Below is a list, a rather long list, or all the excepts I thought worthwhile making note of in the book. Warning, some excerpts contain extremely violent text.
Update: For additional commentary and a the original book review see the Death By Government Commentary List
Forward by Irving Louis Horowitz
It has often and properly been bemoaned, by its champions and critics alike, that the social sciences, unlike the physical sciences, do not travel. By that I presume is meant that they lack an absence of universal properties that would permit an observer in one place to readily identify the parameters of research and findings in another place halfway around the world. Indeed, if such parochialism is endemic to the nature of the social sciences, then the very notion of science as social is itself in dispute.
1) 169,198,000 Murdered: Summary and Conclusion
Pg 1 – Commentary: Ravages of War
Power, like a desolating pestilence,
Pollutes whate’er it touches
– Shelley, Queen Mab III (Quote at start of chapter)
Pg 20 – Commentary: Power to do what We Want
Power is a necessary cause for war or democide
That they have been consistently and sometimes intentionally confounded helps popularize the 60 million figure for the number of war dead in World War II, a figure that is way above the calculated estimate of 15 million killed in battle and military action. That the almost universally accepted count of genocide during this period is no more than “6 million” Jews, around 13 percent of the total wartime democide, has further muddled our research and thought.
2) The New Concept of Democide
3) Over 133,147,000 Murdered: Pre-Twentieth-Century Democide
Pg 52 – Poem ordered erected in Chengtu by Chang Hsien-chung after slaughtering a large number of his citizens
Heaven brings forth innumerable things to help man.
man has nothing with which to recompense Heaven.
Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill.
in the eight years that the Han Dynasty was being replaced by the Qin Dynasty [221-207 B.C.], the population of China decreased from 20 million to 10 million.
In the Dong (Eastern) Han Dynasty [206 B.C.—220 A.D.], the population of China was 50 million. After the transition of power to the Three Kingdom period [222-589], the population decreased to 7 million.
In the Sui Dynasty [581-618], the population of China was 50 million. After the transfer of power to the Tang Dynasty [618-907], only one third was left.
At the peak of the Song Dynasty [960-1279] the population was about 100 million. But in the beginning of the Qing Dynasty in 1655, the population was 14,033,900. During the 20-year period from 1626 to 1655, the population decreased from 51,655,459 to 14,033,900
Pg 67 – Pre-Twentieth-Centrury Democide (discussing the transportation of convicts to Australia by Britain)
267 died aboard and three vessels alone landed sick convicts of whom 124 died almost immediately. The dead were thrown naked inty Sydney harbor. An army officer aboard, Cap Hill, pointed out that the masters of the transport ships, unlike slave captains, had no financial interest in landing their human cargo in healthy condition: “The slave traffic is merciful compared to what I have see in this fleet.” Evidence given to Parliament in 1812 showed that those transported included boys and girls of 12 and men and women over 80.
Pg 68 – Commentary: Ravages of War
“The emperor, seated on a golden throne, receives the homage of the viziers and the beys; massacre of 2,000 prisoners; the rain falls in torrents.”
Pg 68 – Commentary: Ravages of War
During the British colonization of India, a “party given by the Mogul governor of Surat, the very first British settlement, was rudely interrupted when the host fell into a sudden rage and ordered all the dancing girls to be decapitated on the spot, to the stupefaction of his English guests.”
Pg 69 – Commentary: Ravages of War
on the first day of our visit we had seen no less than ten men carried off to death. On a mere sign from shaka, viz: the pointing of his finger, the victim would be seized by his nearest neighbors; his neck would be twisted, and his head and body beaten with sticks, the nobs of some of these being as large as a man’s fist. On each succeeding day, too, numbers of others were killed; their bodies would then be carried to an adjoining hill and there impaled. We visited this spot on the fourth day. It was a truly a Golgotha, swarming with hundreds of vultures.
To get some idea as to how far this total may be off, observe that if governments massacred people in previous centuries in the same proportion to world population as in our century, then as shown in the table’s hypothetical total (calculated from the twentieth-century democide rate derived in subsequent chapters and the world’s population for each century since 30 B.C.), almost a fantastic 626 million people would have been killed, even possibly over 1,138 billion – over a billion people.
Pg 71 – Commentary: Power to do what We Want
In any case, governments – particularly nondemocratic governments 0 clearly should come with a warning label: “This power may be a danger to your life and limb”
4) 61,911,000 Murdered: The Soviet Gulag State
Pg 79 – Commentary: Ravages of War
“How long will you keep killing people?” asked Lady Astor of Stalin in 1931.
Replied Stalin, “The process would continue as long as was necessary” to establish a communist society
Pg 81 – Commentary: Death via Quota
But murder and arrest quotas did not work well. Where to find the “enemies of the people” they were to shoot was a particularly acute problem for the local NKVD, which had been diligent in uncovering “plots.” They had to resort to shooting those arrested for the most minor civil crimes, those previously arrested and released, and even mothers and wives who appeared at NKVD headquarters for information about their arrested loved ones.
We lack a concept for murder by quotas because we – including the journalist, historian, and political scientist – have never before confronted the fact that a government can and has killed its own people for apparently no reason. For the same reason, neither do we understand the execution of starving peasants who fish in a stream without Party permission (trying to steal state property), or for the pinning of a ten-year sentence on the first one to stop clapping after Stalin’s name has been mentioned at a public meeting. Nor for the execution of a fourteen-year-old because his father was purged; nor for the Red Army’s not only permission for but encouragement of mass rape and murder of civilians in virtually every country it newly occupied during World War II.
Pg 86 – Commentary: Ravages of War
“The scientific concept of dictatorship means nothing else but this: power without limit, resting directly upon fore, restrained by no laws, absolutely unrestricted by rules.” ~ Lenin
Pg 87 – Commentary: Power to do what We Want
Ideology and absolute power are the critical variables in Soviet democide. They explain how individual communists could beat, torture, and murder by the hundreds, and sleep well at night. Grim tasks, to be sure, but after all, they were working for the greater good.
5) 35,236,000 Murdered: The Communist Chinese Anthill
Pg 91 – Commentary: Power to do what We Want
Apart from their other characteristics, China’s 600 million people have two remarkable peculiarities; they are, first of all, poor, and secondly blank. That may seem like a bad thing, but it is really a good thing. Poor people want change, want to do things, want revolution. A clean sheet of paper has no blotches, and so the newest and most beautiful words can be written on it, the newest and most beautiful pictures can be painted on it.
6) 20,946,000 Murdered: The Nazi Genocide State
Pg 118 – Commentary: Humanity at its Worst
Within four minutes everybody in the gas chamber was dead. The gas was now allowed to escape, and after about a half-hour the doors were opened. The bodies were found in tower-like heaps, some in sitting or half-sitting position under the doors. The corpses were pink in color, with green spots. Some had foam on their lips; others bled through the nose.
Pg 118 – Commentary: Death via Quota
So many gassed per day, so many cremated per hour – it was a stopwatch system, at the center of the best in human technology, knowledge, and efficiency, and carried out by what was considered in the 1930s to be one of the most civilized, educated, and developed nations in the world.
Pg 118-119 – Commentary: Power to do what We Want
The sub-human, this apparently fully equal creation of nature, when seen from the biological viewpoint, with hands, feet and a sort of brain, with eyes and a mouth, nevertheless is quite a different, a dreadful creature, is only a imitation of man with man-resembling features, but inferior to any animal as regards intellect and soul. In its interior, this being is a cruel chaos of wild, unrestricted passions, with a nameless will to destruction, with a most primitive lust, and of unmasked depravity.
– text on Eastern Europeans distributed to the SS from the SS main office.
For not everything is alike that has a human face.
One Nazi doctor, looking at the smoking crematoria at Auschwitz, was asked how he could reconcile the slaughter with his Hippocratic oath. In the Nazi world, his answer was justification enough for the pain and death inflicted on millions: “When you find a diseased appendix, you must remove it.”
7) 10,214,000 Murdered: The Depraved Nationalist Regime
Pg 124 – Excerpt from the newspaper China Forum during 1927-1927
– Commentary: Humanity at its Worst
The Terror extended to every village, town, city and industrial district. The gates of towns and cities were closed and soldiers turned loose on the population. The soldiers looted, raped, left the streets littered with corpses and the wells clogged with the bodies of outraged girls and women.
8) 5,964,000 Murdered: Japan’s Savage Military
Pg 145 – How are we to understand what happened in Nanking? Said Matsumoto Shigei, a correspondent in Shanghai, to some Western friends:
It is the army. You can’t know what they are like. You didn’t meet those poor peasants who have been brutalized after years in the army. They are permitted to do this. It is worse than that; they are encouraged. It is their reward for taking a town; the officers promise them three days to do what they like, when a town is captured. They always do…. It is because Nanking is so important that you Americans hear about it this time, but it has always been true. It is a universal shame.
And to be sure, in each of the other large cities that fell to the Japanese, including Peking, Shanghai, Hankow, and Canton, “Rape, pillage, and murder were the order of the day.”
Pg 149 – Commentary: Humanity at its Worst
[O]ne Japanese doctor viciously beat the coolies he examined for cholera, whether they had the disease or not (it made no sense that he struck them). The Western prisoners looked on in shock at this inhuman behavior, but a Japanese physician explained lightly to the Europeans that “coolies are subhuman and not worthy of consideration.”
Pg 154 – Commentary: Ravages of War
Captain Francis P. Scott, and American chaplain who interviewed many of the convicted Japanese POW camp commandants as to why they treated their prisoners in the way they did, said that they “had a belief that any enemy of the emperor could not be right, so the more brutally they treated their prisoners, the more loyal to the emperor they were being.”
9) 2,035,000 Murdered: The Hell State: Cambodia Under the Khmer Rouge
Pg 168 – Commentary: Humanity at its Worst
According to one participant, his forces “would move into villages, kill the men and women who had not already fled, and then engage in individual tests of strength which consisted of grasping infants by the legs and pulling them apart.”
Forty thousand people were sent in all directions. The Khmer Rouge burnt houses everywhere. Uniformed Lon Nol soldiers were executed along the way…. People were split up into groups of fifty, two hundred, or three hundred and escorted by groups of Khmer Rouge. Of those sent on to Region 31, and further – to Pursat and Battambang in some cases – only one in five survived to return five years later.
Pg 178 – Commentary: Death via Quota
[Khmer Rouge were] tipping out patients [from the hospitals] like garbage into the streets….Bandaged men and women hobble by the embassy. Wives push wounded soldier husbands on hospital beds on wheels, some with serum drips st ill attached. In five years of war, this is the greatest caravan of human misery I have seen. – Reported by a British Journalist at the French Embassy
One of these trudging millions, a medical doctor named Vann Hay, said that every 200 meters he saw a dead child.
There were no practicing lawyers, doctors, teachers, engineers, scientists, or the like. These professions were deemed unnecessary or presumed to contain simple truths any peasant could pick up through experience. Those who had been such professionals under the old regime were either killed or had to work in the fields like everyone else, depending on the local cadre and region. That this would create human dilemmas of the most excruciating kind is obvious. Just consider the doctor Haing Ngor, whose wife suffered life-threatening complications during childbirth. To help her deliver the baby meant his death (under the rules men were forbidden to deliver their wives’ babies); to use his medical skills to save her would in effect tell the cadre that he was a doctor and meant his death, and possibly that of his wife and newborn; to do nothing might mean their death anyways. But still the wife might pull through. He did nothing (and perhaps he could do nothing anyway – he had no appropriate medial instruments) and his wife and baby died, leaving a gaping would in his heart that has never healed.
[The average person] slept in barracks, ate in canteens, gave up their young children, and worked. All else was banned: markets, schools, books, religion, prayer, idle hours of conversation and laughter, music. The people worked every day with rare days off for “political education.” The work day began about six in the morning and could last until eight or ten in the evening. The work day, like the amount of food and quality of shelter, varied dramatically, but the common condition for the city people that first year was fatigue mixed with fear.
It was not long before they began imposing a very harsh life-style on the villages. Everybody was not obliged to work in the fields or dig reservoirs from 3 or 4 a.m. until 10 p.m. The only breaks were from noon until 1 p.m. and from 5 to 6 p.m. (This compared to an average 8-hour day worked by the … farmers in preceding years.) One day in 10 was a rest day, as well as three days each year at the Khmer New Year festival. Land became communal.
Also from 1975, money was abolished and big houses were either demolished and the materials used for smaller ones, or used for administration or to house troops. The banana trees … were all uprooted on the orders of the Khmer Rouge and rice planted in their place. Production was high, although some land was left fallow and rations usually just consisted of rice porridge with very little meat. After the harvest each year, trucks would come at night to take away the village’s rice stores to an unknown destination.
During 1976-77 most of the Khmer Rouge leaders in the village changed six times. More than 50 Khmer Rouge were executed in these purges.
Pg 183 – Commentary: Marriage Through the State
Also in early 1977, “collective marriages,” involving hundreds of mostly unwilling couples, took place for the first time.
Pg 185 – Commentary: Ravages of War
With military orderliness, the communists thrust each official forward one at a time … [S]oldiers then stabbed the victim simultaneously, one through the chest and the other through the back. Family by Family … moving methodically down the line. … As each man lay dying, his anguished, horror struck wife and children were dragged up to his body. The women, forced to kneel, also received the simultaneous bayonet thrusts. The children and babies, last to die, were stabbed where they stood.
The individual killer will be forgotten. Such heinous crimes are thus depersonalized and their horror lost among general abstractions.
The above quote relates to the admission of Chong Bol, “who claimed that as a political commissar … had personally participated in the execution of 5,000 people. Think about that for a moment.”
Pg 187 – Commentary: Humanity at its Worst
Monks were defrocked; many were simply executed. … one estimate is that out of 40,000 to 60,000 monks only 800 to 1,000 survived to carry on their religion.
This incredible regime probably wiped out in cold blood nearly one-third of all Cambodians.
[T]he percent of the population murdered annually would … exceed that of the Nazis.
Pg 196 – Commentary: Death via Quota
“In the new Kampuchea, one million is all we need to continue the revolution. We don’t need the rest. We prefer to kill ten friends rather than keep one enemy alive.” – Khmer Rouge Officer
Pg 196 – Commentary: Ravages of War
Khmer Rouge purposely trained many child recruits to be cruel and unemotional about causing pain and death by having them practice on monkeys, dogs, cats, and other animals.
Pg 197 – Commentary: Ravages of War
“He could never work in the fields. He was useless to society. It is better for him to die.” – Khmer Rouge Soldier
“The city is bad, for there is money in the city. People can be reformed, but not cities. By sweating to clear the land, sowing and harvesting crops, men will learn the real value of things. Man has to know that he is born from a grain of rice!” – Political Officer
10) 1,883,000 Murdered: Turkey’s Genocidal Purges
“It has been previously communicated that the government by the order of the Assembly (Jemiet) has decided to exterminate entirely all the Armenians living in Turkey. Those who oppose this order can no longer function as a part of the government. Without regard to women, children and invalids, however tragic may be the means of transportation, and end must be put to their existence.
– Telegram from Minister of the Interior, Talaat
For some time the Young Turks prepared for this genocide. Throughout the empire, they selected new police chiefs and governors on the basis of their devotion to the Young Turk cause, briefed them in the capital, gave them secret instructions for liquidating the Armenians when ordered, and appointed them to villages, towns, and districts inhabited by Armenians. When the Young Turks finally decided to carry through the genocide, compliant or enthusiastic officials were in place and procedures prepared. The telegraphed order, “Take care of the Armenians,” triggered their merciless slaughter.
Moslem villagers were another enemy. Forewarned about approaching convoys and sometimes commanded to appear with weapons, they plundered the convoys as they straggled through their villages, raping and killing at will. After being repeatedly raped, some of the prettier Armenian girls survived only because they were taken, forcibly into a Moslem harem.
Some convoys had to make their way across mountains. Then, invited by messengers to have fun, Kurdish tribes would swoop down to do their own style of looting, raping, and killing, carrying off whichever women pleased their eyes.
Finally, the Turks invited brigands, and former Moslem prisoners released for the purpose, to attack the convoys. With the connivance of the guards, they did so enthusiastically.
Pg 221 – Account by solider Shahln Bey
“I saw an Armenian girl whom I know, and who was very beautiful. I called her by name, and said ‘Come. I will save you and you shall marry a young man of your country, a Turk or a Kurd.’ She refused, and said: ‘If you wish to do me a kindness I will ask one thing which you may do for me.’ I told her I would do whatever she wished, and she said: ‘I have a brother, younger than myself, here amongst these people. I pray you kill him before you kill me, so that in dying I may not be anxious in mind about him.’ She pointed him out and I called him. When he came, she said to him, ‘My brother, farewell. I kiss you for the last time, but we shall meet, if it be God’s will, in the next world, and He will soon avenge us for what we have suffered.’ They kissed each other, and the boy delivered himself to me. I must needs obey my orders, so I struck him one blow with an axe, split his skull, and he fell dead. Then she said: ‘I think you with all my heart, and shall ask you one for favour.’ She put her hands over her eyes and said: ‘Strike as you have struck my brother, one blow, and do not torture me.’ So I struck one blow and killed her, and to this day I grieve over her beauty and youth, and her wonderful courage.”
Pg 223 – American Ambassador Morgenthau
– Commentary: Humanity at its Worst
“He did not tell me who carried off the prize in this gruesome competition [for the best torture], but common reputation throughout Armenia gave a per-eminent infamy to Djevdet Bey … who had invented what was perhaps the masterpiece [torture] of all – that of nailing horseshoes to the feet of his Armenian victims.”
Pg 228 – Account of an Armenian bishop with a Turk Military Police Captain
“I have asked the Captain why he allowed these women and children to [be deported] to Aleppo and he replied: ‘If we had killed these women and children in the towns, we would not have known where their riches were, whether buried in the ground or otherwise hidden. That is why we allowed precious items such as jewelry to be taken. But after we had proceeded for about four hours, we came into a valley. With us were some thirty Turkish women who began to go through the clothing of the Armenian women and girls and took away the money and jewelry. It took them four days.'”
Pg 228 – Ambassador Morgenthau
“In all my talks on the Armenians the Ministor of War [Talaat] treated the whole matter more or less casually; he could discuss the fate of a race in a parenthesis, and refer to the massacre of children as nonchalantly as we would speak of the weather.
11) 1,670,000 Murdered: The Vietnamese War State
Pg 241 – Dr. Nguyen Manh Tuong (1956)
It is better to kill ten innocent people than to let one enemy escape.
A measure of such killing of noncombatants is the number of weapons captured as a ratio of the “enemy” killed in action. The normal ratio killed to weapons captures was 3 to 1. In one seven-month operation begun in December 1968 and focused on the densely populated provinces in the upper Delta, the U.S. Ninth Infantry Division reported killing 10,883 “enemy” in mainly small-scale ground and air actions (such as by helicopter gunships). However, only 748 weapons were captured, or a ratio of killed to weapons of 14.5 to 1. (In some actions the ratio was as high as 50 to 1.) Observers of these actions verified what is obvious from such ratios – not all killed were active Viet Cong.
Pg 281 – Commentary: Death via Quota
The Poet Nguyen Chi Thien, who by 1980 had spent over sixteen years in prison camps, must also have been expressing the feelings of “re-education” camp inmates in a poem he called “From Ape to Man” that was smuggled out of the camps to the West:
From ape to man, millions of years gone by.
From man to ape, how many years?
Mankind, please come to visit
The concentration camps in the heart of the thickest Jungles!
Naked prisoners, taking baths together in herds,
Living in ill-smelling darkness with lice and mosquitoes,
Fighting each other for a piece of manioc or sweet potato,
Chained, shot, dragged, slit up at will by their captors,
Beaten up and thrown away for the rats to gnaw at their breath!
This kind of ape is not fast but very slow in action, indeed
Quite different from that of remote prehistory.
They are hungry, they are thin as toothpicks,
And yet they produce resources for the nation all year long.
Mankind, please come and visit!
12) 1,585,000 Murdered: Poland’s Ethnic Cleansing
Pg 303 – American Political Adviser Robert Murphy
Here is retribution on a large scale, but practiced not on the Parteibonzen, but on women and children, the poor, the infirm…. Knowledge that they are the victims of a harsh political decision carried out with the utmost ruthlessness and disregard for humanity does not cushion the effect. The mind reverts to other mass deportations which horrified the world and brought upon the Nazis the odium which they so deserved. Those mass deportations engineered by the Nazis provided part of the moral basis on which we waged war and which gave strength to our cause. Now the situation is reversed. We find ourselves in the invidious position of being partners in this German enterprise and as partners inevitably sharing the responsibility.
Pg 308 – Commentary: Ravages of War
Czechs smashed the genitals of some men by stamping on them with their boots. The cries of the tortured were frightful. Five boys, aged 13 to 16, were beaten murderously because they had moved a few steps from their place. The children groaned and yelled for their mothers. Then the five children were stood up against the wall and the Czechs raised their rifles. The boys cried: “Don’t fire, let us live!” A volley was fired and the five boys fell to the ground.
Pg 309 – Commentary: Humanity at its Worst
By flashing torches the victims were selected and raped on the spot. There were terrible cries …. Women and girls were also taken away and never seen again. These mean acts were repeated night after night. There was no sanitation and soon diseases started. There was no food for the first three days, and very little afterwards. The women had been ordered to bring their house keys along with them; they were taken away and given to Czechs for looting the houses. Within two days 40 babies had died in their mothers’ arms in the barracks. The women were kept there for many weeks and the number of deaths increased. Babies died every day, up to 15 a day.
There is much more to this sorry report of inhumanity, but enough. Overall, the number of Saaz Germans thus murdered was over 2m000, the pain and suffering immeasurable.
13) 1,503,000 Murdered: The Pakistani Cutthroat State
Pg 315 – Yahya Khan, President of Pakistan
– Commentary: Ravages of War
Kill three million of them and the rest will eat out of our hands.
Pg 324 – Commentary: Humanity at its Worst
There was one kind of atrocity that seems unique to the Pakistani army and should be mentioned. According to Newsweek, an army major in the village of Haluaghat announced to assembled Bengalis that blood was needed for wounded soldiers and he requested donors. Apparently those that volunteered donated blood alright – all of it until they died.
14) 1,072,000 Murdered: Tito’s Slaughterhouse
Pg 343 – Commentary: Humanity at its Worst
Other torments existed for the adults, befitting their age. Among many was the woman who was about to give birth to a child. The Ustashi played the role of mid-wife, as well as that of the executioner, thrusting the knife into the mother’s womb, they extracted the child and put a cat in its place.
15) 1,663,000 Murdered? Orwellian North Korea
Pg 366 – Commentary: Marriage Through the State
In fact, the marriage may be denied if the couple is found to be too involved with each other, for dedication to Kim Il-sung must come first.
Pg 368 – School Teacher
One day, one of my students dropped a portrait of Kim Il-sung while cleaning the classroom. This was a big event. Although this was an accident, I, as well as the parents of the student, were held responsible for what happened, For one month, the parents of the student were criticized by the Party constantly and then were taken to a forced labor camp at Aoji coal mine. I went through a week of criticism from the Party and was expelled from the Party. After that, I was also taken to a forced labor camp.
16) 1,417,000 Murdered? Barbarous Mexico
Pg 385 – Excerpted from interviews by Journalist John Kenneth Turner
“By the sixth or seventh month they begin to die off like flies at the first winter frost, and after that they’re not worth keeping. The cheapest thing to do is to let them die; there are plenty more where they came from.”
Pg 387 – Commentary: Humanity at its Worst
In February 1908 one boatload of Yucatán bound Yaquis committed mas suicide to avoid being sold into slavery. Colonel Francisco B. Cruz, in charge of the shipment, reported: “Those Indians wanted to cheat us out of our commission money and so they threw their children into the sea and jumped in after them. We lowered boats but it was no use; they all went down before we got to them.”
17) 1,066,000 Murdered? Feudal Russia