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Research Quick Start Guides

A Record of Misery: mass killing in the past five decades

This table lists events involving 100,000 or more human deaths.

Mass Killings
   China: Mao's reign of terror, 1949-65   20 million plus [2,4,5]
   USSR: Stalin's terror, 1936-53          20 million plus [1,2,5]
   WWII: combatant deaths                  16.8 million [4]
   WWII: noncombatant deaths
     Russia/USSR:civilian deaths by Nazis    7-12 million [4,5]
     Europe: The Holocaust, 1933-45          6 million [1,4]
     Other WWII noncombatant deaths          6 million [4]
   Sino-Japanese War: 1937-45                3.5 million [4]
   Korean War: 1950-53                       2 million [4]
   Eritrea: vs Cuba/Ethiopia, 1961-91,
     inc. 1 mil. famine deaths 1984-85       2 million [4]
   Vietnam War: 1961-75, incl. 600,000
     noncombatants                           1.7 million [4]
   Cambodia: Khmer Rouge killing fields,
     1975-79                                 1.6 million [4]
   Afghanistan: vs. Soviets, 1979-89         1.3 million [4]
   China: Civil war, 1945-49                 1.2 million [4]
   Rwanda: Hutus vs Tutsis, 3 months 1994    1 million [3]*
     *Other estimates are of 500,000+ deaths
      for this period (Economist 8/20/94 p.33)
   Sudan: Civil war, 1955-72, 1983- 
     (incl. 250,000 famine deaths in 1988)   1 million [4]
   Spain: Civil war, 1936-39                 610,000 [4,7]
   Nigeria: Civil war (Biafra), 1967-70, 
     including famine deaths                 500,000 [4]
   Kurdistan: Kurds vs Iraq, Iran, Syria,
     Turkey, 1925-                           500,000 [6]
   India-Pakistan partition 1949			 500,000
   Iran-Iraq war, 1987-1992                  500,000
   Algeria: FLN vs France, 1954-62           300,000 [4]
   Burundi: Tutsi slaughter of Hutus, 1972   300,000 [8]
   Pakistan: Reprisals against Bengalis,
     9 months in 1971                        250,000 [4]
   Indonesia: Civil war, 1965-66             250,000 [4]
   Indonesia: Timor war, 1975-88             200,000 [4]
   Bosnia: "Ethnic cleansing", 1992-         200,000 [3]
   Congo: Congo-Kinshasa unrest, 1960-66     110,000 [7]
   Rwanda: Hutu massacre of Tutsis, 1956-65  105,000 [7]
Refugees
   Afghanistan: 1979-94                      6 million [3]
   Rwanda: 3 months, 1994                    2.4 million [3]
   Mozambique: Civil war & famine, 1975-92   1.5 million [3]
   Iraq: Kurds fleeing after Gulf War,
     in 6 weeks, 1991                        1.4 million [3]
   Somalia: Civil war, 1988-94               1 million [3]

Sources

  1. Charny (1988) Genocide: a critical bibliographic review, vol.2.
  2. Matthews (1994) Guiness Book of Records, pp. 184-85.

  3. Masland (1994) "Will it be Peace or Punishment?," Newsweek (August 1):37.
  4. Clodfelter (1992) Warfare and Armed Conflicts, vol. 2.
  5. Elliot (1972) Twentieth Century Book of the Dead.
  6. "Estmated War Casualties" (Table), Cultural Survival Quarterly, 11(3):11.
  7. Bouthoul (1978) "A list of the 366 Majot Armed Conflicts of the period 1740-1974," Peace Research, 10(3):83-108.
  8. "Burundi: Not a twin," Economist (August 20, 1994):34.

A Green Library General Reference Dept. guide by John Rawlings; 8/94.

Last modified: May 30, 2006

       
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