In what I call the “Peoples History of Violent Death: 20th Century” counting the numbers of deaths caused by wars and violence has produced a tie score for first place and one surprising result.
Our late lamented century, old number 20, stands highest in the Pantheon of relentless carnage. In the numbers game it has no close competitor. Genghis Kahn had his fling as did the old Romans and many ghastly others whose benighted despotism spilled lakes of blood to be sure. But alas, no contest in the body-count business.
Our forefathers made a heroic try in the 19th century. Civil War here at home, French Revolution, some nastiness in the Crimea and around the horn of Africa, a few million Indians wiped out, but we need to get on to the big hitters, the ones who could spill oceans of gore. Just weren’t enough folks and firepower to really get the numbers up until the planet got filled to the max in the dear old 20th.
Enter the big players. Not much to report early in the game. Then came 1914. Whew! Stand back or you might be splashed. From then on, till the last blood-drenched day of the century, all the old records for sheer slaughter were constantly being broken.
Emerging from the chaos, now that the smoke has cleared a little, we see the history tote board running up the totals:
Look at that! A virtual tie for first place!
It’s spine chilling. But numbers don’t lie. The winners, each with identical numbers in the corpse derby are:
The Western Nations with 83 Million Victims Slaughtered
The Communist Nations with 83 Million Victims Slaughtered
Give them a hand. Job well done!
Now, here’s a surprise. Great numbers for a small nation. All alone in second place, it’s:
Japan with 43 Million Victims Wiped Out
Way to go!
In third place is a motley collection of hard strivers composed of some Buddhists, Animists, partisans, tribes etc., ad nauseam, but the numbers are not that shabby:
24 million Victims Massacred
Well, somebody has to be last. Would you believe it’s the Moslems?
All the recent demonizing of Moslems as blood-thirsty notwithstanding, the numbers are not there. A hundred years to show us what they got and it’s pathetic. A measly 7 million victims done in, come on guys. 7 million out of a possible 240 million. Less than 3%. All talk and no action if you ask me.
So folks, if you want to do the math yourself, be my guest. The statistics are available at Twentieth Century Atlas-Death Tolls.