The 20th century’s butcher’s bill

More from the CIRCE conference, from a talk by think-tank veteran Barbara Elliott:

From 1901-1987, various governments took 207,500,000 lives.

The number of people killed by their own governments was approximately 169,000,000.

The Soviet Union killed 62,000,000. (Stalin alone: 42,000,000)

Communist China: 35,000,000.

Nazi Germany: 21,000,000

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Orianna Laun

    Do these numbers include executions having gone through a judicial process, or do they fall along the lines of genocide? It seems as though the execution of a serial killer who has been tried and convicted is not the same the execution of a person whose only crime is they are not the type of person the government thinks is worthy of life.

  • Orianna Laun

    Do these numbers include executions having gone through a judicial process, or do they fall along the lines of genocide? It seems as though the execution of a serial killer who has been tried and convicted is not the same the execution of a person whose only crime is they are not the type of person the government thinks is worthy of life.

  • Raymond Coffey

    Communist China killed far more than the Soviet Union under Stalen. The book ‘Mao’ chronicles the slaughter under the Chairman.

  • Raymond Coffey

    Communist China killed far more than the Soviet Union under Stalen. The book ‘Mao’ chronicles the slaughter under the Chairman.

  • http://lutheranguest.blogspot.com/ Jim

    Yeah, when someone complains to me about Christian involement politics and points to the “religious wars” of centuries past as if that were the coup de grace, I respond: “If you really want to base your argument on dead bodies, I’ll accept that criterion. The body count of the religious wars is next to nothing compared to the body count of the ideologically secular governments of the 20th century.”

  • http://lutheranguest.blogspot.com/ Jim

    Yeah, when someone complains to me about Christian involement politics and points to the “religious wars” of centuries past as if that were the coup de grace, I respond: “If you really want to base your argument on dead bodies, I’ll accept that criterion. The body count of the religious wars is next to nothing compared to the body count of the ideologically secular governments of the 20th century.”

  • Greg Smith

    As a side note on these statistics, the number killed by their own governments is about 81% of the total figure. Our founding fathers understood this. That is why the Second Amendment is in the Constitution.

  • Greg Smith

    As a side note on these statistics, the number killed by their own governments is about 81% of the total figure. Our founding fathers understood this. That is why the Second Amendment is in the Constitution.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Orianna, most were “convicted” under the judicial processes of their own governments. That said, having light skin on one’s left wrist from wearing a wristwatch was enough for Pol Pot to send you to Cambodia’s death camps, and a letter of repudiation was enough to send you to the Gulags or the LaoGai in the USSR or China.

    So yes, they were convicted of “crimes,” but we are not talking about any judicial system that Blackstone would have commended to us. We are talking about judicial approvals of punishment for non-crimes.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Orianna, most were “convicted” under the judicial processes of their own governments. That said, having light skin on one’s left wrist from wearing a wristwatch was enough for Pol Pot to send you to Cambodia’s death camps, and a letter of repudiation was enough to send you to the Gulags or the LaoGai in the USSR or China.

    So yes, they were convicted of “crimes,” but we are not talking about any judicial system that Blackstone would have commended to us. We are talking about judicial approvals of punishment for non-crimes.

  • L. H. Kevil

    The number of deaths attributable to chinese communism has been revised far upward – to 70,000,000 at least and probably much higher. See rummel’s revised estimate:

    http://freedomspeace.blogspot.com/2005/11/reevaluating-chinas-democide-to-be.html

  • L. H. Kevil

    The number of deaths attributable to chinese communism has been revised far upward – to 70,000,000 at least and probably much higher. See rummel’s revised estimate:

    http://freedomspeace.blogspot.com/2005/11/reevaluating-chinas-democide-to-be.html

  • Orianna Laun

    Bike Bubba,
    Isn’t that what I asked, or at least what I thought I asked?
    Execution of criminals because they actually committed crimes (murder and such) is something a government may do to keep order.
    Execution of people because they committed a supposed crime (speaking out against a corrupt government, being the wrong color, etc.) is not something governments should do.

  • Orianna Laun

    Bike Bubba,
    Isn’t that what I asked, or at least what I thought I asked?
    Execution of criminals because they actually committed crimes (murder and such) is something a government may do to keep order.
    Execution of people because they committed a supposed crime (speaking out against a corrupt government, being the wrong color, etc.) is not something governments should do.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Yup, just wanted to be very clear.

    And we ought to consider as well that when we are talking about millions of deaths apart from war, we are necessarily talking about genocide. Even if a lot of those deaths are of executed serial killers, to have millions of serial killers in your country means that you’ve got a genocide going on, just more in the style of Rwanda than that of Nazi Germany or the USSR.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Yup, just wanted to be very clear.

    And we ought to consider as well that when we are talking about millions of deaths apart from war, we are necessarily talking about genocide. Even if a lot of those deaths are of executed serial killers, to have millions of serial killers in your country means that you’ve got a genocide going on, just more in the style of Rwanda than that of Nazi Germany or the USSR.