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Vietnam War Dead and Democide


Ten regimes, 1900-1987, murdered 1,000,000 people or more, but less than 10,000,000 (see "20th Century Democide"). One pseudo-regime, Mao's Soviets in China, 1923-1949, should also be included. Since my data collection ended in 1987 one more regime might be added, and that is the Rwandan. In four months it may have done the unimaginable in such a short time--murdering as many as 1,000,000 of its citizens. I have detailed this slaughter in my new book, Saving Lives, Enriching Life.

These megamurderers are generally small or medium sized nations, such as Cambodia and Vietnam, and thus could hardly match the deka-megamurdering regimes that had many times more people to kill, such as Communist China or the Soviet Union. But within the potential available to them, these lesser regimes made their own records. The Cambodian Khmer Rouge, for example, murdered almost a third of their population in less than four years. And then there was Rwanda.

I once thought that in our modern age-the age of mass literacy, telecommunications, and near universal education in most nations, only Hitler was capable of mass slaughter, and this due to his fanatic hatred of the Jews coupled with his absolute power. It was a shock to discover that he not only had killed many more non-Jews, but that Stalin and Mao surpassed his overall total. And then to also find out that besides these big killers, there were at least eleven other regimes that had murdered a million or more left me with these questions: How can so many journalists, intellectuals, and academics be ignorant of so much murder? Where are the media stories and commentary? Where are the churches on this? Where is the moral outrage?


[Tan Samay's] pupils hanged him. A noose was passed around his neck; then the rope was passed over the branch of a tree. Half a dozen children between eight and ten years old held the loose end of the rope, pulling it sharply three or four times, dropping it in between. All the while they were shouting, "Unfit teacher! Unfit teacher!" until Tan Samay was dead. The worst was that the children took obvious pleasure in killing.
----A Khmer Rouge execution

  • Chapter Segment: Rwandan genocide 1994 [15]

The table in the upper right is from Table 11.1 of Death By Government.
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