
Czechs, Frenchmen, and others, the Nazis wiped out. How then do we conceptualize the
purposive government killing of protesters or dissidents, the reprisal shooting of innocent
villagers, the beating to death of peasants for hiding rice, or the indiscriminate bombing of
civilians? How do we conceptualize torturing people to death in prison, working them to death in
concentration camps, or letting starving them to death, when such killing is done out of revenge,
for an ideology, or for reasons of state having nothing to do with the social groups to which these
people belong?

Because of such questions some scholars have generalized the meaning of "genocide." In some
cases it has been extended to include the intentional killing of people because of their politics or
for political reasons,9 even though this has been explicitly excluded from the Genocide
Convention. Some scholars also have extended the definition of genocide to cover any mass
murder by government whatsoever;10 some have even stretched the concept much further, such
as to characterize the unintentional spread of disease to indigenous populations during European
colonization, including that in the American West.11 To all these scholars the critical aspect of
"genocide" is intentional government killing.

All this is confusing. Because of the non-killing aspect of "genocide" and the need to have a
concept covering other kinds of government murder, all the following have been called genocide:
the denial of ethnic Hawaiian culture by the American run public school system in Hawaii,
government policies letting one race adopt the children of another race, African slavery by
Whites, South African Apartheid, any murder of women by men, death squad murders in
Guatemala, deaths in the Soviet gulag, and, of course, the Jewish Holocaust. The linking of all
such diverse acts or deaths together under one label has created an acute conceptual problem that
begs for the invention of new concepts to cover and be limited to intentional government murder.
Thus, both Barbara Harff12 and I have independently developed the concept of politicide for a
government's premeditated killing of people because of their politics or for political reasons. But
this new concept is still not sufficient, since many mass murders by government cannot be so
labeled either, such as the working of POWs to death by the Japanese army in World War II or
the killing of Black Africans that resisted enslavement.

Clearly, a concept is needed that includes all intentional government killing in cold blood and
that is comparable to the concept of murder for private killing.

The killing of one person by another is murder whether done because the victim was Black or
White, refused to repay a loan, or hurled an insult. It is murder if the killing was a premeditated
act or the victim died because of a reckless and wanton disregard for their life. Nor does it matter
whether the killing is done for high moral ends, for altruistic reasons, or for any other purpose, it
is murder under Western and most other legal codes (unless officially authorized by government,
as for judicial executions or military combat). And as a crime murder is limited by definition to
intentionally taking the life of another in some way. Although we use murder metaphorically, as
in someone "murdering" the language, it is not the crime of murder to hurt someone
psychologically, to steal their child, or to rob them of their culture.

As an analogous concept for public murder, that intentionally done by government agents acting
authoritatively, I offer the concept of democide. Its one root is the Greek demos or people; the
other is the same as for genocide, which is from the Latin caedere, to kill. Democide's necessary
and sufficient meaning is that of the intentional government killing of an unarmed person or
people. Unlike the concept of genocide, it is restricted to intentional killing, and does not extend
to attempts to eliminate nations, races, or religions by means other than killing members of the
group. Moreover, democide is not limited to genocide (that aspect involving the killing of group
members), nor to politicide, mass murder or massacre, or terror. It includes them all and also
what they exclude, as long as such killing is a purposive act, policy, process, or institution of
government. In short democide is government murder.

Since much killing takes place during wartime, I must be absolutely clear on what then
constitutes democide. War related killing by military forces that international agreements and
treaties directly or by implication prohibit is democide, whether the parties are signatories or not.
That killing explicitly permitted is not democide. Thus, the death of civilians during the bombing
of munitions plants in World War II is not democide. Nor is the death of civilians when through
navigation or bombing errors, or the malfunction of equipment, bombs land on a school or
hospital, unless it is clear that the bombing was carried out recklessly in spite of a high risk to
such civilian buildings. Nor is the death of civilians in a bombed village democide when beneath
it has been built enemy bunkers. Nor is the death of civilians caught in a cross fire between
enemy soldiers democide, or those civilians killed while willingly helping troops haul supplies or
weapons. Seldom is it easy to make these distinctions, but the aim here must be clear. In the
findings to be described below I discriminate between democide in time of war and war-deaths.
The latter are those of the military and civilians from battle or battle related disease and famine.
The former are those victims (which may include the military, as when POWs are massacred) of
internationally prohibited war-time killing, what may be called war-crimes or crimes against
humanity. Such was the Holocaust.

Pulling all this together, a death constitutes democide if it is the intentional killing of an unarmed
or disarmed person by government agents acting in their authoritative capacity and pursuant to
government policy or high command (as in the Nazi gassing of the Jews). It is also democide if
these deaths were the result of such authoritative government actions carried out with reckless
and wanton disregard for the lives of those affected (as putting people in concentration camps in
which the forced labor and starvation rations were such as to cause the death of inmates). It is
democide if government promoted or turned a blind eye to these deaths even though they were
murders carried out "unofficially" or by private groups (as by death squads in Guatemala or El
Salvador). And these deaths also may be democide if high government officials knowingly and
purposely allowed conditions to continue that were causing mass deaths and issued no public
warning (as in the Ethiopian famines of the 1970s). All extra-judicial or summary executions
comprise democide. Even judicial executions may be democide, as in the Soviet show trials of
the late 1930s. Judicial executions for "crimes" internationally considered trivial or non-capital,
as of peasants picking up grain at the edge of a collective's fields, of a worker for telling an anti-
government joke, or of an engineer for a miscalculation, are also democide.
Genocide (in its killing aspect) is then a type of democide that involves the government murder
of people because of their ethnicity, race, religion, language, or nationality.

With the understanding of both genocide and democide, what can we empirically say about their
general occurrence, patterns, causes and conditions?

I have collected data on this century's democide by all state regimes, quasi-state regimes (e.g.,
the communist soviet enclaves in Nationalist China or the White army territories in Russia
during the civil war in 1920), and group regimes (such as the Palestine Liberation Organization).
The largest of the resulting estimates, including that for genocide, are listed in Table 1 and
graphed in Figure 1. These are for this century's megamurderers--those states killing in cold
blood, aside from warfare, 1,000,000 or more men, women, and children. These fifteen
megamurderers alone have murdered over 151,000,000 people, almost four times the almost
38,500,000 war-dead for all this century's international and civil wars up to 1987.13 The most
totalitarian regimes, that is the communist U.S.S.R., China and preceding Mao guerrillas, Khmer
Rouge Cambodia, Vietnam, North Korea, and Yugoslavia, as well as Nazi Germany, account for
nearly 128,000,000 of them, or 84 percent. In addition to this democide by these megamurderers,
203 lesser murderers have killed near 17,700,000 more people.

These figures on democide are new to students of the Holocaust and genocide. They are based on
almost 8,200 estimates of genocide, politicide, massacres, terrorism, extrajudicial executions,
and other relevant types of killing. These estimates were recorded from over a thousand sources,
which include general works, specialized studies, human rights reports, journal articles, and news

Of course estimates of democide are very uncertain15 and often propagandistic. Therefore I
generally calculated a low to high range of probable democide, the low being the sum of the
lowest estimates across events for a regime and the high being a similar sum. In this way I tried
to bracket the most probable figure, which I then judged or calculated based on the central thrust,
objectivity, and quality of the estimates. However, many of the figures in Table 1 will seem so
precise as to belie this cautious approach. The reason for this apparent over precision lies in the
method by which they were determined, which often involved calculations on dozens and
sometime hundreds of estimates. The democide I give here for, say Cambodia, was then the
outcome of all these calculations, including polynomial regressions of estimates of her
population for each year from the early 60s to late 1980s.

In addition, much of this democide occurred during wartime and may appear to be confused with
war-deaths. I have tried to separate battle-dead or those dying in the wake of war from genocide
and mass murder. The Holocaust during the Second and genocide of the Armenians during the
First World War are easy cases of this separation. So is the reprisal killings of Czechs or
Yugoslavs by the Nazis, or those who died in Soviet labor camps during the Second World War.
Some cases are not so easy, as of American and British indiscriminate bombing of urban
populations during the Second World War, American bombing in Vietnam and Cambodia, or the
British food blockade of the Levant in the First World War which caused many deaths from
starvation and malnutrition. I have followed this approach in classifying those killed or dying in
war as either war-dead or democide. If these deaths would be considered a crime against
humanity or a war crime, if they are now internationally outlawed by the Geneva Conventions
and their 1977 Protocols, they are counted as democide.

Finally, to make sure I understood the democide estimates and could qualitatively evaluate them,
I did case studies on democide by the Soviet Union,16 Chinese regimes 1900-1987,17 Nazi
Germany,18 Cambodian regimes, Vietnamese regimes, Turkey's regimes 1900-1923, North
Korea, Russia 1900-1917, Mexico 1900-1920, Pakistan, Yugoslavian regimes 1941-1987, and
Japan 1936-1945.19

With this in mind consider again the total democide of near 170,000,000 given in Table 1. This
figure is incredible, indigestible, and unimaginable. One simply cannot comprehend how many
people these are. It surpasses the 1987 population of all but six nations in the world. If without
stopping one were to have this many people come in one door, walk at three miles per hour
across a room with three feet between them (assume generously that each person is also one foot
thick, naval to spine), and exit an opposite door, the time it would take for all to pass through the
room would be over four years and ten months. If all these dead were laid out head to toe, and
assuming each is an average five feet tall because of the many children, they would reach from
Honolulu, Hawaii, across the vast Pacific and then the huge continental United States to
Washington D.C. on the East coast, and then back again over sixteen times.20

What about genocide deaths? As can be seen from Table 1, near 39,000,000 people have been
killed in genocide, or near 23 percent of this toll. This itself is more than all the war-dead of all
this century's international and civil wars, including World Wars I and II, the Korean and
Vietnam Wars, the Russian and Mexican Revolutions, and the Spanish and Chinese Civil Wars.
These genocides not only involved the Holocaust and the killing of the Armenians, the best
known of this century's genocides, but also the lesser known genocide of Gypsies by the Nazis
and of Greeks by the Turks. But then there were also the many genocides by other regimes, such
as Stalin's deadly deportations of the Volga Germans, Greeks, Koreans, Chechens, and Crimean
Tatars, and other nations groups; Kaiser Germany's almost total annihilation of the Herero in
Namibia ; Pre-Revolutionary Mexico's genocide against its Indians; post-World War II Poland's,
Yugoslavia's, and Czechoslovakia's killing deportation and genocidal treatment of their ethic and
Reich Germans; Croatia's World War II genocide of their Jews, Gypsies and Serbians and the
subsequent genocidal treatment of Croatians by the Tito partisans and then new post war Tito
regime; Indonesia's post-coup 1965-1967 slaughter of ethnic Chinese (as a side-show to their
massacre of communists) and in later years of East Timorese after their invasion of the country;
Communist Chinese genocide of Tibetans and Nationalist Chinese of Formosans and both of
Muslims; Rwanda's genocide of Tutsi and Burundi's of Hutu; East Pakistan's mass genocide of
Bengalis in former West Pakistan (now Bangladesh); the Cambodian Khmer Rouge genocide of
Buddhists, Chan (Muslims), ethnic Vietnamese, and ethnic Chinese; and on and on for a total of
141 regimes committing genocide. In no way, however, does listing these genocides or
lamenting over their toll demean the importance, horror, and uniqueness of the Holocaust. For of
all these genocides, the Holocaust is the only one in which a regime, as a matter of public policy,
aimed to exterminate all members of a specific religious group--the Jews--root and branch,
where ever they could be found, whether in Germany or some occupied country, and the Nazis
even prepared plans to kill them all in countries not yet defeated, such as in Great Britain. In this
sense the Holocaust is unparalleled among genocides.
What now can be said about the conditions and patterns of genocide (again, understood as the
killing aspect), including the Holocaust? How does genocide empirically relate to other forms of
democide? How does it correlate with socio-economic, cultural, and geographical conditions and
assumed causes? What are the best predictors of genocide? In order to answer these questions, I
will present in summary fashion the results of a multivariate analysis of 214 state-regimes,
including all 141 of them committing some kind of democide in this century, 1900-1987. A
state-regime is a particular kind of government, such as a military dictatorship, a monarchy, or
communist system. A country may have had several regimes during the century. Russia, for
example has had three up to 1987, that of the Czar, then the brief Kerensky government,
followed by the Bolshevik coup and communist rule. The Czar and communist regimes are two
that were analyzed among the 214 regimes. For Germany there were the regimes of the Kaiser,
Weimar Republic, Hitler, communist East Germany and democratic West Germany. All, with the
exception of the Weimar Republic, were included in the analysis. Some countries, such as the
United States, Canada, and Great Britain had only one regime through this century. In total 432
regimes have existed 1900-1987. The focus is on the regime rather than the state, since it is the
regime that commits democide and at issue is whether certain types of regimes are more or less
disposed to murder their citizens or foreigners. As to the analysis, this is not the conference
within which to present the actual methods, correlations, coefficients, and the like; and they are
given elsewhere.21 Technical material, where possibly useful, will be confined to the footnotes.
Now for the results.

The first question has to do with whether genocide correlates with other forms of democide. That
is, does genocide comprise a general empirical pattern in state murder? Now such an empirical
pattern would be a distinct and observable intercorrelation among different kinds of killing, such
as genocidal murders and nongenocidal massacres, extrajudicial executions, and assassinations.
And intercorrelation means (if positive) that when a regime commits genocide it also commits
such other killing, and when it does not commit genocide it also does not commit these other
kinds of killing. Many would argue, I am sure, that genocide is a basic and pervasive pattern
among regimes, that genocide reflects wide-scale murder by regimes and is a central indicator
that general democide is occurring. And that therefore to focus on genocide is to deal with the
central and most basic state murder.

Yet, surprisingly, I have found that this is not so. Rather, genocide is a pattern of democide
independent of other empirical democide patterns. That is, genocide is largely uncorrelated with
other kinds of democide. For all 432 state regimes in this century, 1900-1987,22 I determined the
empirical patterns among fourteen different types of democide, including those killed in
genocide, deportations, massacres, terror, forced labor, concentration camps and prisons, man-
made intentional famines, indiscriminate bombing, and the killing of POWs; and also including
total democide, domestic democide, foreign democide, and the annual rate of domestic
democide.23 The major and statistically independent patterns comprise domestic democide,
foreign democide, the annual rate of domestic democide, indiscriminate bombing, and genocide
(which is highly intercorrelated only with massacres).

Genocide itself is therefore a distinct empirical pattern of democide . This means that in the
history of a regime it may or may not have committed genocide and massacres regardless of
what other types of democide it has engaged in. Moreover, one cannot predict from the amount
of democide that has been committed or the lethality of regime, as measured by the annual
domestic democide rate, that genocide or massacres will or will not occur. Nor will the extent of
a regime's foreign democide indicate that it will commit genocide. All this means that the
immediate causes and conditions of genocide are different than those for other types of democide
or democide overall. Nonetheless, at a higher and more basic level there still may be causes and
conditions that encompass genocide and other patterns of democide. And there is one that I will
now point out.

The more totalitarian and less democratic a regime the more democide, the more genocide, and
the greater the annual rate of democide that it commits. That is, although the independent
patterns of domestic democide, foreign democide, genocide, and the others, are not correlated,
together they are accounted for by a regime's totalitarian power.24 Power is the means through
which a regime can accomplish its goals or whims. When a regime's power is magnified through
its forceful intervention in all aspects of society, including its control over religion, the economy,
and even the family, then when conjoined with an absolutist ideology or religion, mass killing
becomes a practical means of achieving its ends. Thus we have the megamurderers shown in
Table 1, such as the totalitarian USSR, communist China, Nazi Germany, and Cambodia under
the Khmer Rouge. And thus, when the regime finds for whatever reason that the continued
existence of a social group is incompatible with its beliefs or goals, totalitarian power enables it
to destroy that group. Genocide follows. On the other hand, democratic elites generally lack the
power to, and democratic culture anyway opposes, the outright extermination of people or social
groups for whatever reason.

Pictures speak louder than words and Figure 2 well displays this relationship.25 The vertical
dimension in the figure is domestic democide, which in this relationship also includes the
genocide pattern. The two other dimensions define the two scales, one for totalitarian power and
other for democratic power, which together predict democide (and genocide). The figure also
shows that as a regime has greater totalitarian power its overall domestic democide in general
and genocide in particular are likely to increase exponentially.26

Power is the basic explanation and empirical correlate of genocide and other kinds of murder by
the state. But there is also a related characteristic that is intrinsic to power. The more power a
regime has the more it is likely to commit foreign violence and to have rebellions against it. The
empirical evidence on this is overwhelming.27 The least warlike regimes are democratic, the
most are totalitarian. Indeed, democratic regimes do not make war on each other at all while
warfare between totalitarian regimes, such as the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, are the most
deadly of all. Using the number killed in war or rebellion as the indicator of such violence and
connecting this now to genocide, I find that the likelihood of genocide by a regime increases
significantly the greater the characteristic number of its people killed in war and rebellion. The
more a regime has or will suffer dead from involvement in war or rebellion, the greater its
foreign democide and genocide.28 Clearly, war or rebellion provide an excuse and cover in the
fog of war for a regime to eliminate those social groups it finds objectionable. But also, the
results show that over the life of a regime the more disposed it is to be involved in deadly foreign
and domestic wars, the more likely it will commit democide, whether or not carried out during
these wars. This is because totalitarian power not only underlies democide and genocide, but also
because such power underlies as well the occurrence and intensity of war.
But, many would ask, what about racial, ethnic, and religious diversity and accompanying
hostility? What about anti-Semitism and Nazi Germany? Turkey and the Armenians? Pakistan
and India and the Hindus and Moslems. Rwanda and Burundi and Hutu and Tutsi. And all the
other ethnically, racially, or religiously diverse societies in which their regimes have
systematically carried out genocide. Surely such diversity is correlated with genocide.

But it is not. The social diversity of a nation is not correlated with nor does it predict its regime's
overall domestic or foreign democide or in particular the regime's genocide. This is the most
difficult to accept but the case studies and quantitative analyses are consistent. A nation's ethnic,
religious, racial, linguistic, or national divisions, the relative size of such minorities or the
nation's overall social diversity are uncorrelated with its domestic or foreign democide or its
genocide. This is true even when various controls are introduced for the level of power,
involvement in war or rebellion, education and level of economic development, or the nature of
its culture.29 In other words, some regimes whose societies are riven with social diversity will
commit little genocide and some regimes with little diversity will commit much genocide; and
some with much diversity will also commit much genocide and those with little diversity will
have little genocide. And this lack of correlation is apparently not caused by any intervening or
masking conditions.30

For domestic genocide to occur, of course, there must be some social diversity and such usually
will exist even in apparently homogenous nations. For example, Japan is looked at as highly
homogenous, yet its pre-militarist regime allowed 2,600 to 11,000 Korean residents to be
massacred in Japan after the 1923 Yokohama earthquake (they were accused of poisoning public
water, hoarding food, and starting fires). It is not diversity that predicts to genocide, but a
regime's power. Minorities have been massacred in authoritarian or totalitarian states while in
democracies very large minorities usually are secure in their lives, as in Switzerland or

Perhaps it is not a question of diversity but of culture. Possibly some cultures are more disposed
to genocide than others and there are those that would pin such infamy on Western cultures;
others might point to African cultures or Asian. Still we might even be more specific and say that
Christians are less disposed to genocide than non-Christian or Moslem societies. Many other
cultural distinctions might be made and I have tried to include measures of them in my analyses.

No matter. Whatever the cultural distinction, the nature of a regime's culture is uncorrelated with
and does not predict to its overall foreign or domestic democide or its genocide. This is almost as
hard to accept as the lack of correlation with diversity, but the analyses are consistent for this
also.32 The variation among regimes in the degree to which they are Christian or Moslem, or
influenced by English culture, or anti-women, or even whether they are located in Africa,
Europe, Asia, and so forth, does not predict to a regime's overall domestic or foreign democide
or its genocide. As with diversity this is generally true for genocide even if one introduces
various socio-economic controls.

Aside from diversity, perhaps the most popular solution to genocide has been education. It is
often assumed that the more educated a population, the less likely its regime will commit, or be
allowed to commit, genocide. This is the belief that with greater education comes a greater
understanding of other groups, of the horror of genocide, and of a willingness to compromise. In
line with this some add to this that economic development is also necessary. They assume that an
educated and prosperous society has no reason to destroy minorities--that the mass frustrations
and deprivation attendant upon poverty and that can be organized and unleashed upon out groups
by elites no longer exists. I wish it were true, especially about education, but the data deny it.
The level of education or economic development of a nation is uncorrelated with and does not
predict to the foreign or domestic democide or the genocide of its regime.

This finding may be no surprise to those who realize that just before World War II Germany was
considered one of the most developed and educated nations in the world. Moreover, Japan was
the most educated and developed nation in Asia at the same time it was carrying out mass
extermination campaigns in China. The megamurders by Nazi Germany and militarist Japan
alone should caution those who believe that improving national education and wealth will
decrease the likelihood of genocide and mass murder. The results for all democides confirm this
in general. There is no meaningful correlation of these socio-economic characteristics and
regime's overall democide, or genocide specifically. This is also true even when various political
controls or a regime's involvement in war and rebellion is taken into account.33

What does this say in particular about the "other" as a threat and demonization, a central topic of
this conference. I have not done systematic comparative research on this question, but the
various case studies I have published are helpful in answering this. First, demonization and
perception of the other as a threat appears a general process in war, whether international or
domestic. We all know that in war enemies dehumanize each other, publicize each other as
threats to humanity, civilization, and the Good, and thus justify their mutual destruction. Thus in
World War II the Japanese were treated in the American media as monkeys, unfeeling and
inscrutable, savage and barbaric, and a threat not only to Asia and the United States, but to
Western civilization.

But aside from national enemies in time of war, what about internal groups? Is there a
relationship between demonization, the perception of threat, and genocide. Here I must deal with
elite opinion, particularly that of those in power, for there is little information on what the mass
of people perceived preceding one or another democide. Now, we do know well that in some
genocides the victims have been perceived by the regime as a threat and publicly characterized
as less than human, as apes, pigs, cockroaches, vermin, and the like. The Nazi view of the Jews
well exemplifies this. Not only were they the lowest of humanity, if at all seen as human, but
they were believed to be a direct genetic threat to the master race of Aryans and a pollutant of the
good German society and culture.

The Armenians genocide by the Young Turk regime is another example. In build up to this
genocide during World War I the Armenians were treated as bloodsuckers, aliens, greedy,
unpatriotic, anti-Turk, Pro-Russian, and a direct threat to the security of Turkey in the East where
its forces confronted massed Russian armies. That the Armenians were a distinct ethnic, national
and Christian subgroup in Muslim Turkey and dominated commerce, crafts, and professions,
gave substance to these claims. However, the real threat of the Armenians was to the desire of
the Young Turks to purify Turkey of non-Turks and to recreate the ancient glory of the Turk. In
particular, the Armenians had been protected in the past by the intervention of Britain, Germany,
and Russia, and thus were perceived as a continual threat to true Turkish independence. Once the
Armenian protectors were engaged in war with each other and turkey allied with Germany, then
this alien group and threat to Young Turk designs could be exterminated.

Another example is of the Bengalis in East Pakistan. They were already ethnically, linguistically,
and geographically separated from the governing majority in West Pakistan, and although also
Moslem, their beliefs were considered by Moslems in the West as vulgar. They were not a threat,
however, until they won a majority in the national legislature were thus in position to achieve the
desired political independence of East Pakistan. The dehumanization of the Bengalis by the
governing military elite and the resulting genocide soon followed.

Indeed, I am sure that demonization and the elite perception of threat from the outgroup was a
general part of the process of genocide in this century. But this seems almost axiomatic. After
all, genocide is by definition (again, in its killing aspect) the attempt to eliminate a social group.
By definition, therefore, the concept of genocide only applies to those who a regime has killed by
virtue of their membership in a distinct group. For such killing to take place, therefore, a group
as such must be singled out for the killing. And it hardly conceivable that , as in war, such killing
would not be preceded by a media blitz dehumanizing and demonizing the group and its

A broader question is whether democide in general involves such demonization. And I believe
the answer is no. Much of the nongenocidal killing took place because the victims opposed a
regime, criticized it, were killed as examples to deter others from opposition or sabotage (as in
hanging ten subjects selected at random in retaliation), were of the wrong class (as of a
landowner), did not work hard enough, violated a minor rule, were disrespectful (as in hanging
one's coat on a bust of Lenin), or were worked to death. Many were simply worked to death, as
in the German, Soviet, and Chinese forced labor camps, and had done nothing more, if anything
(and people were often arrested for nothing but to supply slave labor) than violate a petty law or
rule, or come under suspicion of being an enemy of the state or people. Tens of millions of
people were killed simply as expendable bricks and lumber in the building of a utopia, as in
Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, Vietnam, or communist China.

Near 40,000,000 people died or were killed in the Soviet slave-labor system alone, a number that
exceeds all the genocides of this century. And although once within the system political
prisoners were systematically dehumanized as "enemies of the people" and were treated by
guards and true criminals (those that had committed murder, burglary, and the like) as worse
than scum, they may have been before imprisonment highly respected members of society.
Many, in fact, were former communist party members themselves. Therefore, I argue,
demonization and seeing or treating the other as a threat is not a necessary preliminary to
democide in general. It is, however, an intrinsic part of the process of genocide.

In any case, demonization is an handmaiden of power. Where civil liberties and political rights
exist, where regimes are democratic, where power is thus balanced, checked, and accountable,
some demonization of outgroups may exist, but genocide is most unlikely. Where the opposite it
true. Where a few or one dictator holds all power and such power is arbitrary, neither controlled
by law or publicly responsible, then demonization is a technique, a means of eradicating some
group that may be perceived as a threat to power, an evil presence, or a block to creating utopia.

In sum, the bottom line of this research is that power kills and the more power the more killing.
The degree of a regime's power along a democratic to totalitarian scale is a direct underlying
cause of domestic democide, including genocide. Moreover, acting through war and rebellion it
is an indirect cause of foreign democide as well. The more power a government has, the more it
can act arbitrarily according to the whims and desires of the elite, the more it will make war on
others and murder its foreign and domestic subjects. The more constrained the power of
governments, the more it is diffused, checked and balanced, the less it will aggress on others and
commit democide. At the extremes of power, totalitarian governments have slaughtered their
people by the tens of millions, while many democracies can barely bring themselves to execute
even serial murderers.

* Paper delivered to the Conference on "The 'Other' as Threat--Demonization and Antisemitism," June
12-15, 1995, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Published in Albert J. Jongman (Ed.).
Interdisciplinary Research Program on the Root Causes of Human Rights Violations (PIOOM), 1996

1. There are of course many collections of case studies and qualitative analyses, such as Charny
(1984), Fein (1992), Porter (1982b), Veenhoven (1975-1976), and Wallimann and Dobkowski
(1987). There are also excellent overviews and analyses of genocide and mass murder. See in
particular Chalk and Jonassohn (1988), Kuper (1981, 1985), and Glaser and Possony (1979). For
bibliographic reviews, see Charny (1988, 1991a).

2. See, for example, Porter (1982a).

3. Rummel (1994).

4. Rummel (1995 [published in 1997).

5. Harff and Gurr (1988) presents a list of genocides and politicides since World War II;
Rummel (1987, 1988) gives a preliminary list of genocides and mass murder in this century.
These are the only two lists of which I am aware that are meant to be comprehensive and are
presented in a comparative context, but neither focuses on or presents a list of genocides per se
and which is genocide versus politicide or mass murder is not always clear.

6. The only application of quantitative analysis to genocide that I have seen is Fein's (1979) use
of multiple regression.

7. These are mainly presented in Rummel (1995 [published in 1997).

8. Lemkin (1944, p. 79).

9. See, for example, Fein (1984); Kuper (1981) and Porter (1982a).

10. See, for example, Chalk and Jonassohn (1988); Charny (1991b).

11. See Stannard (1992).

12. See Harff and Gurr (1988).

13. Battle-dead up to 1980 is from Small and Singer's (1982) compilation of foreign and
domestic war battle-dead. I added to this my own estimate for the years 1981-1987).

14. The estimates, sources, and calculations for the Soviet Union are given in Rummel (1990);
for the Chinese Warlords, Nationalist regime, communist guerrillas, and communist regime, see
in Rummel (1991); and for Nazi Germany, see Rummel (1992). All other sources and estimates
are given in Rummel (1995 [published in 1997).

15. After decades of scholarly research in the German archives, study of reports and official
documents of other involved countries, and interviews with participants and survivors, the best
estimates of the Holocaust dead still vary by over 40 percent.

16. Rummel (1990).

17. Rummel (1991).

18. Rummel (1992).

19. Those case studies not footnoted are published in Rummel (1994).

20. Back and forth, over 4,838 miles one way, near sixteen times? This is so incredible that I
would not believe the calculation and had to redo it several times.

21. Rummel (1995 [published in 1997).

22. For only this analysis I was able to do it on all the 432 regimes; all other analyses had to be
limited to 214 regimes.

23. This was done through component analyses with varimax orthogonal and oblique rotation of
all 432 state regimes existing during 1900-1987. What I am calling an empirical pattern is a
dimension (component, factor) defined by orthogonal rotation.

24. This is based on many different canonical, regression, and component analyses of various
subsets of variables from a set of over eighty democide, political, socio-economic, cultural, and
geographic variables for 214 state regimes.
25. The inverse squared distance technique used to draw the surface shown in the table is not
based on regression, but interpolates domestic democide logged (the Z height of the surface at a
XY point) as the weighted average of the totalitarian and democratic (X and Y) scales. The
squared Euclidean distances across the totalitarian and democratic scales comprise the weights.

26. This is also verified through regression analysis.

27. This is not the place to go into this evidence in detail. See Ray (1993, 1995), Russett (1993),
and Weart (1994, 1995 [actually published in 1998]).

28. This is clear from a regression analysis of genocide on a variety of characteristics, including
a regime's war dead and rebellion dead.

29. In this context, "controls" means that these variables were held constant. Their influences
were partialled out of the correlations between diversity and democide, and still the correlations
between these two, or with genocide, were near zero.

30. Because of the importance of this finding, a variety of data were analyzed in many ways. For
example, various component analyses were done with genocide and other types of democide and
a variety of measures of diversity, and redone with indicators of diversity and various political,
socio-economic, cultural and geographic indicators. Genocide also was regressed alone on
diversity measures and then on diversity indicators plus the other indicators and several
interaction terms. The multiple R was .52, with only the political indicators and war and
rebellion-dead being significant.

31. Note that Rwanda and Burundi are not really diverse, less so than the United States, Canada,
Great Britain, or many other European, Latin American, or Asian countries. In Rwanda and
Burundi the majority Hutu comprise about 85 percent of the population and around 70 percent of
the population are Christian in Rwanda and over 60 percent in Burundi.

32. This is based on component, canonical, and regression analyses.

33. This is based on component, canonical, and regression analyses.

Chalk, Frank, and Jonassohn, Kurt (1988). THE HISTORY AND SOCIOLOGY OF GENOCIDE:
ANALYSIS AND CASE STUDIES. New Haven: Yale University Press.


HOLOCAUST AND GENOCIDE. Boulder: Westview Press.
York: Facts on File Publications.


2, London: Mansell.

Charny, Israel (1991b). "A Proposal of a New Encompassing Definition of Genocide: Including
New Legal Categories of Accomplices to Genocide, and Genocide as a Result of Ecological
Destruction and Abuse." Invited Address to the first Raphael Lemkin Symposium on Genocide,
Yale University Law School, February.



Fein, Helen (1984). "Scenarios of Genocide: Models of Genocide and Critical Responses." In
[edited] by Israel W. Charny. Boulder: Westview Press, pp. 3-31.

Fein, Helen (Ed.) (1992). GENOCIDE WATCH. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Glaser, Kurt and Stefan T. Possony (1979). VICTIMS OF POLITICS: THE STATE OF
HUMAN RIGHTS. New York: Columbia University Press.

Harff, Barbara and Ted Robert Gurr (1988). "Toward Empirical Theory of Genocides and
Politicides: Identification and Measurement of Cases since 1945." INTERNATIONAL

New Haven: Yale University Press.

Kuper, Leo. (1985). THE PREVENTION OF GENOCIDE. New Haven: Yale University Press.


Endowment for International Peace.

Porter, Jack Nusan (1982a) "Introduction: What is Genocide? Notes toward a Definition."
Porter. Washington, D.C.: University Press of America, pp. 2-32.

Porter, Jack Nusan (Ed.) (1982b). GENOCIDE AND HUMAN RIGHTS: A GLOBAL
ANTHOLOGY, [edited] by Jack Nusan Porter. Washington, D.C.: University Press of America.

Ray, James Lee.(1995). "Wars between democracies: rare, or nonexistent?" INTERNATIONAL

INTERACTIONS 18 (No. 3, 1993): 251-276.
University of South Carolina Press.

Rummel, R.J. (1987). "Deadlier than War." IPA REVIEW (Institute of Public Affairs Limited,
Australia) 41 (August-October ): 24-30.

____________.(1988). "As Though a Nuclear War: The Death Toll of Absolutism."


Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers.


SINCE 1900. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers.


Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers.


SINCE 1900. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.

___________ (1995 [published in 1997) STATISTICS OF DEMOCIDE. New Brunswick, New

Jersey: Transaction Publishers


POST-COLD WAR WORLD. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

Small, Melvin and J. David Singer (1982). RESORT TO ARMS: INTERNATIONAL AND
CIVIL WARS 1816-1980. Beverly Hills, California: Sage Publications.


OF THE NEW WORLD. New York: Oxford University Press.

Veenhoven, Willem A., and Crum Ewing, Winifred (Eds.) (1975-1976). CASE STUDIES ON
Hague: Nijhoff.

Wallimann, Isidor and Michael N. Dobkowski (Eds.) (1987). GENOCIDE AND THE MODERN

Weart, Spencer. "Peace among democratic and oligarchic republics." JOURNAL OF PEACE
RESEARCH (1994).

Weart, Spencer (1995 [published in 1998]) NEVER AT WAR: WHY DEMOCRACIES WILL
NOT FIGHT ONE ANOTHER. New Haven: Yale University Press. .
By R.J. Rummel

It is impossible to dissociate language from science or science from language, because every
natural [or social] science always involves three things: the sequence of phenomena on which the
science is based; the abstract concepts which call these phenomena to mind; and the words in
which the concepts are expressed.
----Antoine Laurent Lavoisier, 1789

What are the differences and similarities between democide and genocide? As defined,
elaborated, and qualified in Chapter 2 of Death By Government, democide is any murder by
government--by officials acting under the authority of government. That is, they act according to
explicit or implicit government policy or with the implicit or explicit approval of the highest
officials. Such was the burying alive of Chinese civilians by Japanese soldiers, the shooting of
hostages by German soldiers, the starving to death of Ukrainians by communist cadre, or the
burning alive of Japanese civilians purposely fire-bombed from the air by American airmen.

Genocide, however, is a confused and confusing concept. It may or may not include government
murder, refer to wholly or partially eliminating some group, or involve psychological damage. If
it includes government murder, it may mean all such murder or just some. Boiling all this down,
genocide can have three different meanings.

One meaning is that defined by international treaty, the Convention on the Prevention and
Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. This makes genocide a punishable crime under
international law, and defines it as:

any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national,
ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;

(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical
destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
Note that only the first clause includes outright killing, while the other clauses cover non-killing
ways of eliminating a group. I will call this definition of genocide the legal meaning, since it is
now part of international law.

Regardless of this definition and doubtlessly influenced by the Holocaust, ordinary usage and
that by students of genocide have tended to wholly equate it with the murder and only the
murder by government of people due to their national, ethnical, racial or religious (or, what is
called indelible) group membership. This way of viewing genocide has become so ingrained that
it seems utterly false to say, for example, that the United States committed genocide against
ethnic Hawaiians by forcing their children to study English and behave according to American
norms and values. Yet, in the legal view of genocide, this is arguably true. The equating of
genocide with the killing people because of their indelible group membership I will label the
common meaning of genocide.

In some usage and especially among some students of genocide, the concept has been redefined
to fill a void. What about government murdering people for other reasons than their indelible
group membership? What about government organized death squads eliminating communist
sympathizers, assassinating political opponents, or cleansing the population of
antirevolutionaries. What about simply fulfilling a government death quota (as in the Soviet
Union under Stalin). None of such murders are genocide according the legal and common
meanings. Therefore, some students of genocide have stretched its meaning to include all
government murder, whether or not because of group membership. This may be aptly named the
generalized meaning of genocide.

As obvious, the problem with the generalized meaning of genocide is that to fill one void it
creates another. For if genocide refers to all government murder, what are we to call the murder
of people because of their group membership? It is precisely because of this conceptual problem
that I created the concept of democide.

We now have three meanings of genocide: legal, common, and generalized. How do these
related to democide? Let me try to make this clear through Venn Diagrams. Figure 1A shows
two circles, one containing all cases of democide, the other all cases of genocide. Outside of the
two circles are all other forms of behavior that is neither democide or genocide. Now, for the
legal meaning of genocide, only part of the circle of genocide will overlap that of democide, as
shown in the figure. This is because the legal meaning includes nonkilling, while democide
includes only killing. The overlap portion of the circles comprise those cases of democide that
are the genocidal murder of people in order to eradicate their group in whole or part. That part of
the democide circle outside of the overlap contains those murdered for other reasons.

Figure 1B shows the circle of genocide in its common meaning. Then the genocide circle is a
smaller one inside the democide circle. That is, in this meaning genocide is a kind of democide,
but there are other types of democide as well, such as politicide or the bombing of civilians (see
Table 2.1 of Chapter 2).

Now referring to Figure 1C for the generalized meaning of genocide, the genocide and democide
circles are the same: democide is genocide and genocide is democide. One of the concepts is
then redundant against the other. But then, as I so often point out, what do we call the murder of
people because they are, say, Moslems, Jews, or Armenians? This surely is a kind of murder that
must be discriminated and understood.

The progress of our knowledge of government murder depends fundamentally on the clarity and
significance of our concepts. Especially, these concepts should refer to real world behavior and
events that can be clearly and similarly discriminated regardless of the observers and their
prejudices. For if any area of social study is laden with predispositions and biases, it surely has to
do with the who, why, when, and how of government murder (the meaning of "government" and
"murder" are themselves concepts that require clarification, as I tried to do in Chapter 2). For
these reasons I believe that both genocide in its common meaning and democide as I have
defined it have an important role in understanding government murder. The legal view of
genocide, however, is too complex and subsumes behavior too different in kind, such as
government murder, government induced psychological damage, government attempting to
eliminate a group in whole or in part (what empirical meaning can we give to "in part "?), or
government removing children from a group (removing what percentage constitutes genocide?),
and so on. In the case of democide, the vast majority of government killing is manifestly murder-
-the intent to commit murder is inherent in the act itself. For example, soldiers lining up civilians
against a wall and shooting them to death without a fair trial is manifestly government murder.
And in its common meaning, most cases of genocide can be equally discriminated, as in the
Holocaust or of the Armenian genocide in Turkey during 1915-1916.

The conclusion is that genocide should ordinarily be understood as the government murder of
people because of their indelible group membership (let the international lawyers struggle with
the legal meaning) and democide as any murder by government, including this form of genocide.


* May, 1998. This was written for this web site in order to help clarify the distinction between
genocide and democide. The concept of democide is unique to this web site while genocide is in
general use, although as will be shown here, much confused in the literature.



By R.J. Rummel
Democide: The murder of any person or people
by a government.

Mortacracy: A type of political system that

habitually and systematically murders large
numbers of its own citizens.

Megamurderer: A government that has

murdered 1,000,000 people or more.

Note that I completed this study in the summer of 1993 while still engaged in collecting
democide data. Not all the democide totals I give here are complete, therefore. For final
figures, see my summary Table 1.2 in my Death By Government


The concept of genocide hardly covers the ruthless murder carried out by totalitarian
states. It does not even account for most of those wiped out by the Nazis. A new concept is
needed that covers the extent and variety of megamurders by these mortacracies.

In international conventions and the general literature, genocide has been defined as
intentional killing by government of people because of their race, religion, ethnicity, or
other indelible group membership. While killing people because of their politics or for
political reasons has been explicitly excluded from the international Genocide Convention,
some scholars nonetheless have included such killing in their study of genocide (Fein, 1984;
Kuper, 1981; Porter, 1982). Some have extended the definition of genocide to cover any
mass murder by government (Chalk and Jonassohn, 1988; Charny, 1991); some have even
stretched it much further to characterize the unintentional spread of disease to indigenous
populations during European colonization, including that of the American West (Stannard,

The problem is becoming conceptually acute. The early generic meaning of genocide was
clear, although by its exclusion of political killing, controversial. The present extension of
genocide's meaning, however, creates conceptual confusion and lumps together types of
killing that theoretically should be kept distinct. If for example, genocide comes to mean all
deaths due to government actions, whether lining up people and machine-gunning them,
executing prisoners of war, gassing Jews, creating a famine due to bad agricultural policies,
the death of children because of ignorant welfare policies, or the accidental creation of fatal
disease among subject natives, then we would have to invent a concept to cover the
intentional murder of people by virtue of their group identity. Since we already have the
concept of genocide for that purpose, we really should create allied concepts to define other
types of deaths due to government.

One concept, already suggested in the literature (Harff and Gurr, 1988; Rummel, 1900) is
politicide. This defines that killing done intentionally by government for political-
ideological purposes, including those killed because of their politics or political views. This
is not purely exclusive of genocide, since there are cases, as in the Soviet deportation and
murder of ethnic Germans during World War II, that are both genocide and politicide.
Generally, however, I have found that this overlap will be but a smaller part of the
politicide carried out by mortacracies, even for Nazi Germany. It usually would include,
for example, executing purged communist party members, or murdering anti-communists,
counterrevolutionaries, social democrats, dissidents, or critics.

Another concept is mass murder, or government's intentional and indiscriminate murder

of a large number of people. Obviously, in meaning this can overlap with genocide and
politicide, but it can also include random executions of civilians, as in the German reprisals
against partisan sabotage in Yugoslavia; working prisoners to death, as in the Soviet
Kolyma mining camps; the blanket fire bombing of cities, as in the American bombing of
Tokyo-Yokohama in 1945 or atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; or atrocities
committed by soldiers, as in the 1937 Japanese rape and pillage of Nanking (which
probably killed some 200,000 people).

But then there is killing that does not easily fit into any or these categories. There is, for
example, murder by quota carried out by the Soviets, Chinese communists, and North
Vietnamese. Government (or party) agencies would order subordinate units to kill a
certain number of "enemies of the people," "rightists," or "tyrants," and the precise
application of the order was left to the units involved. Moreover, millions of people died in
labor or concentration camps not because of their social identity or political beliefs, but
simply because they got in the way, violated some Draconian rule, did not express sufficient
exuberance over the regime, innocently sat on a newspaper with the picture of Stalin
showing, or simply was a body that was needed for labor (as the Nazis would grab women
innocently walking along a road in Ukraine and deport them to Germany for forced labor).
And there are the hundreds of thousands of peasants that slowly died of disease,
malnutrition, overwork, and hunger in Cambodia as the Khmer Rouge forced them under
penalty of death to labor in the collectivized fields, expropriating virtually their whole
harvest and refusing them adequate medical care.

I have covered all this murder as well as genocide and politicide by the concept of
democide. Table 1 provides the definition [in place of the table, see Chapter 2 of Death By
Government]; Table 2 gives an overview of this and the other concepts mentioned above,
placing them into the context of other sources of mass death.
Democide is meant to define the killing by states as the concept of murder does individual
killing in domestic society. Here intentionality (premeditation) is critical. This also includes
practical intentionality. If a government causes deaths through a reckless and depraved
indifference to human life, the deaths were as though intended. If through neglect a mother
lets her baby die of malnutrition, this is murder. If we imprison a girl in our home, force
her to do exhausting work fourteen hours a day, not even minimally feed and clothe her,
and watch her gradually die a little each day without helping her, then her inevitable death
is not only our fault, but our practical intention. It is murder. Similarly, for example, the
Soviet system for forcibly transporting prisoners to labor camps was lethal. In transit
hundreds of thousands of political prisoners died at the hands of criminals or guards, or
from heat, cold, or inadequate food or water. Although not intended (indeed, this deprived
the regime of their labor), the deaths were still murder. They were democide.


There is much confusion about what is meant by totalitarian in the literature, including the
denial that such systems even exist. I define a totalitarian state as one with a system of
government that is unlimited constitutionally or by countervailing powers in society (such
as by a church, rural gentry, labor unions, or regional powers); is not held responsible to
the public by periodic secret and competitive elections; and employs its unlimited power to
control all aspects of society, including the family, religion, education, business, private
property, and social relationships. Under Stalin, the Soviet Union was thus totalitarian, as
was Mao's China, Pol Pot's Cambodia, Hitler's Germany, and U Ne Win's Burma.
Totalitarianism is then a political ideology for which a totalitarian government is the
agency for realizing its ends. Thus, totalitarianism characterizes such ideologies as state
socialism (as in Burma), Marxism-Leninism as in former East Germany, and Nazism. Even
revolutionary Moslem Iran since the overthrow of the Shaw in 1978-79 has been
totalitarian--here totalitarianism was married to Moslem fundamentalism. In short,
totalitarianism is the ideology of absolute power. State socialism, communism, Nazism,
fascism, and Moslem fundamentalism have been some of its recent raiments. Totalitarian
governments have been its agency. The state, with its international legal sovereignty and
independence, has been its base. As will be pointed out, mortacracy is the result.
Totalitarian governments are the contemporary embodiment of absolute Power [1], as
classically understood. And Power is a continuum, with limited and responsible power at
one end, and absolute Power--totalitarian governments--at the other end. In the middle are
authoritarian governments, that is monarchies or dictatorships that leave social, economic,
and cultural affairs and institutions largely free, but squash political opponents or critics
(for example, in South Korean and Taiwan until recently, or Thailand and Greece under
various military dictatorships). This then gives us a simple summary of relevant findings in
the literature. The more unlimited the power of a government, the more likely it will kill.
This can be put as a principle:
Power kills, absolute Power kills absolutely.
This Power Principle is the message emerging from research on the causes of war and
current, comparative study of democide in this century. The more power a government
has, the more it can act arbitrarily according to the whims and desires of the elite, the more
it will make war on others and murder its foreign and domestic subjects. The more
constrained the power of governments, the more it is diffused, checked and balanced, the
less it will aggress on others and commit democide. At the extremes of Power, totalitarian
governments have slaughtered their people by the tens of millions, while many democracies
can barely bring themselves to execute even serial murderers.


These above assertions about Power are extreme and categorical, but so is the evidence so
far accumulated. First consider war. Table 3 shows the occurrence of war between nations
since 1816. In no case has there been a war involving violent military action between stable
democracies,[2] although they have fought, as everyone knows, non-democracies. Most
wars are between nondemocracies. Indeed, we have here a general principle that is gaining
acceptance among students of international relations and war. That is that democracies
don't make war on each other. To this I would add that the less democratic two states, the
more likely that they will fight each other.

This belligerence of nondemocracies, that is, authoritarian and totalitarian states, is not an
artifact of either a small number of democracies nor of our era. For one thing the number
of democracies ("free" states) in 1991 numbered 75 out of 171, or about 44 percent of the
world's states.[3] Yet we have had no war among them. Nor is there any threat of war.
They create an oasis of peace.

Moreover, this is historically true of democracies as well. If one relaxes the definition of
democracy to mean simply the restraint on Power by the participation of middle and lower
classes in the determination of power holders and policy making, then there have been
many democracies throughout history. And whether considering the classical Greek
democracies, democratic forest states of Switzerland, or other historical democratic
polities, they did not fight each other (depending on how war and democracy is defined,
some might prefer to say that they rarely fought each other). Moreover, once those states
that had been mortal enemies, that had frequently gone to war (as have France and
Germany in recent centuries), became democratic, war ceased between them. Paradigmatic
of this is Western Europe since 1945. The cauldron of our most disastrous wars for many
centuries, in 1945 one would find few experts so foolhardy as to predict not only forty-six
years of peace, but that at the end of that time there would be a European community with
central government institutions, moves toward a joint European military force by France
and Germany, and zero expectation of violence between any of these formerly hostile
states. Yet such has happened. All because they are all democracies. Even among primitive
tribes, it seems, where Power is divided and limited, war is less likely.
Were all to be said about Power is that it causes war and the attendant slaughter of the
young and most capable of our species, this would be enough. But much worse is that even
without the excuse of combat, Power also murders in cold blood even more of those helpless
people it controls, near four times more of them.

Consider Table 4 and Figure 1 , the list and its graph of this century's megamurderers--
those states killing in cold blood, aside from warfare, 1,000,000 or more men, women, and
children. At present count,[4] these eleven megamurderers have wiped out 142,902,000
people, almost four times the battle-dead in all this century's international and civil

Absolute Power, that is the U.S.S.R., Communist China, Nazi Germany, Militarist Japan,
Khmer Rouge Cambodia, Communist Vietnam, and Communist Yugoslavia account for
128,744,000 of them, or 90 percent. Absolute Power breeds mortacracies.

Then there are the kilomurderers, or those states that have killed innocents by the tens or
hundreds of thousands, such as Communist Afghanistan, Angola, Laos, Ethiopia, North
Korea, and Rumania, non-communist totalitarian Iran (post-1979) and Croatia (1941-44),
as well as authoritarian Argentina, Burundi, Chile, Czechoslovakia (1945-46), Indonesia,
Iraq, Rwanda, Spain, Sudan, and Uganda. These and other kilomurderers, and I am still
counting, add an additional 8,361,000 people killed to the democide for this century, as
shown in Table 4 .

Now, democracies themselves are responsible for some of this democide. Detailed estimates
have yet to be made, but preliminarily work suggests that some 2,000,000 foreigners have
been killed in cold blood by democracies. This would include those killed in indiscriminate
or civilian targeted city bombing, as of Germany and Japan in World War II.[6] It would
include the large scale massacres of Filipinos during the bloody American colonization of
the Philippines at the beginning of this century, deaths in British concentration camps in
South Africa during the Boar War, civilian deaths due to starvation during the British
blockade of Germany in and after World War I, the rape and murder of helpless Chinese
in and around Peking in 1900, the atrocities committed by Americans in Vietnam, the
murder of helpless Algerians during the Algerian War by the French, and the unnatural
deaths of German prisoners of war in French and American POW camps after World War

Moreover, the secret services of democracies may also carry on subversive activities in
other states, support deadly coups, and actually encourage or support rebel or military
forces that are involved in democidal activities. Such was done, for example, by the
American CIA in the 1952 coup against Iran Prime Minister Mossadeq and the 1973 coup
against Chile's democratically elected President Allende by General Pinochet. Then there
was the secret support given the military in El Salvador and Guatemala although they were
slaughtering thousands of presumed communist supporters, and that of the Contras in
their war against the Sandinista government of Nicaragua in spite of their atrocities.
Particularly reprehensible was the covert support given to the Generals in Indonesia as
they murdered hundreds of thousands of communists and others after the alleged
attempted communist coup in 1965, and the continued secret support given to General
Agha Mohammed Yahya Khan of Pakistan even as he was involved in murdering over a
million Bengalis in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).

All this killing of foreigners by democracies, complicity in such killing, or winking at allies
doing such killing, may seem to violate the Power Principle, but really underlines it. For in
each case, the killing or related activities were carried out in secret, behind a conscious
cover of lies and deceit by those agencies and power-holders involved. In most cases they
were shielded by tight censorship of the press and control of journalists. Even the
indiscriminate bombing of German cities by the British was disguised before the House of
Commons and in press releases as attacks on German military targets. That the general
strategic bombing policy was to attack working men's homes was kept secret for long after
the war.

The upshot is that even in democracies, Power can take root in particular institutions,
remain unchecked and undisciplined, and hide its activities, and murder en masse. Such
Power usually flourishes during wartime, for then the military are often given far greater
power, democratic controls over civilian leaders are weak, and the press labors under strict
reigns. Indeed, democracies then become garrison states, Power is freed from many
institutional restraints (note how easy it was during World War II to put tens of thousands
of American citizens--Japanese Americans--in concentration camps for nothing more than
being of Japanese ancestry), and where it can become absolute, as in the military, it may
kill absolutely. Witness Hiroshima and Nagasaki.[7]


So Power kills and absolute Power kills absolutely. What then can be said of those alleged
causes or factors in war, genocide, and mass murder favored by students of genocide?
What about cultural-ethnic differences, outgroup conflict, misperception, frustration-
aggression, relative deprivation, ideological imperatives, dehumanization, resource
competition, overpopulation, and so on? At one time or another, for one state of another,
one or more of these factors play an important role in democide. Some are essential for
understanding some genocides, as of the Jews or Armenians; some politicide, as of
"enemies of the people," bourgeoisie, and clergy; some massacres, as of competing
religious-ethnic groups; or some atrocities, as of those committed against poor and helpless
villagers by victorious soldiers. But then neighbors in the service of Power have killed
neighbor, fathers have killed their sons, faceless and unknown people have been killed by
quota. One is hard put to find a race, religion, culture, or distinct ethnic group that has not
murdered its own or others.

These specific causes or factors accelerate the likelihood of war or democide once some
trigger event occurs and absolute or near absolute Power is present. That is, Power is a
necessary cause for war or democide. When the elite have absolute power, war or democide
is part of the following process (which I call the "conflict helix" [Rummel, 1991]).
In any society, including the international one, relations between individuals and groups is
structured by social contracts determined by previous conflicts, accommodations, and
adjustments among them. These social contracts define a structure of expectations that
guide and regulate the social order, including Power. And this structure is based on a
particular balance of powers (understood as an equation of interests, capabilities, and
wills) among individuals and groups. That is, previous conflict and possibly violence
determine a balance of power between competing individuals and groups and a congruent
structure of expectations (as for example, war or revolution ends in a new balance of
powers between nations or groups and an associated peace treaty or constitution). This
structure of expectations often consists of new laws and norms defining a social order more
consistent with the underlying distribution of relative power.

However, relative power never remains constant. It shifts as the interests, capabilities, and
will of the parties change. The death of a charismatic leader, the outrage of significant
groups, the loss of foreign support by out groups, the entry into war and the resulting
freedom of the elite to use force under the guise of war-time necessity, and so on, can
significantly alter the balance of power between groups. Where such a shift in power is in
favor of the governing elite, Power can now achieve its potential. Where also the elite have
built up frustrations regarding those who have lost power or nonetheless feel threatened by
them, where they see them as outside the moral universe, where they have dehumanized
them, where the outgroup is culturally or ethnically distinct and the elite perceive them as
inferior, or where any other such factors are present, Power will achieve its murderous
potential. It simply waits for an excuse, an event of some sort, an assassination, a massacre
in a neighboring country, an attempted coup, a famine, or a natural disaster that will
justify beginning the murder en masse.

The result of such violence will be a new balance of power and attendant social contract. In
some cases this may end the democide, as by the elimination of the "inferior" group (as of
the Armenians by the Turks). In many cases this will subdue and cower the survivors (as
the Ukrainians who lived through Stalin's collectivization campaign and intentional
famine). In some cases, this establishes a new balance of power so skewed toward the elite
that they may throughout their reign continue to murder at will. Murder as public policy
becomes part of the new structure of expectations of the new social order. Consider the
social orders of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and their henchmen.

As should be clear from all this, I believe that war and democide can be understood within
a common framework. It is part of a social process, a balancing of powers, where Power is

It is not clear from this, however, why among states where Power is limited and
accountable, war and significant democide do not take place. Two concepts explain this:
cross pressures and the associated political culture. Where Power is diffused, checked,
accountable, society is riven by myriad independent groups, disparate institutions, and
multiple interests. These overlap and contend; they section loyalties and divide desires and
wants. Churches, unions, corporations, government bureaucracies, political parties, the
media, special interest groups, and such, fight for and protect their interests. Individuals
and the elite are pushed and pulled by their membership in several such groups and
institutions. And it is difficult for any one driving interest to form. They are divided, weak,
ambivalent; they are cross-pressured. And for the elite to sufficiently coalesce to commit
itself to murdering its own citizens, there must be a near fanatical, driving interest. But
even were such present among a few, the diversity of interests across the political elite and
associated bureaucracies, the freedom of the media to dig out what is being planned or
done, and the ever present potential leaks and fear of such leaks of disaffected elite to the
media, brake such tendencies.

As to the possibility of war between democracies, diversity and resulting cross-pressures

operate as well. Not only is it very difficult for the elite to unify public interests and opinion
sufficiently to make war, but there are usually diverse, economic, social, and political bonds
between democracies that tie them together and oppose violence.

But there is more to these restraints on Power in a democracy. Cross-pressures is a social

force that operates wherever individual and group freedom predominates. It is natural to a
spontaneous social field. But human behavior is not only a matter of social forces, it also
depends on the meanings and values that things have and on individual norms. That is,
democratic culture is also essential. When Power is checked and accountable, when cross-
pressures limit the operation of Power, a particular democratic culture develops. This
culture involves debate, demonstrations, protests, but also negotiation, compromise, and
tolerance. It involves the arts of conflict resolution and the acceptance of democratic
procedures at all levels of society. The ballot replaces the bullet, and particularly, people
and groups come to accept a loss on this or that interest as only an unfortunate outcome of
the way the legitimate game is played ("Lose today, win tomorrow").

That democratic political elite would kill opponents or commit genocide for some public
policy is unthinkable (although such does occur in the isolated and secret corners of
government where Power can still lurk). Even in modern democracies, publicly defining
and dehumanizing outgroups has become a social and political evil. Witness the current
potency of such allegations as "racism" or "sexism." Of course, the culture of democracy
operates between democracies as well. Diplomacy, negotiating a middle-way, seeking
common interests, is part of the operating medium among democracies. A detailed political
history of the growth of the European Community would well display this. Since each
democracy takes the legitimacy of the other and their interests for granted, conflict then is
only a process of nonviolent learning and adjustment between them. Conferences, not war,
is the instrumentality for settling disputes.


This picture of Power and its human costs is new. Few are aware of the sheer democide
that has been inflicted on our fellow human beings. That Hitler murdered millions of Jews
is common knowledge. That he probably murdered overall some 20,946,000 Jews, Slavs,
Gypsies, homosexuals, Frenchmen, Balts, Czechs, and others, is far less known. Similarly,
that Stalin murdered tens of millions is becoming generally appreciated; but that Stalin,
Lenin, and their successors murdered some 61,911,000 Soviet citizens and foreigners is
little comprehended outside of the Soviet Union (where similar figures are now being
widely published). Then there is Mao Tse-tung's China, militarist's Japan, Pol Pot's
Cambodia, and other mortacracies listed in Table 4 , who have murdered in the millions.
Even those students of genocide who have tried to tabulate such killing around the world
have grossly underestimated the toll. For example, a recent such accounting came up with a
high of 16,000,000 killed in genocide and politicide since World War II (Harff and Gurr,
1988), an estimate that does not even cover half of the likely 35,236,000 murdered by just
the Communist Party of China from 1949 to 1987 (Table 4 ).

Moreover, even the toll of war itself is not well understood. Many estimate that World War
II, for example, killed 40,000,000 to 60,000,000 people. But the problem with such figures is
that they include tens of millions killed in democide. Many war-time governments
massacred civilians and foreigners, committed atrocities or genocide against them, and
subjected them to reprisals. Aside from battle or military engagements, during the war the
Nazis murdered some 20,946,000 civilians and prisoners of war; the Japanese, 5,890,000;
the Chinese Nationalists, 5,907,000; the Chinese communists, 250,000; the Nazi satellite
Croatians, 655,000; the Tito partisans, 600,000; and Stalin, 13,053,000 (above the
20,000,000 war-dead and democide by the Nazis of Soviet Jews and Slavs). I also should
mention the civilian targeted bombing by the Allies that killed hundreds of thousands.
Most of these deaths are usually included among the war-dead. But those killed in battle
versus in democide form distinct conceptual and theoretical categories and should not be
confused. That these separate categories have been consistently and sometimes
intentionally combined helps raise the toll during World War II, for example, to some
60,000,000 people, way above the estimated 15,000,000 killed in battle and military action
(Small and Singer, 1982). Even the almost universally accepted count of genocide during
this war of "6,000,000" Jews has been generally included in the total dead for the war,
which has further muddled our research and thought.[8]

Even more, our appreciation of the incredible scale of this century's democide has been
stultified by lack of concepts and data. Democide is committed by absolute Power, its
agency is government. The discipline for studying and analyzing power and government
and associated genocide and mass murder is political science. But except for a few specific
cases, such as the Holocaust and Armenian genocide, and a precious few more general
works, one is hard put to find political science research specifically on this.

One university course I teach is "Introduction to Political Science." Each semester I review
several possible introductory texts (the best measure of the discipline) for the course. At
this stage of my research on democide, with the results shown in Table 4, I often just shake
my head at what I find. The concepts and views promoted in standard political science texts
appear grossly unrealistic; they do not fit or explain, and are even contradictory to the
existence of a Hell-State like Pol Pot's Cambodia, a Gulag-State like Stalin's Soviet Union,
or a Genocide-State like Hitler's Germany.
For instance, one textbook I recently read spends a chapter on describing the functions of
government. Among these were law and order, individual security, cultural maintenance,
and social welfare. Political scientists are still writing this even though we now have
numerous examples of governments that kill millions of their own citizens, enslave the rest,
and abolish traditional culture (it took only about a year for the Khmer Rouge to
completely uproot and extinguish Buddhism, which had been the heart and soul of
Cambodian culture). A systems approach to politics still dominates the field. Through this
lens, politics is a matter of inputs and outputs, of citizen inputs, aggregation by political
parties, government determining policy, and bureaucracies implementing it. There is
especially the common and fundamental justification of government that it exists to protect
citizens against the anarchic jungle that would otherwise threaten their lives and property.
Such archaic or sterile views show no appreciation of democide's existence and all its
related horrors and suffering. They are inconsistent with a regime that stands astride
society like a gang of thugs over hikers they have captured in the woods, robbing all,
raping some, torturing others for fun, murdering those they don't like, and terrorizing the
rest into servile obedience. This is an exact characterization of many past and present
governments, e.g., Idi Amin's Uganda, and it hardly squares with conventional political

Consider also that many books have been written on the possible nature and consequences
of nuclear war and how it might be avoided. Yet, in the toll from democide, possibly even
more than 350,000,000 people killed at the high end or the range, we have experienced in
this century the equivalent of nuclear war. Yet to my knowledge, there is only one book
dealing with the human cost of this "nuclear war"--Gil Elliot's Twentieth Century Book of
the Dead, and to my knowledge he is not a political scientist.

What is needed is a reconceptualization of government and politics consistent with what we

now know about democide and related misery. New concepts have to be invented, old ones
realigned to correct our perception of Power. We need to invent concepts for governments
that turn their states into a border-to-border concentration camp, that purposely starve to
death millions of their citizens, that set up quotas of those that should be killed from one
village or town to another (although murder by quota was carried out by the Soviets,
Chinese communists, and Vietnamese, I could not find in any introductory or general
political science texts even a recognition that governments can be so incredibly inhumane).
We have no concept for murder as an aim of public policy, determined by discussion
among the governing elite in the highest councils, and imposed through government
bureaucracy. Indeed, in virtually no index to any general book on politics and government
will one find a reference to genocide, mass murder, killed, dead, executed, or massacre.
Such is not even usually indexed in books on the Soviet Union or China. Most even omit
index references to concentration or labor camps or gulag, even though they may have a
paragraph or so on them.

The preeminent fact about government is that some murder millions in cold blood. This is
where absolute Power reigns. The second fact is that some, usually the same governments,
murder tens of thousands more through foreign aggression and intervention. Absolute
Power again. These two facts alone must be the basis of our reconceptualization and
taxonomies; not, as it is today, only whether states are developed or not, third world or not,
powerful or not, large or not. But also and what is more important, whether Power is
absolute and has engaged in genocide, politicide, and mass murder--whether they are
mortacracies or not.


Turning specifically to the literature in English on totalitarian states, there has been
virtually no interest in determining the nature and extent of their democide. The only
exception to this is the Holocaust, for which a huge literature has grown and many fine
works have concentrated on determining the how, why, when, and where of the genocide
and the number of Jews murdered. But even then, hardly any such work has been
undertaken for the Slavs, Gypsies, and others killed by the Nazis (the excellent collection of
studies, A Mosaic of Victims: Non-Jews Persecuted and Murdered by the Nazis, edited by
Michael Berenbaum (1990) is a notable exception). Moreover, virtually no systematic work
has been done on the numbers killed and why in other totalitarian states.[9] Absolute
Power's cost to human life is simply not of scholarly concern.

This is not to deny that there are some guesses and calculations about democide in the
literature. Nor should one ignore the work on particular totalitarian engines of death, such
as the Soviet labor or concentration camp or the secret police, although this work has also
been terribly scarce compared to research on Soviet military power, political institutions,
or economy. Indeed, besides my own, I could find only five works in English that have
primarily focused on the overall democide of specific totalitarian states (Conquest, 1970;
Dyadkin, 1983; Shalom, 1984, Walker, 1971, Wytwycky, 1980), and only one of them
(Dyadkin) is a book.

As I have gone through stack after stack of books on a particular totalitarian state, I have
been aghast at the number and detail of tables on such as their steel production, pigs,
urban work force, tractors in use, railroads, exports, literacy, population, and on and on,
by comparison to the lack of even snippets of data or "guesstimates" on concentration
camps, forced laborers, arrests, executions, prison population, tortures, disappearances,
massacres, genocide, suicides, deported, formally ostracized (in effect a sentence of death
by starvation), famine deaths, and so on. Do economic, demographic, and trade statistics
really matter, even where they are not falsified by the regime, when it is murdering
hundreds of thousands, possibly even millions, of its citizens and millions more suffer and
die at slave labor? Of what moment is it to know that the estimated 1976 gross national
product for the Hell State of Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge was $540 million when Pol
Pot was in the process of murdering between one-fourth to one-third of the total
population. It is as though we concerned ourselves with the income and hours worked of
our neighbor while he was starving his children to death. Going through this literature for
information on democide is like mining gold: so many stacks of books will produce so many
sentences of useful information. Then, sometimes one will hit a rich vein, such as the work
of Robert Conquest (1968) on the Soviet Union or Hoang Van Chi (1964) on Vietnam.
In the following bibliography I have focused on the rare works in English that at least give
an occasional nugget of information. Moreover, I have also included works that provide
useful background for understanding when democide occurred and why. A frustrating
amount of selectivity was required, and not all readers will agree that the works included
are the best for this purpose. They are, however, the ones that I found most useful for my
work on democide.


* Published as Rummel, R.J. "Democide in Totalitarian States: Mortacracies and

Megamurderers." In Israel Charny (Ed.), The Widening Circle of Genocide: Genocide: A
critical Bibliographic Review Vol. 3, New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers,

1. Power capitalized stands for power and its holders (such as Stalin), agencies (such as
government departments and bureaucracies), and instruments (such as armies,
concentration camps, and propaganda).

2. An exception would appear to be barely democratic Finland, which joined Nazi

Germany in its war on the Soviet Union during World War II and thus was technically at
war with the Democratic Allies. No military action took place between Finland and the
Allies, however.

3. See Freedom House's Freedom Review, 22 (January-February 1992), 6.

4. I am still in the process of collecting statistics and counting the democide for states and
groups in this century. The final figures will be [have been] published in Rummel ( 1997).
Moreover, the totals for all states except the USSR, PRC, and Nazi Germany are
preliminary totals.

5. The reason these figures are not rounded to millions or tens of millions is that they result
from the summation and calculation of hundreds of sub-estimates, and therefore if
rounded would differ from the correct sum, often by hundreds of thousands.

6. Deliberately targeting civilians with explosive and incendiary bombs simply because they
happen to be under the command and control of an enemy Power is no better than lining
them up and machine-gunning them, a clear atrocity. In 1972, the International Red Cross
held a conference of experts out of which came a protocol defining the limits of air warfare.
This has become widely accepted (although not ratified) and probably expresses customary
international law. It outlaws any direct air attacks on civilians, including the type of terror
and anti-morale attacks Great Britain and the United States carried out on German and
Japanese cities.
7. Until I did a comparative study of democide, I had accepted the argument that this
slaughter of civilians shortened the war and avoided perhaps more than a million being
killed in the Allied invasion of Japan. However, this strategic reason for killing innocent
civilians in wartime has been used throughout history. The Japanese terror bombing of
Chinese cities during the Sino-Japanese War was justified as a method to shorten the war.
The killing of all inhabitants of a city by the Mongols once its defense were breached was
justified by the terror it caused among inhabitants of other cities, who would then
surrender at once rather than suffer the same fate. Even the Nazi reprisal murders of tens
of thousands of civilians in occupied countries was justified by them as a way of terrorizing
civilians into compliance and served to protect German lives.

8. During the war the Soviets committed genocide against at least nine of their distinct
ethnic-linguistic sub-nations, including ethnic Germans, ethnic Greeks, Crimean Tatars,
and Balkars. Genocides by others include those of the Germans against Slavs, Gypsies, and
homosexuals; Croatians against the Serbs, Jews, and Gypsies; the Serbs against Croatians
and Moslems; the Hungarians against their Jews; the Serbs, Poles, and Czechs against
their ethnic Germans.

9. The Turkish 1915-1918 genocide against the Armenians in 1915-1918 in which perhaps
1,000,000 or more were murdered is not included here. At the time the government of the
Young Turks was largely authoritarian, not totalitarian. Separate communities in Turkey
had a great deal of autonomy, the economy was largely a free market, and the dictatorial
government mainly restricted itself, as had the Ottoman Empire, to maintaining and
assuring its power and repressing any political competition or opposition.


Charny, Israel W. (February, 1991) "A Proposal of a New Encompassing Definition of

Genocide: Including New Legal Categories of Accomplices to Genocide, and Genocide as a
Result of Ecological Destruction and Abuse." Invited Address to the first Raphael Lemkin
Symposium on Genocide, Yale University Law School.

Fein, Helen (1984). "Scenarios of Genocide: Models of Genocide and Critical Responses,"
In Charny, Israel W. Toward the Understanding and Prevention of Genocide: Proceedings of
the International Conference on the Holocaust and Genocide. Boulder: Westview Press, pp.

Porter, Jack Nusan (1982). "Introduction: What is Genocide? Notes toward a Definition,"
In Genocide and Human Rights: A Global Anthology, [edited] by Jack Nusan Porter.
Washington, D.C.: University Press of America, pp. 2-32.

Rummel, R.J. (1991). The Conflict Helix: Principles and Practices of Interpersonal, Social,
and International Conflict and Cooperation. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.
297 pp.
Rummel, R. J. (1994). Death by Government: Genocide and Mass Murder in the Twentieth

Small, M., and Singer, J. David (1976). The war-proneness of democratic regimes, 1816-
1965. Jerusalem Journal International Relations, 1 (Summer), 50-69.

Small, Melvin, and Singer, J. David (1982). Resort to Arms: International and Civil Wars,
1816-1980. Beverly Hills: Sage Publications.

Stannard, David E. American Holocaust: Columbus and the Conquest of the New World.
New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.


General Works

These are sources providing general or comparative analyses that include totalitarian
states, or statistics on democide in more than one of them. Throughout the annotations,
when the authors use "genocide" broadly to mean what I am calling democide, I employ
the latter term to describe their work.

Chalk, Frank, and Jonassohn, Kurt (1990). The History and Sociology of Genocide: Analysis
and Case Studies. New Haven: Yale University Press. 461 pp. [Published in cooperation
with the Montreal Institute for Genocide Studies]

This is an important and seminal overview of democide throughout history. Through

excerpts from major and often original works on genocide and mass murder, the authors
also cover the most infamous cases of democide in this century. Most relevant here are
there chapters on the Holocaust and Stalin's and Pol Pot's democides.

Charny, Israel W. (Ed.) (1984). Toward the Understanding and Prevention of Genocide:
Proceedings of the International Conference on the Holocaust and Genocide. Boulder:
Westview Press. 396 pp.

This collection of papers on genocide and mass murder is a path-breaking contribution to

our knowledge of such killing. Besides chapters dealing with the Holocaust, these papers
also cover the genocide by China in Tibet, the Cambodian democide, and the Soviet
genocidal famine in Ukraine.

Charny, Israel W. (Ed.) (1988). Genocide: A Critical Bibliographic Review. London: Mansell
Publishing Co., and New York: Facts on File Publications. 273 pp.
Has bibliographic chapters on the Holocaust, the Cambodian democide, and the Soviet
genocidal famine in Ukraine.

Charny, Israel W. (1991). Genocide: A Critical Bibliographic Review, Volume 2. London:

Mansell Publishing Co., and New York: Facts on File Publications, 432 pp.

Has bibliographic chapters on the Holocaust and a number of general chapters relevant to
democide by totalitarian states.

Glaser, Kurt, and Possony, Stefan T. (1979). Victims of Politics: The State of Human Rights.
New York: Columbia University Press. 614 pp.

In considering human rights, the authors comprehensively deal with all aspects of mass
murder, including the Holocaust and Soviet and Communist Chinese democide. Moreover,
these are treated as relevant in chapters on torture, forced labor, genocide (see particularly
the chronology of genocide, mass expulsions and forced migrations, and the oppression of
nationalities). This is one of the most comprehensive works on human rights in all its
meanings and a useful starting work for those beginning study in this area.

Horowitz, Irving Louis (1980). Taking Lives: Genocide and State Power. [Third edition]
New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books. 199 pp.

In this revision of his 1976 Genocide: State Power and Mass Murder, he argues for a new
typology of societies that would take into account their mass killing of human beings. At
one side of a scale he suggests would-be genocidal societies, at the other permissive
societies. This is an innovative work and ideal source for those doing conceptual-theoretical
work on democide.

Kuper, Leo (1981). Genocide: Its Political Use in the Twentieth Century. New Haven, CT:
Yale University Press. 255 pp.

This is a must read for students of democide. It overviews state murder, while covering the
historical and political context and the relevant international conventions It presents an
helpful overview of theories of democide, and its social structure and process. His analysis
of democide and the sovereign state is important for those who neglect this international
legal framework that permits such mass murder.

Totten, Samuel, and Parsons, William S. (Eds.) (1991). Special section: Teaching about
Genocide. Social Education, 55 (2), 84-133.

Articles deal with the Nazi genocide of the Jews and Gypsies, and the Cambodian and
Soviet democides; presents a brief list of genocidal acts during this century (p. 129).

Veenhoven, Willem A., and Crum Ewing, Winifred (Eds.) (1975-1976). Case Studies on
Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms: A World Survey, 5 v. The Hague: Nijhoff.
[Published for the Foundation for the Study of Plural Societies]
Includes chapters on Eastern Europe, communist China, and the Soviet gulag. Some
articles, such as the one on gulag, provide much specific information on democide.

Wallimann, Isidor, and Dobkowski, Michael N. (Eds.) (1987). Genocide and the Modern
Age: Etiology and Case Studies of Mass Death. NY: Greenwood Press. 322 pp. [Afterword
by Richard L. Rubenstein]

Contains important taxonomic, theoretical, and overview chapters. The theoretical

chapters on the Holocaust by John K. Roth, Alan Rosenberg, and Robert G.L. Waite are of
particular relevance here.

Calculations of Overall Democide

Elliot, Gil (1972). Twentieth Century Book of the Dead. London: Allen Lane The Penguin
Press. 242 pp.

Until recently this was the only work in English that tried to total all deaths from war and
democide in this century. In many of the statistics the two are lumped together, and there
usually are no sources given for them. Moreover, the usefulness of many of the
subclassifications are questionable, such as those killed by "small guns" versus "big guns."
However, as a pioneering effort it breaks new ground, and provides a helpful context for
understanding a major democide by trying to see it through the eyes of an average victim.
It concludes that major 20th century violence has caused 110,000,000 deaths (p. 215), which
in the light of current research is much too low.

Foreign Affairs Research Institute (1979). The current death toll of international
communism. Paper. London: 12 pp. [Arrow House, 27-31 Whitehall, London SW1A,
United Kingdom]

Details, with citations, the democide in each communist state, and concludes that the toll
"could not be lower than 70 million and must number at some point up to twice that
conservative minimum" (p. 11).

Harff, Barbara, and Gurr, Ted Robert (1988). Toward empirical theory of genocides and
politicides: Identification and measurement of cases since 1945. International Studies
Quarterly, 32 (3), 359-371.

Pursuant to developing a typology of democide, the authors provide (without sources) what
is meant to be a comprehensive listing of democides since World War II. The list is limited,
however, as can be seen from their total of 7,000,000 to 16,000,000 killed (p. 370), the high
being near half of the number probably killed by communist China alone since 1949.
Nonetheless, this work is pioneering, and their list and typology useful.
Rummel, R.J. (1986). War isn't this century's biggest killer. The Wall Street Journal, (7
July). [Editorial page]

Presents the result of a preliminary survey of democide in this century, and gives the figure
of 119,400,000 killed in democide (95,200,000 by communist states) compared to 35,700,000
battle-dead in all foreign and domestic wars.

Rummel, R.J. (1987). Deadlier than war. IPA Review, 41 (2), 24-30. [Institute of Public
Affairs, 6th Floor, 83 William Street, Melbourne, 3000, Australia]

This presents the overall results given in the above Wall Street Journal article, in addition
to breakdown of the total for each country and the sources of information. A theoretical
elaboration is also given, emphasizing the role of freedom in preventing democide.

Rummel, R.J. (1988). As though a nuclear war: the death toll of absolutism. International
Journal on World Peace, 5 (3), 27-43.

This is a republication of the above IPA article in a generally more accessible source.

Stewart-Smith, D. G. (1964) The Defeat of Communism. London: Ludgate Press. 482 pp.

A book-length narrative chronology of communism. Provides relevant war and democide

statistics at points in the chronology. Concludes that the communists killed 83,500,000
people in war and democide, excluding World War II (p. 223).


From 1917 to 1987, the communist party of the Soviet Union and its various leaders
murdered in one way or another 28,326,000 to 126,891,000 citizens and foreigners, most
conservatively 61,911,000 (54,767,000 citizens). The following general works shed light on
this horrible and incredible democide and many contain overall figures of their own that
tend to confirm this total.

General Works

Heller, Mikhail and Nekrich, Aleksandr (1986). Utopia in Power: The History of the Soviet
Union from 1917 to the Present. New York: Summit Books, 1986. 877 pp. [Translated by
Phyllis B. Carlos]
One of the best histories of the Soviet Union, it provides insight into motives and processes,
while being sensitive to how, when, and what of democide.
Kravchenko, Victor (1946). I Chose Freedom: The Personal and Political Life of a Soviet
Official. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. 496 pp.
This is a must read. It is the first hand account of much of the party's thinking, democide,
and related events by one intimately involved as an official. So damaging was the
publication of this book that the Soviets launched a very effective propaganda and
disinformation campaign against it.

Calculations of Soviet Democide

Conquest, Robert (1970). The Human Cost of Soviet Communism. Washington, DC: United
States Senate, 91st. Congress, 2d Session, Committee on the Judiciary, Washington, D.C.:
U.S. Government Printing Office, 25 pp.
A very useful overview of Soviet killing and one of the few attempts to calculate the overall
Soviet democide. Conquest concludes by quoting the minimum of 20,000,000 dead
calculated in his Great Terror (see below), and then adds that at least several million would
have to be added to the figure for the Stalin-Yezhov period.
Dyadkin, Iosif G. (1983). Unnatural Deaths in the USSR, 1928-1954. New Brunswick, NJ:
Transaction Books, 80 pp. [Translated by Tania Deruguine. Introduction by Nick
Until recently, this was the only book in English wholly devoted to determining Soviet
democide. A former professor of geophysics at the All-Union Geophysical Research
Institute, Kalinin, USSR, Dyadkin wrote this former samizdat (underground literature)
based on "census" returns. He calculated that for the years 1926 to 1954, repression cost
26,000,000 to 35,450,000 lives, excluding war-dead (pp. 41, 48, 55, 60). For the same period
he determined that the population deficit was 78,000,000, including unborn, were there no
repression (p. 59). For this samizdat he was imprisoned in the gulag for three years.
Maximoff, G. P. (1940). The Guillotine at Work: Twenty Years of Terror in Russia (Data and
Documents) . Chicago: The Chicago Section of the Alexander Berkman Fund. 624 pp.
[Translated from Russian]
An important and statistics-filled attempt to document Lenin's democide in the years
immediately following the Bolshevik coup in 1917. For example, Maximoff calculates a
democide of at least 70,000 in 1921, including a "most conservative" 30,000 to 40,000
executed (p. 199). This is an eye opener for those who insist that Lenin had little blood on
his hands.
Rummel, R.J. (1990.). Lethal Politics: Soviet Genocide and Mass Murder Since 1917. New
Brunswick, NJ : Transaction Publishers. 268 pp.
A historical and statistical analysis of Soviet democide. Concludes that 61,911,000 people
probably were killed, including 54,767,000 citizens.

Stalin and His Period

In the bloody history of the Soviet Union, Stalin's reign from 1928 to 1953 was the most
ruthless. At an absolute minimum, he and his communist henchmen murdered at least
19,641,000 people through terror, deportations, gulag, the intentional Ukrainian famine,
purges, and collectivization, possibly as many as 91,685,000; a most reasonable figure is
probably around 42,672,000. The following studies focus particularly on Stalin, but
relevant figures also are given by most of the general or topical studies listed for the Soviet

Antonov-Ovseenko, Anton (1981). The Time of Stalin: Portrait of a Tyranny. New York:
Harper & Row. 374 pp. [Translated by George Saunders. Introduction by Stephen F.

An in-depth treatment and analysis of this period, with helpful information on Stalin's
various democides. He claims that Stalin killed 30,000,000 to 40,000,000 people (p. 126).
Conquest, Robert (1968). The Great Terror: Stalin's Purge of the Thirties. New York:
Macmillan. 633 pp.
A thorough investigation into the background, reasons, and consequences of Stalin's great
purge of the communist party from 1937 to 1938 in which perhaps 1,000,000 people were
executed (p. 532). Packed full of details and useful information on the 1930s. Conquest
presents an appendix in which he carefully considers diverse evidence on the human toll
under Stalin and finds that for twenty-three years of his rule, "we get a figure of 20 million
dead, which is almost certainly too low and might require an increase of 50 percent or so"
(p. 533). This is perhaps the most widely quoted figure about Soviet democide in the
Conquest, Robert (1990). The Great Terror: A Reassessment. New York: Oxford University
Press. 570 pp.
Based on the most recent information revealed as a result of greater freedom in the Soviet
Union, Conquest reconsiders the above calculated democide under Stalin and, without
explicitly altering his above estimate, he concludes that "the sheer magnitudes of the Stalin
holocaust are now beyond doubt" (p. 487).
Medvedev, Roy A. (1979). On Stalin and Stalinism. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 205
pp. [Translated by Ellen de Kadt]
As a judicious and insightful analysis of Soviet communism and Stalin's period by a
Marxist historian, this work is an important corrective to the work of many Western
Sovietologists. He cites demographer M. Maksudov's claim that from 1918 to 1953 there
were 22,000,000 to 23,000,000 unnatural deaths (pp. 140-41).
Tolstoy, Nikolai (1981). Stalin's Secret War. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. 463
A fact-filled and democide-sensitive analysis of Stalin's period and a good source of
different kinds of democide statistics.


The concentration and forced labor camps, the system of which is now known as gulag,
were the most lethal Soviet institutions. Their major product was death, and only
secondarily work. Established by Lenin, the camps were vastly developed by Stalin such
that in the post World War II period they contained perhaps 12,000,000 prisoners, even
possibly 20,000,000. The overall toll in gulag, including those dying in transit to or between
camps, was probably from 15,919,000 to 82,281,000 prisoners, most likely 39,464,000. The
following works help substantiate these figures while providing a feel for the slow and
miserable deaths underlying these figures.

Conquest, Robert (1978). Kolyma: The Arctic Death Camps. New York: Viking Press. 254

A must read. This is a chilling and detailed history of the forced labor mining camps in
Kolyma (northeastern Siberia). Life expectancy in some of these camps was measured in
months; in some no one survived. The overall rough average death rate was 25 percent per
year (p. 220); and Conquest calculates that from the 1930s to the 1950s, 2,000,000 to
5,500,000 died in these camps alone (pp. 227-28).
Kosyk, Volodymyr (1962). Concentration Camps in the USSR. London: Ukrainian
This is a careful statistical analysis of the number of prisoners in the camps and
approximate number of deaths for each year from 1927 to 1958. He concludes that overall
32,600,000 died in the camps, but he also says this figure is probably too low (p. 79).
Panin, Dimitri (1976). The Notebooks of Sologdin. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
320 pp. [Translated by John Moore]
Written by a mechanical engineer who spent over a dozen years in the camps, this is an
excellent analysis of Soviet democide and particularly of gulag. He estimates that 2,000,000
to 3,000,000 people were murdered from 1922 to 1928 (p. 93n), a period that many
Sovietologists claim was relatively free of terror and mass killing. Overall, from 1917 to
1953, he puts the democide at 57,000,000 to 69,500,000 people (p. 93n).
Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr I (1973). The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956: An Experiment in
Literary Investigation, Volumes I-II. New York: Harper & Row. 660 pp. [Translated by
Thomas P. Whitney]
This and the following two volumes not only have received international acclaim for their
personal, historical, and analytical description of gulag, but they caused many Westerners
to reconsider their pro-communism or sympathy for the Soviet Union. These must be read
by anyone wishing to get a feel for the camps, their administration, sheer misery, and
death. Of particular worth is that the camps are treated as part of a process, beginning
with the very nature of communist rule, its terror, the arrest, torture and sentencing,
prison, transit to the camps, life and death in the camps, administrative resentencing, and
for survivors, conditional release.
Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr I. (1975). The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956: An Experiment in
Literary Investigation, Volumes III-IV. NY: Harper & Row. 712 pp. [Translated by Thomas
P. Whitney]
Solzhenitsyn cites a professor of statistics Kurnanov, who claims that "internal repression"
cost 66,000,000 lives (p. 10).

Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr I. (1978). The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956: An Experiment in

Literary Investigation, Volumes V-VII. New York: Harper & Row. 558 pp. [Translated by
Harry Willetts]

Zorin, Libushe (1980). Soviet Prisons and Concentration Camps: An Annotated Bibliography
1917-1980. Newtonville, MA: Oriental Research Partners. 118 pp.
Ukraine Famine

From 1932 to 1933, Stalin purposely starved to death 5,000,000, maybe even 10,000,000
Ukrainians, probably to suppress Ukrainian nationalism and destroy peasant opposition to
collectivism. Many works have recently been published on this, and only the most
noteworthy can be listed here. Several excellent studies are also included in the general
works listed earlier at the beginning of this bibliography.

Conquest, Robert (1986). The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-
Famine. New York: Oxford University Press. 412 pp.

This is the best work on the famine. It gives details and evidence not widely available.
Conquest carefully considers whether the famine was in fact intentional, and after
weighing opposing arguments he concludes that it had to be. He also evaluates separate
estimates of the toll and gives his reasoning for selecting his estimate that 5,000,000 thus
died in the Ukraine (p. 306).
Dalrymple, Dana G. (1964). The Soviet famine of 1932-1934. Soviet Studies, 15 (3), 250-284.
Perhaps the first scholarly study published on the famine that views it as intentional. He
compares a variety of estimates of the toll and accepts a figure around 5,000,000 for the
famine in and outside the Ukraine (p. 250).
Mace, James E. (1984). Famine and nationalism in Soviet Ukraine. Problems of
Communism, (May-June), 37-50.
An excellent presentation of the information on the famine and its context. Mace argues
that according to accepted international definitions, this famine was genocide (p. 37). Using
demographic statistics, he calculates that 7,500,000 Ukrainians died as a result (p. 39).
Serbyn, Roman, and Krawchenko, Bohdan (Eds.) (1986). Famine in Ukraine 1932-1933.
Edmonton: Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, University of Alberta.
A collection of factual and significant studies on the famine

World War II Repatriation

Tolstoy, Nikolai (1979). Victims of Yalta. London: Corgi Books. 640 pp. [Revised and
updated edition]
This is a detailed historical study of the forced repatriation of Soviet citizens and others into
Soviet hands by the Allies as World War II came to an end and after. Some 5,500,000
people were repatriated, among whom (based on statistics Tolstoy gives) perhaps 825,000
to 1,100,000 were killed (pp. 515-16), many within hours of being repatriated.

Treatment of Occupied or Absorbed Nations

Gross, Jan T. (1988). Revolution from Abroad: The Soviet Conquest of Poland's Western
Ukraine and Western Belorussia. Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press. 334 pp.
A description of the Soviet rape of Poland from 1939 to 1940, mass murder of Poles, and
the deportation of 1,250,000 others (p. 146) to inhospitable parts of the Soviet Union;
through September 1941, 300,000 Poles died from deportation and in concentration camps
(p. 229).
Misiunas, Romuald J., and Taagepera, Rein (1983). The Baltic States: Years of Dependence
1940-1980. Berkeley, CA : University of California Press. 333 pp.
An excellent history of the Soviet occupation of the Baltic states. Gives a statistical
appendix, which includes figures on war and occupation deaths 1940-1945 (with a "very
approximate 'questimate'" of 550,000 dead). Also presents information on the deportation
of Balts in which many died, perhaps over 100,000 in 1949 and after (p. 100).
Conquest, Robert (1970). The Nation Killers: The Soviet Deportation of Nationalities.
London: Macmillan. 222 pp. [Revision of the 1960 ed. published under the title: The Soviet
Deportation of Nationalities]
This is a balanced description of the deportation of Soviet national and ethnic groups
during World War II, including a conservative analysis of the numbers deported and their
deaths. In total, 1,850,000 people from eight national/ethnic groups were deported (pp. 65-
66), with a likely 530,000 dying as a result (p. 162).



In the magnitude of its killing, communist China is only second to the Soviet Union. Since
they formerly seized power in 1949 and up to 1987, the Chinese communists killed
5,999,000 to 102,671,000 people, most likely 35,236,000 (not counting the toll of the great
famine of 1959 to 1961, nor the 3,466,000 killed by the communists before they assumed
total control). The following works particularly help understand this democide and provide
supporting statistics.

Chow Ching-wen (1960). Ten Years of Storm: The True Story of the Communist Regime in
China. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. 323 pp. [Translated and edited by Lai
Ming. Foreword by Lin Yutang]

Chu, Valentin (1963). Ta Ta, Tan Tan: The Inside Story of Communist China. New York:
W. W. Norton. 320 pp.[Ta ta, tan tan means fight fight, talk talk]

Garside, Roger (1981). Coming Alive: China After Mao. New York: McGraw-Hill. 458 pp.

Guillermaz, Jacques (1976). The Chinese Communist Party in Power 1949-1976. Boulder,
CO: Westview Press. 614 pp. [Translated by Anne Destenay]

Hunter, Edward (1958). The Black Book on China: the Continuing Revolt. New York: The
Bookmailer. 136 pp.
Hunter believes the communist democide to be closer to 50,000,000 than to 30,000,000 (p.

Labin, Suzanne (1960). The Anthill: The Human Condition in Communist China. New York:
Praeger. 442 pp. [Translated by Edward Fitzgerald]

Tang, Peter S. H., and Maloney, Joan M. (1967). Communist China: The Domestic Scene
1949-1967. South Orange, NJ: Seton Hall University Press. 606 pp. [Introduction by John
B. Tsu]

Calculations of Overall Democide

Li Cheng-Chung (1979). The Question of Human Rights on China Mainland. Republic of

China: World Anti-Communist League, China Chapter. 180 pp.
A description of the various ways in which the communist have violated human rights.
Based on statistics from the Republic of China, the author calculates the democide as
78,860,000 people for 1949 to 1968, not counting the Korean War and guerrilla dead (p.

Shalom, Stephen Rosskamm (1984). Deaths in China Due to Communism: Propaganda

Versus Reality. Tempe, AZ: Center for Asian Studies, Arizona State University. 234 pp.
[Occasional Paper No. 15]

A must study for anyone interested in China's overall democide. This is a careful and
detailed line by line critique of Walker's democide statistics (see below), which Shalom
concludes are far too high. Rather, he calculates that 3,000,000 to 4,000,000 were killed
from 1949 to 1970 (p. 111).
Walker, Richard L. (1971) The Human Cost of Communism in China. Washington, DC:
United States Senate, Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. Government Printing Office. 28 pp.
He outlines the nature of communist Chinese democide and also gives a widely quoted table
of democide organized by type, which adds up to a total (ignoring Korean War dead) of
31,750,000 to 58,500,000 killed between 1949 to 1970 (p. 16).
Rummel, R.J. (1991.). China's Bloody Century: Genocide and Mass Murder Since 1900. New
Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers. 333 pp.
Presents an historical and statistical analysis of communist democide from 1928 to 1987.
Finds that the democide by the People's Republic of China probably amounted to
35,236,000 killed.

Mao Tse-tung

Mao Tse-tung (1967). Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung, 4 vols. , Peking, China: Foreign
Languages Press. [In English]
This collection contains many selections that are essential reading for understanding the
background of Mao's later policies and the underlying rationale for the associated

Paloczi-Horvath, George (1963). Mao Tse-Tung: Emperor of the Blue Ants. NY: Doubleday.
393 pp.


From 1949 to 1987, possibly as many as 15,720,000 Chinese died in the Chinese forced
labor camps. Unlike for the Soviet gulag, there are few works on the Chinese camps system.
Following are a some of the most relevant. Bao Ruo-Wang (Jean Pasqualini), and
Chelminski, Rudolph (1973). Prisoner of Mao. New York: Coward, McCann and
Geoghegan. White Book on Forced Labour and Concentration Camps in the People's
Republic of China I: The Hearings. (1956 circa) Paris: Commission Internationale Contre
Le Régime Concentrationnaire. White Book on Forced Labour and Concentration Camps in
the People's Republic of China: II: The Record. (1959 circa) Paris: Commission
Internationale Contre Le Régime Concentrationnaire. Whyte, Martin King (1973).
Corrective labor camps in China. Asian Survey, 13 (3), 253-269.

Cultural Revolution

From 1964 to 1968, during the height of the killing associated with the violent cultural
revolution, some 1,000,000 Chinese were murdered or otherwise killed. Few social
revolutions have been as violent. The following works provide analysis and background for
appreciating this democide and associated events.

Domes, Jürgen (1973). The Internal Politics of China 1949-1972. New York: Praeger. 258
pp. [Translated by Rüdiger Machetzki]

An informative analysis of the events and debate among the top leaders that led to and
comprised the Cultural Revolution.

Liu Guokai (1987). A Brief Analysis of the Cultural Revolution. New York: M. E. Sharpe.
151 pp. [guest editor Anita Chan]

An abridged translated version of the author's essay published in China, this is a first rate
analysis of the revolution by a participant.

Thurston, Anne F. (1987). Enemies of the People. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Library stacks of volumes on Nazi Germany are available, many of them concerned with
its history, diplomacy, politics, aggression, repression, and the Holocaust. Very few of
them, however, consider the democide against other than the Jews. Yet, from 1933 to 1945
the Nazis probably killed in cold blood some 15,003,000 to 31,595,000 people, probably
20,946,000 overall, including 5,291,000 Jews. Only those works providing the most relevant
statistics are noted below.


Berenbaum, Michael (Ed.) (1990). Mosaic of Victims: Non-Jews Persecuted and Murdered by
the Nazis. New York: New York University Press. 244 pp.
This is an especially important collection of articles that cover topics and provide
information not easily available in other works. For example, there are chapters on Nazi
policies in Ukraine, the U.S.S.R. proper, Poland, Belgium and France, as well as on the
Slavs, the Nazi euthanasia program, forced labor, pacifists, and Croatia.
Hirschfeld, Gerhard, (Ed.) (1986). The Policies of Genocide: Jews and Soviet Prisoners of
War in Nazi Germany. London: Allen & Unwin. 172 pp. [Introduction by Wolfgang J.
Mommsen] Kogon, Eugen (1960). The Theory and Practice of Hell: The German
Concentration Camps and the System Behind Them. New York: The Berkley Publishing Co.
328 pp. [Translated by Heinz Norden]
Although relatively short in treatment, this gives a useful history and accounting of the
Nazi concentration-death camp system. Kogon has a chapter on the "statistics of
mortality" that gives a yearly breakdown of the concentration camp population and
calculates the overall concentration/death camp death toll as 7,125,000 people (p. 251).

Calculations of Democide

Rummel, R. J. (1993.). Democide: Nazi Genocides and Mass Murder. New Brunswick, NJ:
Transaction Publishers.150 pp.
An attempt to outline and explain Nazi democide and collect available statistics to calculate
the overall toll, including that in occupied countries. Finds that 20,946,000 people probably
were murdered by the Nazis, including Jews, Gypsies, Poles, Russians, Yugoslavs,
Frenchmen, and many others. The author argues that along with the democide of the
Soviet Union and People's Republic of China, this is another example that absolute
ideology coupled with an absolute power of the state is deadly to human life.
Wytwycky, Bohdan (1980). The Other Holocaust: Many Circles of Hell. Washington, D. C.:
The Novak Report on the New Ethnicity. 93 pp.
Tries to explain and calculate the overall Nazi democide, especially focused on the Slavs.
Wytwycky concludes that 15,450,000 to 16,300,000 Jews, Gypsies, Soviet POWs,
Ukrainians, Poles, and Byelorrussians were murdered (pp. 91-2).
Holocaust: Genocide of the Jews

Among the many works on the Holocaust, the following have been selected for the detail
and excellence of their treatment, the understanding they provide to a non-Holocaust
scholar, and the usefulness of their calculations of the total genocide.

Reitlinger, Gerald (1968). The Final Solution: The Attempt to Exterminate the Jews of
Europe 1939-1945. London: Vallentine, Mitchell, and Co. 668 pp. [Second revised and
augmented edition]

Gives in Appendix I a country-by-country statistical summary and analysis of the genocide.

"Conjectures" that 4,204,400 to 4,575,400 Jews were thus murdered (p. 546), the lowest
count by any reputable study.

Bauer, Yehuda (1982). A History of the Holocaust. New York: Franklin Watts. 398 pp.
[With the assistance of Nili Keren]

Presents a through history of the Holocaust and related events, with pertinent statistical
tables; touches also on other genocides. Gives a country breakdown of the Holocaust, which
Bauer totals to 5,820,960 Jews murdered (p. 335).

Dawidowicz, Lucy S. (1975). The War Against the Jews 1933-1945. New York: Holt,
Rinehart and Winston. 460 pp.

In addition to a general analysis and history of the genocide, Dawidowicz also gives an
Appendix providing a brief account for each country of what happened to the Jews and
their toll, which overall sums to 5,933,900 murdered (p. 403).

Fein, Helen (1979). Accounting for Genocide: National Responses and Jewish Victimization
During the Holocaust. New York: The Free Press. 468 pp.

A unique and careful social science and statistical attempt (including the use of multiple
regression) to explain the Holocaust. There is much important information of value given
in its various tables, themselves well worth separate study. Fein calculates that 4,610,000
Jews were lost (p. 21), not counting the U.S.S.R. (p. 21).

Fein, Helen (1981). Reviewing the toll: Jewish dead, losses and victims of the Holocaust.
Shoah, 2 (2), 20-26.

Compares a variety of estimates of the Holocaust's toll and tries to account for their
differences. Concludes that "all sources suggest the likelihood that competent estimates will
fall . . . between five and six million" (p. 23).

Fleming, Gerald (1984). Hitler and the Final Solution. Berkeley, CA: University of
California Press. 219 pp. [Introduction by Saul Friedlander]
Gives a country breakdown of the genocide toll, which he sums to 4,975,477 murdered (p.

Gilbert, Martin (1982). The Macmillan Atlas of the Holocaust. New York: Macmillan, 256

An excellent collection of maps on a variety of aspects of the genocide, including where

anti-Jewish pogroms and persecutions have occurred, Poland's major Jewish communities,
the destruction of the Jews of Croatia, deportations and revolt, death camps, and the Jews
of Bessarabia. Many of the maps also give statistics, and one in particular maps the toll by
each country which totals slightly over 5,750,000 (pp. 244-45).

Hilberg, Raul (1985). The Destruction of the European Jews. New York: Holmes & Meier.
1273 pp. [Revised and definitive edition]

Deservedly, perhaps the most quoted work on the genocide. Historically and statistically
thorough. In Appendix III, Hilberg tabulates a statistical recapitulation by killing
operation and country, totalling 5,100,000 Jews murdered.

Gutman, Israel, and Rozett, Robert (1990). Estimated Jewish losses in the Holocaust. In
Gutman, Israel (Ed.), Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, Volume 4. New York: Macmillan, pp.

Gutman, who is editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia, analyzes the Jewish losses by country
and totals them up to 5,596,029 to 5,860,129 (p. 1799).


Dallin, Alexander (1981). German Rule in Russia 1941-1945: A Study of Occupation Policies.
New York: Macmillan. 707 pp. [2nd revised edition]
Must reading for an understanding of Nazi democide in the Soviet Union. The book is
historically and analytically thorough.

Gross, Jan Tomasz (1979). Polish Society Under German Occupation: The
Generalgouvernement, 1939-1944. Princeton, NJ: University Press. 343 pp.

Kamenetsky, Ihor (1961). Secret Nazi Plans for Eastern Europe: A Study of Lebensraum
Policies. New Haven, CT : College and University Press. 263 pp.


Kenrick, Donald, and Puxon, Grattan (1972). The Destiny of Europe's Gypsies. New York:
Basic Books. 256 pp.
This is a major and rare work on the Nazi genocide of the Gypsies. The author's give the
overall toll as 219,700 Gypsies murdered (p. 184).

Trynauer, Gabrielle (1989). Gypsies and the Holocaust: A Bibliography and Introductory
Essay. Montreal: Interuniversity Center for European Studies and the Montreal Institute
for Genocide Studies. 51 pp.


Rector, Frank (1981). The Nazi Extermination of Homosexuals. New York: Stein and Day.
189 pp.
One of the few major works in English on the Nazi treatment of homosexuals, which
amounted to genocide. He concludes that at least 500,000 homosexuals were murdered (p.

Porter, Jack Nusan (1991). Sexual Politics In the Third Reich: The Persecution of the
Homosexuals During the Holocaust: A Bibliography and Introductory Essay. Newton, MA:
The Spencer Press, April 1991, 35pp.

An annotated bibliography of German and English language on the sex, homosexuality,

and the Nazis.


No major general works on genocide and mass murder discuss the massacres and atrocities
of militarized and totalitarian Japan. Yet, just considering World War II and the Sino-
Japanese War (1937 to 1945), the Japanese democide probably amounted to 3,017,000 to
9,488,000 people, most likely 5,890,000. This is surely the forgotten democide.


Dower, John W. (1986) War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War. New York:
Pantheon Books. 398 pp.
This is an excellent and comprehensive non-military work on the Pacific War. It not only
includes much material relevant to various Japanese democides, as in China and Indonesia,
but also includes an extensive discussion of the American side of the war and their
atrocities. He argues that this was a racial war for Americans.
James, David H. (1951). The Rise and Fall of the Japanese Empire. London: George Allen &
Unwin. 409 pp.
A most helpful analytical description and analysis of the Japanese empire and particularly
of the Japanese treatment of Western POWs by a scholar who was such a prisoner himself.
Kerr, E. Bartlett (1985). Surrender and Survival: The Experience of American POWs in the
Pacific 1941-1945. New York: William Morrow and Co. 356 pp. Pritchard, R. John, and
Zaide, Sonia Magbanua (Eds.) (1981). The Tokyo War Crimes Trial, 22 volumes. New York:
Garland Publishing. The complete transcripts of the proceedings of the International
Military Tribunal for the Far East.
A first source for serious study of Japanese democide, it is an excellent collection of
testimony and facts on Japanese democide. Included is an excellent index, that contains
items on massacres and atrocities.
Williams, Peter, and Wallace, David (1989). Unit 731: The Japanese Army's Secret of
Secrets. London: Hodder & Stoughton. 366 pp.
An account of the Japanese development of bacteriological weapons, from their testing
stage to actual field testing in China. Gives limited information on numbers killed, but
essential information on the how and why.

Sino-Japanese War

Most of Japan's democide was against the Chinese during the 1937-1945 Sino-Japanese
War. The Japanese murdered a conservatively estimated 3,949,000 Chinese. There are no
works on this democide per se, although the following and the above volumes provide some
understanding of it.

Dorn, Frank (1974). The Sino-Japanese War, 1937-41: From Marco Polo Bridge to Pearl
Harbor. New York: Macmillan. 477 pp.

Timperley, H. J. (1938). Japanese Terror in China. New York: Modern Age Books. 220 pp.


It is now well known that the communist Khmer Rouge committed an incredible democide
in Cambodia once they grabbed power in 1975. Most published collections on genocide now
include a chapter on Cambodia. Considering the various estimates of the toll, from 600,000
to 3,000,000 were murdered during their reign, probably 2,000,000 Cambodians overall--
close to a third of the population. The following are the best of the studies giving a
foundation for understanding this incredible figure.

Becker, Elizabeth (1986). When the War Was Over: Cambodia's Revolution and the Voices of
Its People. New York: Simon & Shuster. 501 pp.

This is an excellent starting point on the Khmer Rouge period by a reporter who covered
the war in Cambodia for The Washington Post. Becker claims that 2,000,000 died from the
Khmer Rouge (pp. 19-20).
Jackson, Karl D. (Ed.) (1989). Cambodia 1975-1978: Rendezvous with Death. Princeton,
New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 334 pp.

A collection of first-rate articles by experts on the Khmer Rouge period, particularly

focusing on the context for understanding the Khmer Rouge, the dynamics of power among
them, and the nature and consequences of their economic politics. Contains translations of
important Khmer Rouge documents.

Kampuchean Inquiry Commission (1982). Kampuchea in the Seventies: Report of a Finnish

Inquiry Commission. Helsinki, Finland, 114 pp.

A detailed investigation into conditions under the Khmer Rouge. Gives the toll as nearly
1,000,000 (p. 35).

Kiernan, Ben, and Boua, Chanthou (1982). Peasants and Politics in Kampuchea, 1942-1981.
London: Zed Press. 401 pp.

This has become classic collection of relevant, in depth scholarly studies that provide a
helpful background for understanding the Khmer Rouge and their rule. It is particularly
helpful in understanding the material and social conditions of the peasantry and the
communist movement and Pol Pot's role in it. Also useful for perspective and context are
the large number of testimonies from Cambodians who lived under the Khmer Rouge.

Barron, John, and Paul, Anthony (1977). Peace With Horror: The Untold Story of
Communist Genocide in Cambodia. London: Hodder and Stoughton. 234 pp. [American
edition titled Murder of a Gentle Land. New York: Reader's Digest Press-Thomas Y.

Based on refugee reports, this was among the first and most influential reports of the
horror and mass killing under the Khmer Rouge in its first year-and-a-half. It is detailed
and close to the experience of the average Cambodian. Barron and Paul estimate the
democide toll as 1,200,000 in the first twenty-one months (p. 206), which they subsequently
believed much too low.

Ponchaud, François (1977). Cambodia Year Zero. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
212 pp. [Translated by Nancy Amphoux]

A report on what happened under the Khmer Rouge in its first year or so by a Frenchman
who had lived among Cambodian peasants and is fluent in the language. This
independently complements the above work by Barron and Paul. Ponchaud estimates the
early democide toll as "certainly" over 1,000,000 (p. 71).

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (1980). Kampuchea: A Demographic Catastrophe. ,
Washington, DC, 14 pp. [A January research paper of the National Foreign Assessment
This is a widely quoted attempt by the CIA to determine from demographic statistics the
extent of the toll under the Khmer Rouge. They calculate the absolute population decline
under the Khmer Rouge as 1,200,000 to 1,800,000 (p. 5).

Vickery, Michael (1982). Democratic Kampuchea--CIA to the rescue. Bulletin of Concerned

Asian Scholars, 14 (October-December), 45-54.

This is a hostile but important critique of the above CIA report. Vickery calculates that the
CIA estimate of 1,300,000 dead should be reduced to about 290,000 to 425,000 (p. 54),
figures he subsequently admits are much too low.

Kiernan, Ben (1988). Orphans of genocide: The Cham Muslims of Kampuchea under Pol
Pot. Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars, 20 (4), 2-33.

This is a scholarly and detailed account of the Khmer Rouge genocide against the Chams
by a first rate scholar on Cambodia. Out of some 250,000 Chams in 1975 (p. 6), Kiernan
estimates that 90,000 were killed (p. 30).

Kiernan, Ben (1990). The genocide in Cambodia, 1975-79. Bulletin of Concerned Asian
Scholars, 22 (2), 35-40.

Responding to Michael Vickery's critique of the above article, Kiernan provides more
calculations on the Cham genocide, and then outlines the genocide against other groups in
Cambodia and presents statistics on the overall democide. He estimates this as 1,500,000 (p.


The mass murder and country-wide killing by the Vietnamese communists from 1945
through the 1980s has been totally ignored among students of genocide, doubtlessly in part
because of the confusion of much of this killing with the Vietnam War, not to mention the
controversies engendered by that war. However, the major part of this democide took place
before and after the war. In any case, from 1945 to 1987 the North Vietnamese (which
controlled all Vietnam after April 1975) murdered from 715,000 to 3,657,000, probably
1,659,000 people, 944,000 of them Vietnamese.


Canh, Nguyen Van (1983). Vietnam Under Communism, 1975-1982. Stanford, CA: Hoover
Institution Press. 312 pp. [With Earle Cooper. Foreword by Robert A. Scalapino]
By a Vietnamese and former law professor, this is an important description and analysis of
life in Vietnam after the North Vietnamese takeover of the South. Must reading for an
assessment of this period and its democide.
Chi, Hoang Van (1964). From Colonialism to Communism: A Case History of North
Vietnam. New York: Frederick A. Praeger. 252 pp.
Based on personal experience and extensive research, the work by a Vietnamese nationalist
gives a detailed account of the communist suppression of the nationalist movement and
consolidation of power in the North after 1945, and the subsequent land reform and purges
of the party. This is essential reading for understanding the associated democide. The
author believes that just in the Land Reform Campaign of 1953 to 1956 he believes 500,000
Vietnamese were "sacrificed" (pp. 72, 205).

Lewy, Guenter (1978). America in Vietnam. New York: Oxford University Press. 540 pp.

Among the best and most balanced works on the Vietnam War, Lewy also provides
information on communist democide in the South during the war and judiciously weighs
allegations of extensive American massacres and atrocities.


Desbarats, Jacqueline (1990). Repression in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam: executions

and population relocation." In Moore, John Norton (Ed.), The Vietnam Debate: A Fresh
Look at the Arguments. New York: University Press of America, pp. 193-201.

Based on extensive interviews of Vietnamese refugees, Desbarats reports her discovery and
surprise at the extent of executions in Vietnam after the Vietnam War. Concludes that over
100,000 people must have been executed (p. 197).

United States Senate, 92d Congress, 2d Session, Committee on the Judiciary, (1972). The
Human Cost of Communism in Vietnam. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing
Office, 119 pp.

This compiles excerpts of publications that describe North Vietnamese democide and
present relevant analyses. The aim is to predict the bloodbath that would occur in case of
the North's victory in the Vietnam War.

Hosmer, Stephen (1970). Viet Cong Repression and Its Implications for the Future.
Lexington, Massachusetts: D.C. Heath and Company. 176 pp. [a Rand Corporation report]

This is a study of the communist use of terror and repression as a method of revolutionary
warfare. It helps to understand why democide was seen as a legitimate tool, and the extent
and variety of its uses during the Vietnam War.
Wiesner, Louis (1988). Victims and Survivors: Displaced Persons and Other War Victims in
Viet-Nam, 1954-1975. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. 448 pp. [Foreword by Phan Quang

This work by an internationally recognized expert on refugees gives the best overall view of
the refugee problem during the Vietnam War. It is full of statistics and facts, and contains
diverse information on the democide in the South by the North Vietnamese such as attacks
on refugee movements or camps.

Boat People

Since 1975, perhaps as many as 1,500,000 Vietnamese have fled Vietnam, many in rickety
boats, risking storms and pirates in order to reach an uncertain haven. Many thus died at
sea, perhaps 500,000 of them. This constitutes democide by Vietnam for those who thus
died while fleeing for their lives. Virtually all that has been written on the so-called boat
people is in newspapers or popular magazines. The following are among the few more
serious discussions of their flight and plight.

Cerquone, Joseph (1987 October). Uncertain harbors: the plight of Vietnamese boat
people. Issue Paper of the U.S. Committee for Refugees. Washington, DC: American Council
for Nationalities Service. 39 pp.

Hugo, Graeme (1987). Postwar refugee migration in Southeast Asia: patterns, problems,
and policies. In Rigge, John R. (Ed.), Refugees: A Third World Dilemma. Totowa, NJ:
Rowman & Littlefield, pp. 237-252.


Little has been written in English on the democide in other totalitarian states. Attempts to
determine the how, when, and why of democide in, say, communist North Korea,
Afghanistan, Cuba, Ethiopia, Laos, or Eastern Europe, or Fascist Italy, fundamentalist
Moslem Iran, and elsewhere is a matter of digging out of conventional histories and
political studies bits and pieces or digging into relevant newspaper and news magazine
articles and specialized pieces. In North Korea, for example, possibly 1,000,000 to 2,000,000
Koreans have been murdered since 1948, but even partially related studies of this in
English are generally unavailable. Following are a few publications that do focus on
democide in Yugoslavia.

Paris, Edmond (1961). Genocide in Satellite Croatia, 1941-1945: A Record of Racial and
Religious Persecutions and Massacres. Chicago: American Institute for Balkan Affairs. 322
pp. [Translated by Lois Perkins]
This gives analysis, facts, and personal testimonials on the genocide of Serbians by Croatia
under totalitarian Ustashi rule during the Second World War. While the book ignores the
counterpart genocide of the Croatians carried out by the Serbs when the war was ending
and afterward (see Prcela and Guldescu below), it establishes in horrible detail the extent
of this mass murder. Paris claims that 750,000 were killed, almost all Serbs (pp. 4, 9, 211).

Prcela, John, and Guldescu, Stanko (Eds.) (1970). Operation Slaughterhouse: Eyewitness
Accounts of Postwar Massacres in Yugoslavia. Philadelphia: Dorrance & Co. 557 pp.

This describes much of the democide of Croatians and others by Tito's communist
(partisan) forces as World War II ended in their victory, and gives testimonials of
eyewitnesses, often survivors of particular massacres. The book ignores the genocide of the
Serbs by the Croatians described in the above work. Prcela and a colleague calculated that
600,000 Croats were murdered by the Tito regime (p. 121).

By R.J. Rummel

Published in The Wall Street Journal (July 7, 1986). This was based on a pilot survey of possible
sources of democide data. As a result of this study I applied for a grant from the United States
Institute of Peace to do a much more methodical survey of democide, which eventuated in my
Death by Government and Statistics of Democide. This pilot study underestimated these final
totals by about 42 percent.

Our century is noted for its absolute and bloody wars. World War I saw nine-million people
killed in battle, an incredible record that was far surpassed within a few decades by the 15
million battle deaths of World War II. Even the number killed in twentieth century revolutions
and civil wars have set historical records. In total, this century's battle killed in all its
international and domestic wars, revolutions, and violent conflicts is so far about 35,654,000.

Yet, even more unbelievable than these vast numbers killed in war during the lifetime of some
still living, and largely unknown, is this shocking fact. This century's total killed by absolutist
governments already far exceeds that for all wars, domestic and international. Indeed, this
number already approximates the number that might be killed in a nuclear war.
Table 1 provides the relevant totals and classifies these by type of government (following
Freedom House's definitions) and war. By government killed is meant any direct or indirect
killing by government officials, or government acquiescence in the killing by others, of more
than 1,000 people, except execution for what are conventionally considered criminal acts
(murder, rape, spying, treason, and the like). This killing is apart from the pursuit of any ongoing
military action or campaign, or as part of any conflict event. For example, the Jews that Hitler
slaughtered during World War II would be counted, since their merciless and systematic killing
was unrelated to and actually conflicted with Hitler's pursuit of the war.

The totals in the Table are based on a nation-by-nation assessment and are absolute minimal
figures that may under estimate the true total by ten percent or more. Moreover, these figures do
not even include the 1921-1922 and 1958-1961 famines in the Soviet Union and China causing
about 4 million and 27 million dead, respectably. The former famine was mainly due to the
imposition of a command agricultural economy, forced requisitions of food by the Soviets, and
the liquidation campaigns of the Cheka; the latter was wholly caused by Mao's agriculturally
destructive Great Leap Forward and collectivization.

However, Table 1 does include the Soviet government's planned and administered starvation of
the Ukraine begun in 1932 as a way of breaking peasant opposition to collectivization and
destroying Ukrainian nationalism. As many as ten million may have been starved to death or
succumbed to famine related diseases; I estimate eight million died. Had these people all been
shot, the Soviet government's moral responsibility could be no greater.

The Table lists 831 thousand people killed by free -- democratic -- governments, which should
startle most readers. This figure involves the French massacres in Algeria before and during the
Algerian war (36,000 killed, at a minimum), and those killed by the Soviets after being forcibly
repatriated to them by the Allied Democracies during and after World War II.

It is outrageous that in line with and even often surpassing in zeal the letter of the Yalta
Agreement signed by Stalin, Churchill, and Roosevelt, the Allied Democracies, particularly
Great Britain and the United States, turned over to Soviet authorities more than 2,250,000 Soviet
citizens, prisoners of war, and Russian exiles (who were not Soviet citizens) found in the Allied
zones of occupation in Europe. Most of these people were terrified of the consequences of
repatriation and refused to cooperate in their repatriation; often whole families preferred suicide.
Of those the Allied Democracies repatriation, an estimated 795,000 were executed, or died in
slave-labor camps or in transit to them.

If a government is to be held responsible for those prisoners who die in freight cars or in their
camps from privation, surely those democratic governments that turned helpless people over to
totalitarian rulers with foreknowledge of their peril, also should be held responsible.

Concerning now the overall mortality statistics shown in the table, it is sad that hundreds of
thousands of people can be killed by governments with hardly an international murmur, while a
war killing several thousand people can cause an immediate world outcry and global reaction.
Simply contrast the international focus on the relatively minor Falkland Islands War of Britain
and Argentina with the widescale lack of interest in Burundi's killing or acquiescence in such
killing of about 100,000 Hutu in 1972, of Indonesia slaughtering a likely 600,000 "communists"
in 1965, and of Pakistan, in an initially well planned massacre, eventually killing from one to
three million Bengalis in 1971.

A most noteworthy and still sensitive example of this double standard is the Vietnam War. The
international community was outraged at the American attempt to militarily prevent North
Vietnam from taking over South Vietnam and ultimately Laos and Cambodia. "Stop the killing"
was the cry, and eventually, the pressure of foreign and domestic opposition forced an American
withdrawal. The overall number killed in the Vietnam War on all sides was about 1,216,000

With the United States subsequently refusing them even modest military aid, South Vietnam was
militarily defeated by the North and completely swallowed; and Cambodia was taken over by the
communist Khmer Rouge, who in trying to recreate a primitive communist agricultural society
slaughtered from one to three million Cambodians. If we take a middle two-million as the best
estimate, then in four years the government of this small nation of seven million alone killed 64
percent more people than died in the ten-year Vietnam War.

Overall, the best estimate of those killed after the Vietnam War by the victorious communists in
Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia is 2,270,000. Now totaling almost twice as many as died in the
Vietnam War, this communist killing still continues.

To view this double standard from another perspective, both World Wars cost twenty-four
million battle deaths. But from 1918 to 1953, the Soviet government executed, slaughtered,
starved, beat or tortured to death, or otherwise killed 39,500,000 of its own people (my best
estimate among figures ranging from a minimum of twenty million killed by Stalin to a total over
the whole communist period of eighty-three million). For China under Mao Tse-tung, the
communist government eliminated, as an average figure between estimates, 45,000,000 Chinese.
The number killed for just these two nations is about 84,500,000 human beings, or a lethality of
252 percent more than both World Wars together. Yet, have the world community and
intellectuals generally shown anything like the same horror, the same outrage, the same out
pouring of anti-killing literature, over these Soviet and Chinese megakillings as has been directed
at the much less deadly World Wars?

As can be seen from Table 1, communist governments are overall almost four times more lethal
to their citizens than non-communist ones, and in per capita terms nearly twice as lethal (even
considering the huge populations of the USSR and China).

However, as large as the per capita killed is for communist governments, it is nearly the same as
for other non-free governments. This is due to the massacres and widescale killing in the very
small country of East Timor, where since 1975 Indonesia has eliminated (aside from the guerrilla
war and associated violence) an estimated 100 thousand Timorese out of a population of 600
thousand. Omitting this country alone would reduce the average killed by noncommunist,
nonfree governments to 397 per 10,000, or significantly less than the 477 per 10,000 for
communist countries.
In any case, we can still see from the table that the more freedom in a nation, the fewer people
killed by government. Freedom acts to brake the use of a governing elite's power over life and
death to pursue their policies and ensure their rule.

This principle appeared to be violated in two aforementioned special cases. One was the French
government carrying out mass killing in the colony of Algeria, where compared to Frenchmen
the Algerians were second class citizens, without the right to vote in French elections. In the
other case the Allied Democracies acted during and just after wartime, under strict secrecy, to
turn over foreigners to a communist government. These foreigners, of course, had no rights as
citizens that would protect them in the democracies. In no case have I found a democratic
government carrying out massacres, genocide, and mass executions of its own citizens; nor have
I found a case where such a government's policies have knowingly and directly resulted in the
large scale deaths of its people though privation, torture, beatings, and the like.

Absolutism is not only many times deadlier than war, but itself is the major factor causing war
and other forms of violent conflict. It is a major cause of militarism. Indeed, absolutism, not war,
is mankind's deadliest scourge of all.

In light of all this, the peaceful, nonviolent, pursuit and fostering of civil liberties and political
rights must be made mankind's highest humanitarian goal. Not simply to give the greatest
number the greatest happiness, not simply to obey the moral imperative of individual rights, not
simply to further the efficiency and productivity of a free society, but also and mainly because
freedom preserves peace and life.

By R.J. Rummel


This is a report of the statistical results from a project on comparative genocide and mass-murder
in this century. Most probably near 170,000,000 people have been murdered in cold-blood by
governments, well over three-quarters by absolutist regimes. The most such killing was done by
the Soviet Union (near 62,000,000 people), the communist government of China is second (near
35,000,000), followed by Nazi Germany (almost 21,000,000), and Nationalist China (some
10,000,000). Lesser megamurderers include WWII Japan, Khmer Rouge Cambodia, WWI
Turkey, communist Vietnam, post-WWII Poland, Pakistan, and communist Yugoslavia. The
most intense democide was carried out by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, where they killed over
30 percent of their subjects in less than four years. The best predictor of this killing is regime
power. The more arbitrary power a regime has, the less democratic it is, the more likely it will
kill its subjects or foreigners. The conclusion is that power kills, absolute power kills absolutely.

This is a report of research that began in 1986 on genocide and mass murder (called democide) in this
century. All cases were covered, whether by state regimes, quasi states (such as the White army
controlled territories during the Russian civil war), or groups. The statistics involved such obvious cases
as the Jewish Holocaust and the Armenian genocide by the Young Turk regime of Turkey, the Soviet
gulag, or Iraq's gassing of their Kurds, to less known cases, such as forced labor deaths in European
colonies or the working to death of indebted labor on Mexican haciendas in the early part of this century.
Indeed, I attempted to document and estimate any cases in which a regime or self-governing group
intentionally killed an unarmed person or was responsible for their death in a way that would be normally
categorized as murder, such as machine gunning of prisoners of war or the deaths of inmates from
deprivation and hard labor in gulag.

Some preliminary comments on the statistics to be presented may help to evaluate them and
avoid misunderstanding. First, they are based on almost 8,200 estimates of war, domestic
violence, genocide, mass murder, and other relevant data, recorded from over a thousand
sources. Over 4,200 consolidations and calculations were then done on these estimates and all
were organized into appendix tables totaling more than 18,100 rows. These give the subject of an
estimate (such as of the number of communists and sympathizers killed by the Indonesian Army
and affiliates), the estimate (450,000-500,000 killed), the period covered (October 1965 to
1966?), the source (Crouch, 1978, p. 155n.52), and notes on the estimate (from Admiral Sudoma,
head of Kopkamtib). All this together comprised one estimate and one row in a published or
forthcoming table of estimates. The consolidations of estimates for a particular case, subject, or
period also were given, as well as were the calculations on the estimates. The intent was to be as
explicit and public as possible so that others can evaluate, correct, and build on this work.1 Here I
am simply summarizing the more important results of these calculations.

Second, since estimates of democide are very uncertain2 and often propagandistic, I generally
calculated a low to high range of probable democide, the low being the sum of lowest estimates
across events for a regime and the high being a similar sum.3 In this way I tried to bracket the
most probable figure, which I then judged or calculated based on the central thrust, objectivity,
and quality of the estimates. However, many of the following figures will seem so precise as to
belie this cautious approach. The reason for this apparent precision lies in the method by which
they were determined, which often involved calculations on dozens and sometime hundreds of
estimates. The democide I give here for, say Cambodia, was then the outcome of all these
calculations, including polynomial regressions of estimates of her population for each year from
the early 60s to late 1980s. I have rounded off to thousands, but I let the rest of the figures stand
as they came out of the calculations. In nonquantitative presentations I simply round them off to
the nearest hundreds of thousands or millions.

Third, much of this democide occurred during wartime and may appear to be confused with war-
deaths. I have gone to great pains to separate battle-dead or those dying in the wake of war from
genocide and mass murder. The Holocaust during the Second and genocide of the Armenians
during the First World War are easy cases of this separation. So is the reprisal killings of Czechs
or Yugoslavs by the Nazis, or those who died in German concentration camps during the war.
Some cases are not so easy, as of American and British indiscriminate bombing of urban
populations during the Second World War or the British food blockade of Levant in the First
World War which caused many deaths from starvation and malnutrition. And then there are
Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I have followed this approach in classifying those killed or dying in
war as either war-dead or democide. If these deaths would be considered a war crime--if they are
now internationally outlawed by the Geneva Conventions, they are counted as democide. This
would include deaths from the indiscriminate atomic bombings

Fourth, some may be uncomfortable with the use of the term murder when applied to the actions
of a government. I am using this term descriptively in a well defined sense, as the intentional
killing of an unarmed and nonphysically threatening person, or the responsibility for a person's
death such that it is as though intended (as deaths from overwork and deprivation in forced labor
camps or on plantations). This definition excludes combat deaths during war or military action,
noncombatants that die as a by-product of military action, and excludes capital punishment for
what would normally be capital crimes, such as murder.

Finally, this is a report and not a research article and I have only cited my past and forthcoming
publications from which these results are taken. Be assured, that I covered and cited the literature
as fully as I could in these sources, and went beyond the statistics to write an historical analysis
on each case of democide that exceeded 1,000,000 dead.

So that the reader will have some idea of what the estimates underlying the results look like, I
have given in the Appendix some of the estimates for the Cambodian Khmer Rouge democide.
Each published table presenting the full estimates for one of the results to be given ran for
dozens of pages and in some cases over fifty pages. I had to write separate books for the USSR
and Nazi Germany4 in order to present all the material underlying the final democide figures for
them, and another book5 for Nationalist China and the PRC. The complex history of democide in
Cambodia required a long chapter in Death by Government,6 and the presentation of the
associated material given in the associated statistical volume7 ran to 845 lines of estimates,
consolidations, and calculations.

Now for the overview. The principle conclusion emerging from previous work on the causes of
war and this project is that power kills, absolute power kills absolutely. The more power a
government has, the more it can act arbitrarily according to the whims and desires of the elite,
the more it will make war on others and murder its foreign and domestic subjects. The more
constrained the power of governments, the more it is diffused, checked and balanced, the less it
will aggress on others and commit democide.8 At the extremes of power, totalitarian communist
governments murder their people by the tens of millions, while many democracies can barely
bring themselves to execute even serial murderers.

As listed in Table 1 , this century's megamurderers--those states killing in cold blood, aside from
warfare, 1,000,000 or more men, women, and children--have murdered over 151,000,000 people,
almost four times the almost 38,500,000 battle-dead for all this century's international and civil
wars up to 1987. The most absolute Power, that is the communist U.S.S.R., China and preceding
Mao guerrillas, Khmer Rouge Cambodia, Vietnam, and Yugoslavia, as well as Nazi Germany,
account for near 128,000,000 of them, or 84 percent. No one of the remaining megamurderers,
which include the regimes of Pakistan,9 wartime Japan, Nationalist China, Cambodia, communist
Vietnam, post-War II Poland,10 and communist Yugoslavia, were democratic when it committed
its democide.

Then there are the kilomurderers, or those states that have killed innocents by the tens or
hundreds of thousands, the top five of which were the China Warlords (1917-1949), Atatürk's
Turkey (1919-1923), the United Kingdom (primarily due to the 1914-1919 food blockade of the
Central Powers and Levant in and after World War I, and the 1940-45 indiscriminate bombing of
German cities), Portugal (1926-1982), and Indonesia (1965-87). These are shown in Table 1.
Some lesser kilomurderers were communist Afghanistan, Angola, Albania, Rumania, and
Ethiopia, as well as authoritarian Hungary, Burundi, Croatia (1941-44), Czechoslovakia (1945-
46), Indonesia, Iraq, the Czar's Russia, and Uganda. For its indiscriminate bombing of German
and Japanese civilians, the United States must also be included on this list. These and other
kilomurderers add almost 15,000,000 people killed to the democide for this century.

As listed in Table 2, the most lethal regime in this century was that of the communist Khmer
Rouge in Cambodia during 1975 through 1978. In less than four years of governing they
exterminated over 31 percent of their men, women, and children; the odds of any Cambodian
surviving these four long years was only about 2.2 to 1. As mentioned, the Appendix exemplifies
some of the estimates of this killing.

The major and better known episodes and institutions for which these and other regimes were
responsible are listed in Table 3. Far above all is

gulag--the Soviet slave-labor system created by Lenin and built up under Stalin. In some 70
years it likely chewed up almost 40,000,000 lives, over twice as many as probably died in some
400 years of the African slave trade, from capture to sale in an Arab, Oriental, or New World

In total, during the first eighty-eight years of this century, almost 170,000,000 men, women, and
children have been shot, beaten, tortured, knifed, burned, starved, frozen, crushed, or worked to
death; or buried alive, drowned, hanged, bombed, or killed in any other of the myriad ways
governments have inflicted death on unarmed, helpless citizens or foreigners. The dead even
could conceivable be near a high of 360,000,000 people. This is as though our species has been
devastated by a modern Black Plague. And indeed it has, but a plague of absolute power and not

Adding the human cost of war to this democide total, governments have violently killed over
203,000,000 people in this century. Table 4 breaks down this toll by type of regime. Figure 1
graphs the regime comparisons.

Now, democracies themselves are responsible for some of the democide. Almost all of this is
foreign democide during war, and mainly those enemy civilians killed in indiscriminate urban
bombing, as of Germany and Japan in World War II. It also includes the large scale massacres of
Filipinos during the bloody American colonization of the Philippines at the beginning of this
century, deaths in British concentration camps in South Africa during the Boar War, civilian
deaths due to starvation during the aforementioned British blockade, the rape and murder of
helpless Chinese in and around Peking in 1900, the atrocities committed by Americans in
Vietnam, the murder of helpless Algerians during the Algerian War by the French, and the
unnatural deaths of German prisoners of war in French and American POW camps after World
War II. All this killing of foreigners by democracies may seem to violate the principle that power
kills, absolute power kills absolutely, but really underlines it. For in each case, the killing was
carried out in secret, behind a conscious cover of lies and deceit by those agencies and power-
holders involved. All were shielded by tight censorship of the press and control of journalists.
Even the indiscriminate bombing of German cities by the British was disguised before the House
of Commons and in press releases as attacks on German military targets. That the general
strategic bombing policy was to attack working men's homes was kept secret still long after the

And finally, Figure 2 (one of the most important comparisons on democide and power produced
by this project) displays the range of democide estimates for each regime, that is, level of power.
As mentioned over 8,100 estimates of democide from over a thousand sources were collected to
arrive at a most likely low and high for democide committed by 219 regimes or groups. The
totals that have been displayed in previous figures have been the sum of conservatively
determined mid-totals in this range. Figure 2 then presents for each type of regime, such as the
authoritarian, this range resulting from the sum of all the lows and highs for all the democide of
all regimes of that type. The difference between the three resulting ranges drawn in the figure
can only be understood in terms of power.11 As the arbitrary power of regimes increase left to
right in the figure, the range of their democide jumps accordingly and to such a great extent that
the low democide for the authoritarian regime is above the democratic high, and the authoritarian
high is below the totalitarian low.

The empirical and theoretical conclusion from these and other results is clear. The way to
virtually eliminate genocide and mass murder appears to be through restricting and checking
power. This means to foster democratic freedom. This is the ultimate conclusion of this project.

* From the pre-publisher edited manuscript of R.J. Rummel, "Power, Genocide and Mass Murder,"
Journal of Peace Research 31 (no.1, 1994): 1-10.

1. The estimates, sources, calculations, and the historical context are given in Rummel (1990,
1991, 1992, forthcoming 1994, forthcoming 1997).

2. After decades of scholarly research in the German archives, study of reports and official
documents of other involved countries, and interviews with participants and survivors, the best
estimates of the Holocaust still vary by over 40 percent.
3. Impossible or absurd estimates were ignored, such as Khmer Rouge K. R. Leng Sary's
estimate that only 30,000 died under the Khmer Rouge from want (Kampuchea in the ..., 1982, p.
63). See the Appendix.

4. Rummel (1990, 1992).

5. Rummel (1991).

6. Rummel (1994).

7. Rummel (1997).

8. This finding holds up through a variety of multivariate analyzes comprising over a hundred
different kinds of political, cultural, social, and economic variables. All considered, including the
partial correlations [on the nature of correlation, see Understanding Correlation], regression
analysis, and the independent dimensions defined through factor analysis [on factor analysis, see
"Understanding Factor Analysis"], a measure of democracy versus totalitarian regimes and
measures of war and rebellion are the best independent predictors of democide. See Rummel

9. The democide by the Pakistan regime was almost entirely carried out in East Pakistan (now
Bangladesh) in 1971.

10. This democide by the post-World War II Polish government was in the former Eastern
German territories seized by Poland, and primarily involved the outright murder of ethnic and
Reich Germans living there or their death by starvation and deprivation before or after their
expulsion from the territories.

11. This is further supported by multivariate linear and curvilinear analysis. See Rummel (1997).

New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers.


SINCE 1900. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers.


Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers.

___________, 1994. Death by Government: Genocide and Mass Murder Since 1900. New
Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers [in press].
SINCE 1900. Chalottesville, Virginia: Center for National Security Law, University of Virginia.

Small, M., and Singer, J. David, 1976. 'The War-proneness of Democratic Regimes, 1816-1965',

_________________________, 1982. RESORT TO ARMS: INTERNATIONAL AND CIVIL

WARS 1816-1980. Beverly Hills, California: Sage Publications.




R.J. Rummel
University of Hawaii
Spring Semester 1992

In this century governments have killed in cold

blood around 170,000,000 men, women, and
children, more than four times the total battle-dead
in all this century's international and domestic wars
and revolutions.

While there has been a growing concern over social justice, world order, and the environment, the focus
of political science and peace research has been and remains on war in all its various forms (international
war, civil war, revolution, guerrilla war, and the like). The aim is quite clearly to understand enough
about the causes and conditions of war to resolve it, and hopefully make it an obsolete social pattern. The
reason for this focus has also been clear. With the 9,000,000 killed in battle in World War I, the
15,000,000 in World War II, and the potential for hundreds of millions to die in a nuclear war, peace
researchers have seen war as the last great plague for science to conquer. Simply put, the horror of all that
intentional killing and all the untold associated pain and suffering, and the belief that it was the foremost
form of institutional killing, has emotionally driven research on war and peace.

Yet, this near universal assumption in peace research that war is mankind's foremost, purposely
operated, killing machine, is wrong. While war in its various forms does kill in the millions, a
much bloodier human meat grinder has been government itself, particularly absolutist
governments. Although all international and civil wars have killed 36,000,000 combatants in this
century, absolutist and authoritarian governments, have probably massacred over 150,000,000
Russian, Chinese, Ukrainian, Cambodian, Armenian, Jew, Gypsy, Polish, Greek, Japanese,
Ugandan, Indonesian, Serb, Croatian, German, Bengali, Kurd, Burundian, Tibetan, Iranian,
Baltic, and Vietnamese, among others, unarmed and helpless men, women, and children. And I
am still counting.


Following is the list of texts and articles to be read in whole or part for this class.

ANALYSIS AND CASE STUDIES. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990.

Elliot, Gil. TWENTIETH CENTURY BOOK OF THE DEAD. London: Allen Lane The
Penguin Press, 1972.

Fein, Helen. "Scenarios of Genocide: Models of Genocide and Critical Responses," in Israel W.
GENOCIDE. Boulder: Westview Press, 1984, pp. 3-31.

Glaser, Kurt and Stefan T. Possony. VICTIMS OF POLITICS: THE STATE OF HUMAN
RIGHTS. New York: Columbia University Press, 1979.

Harff, Barbara and Ted Robert Gurr. "Toward Empirical Theory of Genocides and Politicides:
Identification and Measurement of Cases since 1945." INTERNATIONAL STUDIES
QUARTERLY 32 (1988):359-371.


POLITICAL ISSUES. Monograph Series in World Affairs, Vol. 20, Book 3. Denver, Colorado:
Graduate School in International Studies, University of Denver, 1984.

Harff, Barbara. "The Etiology of Genocides," in Isidor Wallimann and Michael N. Dobkowski
MASS DEATH. NY: Greenwood Press, 1987, pp. 41-59.
augmented edition: New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books, 1982.

Haven: Yale University Press, 1981.

Porter, Jack Nusan. "Introduction: What is Genocide? Notes toward a Definition," in Jack Nusan
University Press of America, 1982, pp. 2-32.


Beverly Hills, California: Sage Publications, 1981.

__________. "Deadlier than War." IPA REVIEW (Institute of Public Affairs Limited, Australia)
41 (August-October 1987): 24-30.

__________. "The politics of cold blood." SOCIETY 27 (November/December 1989): 32-

40.[Now renamed as "The democratic idea: a new idea?"]


Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 1990.


New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 1991.

__________. "The rule of law: towards eliminating war and genocide." Speech to the American
Bar Association Standing Committee on Law and National Security, Washington, D.C., October
10-11, 1991.


1900. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 1991.

__________. "Megamurders." SOCIETY (Summer 1992), forthcoming.

Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 1992.

__________. DEATH BY GOVERNMENT: New Brunswick, N>J>: Transaction Publishers,


Stohl, Michael. "Outside of a Small Circle of Friends: States, Genocide, Mass Killing and the
Role of Bystanders." JOURNAL OF PEACE RESEARCH 24 (1987), pp. 151-166.
Zenner, Walter P. "Middleman Minorities and Genocide." in Isidor Wallimann and Michael N.
STUDIES OF MASS DEATH. NY: Greenwood Press, 1987, pp. 253-281.

Two papers are required for this course:

• Each paper is to be on a separate case or aspect of government democide (genocide, politicide, or

mass killing) in this century. Your proposed topic for each paper is to be presented to the class
and subsequently approved by the instructor.
• Each paper is to be a RESEARCH PAPER, with references and footnotes, as necessary. It is to
cover who did what to whom, when, how, and why.
• Each paper is to be typed, double-spaced. No hand written papers will be accepted.
• The first paper should be no longer than ten, double spaced pages, exclusive of tables, figures,
reference or bibliography. It is due by class time, March 5. You will be expected to present your
paper to the class before you hand it in.
• The second paper can be any length you deem necessary to adequately cover your topic (a topic
different from that of the your first paper). You also will be expected to present this paper to the
class. It is due no later than 2:30PM, Tuesday, May 12.

This will be taught Socratically and as a seminar. This means that you will be expected to present your
ideas and research, and discuss those of others. I will, of course, talk on some related topic for perhaps ten
or twenty minutes, but the purpose will be to present background material, fill in some missing topics in
your text, or comment on something said in class. You are expected to add comments of your own or to
question what is unclear or doubtful, or that you disagree with.

Class activities will involve:

• two or three seminar members summarizing the assigned reading for each meeting (those to do so
will be selected the week before);
• student presentation of preliminary paper topics;
• student presentations of the research on their papers (to be presented at least one week before the
paper is due). .

Grades will be based on class preparation, presentations and involvement, and of course, your
two written papers
By R.J. Rummel


From 1900 to 1987 state, quasi-state, and stateless groups have killed in democide (genocide,
massacres, extrajudicial executions, and the like) near 170,000,000 people. Case studies and
quantitative analysis show that ethnic, racial, and religious diversity, economic development,
levels of education, and cultural differences do not account for this killing. Rather, democide is
best explained by the degree to which a regime is empowered along a democratic to totalitarian
dimension and secondarily the extent to which it is characteristically involved in war or
rebellion. Combining these results with those that show that democracies don't make war on each
other, the more democratic two nations are the less foreign violence between them, and that the
more democratic a regime the less internal violence, strongly suggests that democracy is a
general method of nonviolence.

Political regimes--governments--have probably murdered near 170,000,000 of their own citizens and
foreigners in this century, about four times the number killed in all international and domestic wars and
revolutions.1 Why? I will offer both a theory and empirical results on this question and then sketch the
variety of tests of the theory that were conducted. But first, I will have to define what I mean by
government murder and in doing this propose an appropriate concept.

A concept that has done yeoman service in denoting government murder is genocide. But this
concept hardly covers the variety and extent of ruthless murder carried out by governments. To
be more specific, in international conventions and the general literature, genocide has been
defined in part as the intentional killing by government of people because of their race, religion,
ethnicity, or other indelible group membership. Cold-blooded government killing, however,
extends beyond genocide so defined, as of starving civilians to death by a blockade, assassinating
supposed sympathizers of anti-government guerrillas, purposely creating a famine, executing
prisoners of war, shooting political opponents, or murder by quota (as carried out by the Soviets,
Chinese communists, and North Vietnamese).

To cover all such murder as well as genocide and politicide I use the concept of democide.2 This
is the intentional killing of people by government. It excludes the killing of those with weapons
in their hands or those indirectly killed as a result of military action and excludes judicial
executions for what are normally considered capital crimes, such as murder and treason (unless
such are clearly excuses for the executions, as of Stalin's show trials in the 1930s).
Democide is meant to define the killing by states as the concept of murder does individual killing
in domestic society. Here intentionality (premeditation) is critical. This also includes practical
intentionality. If a government causes deaths through a reckless and depraved indifference to
human life, the deaths were as though intended, as in the deadly Soviet forced labor camps.

It is democide that I will try account for here.

The theoretical hypothesis is that the more democratic freedom a nation has, the less likely its government
will commit foreign or domestic democide. In brief summary,3 the theory is that through democratic
institutions social conflicts that might become violent are resolved by voting, negotiation, compromise,
and mediation. The success of these procedures is enhanced and supported by the restraints on decision
makers of competitive elections, the cross-pressures resulting from the natural pluralism of democratic--
spontaneous--societies, and the development of a democratic culture and norms that emphasizes rational
debate, toleration, negotiation of differences, conciliation, and conflict resolution. Moreover, democratic
leaders see others, even political opponents, as within the same moral universe, as equally nonviolent, as
disposed to negotiate differences peacefully.4

On the other side are totalitarian political regimes. Rather than being a means for resolving
differences in views, they try to impose a particular ideology, religion, or solution to social
problems on society, regardless of the opposition. For this reason such regimes try to control all
aspects of society and deal with conflict by force, coercion, and fear, that is, by power.
Moreover, such power breeds political paranoia by the dictator or within a narrow ruling group.
This is the fear that others are always plotting to take over rule and would execute those now in
power. Finally, there is one hierarchical pyramid of power rather than a multitude of such
pyramids as in a democracy, one single coercive organization. This turns all socio-political and
economic issues and problems into a matter of us versus them, of those with power versus those
without. We should therefore find that the less democratic a regime, the more unchecked and
unbalanced power at the center, the more it should commit democide. Democide becomes a
device of rule, as in eliminating possible opponents, or a means for achieving one's ideological
goal, as in the purification of one's country of an alien race or the reconstruction of society.

There is thus a scale of political regimes from the most democratic to the most totalitarian, from
freedom in terms of political and civil rights and liberties to an absolute power under which such
rights and liberties do not exist. And we should find empirically that the more democratic the
less violence in foreign and domestic affairs, the more totalitarian the more violence. So far this
equation between the scales of power and violence has been empirically supported. We find that
democracies do not (or rarely) make war on each other, that the more democratic and less
totalitarian two regimes the less foreign violence between them,5 and democracies have the least
domestic violence (Rummel, "Libertarianism, Violence Within States, and the Polarity
Principle", "Libertarian Propositions on Violence Within and Between Nations: A Test Against
Published Research Results", 1995a). By this theory power also should be directly predictive of
democide such that the less democratic a regime along the democratic to totalitarian scale of
power, the more likely it will commit democide.

To hypothesize that democracy is inversely related to democide leaves open the question as to
how this democide is measured. I argue theoretically that democracy will be most related to the
total magnitude of domestic democide logged. First, the more democracy the less the number of
its own people the regime will kill for the reasons given. However, these restraints do not well
operate in times of hot or cold war, when the military or intelligence services operate in secret,
and in their foreign operations are in effect totalitarian enclaves within a democratic structure.
This is because in wartime the democracies largely give the military their head, secrecy prevails,
wartime controls over the nation are instituted, and it is an open question whether democracies in
wartime retain their full democratic character (consider the internment of Japanese-Americans in
concentration camps during World War II, for example), particularly in their foreign operations.
For this reason I argue that the primary inverse relationship between democracy and democide is
to domestic killing. This is not to say that democracies will murder as many noncombatants in
wartime as will nondemocracies, which they clearly have not, but that the correlation between
democracy and foreign democide will be much lower than for the domestic or total amount of
democide [on the nature of correlation and the correlation coefficient, see Understanding

Second, the closer one gets to democracy on the hypothetical democracy-totalitarianism scale,
the more the restraints on democide should kick in. This is because even a moderate
liberalization of a totalitarian regime, as after the death of Stalin or Mao tse-tung, creates
countervailing forces that makes democide difficult to carry out or less the approved means to
achieve policies. When power at the center is limited by tradition or other power groups, even in
authoritarian regimes such as those of Saudi Arabia, Iraq, or Iran, the ability to kill unlimited
numbers of people is sharply limited. We should expect, therefore, that as regime types vary
from democratic to somewhat democratic to authoritarian to somewhat totalitarian to totalitarian,
that there should be a virtual logarithmic increase in the number of people a regime kills.

And finally, this should not only be an absolute relationship between the democratic-totalitarian
scale and domestic democide, but also one with the number killed as a proportion of the
population per year of the regime--the rate of democide. Democratic restraints should operate not
only on the sheer number killed over the life of a regime, but also on the relative number killed.
That is, the inverse relationship between democracy and democide should hold regardless of the
duration of the regime and its population.

Finally, we should expect that the relationship between democracy and democide should be
greatest with domestic democide (on which the democratic restraints will have their greatest
effect), secondly with total democide, which includes foreign, and there should be little if any
relationship to foreign democide by itself.

I have gone through five research stages to test the hypothesis that democracy is causally and inversely
related to democide. Specifically for this test, I collected data on all democide for all regimes, 1900-1987,
for which estimates in English were available in the literature.6

Second, I delineated the dimensionality of these data through factor analysis [for a description of
factor analysis, see "Understanding Factor Analysis"].

Third, attending now to the hypothetical independent variable, I determined various ways of
measuring democracy over the same years for different regimes. I then used factor analysis to
define the prime indicator of the theoretical democracy-totalitarianism continuum.

Fourth, I collected data on a number of a control variables, particularly those defining cross-
national socio-cultural diversity, culture, war and rebellion, wealth, and power. I also separately
factor analyzed these data to uncover their major indicators and reduce the number of variables
and their multicolinearity in the tests.

Finally, I then applied factor analysis, interactive multiple regression analyses, canonical
analyses, and time series regression to test whether of all indicators the democracy-totalitarian
one best accounted for democide, as it should. It did, regardless of the controls or type of tests.

Because of the sheer magnitude of the analyses--just one of the factor analyses or canonical
analyses by itself could have constituted an article, I will have to be very brief in presenting the
most important results. I will try to be as explicit as possible where it is most important to be so,
which is in the actual tests.

Turning now to the data on democide, the operational question is whether total, domestic, and foreign
democide, and the rate of democide (as defined above) are empirically different patterns in the democide
data. This is already a kind of test of the above theory, since if these types of democide are highly
intercorrelated, then democracy cannot be both highly related to domestic democide and largely unrelated
to foreign democide, as the theory suggests.

To determine this I need to define different foreign and domestic democide types--variables. In
doing this, three criteria are important. One is that these types are conceptually and empirically
meaningful. The second is that they can be identified among the flow of events and especially in
the fog of war and violence. And the third is that there are data that can be so defined. The types
consistent with these requirements are listed in Table 1.

In total 218 regimes (141 state regimes and seventy-seven quasi-state and group regimes)
committed some sort of democide in this century for which I could find estimates, no matter how
small. How many state regimes did not commit democide? This is a difficult question, simply
because it requires that all regimes existing during this century be identified. Now, as used here a
regime is a government that is identified by certain political characteristics that exist for a
specifiable period. These characteristics define the nature and distribution of a regime's coercive
and authoritative power and the manner in which this power is exercised and power-holders
changed. For example, the change of regime from the rule of the Czar over Russia to the
Kerensky government, and then within the same year to the Bolsheviks gives us three regimes.
The change from the Kaiser monarchy to the Weimar Republic to Hitler's rule also gives us three
different German regimes. Mainly but not completely relying on Ted Robert Gurr's (1990)
political characterization of regimes (polities) from 1800 to 1986, I count 432 distinct state
regimes during 1900-1987.7 And 141 of these, or about one-third, committed some form of

Let us now look at how this democide is empirically patterned across the 432 regimes. By a
pattern is meant the intercorrelation of certain types of democide such that when a regime kills
people in one kind of democide there is a high probability that it also will have committed or will
commit the other kinds of democide. Ideally, this intercorrelation--pattern--should be so defined
that the influence of other patterns is statistically partialled out.

I must make clear that the various democide types are totaled over the life of a regime. For
regimes surviving for only a couple of years, the different types of democide are probably
simultaneous. For very long lived regimes, such as the Soviet Union or United States, different
types of democide and even the different occurrences of democide for a particular type, may
have been committed in years separated by decades or even half a century or more. A high
correlation, then, between two democide types, such as terror and genocide, should be
interpreted to mean that a regime characteristically committed both types of democide or that
both are characteristic behavior of the regime, not that both types were simultaneously
committed. A pattern of interrelated democide types then means that these are interrelated
behavioral characteristics of regimes.

Moreover, since a few regimes may have very high democide compared to others (e.g., the
Soviet Union and China), all data were log transformed (base 10), as indicated by the suffix "L"
added to the type's name. To be sure this is kept in mind, "L" is added to the type's name.

Using component analysis I identified the patterns of democide just for the 218 regimes with
democide and also only for the 141 state regimes.8 For both analyses (not shown) the patterns
were much the same. Since the state regimes will be the focus of subsequent analysis and tests, I
will concentrate on these patterns.

The fourteen democide types reduces to five empirical patterns (or dimensions) of democide and
their five indicators (italicized).9 The first and most important pattern centrally involves domestic
democide, with which is correlated terror, massacres, the domestic democide rate, and total
democide. The second and statistically independent pattern is one of foreign democide, and also
including forced labor deaths, camp deaths, and POWs killed. Two other independent patterns
comprise the annual domestic democide rate and democidal bombing deaths. The final pattern is
that of mainly genocide and secondarily massacres.

The italicized indicators are now our fundamental measures of democide. They will be the basis
of all subsequent analyses of democide and should be looked at as fundamental causal foci. That
is, each empirical pattern reflects underlying first order causes and conditions that differ from
those related to other patterns.10 Note therefore that since genocide is a statistically independent
causal pattern in the democide data, the causes that underlay this form of mass murder are
separate and distinct from those causing the other type of government killing. This is not to deny
that there is an overall explanation for democide in general, but that within this general
explanation there are particular patterns of democide, such as genocide, explained by more
specific causes and conditions.

As mentioned, this component analysis is also an initial test of one aspect of the hypothesis. The
expectation was that democracy would have its greatest inverse relationship to domestic
democide and little to the foreign. For this to be true, domestic and foreign democide must be
near independent empirical patterns in the data. This is indeed the case, where the component
analysis and orthogonal and oblique rotations showed domestic and foreign democide to be
different, uncorrelated, dimensions of democide.11 While this does not substantiate that it is
democracy that is the cause, this separation of the patterns is a necessary condition for the
hypothesis, as elaborated, to be true.

To keep the data collection manageable for all subsequent analyses the sample will have to be limited to:
(a) all 141 state regimes committing democide, and (b) those state regimes not committing democide that
(c) involve a large shift in power from previous or succeeding regimes. For example, although the
communist Afghanistan regime (1978-) is included because it committed democide, a previous non-
communist regime (1965-73) is also included. Austria committed no democide, as best I can determine,
but it had two very different regimes, one autocratic regime in the pre-Hitler takeover period, 1934-38,
and the other the post-Second World War democratic regime, 1946-. Both Austrian regimes are included.
I also tried to pick regimes such that all major cultures, national characteristics, socio-economic attributes,
and regime variation would be represented. This selection procedure gives me a sample of 214 state
regimes, including the 141 with democide, for the years 1900-1987. Hereafter, this is the basic sample for
all analyses.

In Table 2 I list a variety of political measures that in one way or another define regime types.12
The question now is which of these measures centrally define the theoretical democratic-
totalitarian scale that is supposed to predict to democide, if indeed, there is such an independent
empirical political pattern. These measures were selected to span the variety of regime types,
whether liberal democratic, absolute monarchies, communist, noncommunist totalitarian,
military dictatorships, oligarchic republics, or personalist autocracies.

Table 3 shows the five statistically independent political patterns that emerge from a component
analysis for these 214 regimes. As shown, there are five major patterns.13 The substantive nature
of these patterns is identified by the coefficients (loadings) in the matrix, which give the
correlation between the democide types and the pattern. Squaring these correlations then defines
the amount of variation in the democide related to the pattern. I have outlined in the table each of
these correlations for which there is 25 percent or more covariation between political type and
pattern. As can be seen (similar types are set off by horizontal lines), the first and most important
of these involves a democratic to totalitarian continuum, or looking at all the measures correlated
with the pattern, a continuum measuring the degree to which coercive regime power penetrates
and controls political and socio-economic institutions, functions, and individual behavior. To
keep this idea foremost, I have named this the Totalitarian Power pattern. Both the democratic
and totalitarian scales are among those measures most highly correlated with this pattern. Its
indicator will be constructed by adding the totalitarian scale to the inverse of the democratic
scale, with the result that totalitarian regimes will be at the high end. 14 The resulting indicator I
will simply call TotalPower.

There is also a Political Power pattern (Factor 5) which should not be confused with Totalitarian
Power and is largely statistically (and conceptually) independent of it. The political power
measure defines this pattern and indexes the degree to which political power is centralized,
politically autocratic, or dictatorial, without any elector system, legislature (rubber stamp or not),
or other representative body. TotalPower well reflects this centralization of political power in
totalitarian systems, of course, but also the regime's penetration of and control over the
nonpolitical aspects of society as well, such as religion, the economy, and culture, which is not
measured by the Political Power pattern alone.

There is much confusion in the literature between totalitarian and political power that must be
clarified here. Because of the lack of any electoral system and even nominal representative body,
authoritarian regimes like that of Saudi Arabia may have an higher score on political power than
the Soviet Union. And because of the lack of any meaningful legislature or other control over the
executive, a regime like that in Kuwait with an absolute monarch is often coded with greater
political power than many communist countries where a legislature exists, all be it largely a
rubber stamp, and where a politburo may provide some executive restraints as in the Soviet
Union of the 1970s. For this reason many scales of democracy will position communist countries
closer to the democratic end then the absolute monarchies or dictatorships without any
legislature or electoral system. The political power scores used here are primarily based on the
work of Ted Robert Gurr (1990). He codes the political power of each regime as a combination
of its regulation of participation and executive recruitment, the competitiveness of executive
recruitment, the constraints on the chief executive, whether the executive is monocratic or not,
and the centralization of the state. Note that all these are political characteristics and do not
define, for example, the degree to which there is a command economy, or regime control over
the media, religion, or other non-political institutions.

There is also an authoritarian versus totalitarian pattern (see Factor 2 of Table 3), fundamentally
the opposition between the two.15 Both types of regimes are nondemocratic, but they differ
sharply in the degree to which power regulates and controls all of society. We have here the
same distinction between totalitarian and political power, but now largely limited to
nondemocratic regimes.
Of the remaining two patterns listed in Table 3, Factor 3 defines absolute monarchies and Factor
4 reflects the power of a society's traditional elite (clan or church leaders, historic economic elite,
chiefs and tribal leaders, aristocrats, etc.).

With these indicators defined, what are we to expect of the relationship between democide and the five
political patterns? Foremost, as noted, TotalPower should have the highest positive relationship to the
domestic democide pattern, which also includes, secondarily total democide. The more TotalPower, the
more democide. Second, TotalPower should also have a positive but moderate relationship to the annual
democide rate and genocide patterns. Genocide is a more specific democidal behavior and thus more
effected by idiosyncratic causes and conditions, while the annual democide rate is partially dependent on
a regime's population and duration, neither being characteristics much influenced by totalitarianism. For
domestic democide, the annual rate, and genocide, the political power of a regime should be second in
relationship. It reflects an important aspect of power, but not the absolute totalitarian power that is most

To test these expectations, we might simply consider the product moment correlations between
the democide and political indicators. In fact by far the highest correlation between the political
and democide measures is .55 for TotalPower and domestic democide. But because this
correlation and the others are influenced by the interrelations among all the indicators, they can
be only suggestive. The best way of untangling (partialling out) the interrelationships among the
correlations and defining the independent lines of causation is through component analysis.

Table 4 shows the unrotated and orthogonal (statistically independent) components (factors).16
Each reflects an independent causal pattern or nexus, where the largest and most pervasive one is
that of the first unrotated component. But the unrotated component often obscures lesser patterns
that might be more theoretically important. For this reason the components should be rotated to
see if these other patterns are present in the data and to best define the tightest interrelationships
among them. Note also that whether they are rotated or unrotated, each of these rotated factors
will delineate a causal nexus such that the influences involved in the other factor patterns are
partialled out.

It is therefore important that we find that the most general causal pattern, the first unrotated
factor, most centrally involves domestic democide, and secondarily the annual rate and
genocide. And the only political indicator included is for TotalPower. On rotation, this causal
nexus is more clearly defined, with political power now playing a secondary role. [stuff

Aside from this cluster and looking again at Table 4, we find that foreign democide, including
bombing, forms a pattern by itself, as also does the three authoritarian type indicators.
The causal weight of TotalPower in accounting for domestic democide can be visually displayed
by disaggregating it into the democratic and totalitarian scales of which it is composed, and
graphing domestic democide against both of them. The resulting three-dimensional surface is
drawn in Figure 1.17

There are several things to note about this surface. At the democratic corner it shows virtually no
domestic democide for both scales. Then as we move away from the democratic corner toward
either opposing end, democide increases.18 Moreover, the mid-surface--the joint effect of the
democracy and totalitarian scales, or TotalPower-- is almost uniformly slanted upward until it
approaches the diagonal corner from democracy and then curves upward even more. This means
that TotalPower squared rather than TotalPower alone should be more predictive of domestic
democide in regression analysis, which in fact is the case as we will see.

There another way to test and better understand the hypothetical relationship between democide
and TotalPower, which is shown in Figure 2. For this the 18 point TotPower indicator of was
divided into five groups, such that the low and high groups comprised the lowest and highest
scale values, the mid-group the five mid-scale values, and the rest distributed between the low-
mid and high-mid groups. The resulting plot of group means is almost perfect. It curves upward
continuously to absolute totalitarian power.

Consider now the changes in the context of a regime that give it an excuse for democide, appear to
necessitate democide, or challenge power such that democide seems the best defense. Such is the
breakout of international war or military action, domestic or foreign rebellion, revolution, anti-regime
guerrilla warfare and terrorism, or a coup-d'état.

Such warfare is theoretically related to democide in several ways. First, democide can become
part of the strategy for achieving victory. Bombing and shelling cities indiscriminately, for
example, is believed to terrorize the enemy people into pressing for an end to war and to
demoralize the base of the enemy regime's power.

But separately from all this, involvement in an intense and passionately fought war enables a
regime to further implement its ideological, racial, nationalist, or theological imperatives through
outright domestic democide or its intensification. For example, once fully engaged in a war the
Nazis could further their central program of making Germany Jew-free by instituting the "final
solution," and extending it to all occupied nations in Europe.

Blending with this rationale for democide is the excuse that war and rebellion give to initiate
large scale democide. Minorities or opposing political movements or parties may have been
perceived by the power elite as a long-standing threat to the regime. In the fog of war or
rebellion democide may become practical, or war may eliminate the foreign protection for such
groups or fear of a foreign reaction were democide unleashed. Thus, once Turkey was allied with
Germany in World War I, which effectively removed the protection that the Christian Powers
gave the Armenian minority in Turkey, the Young Turk rulers could undertake their program to
completely Turkify Turkey through genocide.

We therefore should find a close relationship over and above that of TotalPower with war and
rebellion. Do we? For each of the 141 regimes committing democide I determined from a variety
of sources the number of their war and rebellion dead, excluding their democide dead during
these wars.19 I have added to these statistics similar data20 on battle-dead for those regimes
without democide that comprised my 214 state-regime sample. Because of the very large number
of killed in war or rebellion for a few of the regimes these data were log10 transformed.

Before continuing I should clarify what the correlations between war-dead, rebellion-dead, and
democide will mean empirically. These correlations are for the democide and war-dead or
rebellion-dead at any time in the life of a regime. Thus a war or rebellion may occur during a
regime's early period and the democide in the final period. For example, the duration of the
Soviet regime is from 1917 to past the final data collection year of 1987. There was a deadly
civil war from 1918 to 1922 and the 1941-1945 participation in World War II. But unrelated to
both of these was the millions that were killed in the collectivization campaign of the 1930s, the
intentional Ukrainian famine, and the Great Terror. These deaths are a large part of the final
1917-87 democide toll for the Soviet Union and thus contribute to the correlations with the
overall 1917-87 war and rebellion-dead for the regime.

The correlation between war or rebellion-dead and democide thus define a regime's disposition
to commit various kinds of democide--disposition measured by the occurrence of democide
during the life of the regime--and its characteristic involvement in war or rebellion. Disposition
to democide and characteristic war or rebellion can be treated as traits. That is, they may not be
manifest at any particular time nor together, but nonetheless describe behavior during the life of
a regime.

Now, are the democide patterns we have already identified related to characteristic warfare? A
component analysis (not shown) gives an immediate answer--yes.21 War-dead is correlated .86
with a foreign democide and bombing pattern and rebellion-dead is correlated .93 with an
independent pattern of domestic democide. But war and rebellion causes the domestic democide
pattern to break up into two, one being the magnitude of domestic democide related to rebellion-
dead and the other an independent pattern of genocide and the domestic democide annual rate.
The reason for this separation into two patterns is the very high correlation of characteristic
rebellion with the magnitude of democide and virtually no correlation with genocide and the
annual rate. That is, the amount of overall democide is highly related to the number of people
characteristically killed in rebellions, but in general this in turn has little to do with a regime's
disposition to commit genocide or its annual rate of domestic democide.

Nor is the characteristic intensity of war related to genocide either. Apparently regimes generally
plan and implement their genocidal policies independent of the characteristic occurrence and
intensity of their wars. This finding requires careful digestion. It does not mean that all genocides
are independent of a regime's tendency to be involved in other forms of violence. This is patently
false, as the Nazi and Young Turk cases, among others, would attest. But it is to say that
considerable genocide is carried out even by regimes that have had or will have relatively few or
no war-dead, as the current genocide of perhaps 500,000 people in Rwanda within a month

The question now is whether a regime's characteristic war and rebellion affect the relationship
between its TotalPower, our measure of the democracy-totalitarian scale, and democide. A
component analysis (not shown) says no. There is virtually the same structure of relationship
between democide and the political measures. But in addition we find that domestic democide
splits into two uncorrelated patterns, one involving TotPower and the other characteristic

It may well be that the relationships between TotalPower, war-dead, rebellion-dead and domestic and
foreign democide may be due to or moderated by a regime's socio-economic, cultural, and physical
environment. To test this I followed four steps. First I collected data on eight measures of a nation's social
diversity (religious, racial, ethnic, linguistic, etc.), fourteen measures of a nation's culture (Catholic
society, Moslem society, English influence, cultural/geographic region, etc.), and twenty-one measures of
a nation's socio-economic (GNP/capita, energy consumption per capita, educational level, etc.),
demographic (population, density, etc.), and geographic (size, percent arable land, etc.) basis. Second, I
did separate component analyses (not shown) on the democide types and each of these three kinds of
measures. The only meaningful relationship found was between an indicator of national power (measured
by a regime's population) and foreign democide. This makes sense, since powerful nations have the
capability and greater opportunity to make war, and as we have seen, war is itself related to foreign
democide. Third, I redid these component analyses now including the political indicators, with the result
that the fundamental relationship between TotalPower and domestic democide remained unaffected. And
fourth, a full scale component analysis (not shown) was done with all the democide types, political
indicators, war and rebellion-dead, and the indicators of the diversity, culture, socio-economic, and
geographic environment of regime behavior. The result was that the correlation between TotalPower,
war-dead, rebellion-dead, and the domestic democide and foreign democide patterns remained largely
the same.

The result so far is that for state regimes in general there is virtually no relationship of democide to cross-
national diversity, culture, religion, regional variation, economics, education, health, transportation,
demography, and geography. Overall eighty-three measures22 were analyzed, twenty-four independent
patterns delineated, their best indicators selected, and all these indicators used to define the relationships
between the democide committed by regimes and their attributes and context. As a result we can say that
the dominant pattern of democide, that centrally involving domestic democide, is exclusively related to
patterns of power and the likelihood of rebellion against a regime. This so far has been a positive test of
the hypothesis that democracy is inversely related to democide.

The aim now is to more specifically test this employing interactive multiple regression analysis
and using the above defined indicators as controls.

Table 5 presents the results of a regression analysis of the distinct patterns of democide
previously identified, excluding bombing, and also including overall democide. In addition,
because the effect of TotalPower appeared nonlinear, as shown in Figure 1, and the same was
possible true for war-dead and rebellion-dead, these were also squared in the regression.
Moreover, since foreign democide may well be impacted by the interaction between national
power and war-dead, I also included national power times war-dead.23

I did a forward interactive regression, which began with the twenty-four independent variables
listed in the table, their partial correlations, F-ratio, and significance level for each of them, with
none entered into the regression. I successively selected those to enter or subsequently to remove
from the regression, calculating the regression results for each entry or subsequent removal, until
I had the best multiple R, regression coefficient t-tests, and intuitive and theoretical substantive
fit, and no significant measures left to enter. The regression results shown in the table are the end
result of this, where the multiple R and independent variable t-tests listed are only for the final
regression. If there are no t-tests given for an independent variable, then it was not included in
the final regression.24

Now looking at the results of the table, overall democide (logged) is best accounted for by the
power and violence indicators and their interaction terms, and secondarily by refugees and the
family basis of the social structure (i.e., social modernization). Six indicators in all account for
almost three-quarters of the variation (R2) in democide across all 214 regimes, a remarkable
result. And among all independent variables, as theoretically expected, the indicator most
significantly accounting for this is TotalPower squared. Again, as for the results described
previously, but now treating all the other variables as controls, it is not only that the greater
TotalPower the more democide, but the greater the TotalPower the more its effect is multiplied.
This effect also holds true for domestic democide alone (the second column of results shown in
the table) and, less so, for genocide and the annual rate. The tightest relationship is between
TotalPower squared and domestic democide, secondarily with total democide, thirdly with the
democide rate, as predicted. Moreover, for each of these TotalPower squared is the best
predictor. All the results so far supported the hypothesis, but these regression results are the most
direct and persuasive.

As also predicted, and consistent with the previous findings, neither TotalPower or TotalPower
squared significantly explain foreign democide. Why this should be so has already been
explained, but to be sure this is understood some elaboration might be helpful. Totalitarian power
and the other measures for regimes have been defined as central government characteristics.
What I have not measured is the islands of near absolute power that can exist at one time or
another even within democratic regimes. This is most notable in time of war, when for
democracies the military are given considerable if not near absolute power within a restricted
domain, and absolute secrecy and even deception of elected representatives by military and
political leaders is practiced. Although the regime would still be characterized as democratic, in
the pursuit of victory in war totalitarian-military power can flourish in defense related areas. It is
thus not inconsistent with my other findings that foreign democide, generally occurring for
democratic and many authoritarian regimes in time of war, should have little relationship
whether a regime is, centrally, democratic or totalitarian.

Note the very close relationship of national power times war-dead to overall democide, almost
the same as that for TotalPower. This is in part due to democide including the foreign
component, to which this interaction term has a significant relationship; it has none to domestic
democide. The higher the national power of a regime measured by its population (and which also
reflects its size and energy consumption per capita) times the greater the characteristic severity of
the wars a regime is likely to be involved in, the greater its foreign democide. The greater
national power and characteristic war-dead, the more the effect is multiplied.

A final and the broadest test possible of the hypothesis was also carried out using canonical
analysis (not shown). The set of dependent variables comprised all the fourteen types of
democide listed in Table 2; the independent set was made up of the twenty-four variables
employed in the above regressions. The result was seven significant pairs of canonical variates,
with the first pair of canonical variates having a canonical correlation of .92. The independent
variables loading this were much the same as those shown for democide in the regression of
Table 5. I also did a discriminate analysis of democide (not shown), with regimes grouped by
democide magnitude. The first canonical correlation also was .92 and again nearly the same
independent variables were responsible for this excellent predictability. In all cases, TotalPower
was a central predictor (along with the war, rebellion, and national power variables), again
supporting the hypothesis.

All tests of the hypothesis were positive. Empirically, at least for our century, democracy is inversely
related to democide.

Among a variety of social diversity (e.g., race, ethnicity, religion, language), socio-economic,
cultural, geographic, and other indicators, the best way of accounting for and predicting
democide is by the degree to which a regime is totalitarian along a democratic-totalitarian scale.
That is, the extent to which a regime controls absolutely all social, economic, and cultural groups
and institutions, the degree to which its elite can rule arbitrarily, largely accounts for the
magnitude and intensity of genocide and mass murder. The best assurance against democide is
democratic openness, political competition, leaders responsible to their people, and limited
government. In other words, Power kills, absolute Power kills absolutely.

That Power kills is the primary and for domestic democide singular general explanation of
democide. This is true even when we consider how regimes differ in their underlying ethnic,
religious, and racial diversity. It is also true in general when we consider whether they are
Christian, Moslem, European, or their cultural region. It is true when taking into account
different levels of education or economic development. It is true for differences in sheer size.
And it is true even for the trend of overall democide through time (not shown).

However, the tendency of regimes to fight severe domestic rebellions or foreign wars also
predicts to democide. But for both Power is a causal agent. The more totalitarian a regime's
power, the more total their wars or rebellions are likely to be, and the more totalitarian power
and bloody their wars and rebellions, the more it probably will commit democide.

As mentioned in the beginning, we now have solid empirical evidence that democracies don't (or
rarely) war on each other, the more democratic two regimes the less violence between them, and
the more democratic the less domestic collective violence. Now we find also that as a regime is
less democratic its democide increases exponentially.

Tying all these results together, then, the final conclusion is that democracy is a general method
of nonviolence.

* From the pre-publisher edited R.J. Rummel, "Democracy, power, genocide, and mass murder," The
Journal of Conflict Resolution 39 (March 1995): 3-26.

1. See Rummel (1994, Chapter 1).

2. For a precise definition and elaboration of this concept, see Rummel (1994, Chapter 2).

3. The theory is conceptually developed in Rummel (1995a)

4. This is in effect the same theoretical explanation that others have given for democracies not
making way on each other. See in particular Russett (1993), Ray (1995), and Weart (1995). I see
democracy as a general method of nonviolence with the same explanation applying across the
board for why it should eliminate or minimize violence, including democide.

5. See Russett (1993) and Rummel (1985, 1995a) for supporting evidence and studies on this and
the previous proposition.

6. These data are based on almost 8,200 estimates of war, domestic violence, genocide, mass
murder, and other relevant data, that I recorded from over a thousand sources, which include
general works, specialized studies, human rights reports, journal articles, and news sources. For
the tables of estimates on the Soviet Union, China, and Nazi Germany, see Rummel (1990, 1991,
1992). For all other estimates, see Rummel (1995b). For totals and a statistical overview of the
data, see Rummel (1994, Chapter 1).

7. I also consulted the lists of regimes in Calvert (1970) and Russett (1993).
8. I did both varimax orthogonal and oblique rotation of the components was done. Some of the
democide types are arithmetically related. Thus, total democide is the sum of domestic and
foreign democide and camp dead is related to foreign labor dead. This is not a problem as long as
it is recognized and taken into account in the interpretation of the results (a composite variable
and its two parts can only be two dimensional at most).

Also, except for the variance for which they account, there would be no change in the patterns
were the democide of all regimes 1900-1987 component analyzed.

9. The full results of this analysis are given in Rummel (1995b).

10. Some deny that factor analysis can be used in causal analysis. But consider. If two
uncorrelated empirical patterns are found by factor analysis, they both cannot be the result of the
same causes. There must be two different sets of causes at work. This is all that is being said
here: that factor analysis uncovers different causal foci, not that it identifies what these causes
are or proves causation. Similarly, correlation does not prove causation, but if two variables are
perfectly uncorrelated (even after third variables are partialled out), then one cannot be the cause
of the other. Lack of correlation does disprove causation.

11. This lack of correlation holds even through oblique rotation.

12. There are a variety of published scales of democracy that could not be used in here in toto,
since a first requirement of any data set was that it be available for or applicable to all state
regimes from 1900 to 1987, a requirement met by only a few data sets. For some political
measures, however, these scales were useful for data for particular regimes that fell within their
time span.

13. I determined the number of components to rotate by the substantive meaning of the factor
and the eigenvalue-one criterion. The fifth unrotated component was slightly below this criterion
at .92. Oblique rotation does not produce substantively different patterns than those shown.

14. Since each scale is 0-9 and with totalitarianism and democracy at the high end of each and
their correlation is negative, then TotalPower = (TotalScale) + (9 - DemocrScale).

15. This is consistent with previous component analysis results for all nations, 1955-1963. See
Rummel (1979).

16. I rotated various numbers of factors and the three factor solution gives the cleanest and most
theoretically satisfying solution.

17. The inverse squared distance technique used to draw the surface shown in the figure is not
based on regression, but interpolates domestic democide logged (the Z height of the surface at a
XY point) as the weighted average of the totalitarian and democratic (X and Y) scales. The
squared Euclidean distances across the totalitarian and democratic scales comprise the weights.
18. Based on the joint data points, the surface shown in the figure has been extrapolated to the
full range of the two political scales. Thus, even though there were no regimes that were scaled
both democratic and totalitarian (scale values of 0 and 1 for the democratic scale and 8 and 9 for
the totalitarian--not theoretically impossible), the surface was extrapolated to the region in the
right-hand corner. Moreover, although there is a strong negative correlation between democracy
and totalitarianism, this correlation is not perfect (some democracies are more statist than
others). That the democratic and totalitarian scales in the figure are shown at right angles does
not imply lack of correlation, therefore, anymore than would a standard two-dimensional scatter
plot of these two scales, where the scales are shown at right angles.

19. Data are given in Table 16A.1 of (Rummel, 1995b)

20. From Small and Singer (1982).

21. The specific results for this and the other analyses described below are given in Rummel

22. This includes nine measures of war and rebellion, where only the best indicators of the
resulting two patterns have been presented here.

23. In cross-national component analyses, one of the well-defined dimensions is that of national
power. It is indexed by energy consumption and population. See, for example, Rummel (1972)
and the studies referenced therein.

24. This is important to understand, for were all twenty-four included in the final regression, with
only the significant independent variables shown, the multiple R would capitalize on the small
but non-zero covariance between the dependent variables and the many non-significant
independent variables, thus making R misleadingly high. But also, this would distort the t-tests
for those independent variables that have high correlations, such as including both TotalPower
and TotalPower squared.

Adelman, Irma and Cynthia Taft Morris (1973) ECONOMIC GROWTH AND SOCIAL EQUITY IN
DEVELOPING COUNTRIES. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press.


COUNTRIES. Boulder, Colorado: Lynne Rienner Publishers.

Banks, Arthur S. (1971) CROSS-POLITY TIME SERIES DATA. Cambridge: The MIT Press.

Bollen, Kenneth A. (1980) "Issues in the comparative measurement of political democracy."

Calvert, Peter (1970) A STUDY OF REVOLUTION. Oxford, Great Britain: Clarendon Press.

COMMUNITY OF STATES. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Washington.

Coppedge, Michael and Wolfgang H. Reinicke (1990) "Measuring polyarchy." STUDIES IN


Coulter, Phillip (1975) "Framework for analysis: theory and research design," in Phillip Coulter,

Cutright, Phillips and James A. Wiley (1969) "Modernization and political representation: 1927-

Dahl, Robert A. (1971) POLYARCHY. New Haven, Yale University Press.

1800-1986. Ann Arbor, Michigan: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research
[Polity II data code book].

Lake, David A. (1992) "Powerful pacifists: democratic states and war." AMERICAN


University of South Carolina Press.

Rummel, R.J. (1972) DIMENSIONS OF NATIONS. Beverly Hills: Sage Publications.

___________ (1979) NATIONAL ATTRIBUTES AND BEHAVIOR. Beverly Hills: Sage


___________ (1984) "Libertarianism, Violence Within States, and the Polarity Principle."
COMPARATIVE POLITICS 16 (July): 443-462.

___________ (1985) "Libertarian Propositions on Violence Within and Between Nations: A Test
Against Published Research Results" THE JOURNAL OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION, 29
(September): 419-55.

Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers.


SINCE 1900. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers.
Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers.


SINCE 1900. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.

___________ (1995a [published in 1997a) POWER KILLS: DEMOCRACY AS A METHOD

OF NONVIOLENCE, New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers.

___________ (1995b [published in 1997b) STATISTICS OF DEMOCIDE. New Brunswick,

New Jersey: Transaction Publishers.

COLD WAR WORLD. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.


Volumes 1-5. New York: Harper & Row.

Small, Melvin and J. David Singer (1982) RESORT TO ARMS: INTERNATIONAL AND
CIVIL WARS 1816-1980. Beverly Hills, California: Sage Publications.

Smith, Arthur K. Jr. (1969) "Socio-economic development and political democracy: a causal
analysis." MIDWEST JOURNAL OF POLITICAL SCIENCE 13 (February): 95-125.


STUDY OF 147 STATES, 1980-88. New York: Crane Russak, 1990.

Weart, Spencer (1995 [published in 1998]) NEVER AT WAR: WHY DEMOCRACIES WILL
NOT FIGHT ONE ANOTHER. New Haven: Yale University Press.


Communist Body Count

Scott Manning
December 4, 2006

The following estimates represent citizens killed or starved to death by their own Communist
governments since 1918. These numbers do not include war dead. The governments are sorted
by body count (highest to lowest).
All numbers are mid-estimates.

While this list is as complete as I have been able to determine, it is evolving. Some numbers are
incomplete and there are still five Communist countries that have the potential to kill more of
their citizens. Over the next year, each government will be profiled in detail on this website.

A detailed bibliography is listed at the end of this page. Feedback is more than welcome.

Communist Body Count: 149,469,610

Rank Country
People's Republic of China
Body Count: 73,237,000
1949-Present (57+ years and counting)

R.J. Rummel originally estimated China's body count between

between the years of 1949-1987 to be 35,236,000 (Rummel
1 1994). This excluded 38,000,000 million that died of famine
during the Great Leap Forward. After the release of Mao: The
Unknown Story, Rummel became convinced that the Chinese
government was directly responsible for the famine, thus
increasing his original estimate by 38,000,000 (Rummel 2005).
1,000 was added for Tienanmen Square in 1989 (Courtois
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
Body Count: 58,627,000 1922-1991 (69 years)
The body count only covers the years 1923-1987 (Rummel

Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic

3 Body Count: 3,284,0001918-1922 (4 years)
This body count does not include the 6,210,000 killed in the
civil war (Rummel 1996).

Democratic People's Republic of Korea

Body Count: 3,163,000 1948-Present (58+ years and counting)
4 1,663,000 is attributed between 1948-1987 excluding the
Korean War (Rummel 1994). 2,500,000 is the mid-estimate for
those who starved to death between 1995-1998 (U.S.
Committee for Human Rights in North Korea 2006).
Body Count: 2,627,000
5 1975-1987 (12 years)
The body count estimate is complete (Rummel 1994). The
official country name was Democratic Kampuchea during Pol
Pot's reign and then known as People's Republic of Kampuchea
Democratic Republic of Afghanistan
Body Count: 1,750,000
6 1978-1992 (14 years)

The body count estimate is complete (Courtois 1999).

Body Count: 1,670,000
1975-Present (30+ years and counting)
The body count covers the years 1945-1987 for Vietnam/North
Vietnam and excludes 1,062,000 from the Vietnam War
(Rummel 1994).
People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Body Count: 1,343,610
1974-1991 (17 years)

The body count includes 10,000 political assassinations during

8 1977-1978, 1,000 children killed in 1977, 110 massacred in an
Orthodox church in 1975, 80,000 during the civil war between
1978-1980, 250,000 that died in 1982 through Transit Camps,
and 2,500 killed in a bombing raid (Courtois 1999). Another
1,000,000 is added for the famine during 1984-1985 (BBC
News 2000).
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
Body Count: 1,072,000
1945-1992 (47 years)
The body count only covers the years 1945-1992 excluding
100,000 from the Tito Partisans between 1941-1944 (Rummel
Chinese Soviet Republic
Body Count: 700,000
1931-1934 (3 years)
The body count only includes the Jiangxi and Fujian provinces
(Chang 2005). Although Mozambique has 700,000 to its name,
the Chinese Soviet Republic produced more bodies in a shorter
time period and the estimate is low.
People's Republic of Mozambique
Body Count: 700,000
11 1975-1990 (15 years)
100,000 civilians murdered between 1986 and mid-1988
(Young 1991) and 600,000 starved to death between 1975-1985
(Courtois 1999).
Socialist Republic of Romania
Body Count: 435,000
1947-1989 (42 years)
The body count only covers the years 1947-1987 (Rummel
People's Republic of Bulgaria
Body Count: 222,000
1946-1990 (44 years)
The body count only covers the years 1948-1987 (Rummel
People's Republic of Angola
Body Count: 125,000
1975-1992 (17 years)
The body count only covers the years 1975-1987 (Rummel
Mongolian People's Republic
Body Count: 100,000
1924-1992 (68 years)
The body count only covers the years 1924-1987 (Rummel
People's Socialist Republic of Albania
Body Count: 100,000
1946-1991 (45 years)
The body count only covers the years 1944-1987 (Rummel
Republic of Cuba
Body Count: 73,000
1961-Present (45+ years and counting)
The body count only covers the years 1959-1987 (Rummel
German Democratic Republic
Body Count: 70,000
1949-1990 (41 years)
The body count only covers the years 1948-1987 (Rummel
Socialist Republic of Czechoslovakia
Body Count: 65,000
1948-1990 (42 years)
The body count only covers the years 1948-1968 (Rummel
Lao People's Democratic Republic
Body Count: 56,000
1975-Present (31+ years and counting)
The body count only covers the years 1975-1987 excluding
47,000 war dead (Rummel 1997).
Hungarian People's Republic
Body Count: 27,000
1949-1989 (40 years)
The body count only covers the years 1948-1987 (Rummel
People's Republic of Poland
Body Count: 22,000
1948-1989 (41 years)
The body count only covers the years 1948-1987 (Rummel
1997). Excludes 1,585,000 from ethnic cleansing between
1945-1950 (Rummel 1994).
People's Democratic Republic of Yemen
Body Count: 1,000
1969-1990 (21 years)
The body count only covers the years 1969-1987 (Rummel


BBC News (2000, April 6). Flashback 1984: portrait of a famine. Retrieved May 7, 2006, from

Chang, Jung, & Halliday, Jon (2005). Mao: the unknown story (1st American ed.). New York:
Alfred A Knopf.

Courtois, S., Werth, N., Panne, J., Paczkowski, A., Bartosek, K., & Margolin, J. (1999). The
black book of Communism: crimes, terror, repression. United States: Harvard University Press.

Rummel, R. J. (1994). Death by government. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.

Rummel, R. J. (1996). Lethal politics: Soviet genocide and mass murder since 1917 (1st
paperback ed.). New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.

Rummel, R. J. (2005, November 20). Reevaluating China's democide to be 73,000,000.

Retrieved April 5, 2006, from http://freedomspeace.blogspot.com/2005/11/reevaluating-chinas-

Rummel, R. J. (1997). Statistics of democide: genocide and mass murder since 1900.
Charlottesville, Virginia: Transaction Publishers.

U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (2006). Failure to protect: a call for the UN
Security Council to act in North Korea. United States: DLA Piper.

Young, Lance S. (1991). Mozambique's sixteen-year bloody civil war. Retrieved November 1,
2006, from http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/report/1991/YLS.htm


The Socialist Myth:

Disproving neo-socialist/communist movements as fraud with common sense logic and in depth
economic analysis.

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely" - Lord Acton

What is Socialism?
What is Communism?
The Differences Between the Two: The Six Shared Truths

Problems with Communism:

Communism in Practice
Communism's Flawed Theory
Marx Misjudged the Middle Class!
Free Will Cannot be Suppressed
The Bad Always End Up on Top
Communism's Massacres
Failed or is Failing...

The Modern Socialist and Communist Movement: 4 sub movements of fraud

Poser Commies - the anti-social fraud
Ideologue Communist Movement
Demagogue Movement
The Old Guard Movement


Communism in Practice: Disaster after Disaster

What is Socialism? Many will tell you that socialism is a moderate form of Communism.
Others claim them to be two distinctly different and opposite theories, communism being a cruel
and harsh failure and socialism being an enlightened and successful theory. Both of these notions
are false though. A recent popular distinction defines one as government controlling the means
of production and the other as "the people" controlling the means of production. This too is false
considering that the pursuit of either such definition is prone to developing government
management of human activity. Though theory may claim distinctions between the two, in
practice they become one in the same. The idea of the sharing of incomes and government
management of resources exists with little distinction from communism and its euphemistic
partner socialism. In practice though the same problems plague both as freedom becomes
necessarily usurped and trampled on due to abuse of power, economic impossibility, and
unforeseen and unintended variables among other things. Because of socialism's inherent
failures, it tends to resort to extreme measures. Communism is essentially Marx's name for
socialist like systems. The only reason communism is equated with more extreme is mostly due
to its acquaintance to the Soviet Union.

What is Communism? Again to many this definition is often a matter of great confusion. Some
think it means socialism with force, others think it is socialism gone bad. A better definition is a
utopian plan to enforce complete economic equality and achieve this by means of forced income
redistribution and economic management. In short it is the same idea of socialism operating most
often under a smaller branch of the socialist following known strictly as the communists. The
ideas are practically the same only the name "communists" tend to attract more ideologues due
mostly to a desire among them for alienation from a dissenting opposition, the capitalists, and for
a hope of haste in implementing their utopian schemes. As displayed below, communism is in
essence and in practice the same thing as its euphemized sister socialism.

The Differences Between the Two: The Six Shared Truths: It is hard to fully explain the idea of
communism compared to socialism (due much to the fact that communists and socialists have
never been able to agree upon and solidly establish exactly what distinguishes one from the
other) but a few truths are undeniable:

(1) Both communism and socialism have an end utopian goal of complete equality in their ideal

(2) Both communism and socialism employ the practice of centralized economic managing and
income redistribution as their primary means of working toward this so called "equality."
(3) Both communism and socialism experience the same types of problems in accomplishing this
economic managing - the unintended side effect.

(4) Both socialism and communism are structured in such a way that an inherent inequality
develops from the administrative top of the power structure for such is necessary to enforce
compliance. Such compliance must be mandated in a socialist system due to the fact that human
nature creates skepticism, opposition to the control of others, and a desire for free will.

(5) In both systems when this unequal elite inevitably emerges, the concentration of widespread
power in a single space must intensify. This naturally attracts individuals seeking widespread
power, or it corrupts individuals already in power with the lure of the same widespread power.

(6) As a result of the government structures found in both systems, the intensification of power
and control on the upper level necessarily translates into the usurpation of remaining personal
freedoms during its expansion.

Communism's failures in practice: Communism's main failure in practice comes from the
failure of a centralized economy to function. Though socialists often attribute it to problems
elsewhere, the simple reason behind this occurrence is the mathematic and physical impossibility
of managing an economy from a centralized form. One of communism's main ideals is complete
control over industries. In order to efficiently plan industries, communism must simultaneously
account for all industries (there are billions of different industries) and their relationship with
each other at the same time. Within each specific industry certain goods are internally consumed
to produce more of a certain product. An example of this occurrence, which is true in any
economic system, is the market for oil. For instance, to drill more oil requires the use of gasoline
for transportation, generators, machinery operation, refinery operation, and a dozen other things.
Therefore to get more gasoline and drill more oil wells, some existing gasoline must be used up
in the process, or internally consumed. This occurrence exists in every industry to varying
extents resulting in a massive structure of interlining and constantly changing relationships
between all industries. Further, if production in one industry changes, this change effects all
other industries in one way or another due to inter linking relationships and internal
consumption. On top of these complex internal relations exists a tendency of change relating to
substitute and complementary goods effecting related markets and further entangling the
complex relationship between industries of a large economy.

This great complexity provides the root of the problem that inherently dooms communism and
socialism from the start. To efficiently manage a centralized economy, all variables of that
economy must be accounted for mathematically. This means that internal consumption must be
fully compensated for and tightly controlled at optimal level by the government. In that case a
centralized government would have to develop methods to accurately calculate the internal
consumption rate of all other goods by any one particular industry. The only non free market
way to do this is through the form of Leontief input-output equationing where detraction rate
relations for one particular industry to all other goods are calculated. Taken that an economy can
often have several hundred thousand distinct industries, businesses, and goods, a great deal of
information must be accumulated to form an equation for one single industry. This would then
have to be repeated for every other industry in the economy. Your result: a million distinct
equations with a million distinct internal consumption relationship figures within each of these
equations (in other words a million large polynomial equations each with a million variables to
be solved for i.e.. 0.3x+2y+0.6z+.....=X, large X being the optimal level of production for that
particular industry X as desired by the centralized government). Therefore at any given time the
centralized economy could require 1 million squared pieces of information, or 1,000,000,000,000
distinct relationships between specified goods in an economy.
The greater problem arises as things are complicated more. Not only must these trillion
figures of information be researches and related, but this must be done simultaneously. In other
words, the established input-output equations for each industry must be solved in a simultaneous
multiplication of matrices incorporating the equations of each and every distinct industry at once
(remember solving 3 equations together with 3 variables, x y z, in high school algebra? Imagine
that only with 1 million equations and 1 million variables). On top of that, this process must be
repeated constantly as relationships change due to external conditions (i.e.. a bad crop or striking
a new oil well). Since all markets are tied together in varying degrees of relationships, a change
in the corn market due to a bad crop necessarily changes each and every other market on varying
degrees. Therefore when one market changes in even the slightest form, the entire process of
equationing must be repeated and adjusted.
Taken that such massively complex mathematical relationships are far beyond the capabilities
of even the strongest and most modern super computers, it is practically impossible to manage an
economy through a centralized government and succeed in doing so (for as has always and will
always happen, a non accounted for variable destroys any attempt to manage an economy).
Fortunately there is a system where all factors are accounted for by natural forces and are
adjusted for by the forces of self interest working in check to each other requiring no
mathematical relationships to be established. The capitalist free market automatically does what
socialist managing attempts and fails at doing mathematically. Natural forces of self interest
drive a natural and efficient use of resources and natural compensatory adjustment when a
change in one industry spreads through all others. The Soviet Union and other socialist countries
failed due to the physical impossibility of managing the complex relationships of industry and
resources yet capitalism has survived and thrived by naturally carrying out these tasks for they
form the very root of the capitalist system. 1.

Communism's Theoretical Failures: Communism strives for the complete equality of all
incomes, and therefore, everything. As income approaches complete equality, productivity
disappears. For example: people work so they can make money to support themselves. They
work driven by the incentive of making more money and succeeding. In capitalist systems, he
who chooses not to work suffers the consequences while he who works receives the incentives,
money, which he is working for. Human nature includes a desire to "do better" and, therefore,
make more money or advance in a job. In an attempt to make more money, people are driven
naturally work harder and longer, seek further education for themselves, and develop skills
which distinguish them as rare talents among that labor which is available as supply. Under true
communism, income is completely equal. When there is nothing to achieve by working harder
or longer, people begin to become idle. People begin to work less or not work at all because
there is no longer the incentive of making more money or advancing in job. When there are no
workers, production drops to nothing. It will then be true that all incomes are equal but this
equal income will be zero.

Marx misjudged the middle class!

Communism's original and most basic principles deal with the rich owners and the workers or
proletariats. Unfortunately for Marx's cause, a third order was coming to power and it would
prove to be the larger and more powerful than either the proletariat or the capitalist aristocracy.
This third middle grounds was completely misjudged by Marx and incorrectly lumped in with
the bourgeois rich. Marx's entire theory was based on class struggle and a difference in these
classes forcing a revolution to be followed by an "equality" of all classes (the irony: Marx and
Engels were factory owners when they published the Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital!).
The petit-bourgeois, Marx's term for the middle class, was only to further divide the upper and
working classes by an irreconcilable rift. In reality, the opposite happened and the middle class
actually bridged any "rift," that is to say if there was one in the first place! The arrival of the
middle class practically ruins any chance for this revolution as well as any need for it. Further it
presents a variable unaccounted for simply because it fits incorrectly into the communist and
socialist theory. Strange that people put faith in a theory that completely misjudges the majority
of the population! 2.

Free will cannot be suppressed: Communism attempts the impossible: to control human
individualism by making a society of inherently individual people uniform. Thought is free and
independent and, no matter how hard anyone tries, can never be fully controlled. Communism
and socialism depend upon ideological compliance with their theories, yet human nature prompts
inevitable dissention from such theories. As a result, communism and socialism may achieve full
compliance only through coercion, which in turn translates into communism and socialism's
great failure. This failure led to the disastrous massacres of communism which were often
attempts to combat opinions different from the communist governments. Try as it may, socialism
and communism has never been able to destroy dissenting free thought and form a universal
thought: one accepting of the communist/socialist theory necessary for such a theory to be
implemented and succeed. It is simply human nature to ask questions and to look for the new and
the alternative!

The Bad Always End Up on Top: Due to the fact that free will exists even under the strictest
attempts to oppress it simply due to human nature, compliance with socialism and communism
becomes a major problem in a communist or socialist state. In order to combat this free will,
noncompliance, disagreement, and dissension it often becomes necessary for an inherently
unequal elite to assume authority and power in a communist state in effort to combat this
problem. A concentration of widespread power arises at the top among those elite as a natural
result of there existing a superior few. Just as Lord Acton noticed "absolute power corrupts
absolutely," large amounts of power intensified in a small area tend to attract those hungry for
power while corrupting those in power. 3
Examples of "the bad" on top in control economies:
Josef Stalin, Soviet Union
Pol Pot, Kmehr Rouge
Adolph Hitler, Germany under the National Socialist German Workers Party (nazi in short)
Leonid Brezhnev, Soviet Union
Fidel Castro, Cuba
Mao Zedong, China
Kim Il Sung, North Korea
Tito, Yugoslavia
Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Huey P. Long, communist leaning governor of Louisiana in the 30's famous for 'removing'

Communism's Death Toll: Communists and socialists will often tell you that capitalism "kills"
the poor. Statistically, though, it is communism that is the cause of the greatest massacre in the
history of the world. This results from starvation due to failed central economies, political
killings of those defiant of the system, and killings due to the abuse of power and tyranny
inherent and encouraged by an unchecked system. Approximately 100 MILLION deaths by
direct murder worldwide can be traced to communism.
Communism's massacres:

- Soviet Union: between 20 and 50 million were put to death at the hands of this evil empire.
(some estimates exceed upward of 50 million. As people were sent to camps, the Soviets often
deleted all records of that persons existence making exact totals hard to find) Intentional
starvings and man made famines were a major killer in the USSR. Worse were the gulag
concentration camps (the Soviet equal to Hitler's concentration camps). At one point in 1940
Stalin held over 10 million people in the gulag camps. Enemies of the government were enslaved
here then worked and tortured to death. Others were lined up in forests, shot, and buried in
unmarked graves. In one Polish site from Stalin's occupation of Poland after treaty with Hitler in
1940, almost 5 thousand captured Polish POW's were lined up and shot at one time. Other cases
involved 10 to 15 thousand being lined up and shot. The majority of these killings took place
under Stalin's regime, often referred to as a "reign of terror." Stalin is estimated to have put 20%
of Russia's population to death.
- Cambodia: Under the Kmehr Rouge and regime of Pol Pot in the 1970's, one of the most
extreme forms of communism ever was attempted. 2 million were massacred in killing fields in
attempts to move toward this "equal form of communism." The reason behind these massacres
came from an attempt to build an "equal" society though the only equality which resulted was
death. Those who had distinguishing differences from the government's planned economy of
farmers were murdered. Scientists, doctors, laborers, and teachers with non-agricultural
professions were targeted and murdered because they differed from the agricultural profession
and created inequalities in jobs. Pol Pot murdered an estimated one fourth of the population of
- China: Mao Tse-Tung's "Great Step Forward" is widely known as the greatest disaster in
attempt of a centralized economy. Countless millions were murdered and starved to death in
China during this period. China also established a series of gulag concentration camps under
Mao, complete with slave labor employing over 10 million people on numerous occasions. In
fact, China still employs widespread forced labor today. Estimates on China suggest the total to
be about 40 million dead.
- Vietnam: Though the totals on Vietnam are unknown due to poor record keeping and the fact
that Vietnam remains communist today, several hundred thousands were murdered in Stalinist
fashion of execution and slave labor camps.
- Others: other death tolls caused by communism by failed schemes in communist China and
other communist countries add to the count as do the political prisoners of communism: many
who only dared to think freely and differently from the government. Tito's Yugoslavia has
estimates of around 1 million deaths to its credit. Mass murders occurred under the
communist/socialist regimes of Fidel Castro in Cuba, Kim Il Sung's North Korea, Sandinista's in
Nicaragua, Laos, and Ethiopia. In many of these places we will never know the extent of death
caused as a DIRECT result of communism and socialism. 4

Suggested Link:
Museum of Communism

Every attempt at Communism has either failed or is failing:

Failed Communist and Socialist Societies: Went down with the Berlin Wall, failed due to
overthrow by other forces, abandoned by inhabitants.
-Brook Farm and other Utopian Communities
-Soviet Union
-Eastern Bloc
-Sandinista's Nicaragua

Failing Communist and Socialist Societies: Forced to abandon their theories for moderation,
pushed to the brink of failure.
-Cuba: all but abandoned socialism due to poverty, has become a dictatorship
-China: seeking capitalist-like reform with an expanded free trade ever since Mao's failures
-North Korea: on the brink of starvation due to disastrous failure

Modern Communists and Socialists: A Movement of Fraud

This list explains some of the psychological motives behind the neo-socialist/communist motives
as well as identifies some major sub movements within the socialist/communist movements as
well as the thinking, and fallacies, behind these movements.

The Poser Commie Movement:

Possibly accounting for over 90% of the people who claim to be socialists or communists, the
poser commie movement is typically followed by those of younger age groups. Most who follow
this movement tend to adopt socialism for the sole purpose of social deviance and protest of
society's values. In other words, they hear that communism conflicts with freedom, morality, and
other mainstream societal values so they claim to be communists to protest exactly such. Poser
commie followers rarely demonstrate any actual knowledge themselves of the communist and
socialist philosophy, though openly claiming to endorse the philosophy. The poser commie
movement is not one of true socialism as it adopts only a title of "socialism" with limited and
extremely shallow substance behind it. This movement's motives tend to be limited to a
mentality that communism and socialism are against what America stands for and what society
teaches one to stand for and therefore must "cool." Based almost entirely on a desire to find a
method to "defy" and "protest" freedom and democracy with a seemingly obvious opposition to
it, poser communism is little more than a following of fraudulent foolishness.

Socialist and Communist Ideologue Movement:

Typically comprised of those who have extensively studied Marx, Lenin, and Trotsky's writings
(and often little more), this movement rarely acknowledges the dismal failures of the communist
and socialist philosophies when instituted in practice. Often claiming "True communism has
never really been instituted" and insisting that if it were, it would work, the ideologue movement
often follows utopian dreams rather than recognizing the flaws of reality. Numerous ideologue
web sites promising a better society while claiming to sympathize with the workers in an effort
to make everything fair and just have sprung up recently with links to this movement. This
ideologue movement is often too deluded to realize flaws exist in the socialist and communist
theory and therefore it speaks of a utopia physically unattainable due to inherent flaws and
simple impossibility. This highly dogmatic ideologue movement often propagandizes
communism and socialism with the writings of Upton Sinclair, John Steinbeck, and Leon
Trotsky while trying to force this type of thought on others.

Demagogue Movement:
This small movement is mostly limited to those who seek to use communism and socialism as a
facade for achieving power. Many of histories great communist dictators such as Stalin and
Castro are perfect examples of demagogues. Quoting communist theories while working their
way to power behind the scenes, demagogues often prove extremely tyrannical when finally on
top. The demagogue movement is in its own right an uninvited and unwanted branch of
communism/socialism that draws to the theory inevitably for communism and socialism often
entail wide, unchecked power consolidated in a very defined few plus a resulting need to
encroach upon freedom and liberty, as is inherently necessary for implementation of communist
and socialist systems.

Old Guard Communist Movement:

The Old Guard Communist Movement is typically a reactionary one comprised of Soviet Union
leftovers. Endorsing a return to old Soviet way, though in reality that way was a disastrous
failure, as a solution to transition problems in the economies of former Soviet states has become
a rallying cry for the Old Guard Movement.
Quotes About Communist Utopias:

"The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of
socialism is the equal sharing of miseries." - Winston Churchill

"A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic." - Joseph Stalin

"What was wrong with communism wasn't aberrant leadership, it was communism" - William F.
Buckley, Jr.

"Renounce your consciousness and you become a brute" - Ayn Rand

Bibliography of Related Works and Theories:

Input-Output Equationing Theory by Wassily Leontief, Nobel Prize in Economics. Applied to command
economies by Baumol and Blinder.
Marx and Engels: The Communist Manifesto, Das Kapital, and other selected essays.
Lord Acton, selected writings. F.A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom.
Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago. Also various records of other similar atrocities in Communist and Socialist

1999-2000. The Capitalist Conservative Republican Homepage. All Rights Reserved.


To The Victims of Communism, Lest We Forget

By Jeff Jacoby
The Boston Globe

Dec. 7, 1995

In 1993, President Clinton signed Public Law 103-199, authorizing a memorial in

Washington to those who died in the ``unprecedented imperial Communist holocaust''
that began in 1917. It is a memorial long overdue. And it is well-suited to
Washington, the capital of the Free World and the headquarters of what President
Kennedy called the ``long twilight struggle'' against the totalitarians of the Left. When
completed, the Victims of Communism Memorial will include a museum
documenting the crimes committed by the disciples of Marx and Lenin; original
artifacts from the bitter night of Communist brutality (a piece of the Berlin Wall, a
cell from the ``Hanoi Hilton''); and a database preserving the names of those wiped
out in history's greatest slaughter.

Or at least as many of those names as can be identified. It is impossible that we shall

ever know them all. Every one of the hundreds of thousands of Cossacks butchered on
Lenin's orders in 1919? Every Miskito Indian killed in Nicaragua under the
Sandinistas? Every Chinese peasant, all 2 million-plus of them, obliterated during
Mao Zedong's ``land reform'' in the early 1950s? Impossible.

For pure murderous evil, there has never been a force to compare with Communism.
The Nazis didn't come close. The Holocaust was uniquely malignant - never before or
since did one people construct a vast industry of death for the sole purpose of
rounding up and destroying every single member of another people. But the Nazis
exterminated 11 million innocents; the Communist death toll surpasses 100 million.
Nazi power lasted from 1933 to 1945. The Communist nightmare began in November
1917, and continues to this day.

Savagery has always been a hallmark of Communism. It is an ideology that requires

the destruction of human beings. ``We have never rejected terror in principle,'' wrote
Lenin in 1901, ``nor can we do so.''

Half a century later, even as he denounced the extremes to which his predecessors
went, Nikita Khrushchev vowed that the terror so esteemed by Lenin would go on.
``The questioning of Stalin's terror,'' he cautioned the Twentieth Party Congress in
1956, ``may lead to the questioning of terror in general. But Bolshevism believes in
the use of terror.'' Not long afterward, Khrushchev sent 3,000 Soviet tanks to crush the
Hungarian freedom fighters.

Communism equals murder. Everywhere. Always.

In Ukraine, for example, where 7 million people were starved to death on the
Kremlin's orders. ``If you go now to the Ukraine or the North Caucuses,'' wrote
British journalist Malcolm Muggeridge in 1933, ``exceedingly beautiful countries and
formerly amongst the most fertile in the world, you will find them like a desert; . . . no
livestock or horses; villages deserted; peasants famished, often their bodies swollen,
unutterably wretched.'' Farmers who took grain or vegetables from their own land
were shot. Dead bodies littered the streets of Kharkov, the capital. ``It was,'' an
eyewitness later recalled, ``as if the Black Death had passed through.''

Communism equaled murder in Ethiopia, where Mengistu Haile Mariam became

dictator in 1977 and embarked on what he called his ``Red Terror.'' Tens of thousands
were massacred, including the graduating seniors of almost every high school in
Addis Ababa.

Communism equaled murder in North Vietnam as far back as 1945, when Ho Chi
Minh resolved to annihilate his Nationalist rivals. ``It was appalling,'' recorded the
historian Lucien Bodard. ``Thousands, maybe tens of thousands of men had been
liquidated . . .. The intention was that horror and dread should extinguish the last trace
of respect for them among the masses: Their execution had to be both shameful and
terrifying. That was the reason for the mass executions of hundreds at once, the fields
of prisoners buried alive, the harrows dragged over men buried up to the neck.''

Communism equaled murder in Tibet, where Mao's campaign to extirpate Buddhist

culture turned 1.2 million Tibetans into corpses. It equaled murder in gentle
Cambodia, where the bloodlust of the Khmer Rouge vaporized one-third of the nation
in less than four years. It equaled murder in Cuba, in East Germany, in Afghanistan.
From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic - murder. In the Gulag and the
laogai - murder. At Tienanmen Square - murder. In the Korean War and the Vietnam
War, in the forest of Katyn and the dungeons of the Lubyanka - murder.

One hundred million victims of Communism. And those are only the victims who
were slain. It doesn't include those who were maimed or driven mad. Those whose
lives went dark when a loved one was butchered. Those who spun out their years in
potato queues, in vodka stupors, in daily fear. It doesn't include those who wasted 30
years as slaves in Siberia. The boat people who flung themselves into the South China
Sea. The stifled poets, the gagged priests, the tormented refuseniks, the exiled

Rarely do we think of them, or of the hundred million. We forget how pathologically

evil Communism has been, or why we poured so much blood and treasure into
fighting the Cold War. It is to correct that amnesia that the Victims of Communism
Memorial will be built.

For information, contact:


P.O. Box 1997
Washington, DC 20013
202-785-0261 (fax)

Jeff Jacoby is a columnist for The Boston Globe

His E-mail address is - jacoby@globe.com