Why The 20th Century Was The Bloodiest Of All


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[First published September 15, 2005] Some have called the 20th Century now past the bloodiest of all. Usually, those who claim this seem always to have in mind World Wars I and II, plus the Korean and Vietnam Wars. However, there were many more people in the world then, a mid-century population of 2.3 billion compared to the mid-19th Century population of 1.2 billion.

Indeed, if we calculate conflict related deaths as a percent of population for previous centuries, what do we get? We get what you see the chart below from the UN 2005 Human Development Report.


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By this Table, the 20th Century was the bloodiest. And this chart, I am sure, does not even take into account the massive democides accounting for about 170 million deaths. That these would make the 20th Century even more bloody compared to the past can be seen in the table I included in the upper right.

How do we account for the 20th Century bloodletting? Through previous centuries, the prevailing form of government was monarchies — inherited rule of one person. Even seemingly absolute monarchs were chained down by tradition, and violated it at their own personal peril. By the beginning of the 20th Century, monarchies had been replaced by dictatorships in many countries, and by the end of WWI, dictatorships, or democracies dominated the world.

Monarchies, of course, could be bloody in their wars and democide, but few reached the heights of mass slaughter of the Mongols in the 14th-15th Centuries. See the table below.


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The much greater slaughter of the 20th Century occurred because of two ahistorical socio-political experiments, one fascism (especially in Germany, Italy, Eastern Europe, Japan, and China), and the other, communism. These absolutist, unrestricted, uninhibited ideologies murdered people in war and democide without compunction, without the inhibition of tradition, culture, or religion. Their defeat and replacement by democracies whose leaders are restricted and inhibited by a democratic culture, liberal values, and an open and competitive electoral system has brought a virtual end to such incredible killing, as the charts I showed yesterday (see here) attest.

Leaving aside its many international and internal wars, communists murdered about 110 million people.

Link of Day

The Second Draft” Website

This website is devoted to exploring some of the problems and issues that plague modern journalism. In this age of globalization, the media has unprecedented influence on the way we see the world. And yet, whether out of misplaced good intentions, unconscious agendas and predispositions, or unwarranted faith in false information, they can get the story dramatically wrong. Therefore, we want to revisit and critique journalism’s “first draft of history”, and hopefully produce a more accurate second one. In our HYPERLINK “http://www.seconddraft.org/cur_invest.php”current investigations we present the story the way the mainstream media initially told it, introduce further evidence, and let you decide what you think really happened.

A helpful corrective to the major media’s liberal bias.


Links I Must Share

“Beltway vs. Blogosphere” By Howard Fineman

Democrats are struggling to reconcile the differences between party leaders in D.C. and independent activists on the Net.

“Matt Drudge threatens N.Y. Times”:

E-journalist considers booting paper’s columnists over new reading fees

Like Drudge, I will not link to The N.Y. Times, once its pay-to-read goes into effect, or to any other source with such a retrograde requirement.

“Europe Learns the Wrong Lessons “:

Nearly one third of Germans under 30 say that the U.S. government ordered the 9/11 attacks. In France, a book insisting that Americans carried out the assault themselves to increase defense budgets becomes a huge bestseller. In Britain, major newspapers carry headlines like “The USA is Now the World’s Leading Rogue State.” Asked which countries are the biggest threat to world peace, Europeans name the U.S as often as North Korea and Iran (each are picked by 53 percent). Countries characterized by Euros as less menacing than the U.S. include Syria, Iraq, Russia, China, Afghanistan, Libya. As one American living in Britain, Anglican minister Dwight Longenecker, summarizes: “Our cultural ancestors have become unrecognizable, even hostile, to us.”

Having rescued Europe from the Kaiser, Hitler, post-WWII economic collapse, domestic communism, and Stalin, I don’t see these opinions abating until we have to rescue them again, this time from internal Islamofacism. But if one can’t wait to be appreciated, get a dog.

“But for the U.S. and its allies” By Hiwa Osman (media advisor to President Jalal Talabani):

Yesterday, [9/13/05] an important meeting took place between President Bush and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, hearalding a new era in Iraqi-American relations. For the first time in the history of the two nations, the White House received the first freely and democratically elected president of Iraq. 
The Iraqi president conveyed a thank-you message from the people of Iraq, who were empowered to vote last January, for making a democratic Iraq a reality.

This makes me proud to be an American.
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3 Responses to Why The 20th Century Was The Bloodiest Of All

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  2. Santos Glos says:

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  3. [...] but I think this might also be helpful: "Why The 20th Century Was The Bloodiest Of All" http://democraticpeace.wordpress.com…odiest-of-all/ including the chart from the UN HDR 2005, which is also found in the Powerkills [...]

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