Democide was far deadlier than the wars of the 20th century.

R. J. Rummel expanded democide the traditional definition of genocide – the killing of another ethnicity – to include all forms of political mass murder. This includes purges, massacres, government induced famines, and political executions.

There is a strong correlation between government power and the violence directed against its own people.

Some examples are the Soviet Great Terror and Collectivization under Stalin; Chinese Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution; The Nazi Holocaust; The Belgian Free Congo State; Japanese and European Colonialism; the Cambodian Killing Fields, and the list goes on.

Stephane Courtois’ The Black Book of Communism offers a conservative estimate of the victims of Communism alone: 85-100 million. Others estimate much higher numbers, particularly because of new information about China’s government induced famines during the Great Leap Forward.

None of these people meant anything to the fantasy ideologies of the 20th century. They were props in a moralistic feel-good play which did end as planned.

Resisting often meant less death than surrending to these totalitarian and democidal governments.
R.J. Rummel notes that military deaths in war is not even close:

Our century is noted for its absolute and bloody wars. World War I saw nine-million people killed in battle, an incredi ble 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.


Some 245 million people – at least – were killed in the 20th century by their own governments outside of war.

Democracies were the best at protecting their citizens. In one interesting example, in the modern world famines are no longer natural or unpreventable. Democratic countries have not suffered from massive famine deaths. Authoritarian regimes often cause man-made famines, either through strange policies like collectivization or to intentionally starve political opponents.

R. J. Rummel offers a tally of democide.
His statistics offer a range of casualty figures with a low conservative figures and maximum estimates.

No matter how “cruel” mankind seems to man, let’s place this in perspective. Smallpox killed 300 million in the 20th century – more than all the wars and democide combined.