What? Only 35,000,000 Killed in 20th Century War?

November 30, 2008

[First published on December 15, 2004] pointed out in a 1986 Wall Street Journal article (here) that the 20th Century is noted for its absolute and bloody wars. World War I saw nine-million people killed in battle, an incredible 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.

I then received an email suggesting that my total is probably inaccurate; the total might be closer to 100 million.

I should have qualified the total as for military combat dead and civilians caught in the crossfire. Consider WWII for example. The most authoritative source, widely relied on in the field of war studies, are the statistical data on war published by J. David Singer (search under COW Project). His figure for WWII war dead is 15 million. Now, one may think he is in error, since the war dead ordinarily given for the USSR alone is about 20 million, and often cited is 50000,000 to 60,000,000 for the whole war. How then can Singer and I say 15,000,000 dead in the war? Part of the problem is that many figures one sees for wars include combat dead and those murdered by government (democide), such as in the Holocaust. The difference is due to Singer and I counting only combat dead, including civilians caught in crossfires, whereas the much higher totals also count those murdered by governments during the war (democide). For example, the Nazis murdered about 21,000,000 people, including the Holocaust; the Japanese murdered about 6,000,000; and the Soviets about 13,000,000. Now, when you add such democide totals to those killed in combat, one comes close to the 50,000,000 to 60,000,000 often mentioned for the war.

Overall, both WWI and WWII together had about 24,000,000 (combat) war dead. Which leaves still many, and smaller, wars to go to reach my approximate 35,000,000. A total far below the near 110,000,000 killed [later revised to about 140,000,000] by Marxist governments

I did a thorough amalgamation of the estimates of war dead for each nation, 1900-1987, in the process of collecting democide data, and included them in my statistical tables. They can be found in my books Lethal Politics for the USSR, China’s Bloody Century, Democide for Nazi Germany, and Statistics of Democide for all the other nation’s war dead. For their location on my website, see my website’s list of documents.


On The Democratic Peace Bibliography

November 29, 2008

I have also put in the sidebar a bibliography to the democratic peace. It is as complete as I could make it up to the years 2000, and nothing I know of more recently contradicts what the listed works show. This is that the idea of the democratic peace has involved the most scholarly, scientific, and replicated research in the academic discipline of international relations. The conclusion of all this is that democracies do not fight or make war on each other. Their relations are cooperative and peaceful. This is not to say that there are no deep conflicts or crises. There are, but they are nonviolent.

This peace holds regardless of religion, culture, region, history, economic development, international status, alliances, or power; regardless of the social scientist or scholar; and, regardless of the historical period or data set.

All this provides a sound premise for a democratic peace foreign policy–to promote world peace and an end to war, foster democracy. And this has been the fundamental foreign policy of the United States Under Clinton and Bush.


On The Universal Archive In The Sidebar

November 29, 2008

For easy access, I have put the link to my universal archive in the sidebar. The archive includes the 495 blogs and occasional commentary that were published on my previous now dead “freedomspeace” blog. I am now republishing the blogs here, and those so republished are colored green in this archive. Take a look and if you see any that you would like me to transfer here ASP, email me at Rummel@hawaii.edu.


Not Suicide Bombing–Its Murder Or Genocide Bombing

November 28, 2008

[First published on December 14, 2004]News today is that Israeli “Security forces recently foiled a planned suicide bombing, planned by the joint Hamas-Tanzim terrorist infrastructure in Nablus.” Another report is of, “A suicide car bomber today killed seven people at a checkpoint at Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone.”

Suicide bomber? When did this neutral term come into usage, anyway? [Like the term "militant" for terrorist] It is bereft of intention and political blame, and serves to neutralize what is an immoral, inhumane, and barbarous attempt to murder innocent people. It is a crime against humanity, but you wouldn’t know it by the label. 

To recognize the true nature of this bombing, that against Israeli Jews should be called what it is, “genocide bombing.” That going in Iraq should be labeled “murder bombing.” Then we could better appreciate what is going on.

Fox News had moved a little toward this by calling it all “homicide bombing.” But a homicide lacks the intention to kill, as does murder. Come on now, Fox News. At least you can call it what it is.


Unchaining Human Rights, Not Imposing Democracy

November 28, 2008

[First published December 17, 2004] Amair Taheri has an excellent article, “Eye of the Storm: 7 Arab excuses against reform,” in <I>The Jerusalem Post</>. The seven excuses are:

  • Economic development must precede political change.
  • Democracy is a Western system and hard to sell to the Arabs.
  • Most Arabs are poor and cannot understand democracy, let alone practice it.
  • Democracy would require the Arabs to abandon cherished ancestral values and traditions.
  • Because most Arabs are afflicted by illiteracy, reform should first focus on education
  • Democracy cannot be imposed by force.
  • There can be no democratization in Arab countries until the Palestine-Israel problem is solved.

Taheri does an good job of demolishing these excuses, but it would be easier if in place of democracy, he used the term freedom—even better, human rights. Then the ridiculousness of these excuses becomes self-evident. Try it. Replace democracy in political change in each case with freedom of speech, religion, and organization (such as creating a political party), and from fear.

For example, 

Economic development must precede freedom of speech, religion, and organization, and from fear.

Freedom of speech, religion, and organization, and from fear, is a Western system and hard to sell to the Arabs.

Most Arabs are poor and cannot understand freedom of speech, religion, and organization, and from fear, let alone practice it.

And so on. What we who foster democracy are doing is not exporting it, but unchaining people’s human rights. Period.


Out Of The Ivory Tower

November 28, 2008

[first published December 12, 2004] Word is getting to the chattering class. It leaped from the academic study of international relations to President Clinton, President George Bush, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, former prime minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu, and even to ASEAN, whose leaders signed a pact based on it. But, this fact, this fact so important for the peace of the world and eventually eliminating war and minimizing violence, has up to now eluded the political activists, commentators, and reporters. But, finally, it is getting around. In a December 12 article in the Washington Times, Cal Thomas wrote, “Democracies don’t start wars against each other . . . .”

That’s it. The most important fact of our time. 

Consider the implications of this democratic peace. If true, and hundreds of studies and replications prove that it is, then we finally have a solution to war. Foster democratic freedom. This is now not only known among our highest leaders, it is the foundation of President Bush’s “Forward Strategy of Freedom.”

Now, finally, the word is leaking downward to those who define, delimit, and disseminate events and ideas. What took them so long?


Returning to the Democratic Peace

November 27, 2008

[Here I have used China under Mao as the worst example of what a life can be like for a people lacking a democratic peace--fear, insecurity, mass poverty, totalitarianism, and mass murder by the multimillions. Now, I will be more specific about the democratic peace itself. The following was first published December 13, 2004]

We have learned much about international relations and politics that provides new insight into old problems. We have learned that:

• Democratic freedom is an engine of economic and human development, and scientific and technological advancement.

• Freedom ameliorates the problem of mass poverty.

• Free people do not suffer from and never have had famines. 

• Free people have the least internal violence, turmoil, and political instability.

• Free people commit virtually no democide (government genocide and mass murder). Freedom is therefore a solution to democide; the only practical means of making sure that “Never again!”

• Free people do not make war on each other, and the greater the freedom within two nations, the less violence between them. Globalizing freedom is therefore a solution to war.

• Power corrupts, impoverishes, and kills.

This constellation of inter-connected truths sums up the democratic peace and the consequences of excessive power. Fostering freedom is then a moral, Kantian imperative, as well as a practical and realist solution to many of today’s most pressing problems, especially war, violence, democide, famine, and national impoverishment.

I leave to my website the scholarly and scientific analyses establishing these iron laws of history. Here, I will use them to shed bright light on more light on what, how, and why of the democratic peace.


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