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Statistics of Democide: Genocide and Mass Murder since 1900 (Wissenschaftliche Paperbacks) Hardcover – International Edition, November 11, 1998
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About the Author
R. J. Rummel was professor emeritus of political science at the University of Hawaii. He is the author of over one hundred scholarly articles and two dozen books, including Power Kills, China’s Bloody Century, and The Miracle That Is Freedom. In addition, he has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and been the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Conflict Processes Section of the American Political Science Association and the International Association of Genocide Scholars’ Award for Distinguished Lifetime Contribution to the Field of Genocide and Democide Studies and Prevention.
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Like his previous works on democide, this book will remain for a long time to come as a handbook for historians, sociologists and political scientists alike.
R.J. Rummel is a Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Hawaii. He went through 8,200 estimates for 218 regimes and groups. He is using a scientific methodology that he applies consistently to come up with the most probable mid-range estimates (slightly conservative). Professor Rummel is using a concept he calls "democide" which includes genocide, politicide, mass murder, and indiscriminate killing of civilians during war. It does not include battle deaths or collateral damage.
His findings are that 174 million people were murdered by various regimes in the 20th century. However, it should be noted that he revised this number to 262 after the book was written. The worst regimes were the Soviet Union 62 million, Communist China (35 million later revised to 78 million), Nazi Germany 21 million (mostly genocide), and KMT 10 million. The current total for all the colonial powers is 50 million (but in this book he had missed a lot of the colonial power democide). The reason for the revision on China is that he added Chinas famine during the great leap forward after concluding that the famine was intentional.
However, most of the focus of this book is not on these worst regimes but on the lesser mass murderers like, Japan 6 million, Khmer Rouge 2.4 million, Turkeys Armenian genocide 2 million, Vietcong 1.76 million, post war polish democide (of mostly Germans but also Jews and Ukrainians) 1.86 million, Pakistan 1971 1.5 million, Titos slaughter house 1.7 million, North Korea up to 1997 1.6 million, Mexico beginning of the century 1.4 million. He also lists 47 cento kilo murder regimes including United States, mostly by bombings 0.58 million (including the atomic bomb), as well as democide for all the other regimes. He does not include some recent democide like the one in southern Sudan (2 million) and he missed or under estimated many colonial ones like the Belgian democide in the Congo freestate (King Leopold) in the beginning of the century (5 million).
It should be noted that he also discusses pre 20th century democide and it does not look any better further back in history. 90 million for the 19th century (consider the smaller world population). Even though most native Americans died because of diseases spread mostly by the arriving Europeans, the colonial powers and settlers killed about 2 to 15 million native Americans in mostly the 16th and 17th century (he could not decide on a mid range). The Mongols killed 30 million people and Kublai Khan 18 million Chinese.
In the last chapters he is trying to correlate the data with regime characteristics. Essentially trying to find out why certain regimes kill so many people. Very briefly, the answer he finds is that the amount of power a regime holds over its citizens makes all the difference. Democracies, especially liberal democracies, holds the least power over its citizens and are therefore the least likely to kill.
One thing that I noted was that the Vietcong (Vietnam communists) brutally murdered scores of civilians before, during, and after the war. They even committed what can be regarded as genocide. I am not talking about Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge now. United States killed half million combatants in the war but the U.S. democide number is very low for the Vietnam War (6K). It seems like the Vietcong thugs have been given a free pass.
Updated information (but not as complete) can be found on Rummels web site "[...]". In summary, the book is gruesome, and it contains an enormous amount of statistics and references in small type, and may therefore be a book you may want to avoid. At the same time the information in the book and the following conclusions are so important and so unheard of that it cannot be ignored. Thereof my five stars.