The worst genocides of the 20th and 21st Centuries
by Piero Scaruffi
TM, ®, Copyright © 1999-2016 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
Here is a tentative list of modern mass murderers and the estimated number of
people killed by their orders (excluding enemy armies).
In many cases (notably Stalin's and Mao's cases) one has to decide how to
consider the millions who died indirectly because of their political decisions.
Mao's "cultural revolution" caused the death of millions of people, but many died of hunger and ordinary Chinese (who, unlike us, were there) blame Mao's wife rather than Mao himself.
Stalin is held responsible for the death of millions by Ukrainians, but
"only" half a million people were killed by his order.
Khomeini sent children to die in the war against Iraq, but it was a war.
Read the bottom of this page for frequently asked questions on controversial
actions such as the atomic bombs, the Iraqi war, etc (that always involve
the current superpower and usually the current president of that superpower).
I welcome feedback if i forgot anything or posted
the wrong data, but PLEASE always provide reliable
sources: webpages are gossips, not sources (and the WORST one is
Wikipedia, edited by anonymous people with wildly biased agendas).
Reliable sources are books written by professional historians who spent decades
researching the event. Don't embarrass yourself.
An impressive number of readers (mostly from the USA) don't seem to know what "20th century" means and keep sending me emails about the Atlantic slave trade, the Native Americans, the Irish famine, etc.
To assess the impact of a genocide on a nation, one should consider not the
absolute number of deaths but a percentage of the population. For example,
Tito (570.000) and Suharto (500.000) are blamed for about the same number
of deaths, but Indonesia had 5 times the population of
Yugoslavia, and therefore Tito killed a much bigger proportion of his people.
Wars and Casualties of the 20th and 21st Century:
a genocide like the one in Rwanda that was not ordered by anyone is not listed
in this page but it is in that page.
|Ze-Dong Mao (China, 1958-61 and 1966-69, Tibet 1949-50)||(see note at the bottom of this page)|
|Adolf Hitler (Germany, 1939-1945)||12,000,000 (concentration camps and civilians deliberately killed in WWII plus 3 million Russian POWs left to die)|
|Leopold II of Belgium (Congo, 1886-1908)||8,000,000|
|Jozef Stalin (USSR, 1932-53)||7,000,000 (the gulags plus the purges plus Ukraine's famine)|
|Hideki Tojo (Japan, 1941-44)||5,000,000 (civilians in WWII)|
|Ismail Enver (Ottoman Turkey, 1915-20)||1,200,000 Armenians (1915) + 350,000 Greek Pontians and 480,000 Anatolian Greeks (1916-22) + 500,000 Assyrians (1915-20) |
|Pol Pot (Cambodia, 1975-79)||1,700,000|
|Yakubu Gowon (Biafra, 1967-1970)||1,000,000|
|Leonid Brezhnev (Afghanistan, 1979-1982)||900,000|
|Jean Kambanda (Rwanda, 1994)||800,000|
|Saddam Hussein (Iran 1980-1990 and Kurdistan 1987-88)||600,000|
|Tito (Yugoslavia, 1945-1980) ||570,000 |
|Suharto/Soeharto (Indonesian communists 1965-66)||500,000|
|Fumimaro Konoe (Japan, 1937-39)||500,000? (Chinese civilians)|
|Menghistu (Ethiopia, 1975-78)||500,000|
|Kim Il Sung (North Korea, 1948-94)||400,000 (purges and concentration camps)|
|Jonas Savimbi - but disputed by recent studies (Angola, 1975-2002)||400,000|
|Mullah Omar - Taliban (Afghanistan, 1986-2001)||400,000|
|Idi Amin (Uganda, 1969-1979)||300,000|
|Yahya Khan (Pakistan, 1970-71) || 300,000 (Bangladesh) |
|Ante Pavelic (Croatia, 1941-45)|| 359,000 (30,000 Jews, 29,000 Gipsies, 300,000 Serbs) |
|Benito Mussolini (Ethiopia, 1936; Libya, 1934-45; Yugoslavia, WWII)||300,000|
|Mobutu Sese Seko (Zaire, 1965-97)||?|
|Charles Taylor (Liberia, 1989-1996)||220,000|
|Foday Sankoh (Sierra Leone, 1991-2000) ||200,000|
|Suharto (Aceh, East Timor, New Guinea, 1975-98)||200,000|
|Ho Chi Min (Vietnam, 1953-56)||200,000|
|Michel Micombero (Burundi, 1972) ||150,000|
|Hassan Turabi (Sudan, 1989-1999)||100,000|
| Siad Barre (Somalia, 1988-1991) ||100,000|
|Milton Obote (Uganda, Operation Bonanza, 1983-85)||100,000|
|Joseph Kony (Lord's Resistance Army, Uganda, 1989-2016)||100,000|
|Syngman Rhee (South Korea, 1948-50)|| 80,000 (various massacres of civilians)|
|Richard Nixon (Vietnam, 1969-1974)||70,000 (Vietnamese and Cambodian civilians)|
|Efrain Rios Montt - but disputed by recent studies (Guatemala, 1982-83)||70,000|
| Jean-Pierre Bemba (Congo Kinshasa, 2002 - Pygmy tribes) ||65,000|
|Kayumba Nyamwasa (Rwanda, 1994-97)||60,000|
|Papa Doc Duvalier (Haiti, 1957-71)||60,000|
|Rafael Trujillo (Dominican Republic, 1930-61)||50,000|
|Bashir Assad (Syria, 2012-13)||50,000|
|Getulio Vargas (Brazil, 1930-1964) ||50,000|
|Francisco Macias Nguema (Equatorial Guinea, 1969-79) ||50,000|
|Hissene Habre (Chad, 1982-1990)||40,000|
|Mahinda Rajapaksa (Sri Lanka, 2009, Tamil civilians )||40,000|
|Chiang Kai-shek (Taiwan, 1947)||30,000 (popular uprising)|
|Vladimir Ilich Lenin (USSR, 1917-20)||30,000 (dissidents executed)|
|Francisco Franco (Spain)||30,000 (dissidents executed after the civil war)|
|Fidel Castro (Cuba, 1959-1999)||30,000|
|Lyndon Johnson (Vietnam, 1963-1968)||30,000|
|Maximiliano Hernandez Martinez (El Salvador, 1932)||30,000|
|Hafez Al-Assad (Syria, 1980-2000)||25,000|
|Khomeini (Iran, 1979-89)||20,000|
| William McKinley (Philippines, 1899-1901)||20,000|
|Robert Mugabe (Zimbabwe, 1982-87, Ndebele minority)||20,000|
|Rafael Videla (Argentina, 1976-83)||13,000|
|Guy Mollet (France, 1956-1957)||10,000 (war in Algeria)|
|Harold McMillans (Britain, 1952-56, Kenya's Mau-Mau rebellion) ||10,000 |
|Jean-Bedel Bokassa (Centrafrica, 1966-79) ||?|
|Slobodan Milosevic (Yugoslavia, 1992-98)||8,000|
|Paul Koroma (Sierra Leone, 1997) ||6,000|
|Osama Bin Laden (worldwide, 1993-2001)||3,500|
|Augusto Pinochet (Chile, 1973)||3,000|
I don't know if i have to be angry or honored that the Daily Mail
(a newspaper that is famous for moralizing articles)
plagiarized this old page of mine in October 2014:
As usual they also copied errors that i have since corrected on my own page
( their unauthorized copy).
For a list of casualties in wars, see this page.
- Israel Charny (1988) Genocide: A Critical Bibliographic Review
- Stephane Courtois: Black Book on Communism (1995)
- Micheal Clodfelter: Warfare and Armed Conflicts (1992)
- Gil Elliot: Twentieth Century Book of the Dead (1972)
- Gaston Bouthoul and Reue Carrere: A List of the 366 Major Armed Conflicts of the period 1740-1974, Peace Research (1978)
- Rudolph Rummel: Death by Government - Genocide and Mass Murder (1994)
- Rudolph Rummel: Statistics of Democide (1997)
- James Payne: "A History of Force" (2004)
- Matt White's website
- Matt White: "The Great Big Book of Horrible Things" (2011)
- Daniel Goldhagen: "Worse Than War" (2009)
- Ben Kiernan: Blood and Soil - A World History of Genocide and Extermination from Sparta to Darfur (2007)
- Ben Valentino: Final Solutions - Mass Killing and Genocide in the 20th Century (2004)
- Several general textbooks of 20th century history