Communist Body Count

by Scott Manning on December 4, 2006

The following estimates represent citizens killed or starved to death by their own Communist governments since 1918. These numbers do not include war dead. The governments are sorted by body count (highest to lowest).

All numbers are mid-estimates.

While this list is as complete as I have been able to determine, it is evolving. Some numbers are incomplete and there are still five Communist countries that have the potential to kill more of their citizens. Over the next year, each government will be profiled in detail on this website.

A detailed bibliography is listed at the end of this page. Feedback is more than welcome.

If you find this interesting, check out Nazi Body Count.

Communist Body Count: 149,469,610

RankCountry

1

People's Republic of China
Body Count: 73,237,000

1949-Present (57+ years and counting)

R.J. Rummel originally estimated China's body count between between the years of 1949-1987 to be 35,236,000 (Rummel 1994). This excluded 38,000,000 million that died of famine during the Great Leap Forward. After the release of Mao: The Unknown Story, Rummel became convinced that the Chinese government was directly responsible for the famine, thus increasing his original estimate by 38,000,000 (Rummel 2005). 1,000 was added for Tienanmen Square in 1989 (Courtois 1999).

2

USSR FlagUnion of Soviet Socialist Republics
Body Count: 58,627,000

1922-1991 (69 years)

The body count only covers the years 1923-1987 (Rummel 1996).

3

Russia FlagRussian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic
Body Count: 3,284,000

1918-1922 (4 years)

This body count does not include the 6,210,000 killed in the civil war (Rummel 1996).

4

North Korea FlagDemocratic People's Republic of Korea
Body Count: 3,163,000

1948-Present (58+ years and counting)

1,663,000 is attributed between 1948-1987 excluding the Korean War (Rummel 1994). 2,500,000 is the mid-estimate for those who starved to death between 1995-1998 (U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea 2006).

5

Cambodia FlagCambodia
Body Count: 2,627,000

1975-1987 (12 years)

The body count estimate is complete (Rummel 1994). The offical country name was Democratic Kampuchea during Pol Pot's reign and then known as People's Republic of Kampuchea afterwards.

6

Afghanistan FlagDemocratic Republic of Afghanistan
Body Count: 1,750,000

1978-1992 (14 years)

The body count estimate is complete (Courtois 1999).

7

Vietnam FlagVietnam
Body Count: 1,670,000

1975-Present (30+ years and counting)

The body count covers the years 1945-1987 for Vietnam/North Vietnam and excludes 1,062,000 from the Vietnam War (Rummel 1994).

8

Ethiopia FlagPeople's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Body Count: 1,343,610

1974-1991 (17 years)

The body count includes 10,000 political assasinations during 1977-1978, 1,000 children killed in 1977, 110 massacred in an Orthodox church in 1975, 80,000 during the civil war between 1978-1980, 250,000 that died in 1982 through Transit Camps, and 2,500 killed in a bombing raid (Courtois 1999). Another 1,000,000 is added for the famine during 1984-1985 (BBC News 2000).

9

Yugoslavia FlagSocialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
Body Count: 1,072,000

1945-1992 (47 years)

The body count only covers the years 1945-1992 excluding 100,000 from the Tito Partisans between 1941-1944 (Rummel 1994).

10

Chinese Soviet Republic FlagChinese Soviet Republic
Body Count: 700,000

1931-1934 (3 years)

The body count only includes the Jiangxi and Fujian provinces (Chang 2005). Although Mozambique has 700,000 to its name, the Chinese Soviet Republic produced more bodies in a shorter time period and the estimate is low.

11

Mozambique FlagPeople's Republic of Mozambique
Body Count: 700,000

1975-1990 (15 years)

100,000 civilians murdered between 1986 and mid-1988 (Young 1991) and 600,000 starved to death between 1975-1985 (Courtois 1999).

12

Romania FlagSocialist Republic of Romania
Body Count: 435,000

1947-1989 (42 years)

The body count only covers the years 1947-1987 (Rummel 1997).

13

Bulgaria FlagPeople's Republic of Bulgaria
Body Count: 222,000

1946-1990 (44 years)

The body count only covers the years 1948-1987 (Rummel 1997).

14

Angola FlagPeople's Republic of Angola
Body Count: 125,000

1975-1992 (17 years)

The body count only covers the years 1975-1987 (Rummel 1997).

15

Mongolia FlagMongolian People's Republic
Body Count: 100,000

1924-1992 (68 years)

The body count only covers the years 1924-1987 (Rummel 1997).

16

Albania FlagPeople's Socialist Republic of Albania
Body Count: 100,000

1946-1991 (45 years)

The body count only covers the years 1944-1987 (Rummel 1997).

17

Cuba FlagRepublic of Cuba
Body Count: 73,000

1961-Present (45+ years and counting)

The body count only covers the years 1959-1987 (Rummel 1997).

18

East Germany FlagGerman Democratic Republic
Body Count: 70,000

1949-1990 (41 years)

The body count only covers the years 1948-1987 (Rummel 1997).

19

Czechoslovakia FlagSocialist Republic of Czechoslovakia
Body Count: 65,000

1948-1990 (42 years)

The body count only covers the years 1948-1968 (Rummel 1997).

20

Laos FlagLao People's Democratic Republic
Body Count: 56,000

1975-Present (31+ years and counting)

The body count only covers the years 1975-1987 excluding 47,000 war dead (Rummel 1997).

21

Hungary FlagHungarian People's Republic
Body Count: 27,000

1949-1989 (40 years)

The body count only covers the years 1948-1987 (Rummel 1997).

22

Poland FlagPeople's Republic of Poland
Body Count: 22,000

1948-1989 (41 years)

The body count only covers the years 1948-1987 (Rummel 1997). Excludes 1,585,000 from ethnic cleansing between 1945-1950 (Rummel 1994).

23

Yemen FlagPeople's Democratic Republic of Yemen
Body Count: 1,000

1969-1990 (21 years)

The body count only covers the years 1969-1987 (Rummel 1997).

References

BBC News (2000, April 6). Flashback 1984: portrait of a famine. Retrieved May 7, 2006, from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/703958.stm

Chang, Jung, & Halliday, Jon (2005). Mao: the unknown story (1st American ed.). New York: Alfred A Knopf.

Courtois, S., Werth, N., Panne, J., Paczkowski, A., Bartosek, K., & Margolin, J. (1999). The black book of Communism: crimes, terror, repression. United States: Harvard University Press.

Rummel, R. J. (1994). Death by government. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.

Rummel, R. J. (1996). Lethal politics: Soviet genocide and mass murder since 1917 (1st paperback ed.). New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.

Rummel, R. J. (2005, November 20). Reevaluating China’s democide to be 73,000,000. Retrieved April 5, 2006, from http://freedomspeace.blogspot.com/2005/11/reevaluating-chinas-democide-to-be.html

Rummel, R. J. (1997). Statistics of democide: genocide and mass murder since 1900. Charlottesville, Virginia: Transaction Publishers.

U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (2006). Failure to protect: a call for the UN Security Council to act in North Korea. United States: DLA Piper.

Young, Lance S. (1991). Mozambique’s sixteen-year bloody civil war. Retrieved November 1, 2006, from http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/report/1991/YLS.htm

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