Greatest mass murder?

Discussion in 'Modern' started by Thorlifter, Aug 4, 2016.

  1. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2004
    Messages:
    7,905
    Likes Received:
    189
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Occupation:
    IT Nerd
    Location:
    Dallas, Tx Jubail, Saudi Arabia
    Truthfully, I have never even heard of this. I think I'll get this book....


    Remembering the biggest mass murder in the history of the world

    Who was the biggest mass murderer in the history of the world? Most people probably assume that the answer is Adolf Hitler, architect of the Holocaust. Others might guess Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, who may indeed have managed to kill even more innocent people than Hitler did, many of them as part of a terror famine that likely took more lives than the Holocaust. But both Hitler and Stalin were outdone by Mao Zedong. From 1958 to 1962, his Great Leap Forward policy led to the deaths of up to 45 million people – easily making it the biggest episode of mass murder ever recorded.

    Historian Frank Dikötter, author of the important book Mao’s Great Famine recently published an article in History Today, summarizing what happened:

    Mao thought that he could catapult his country past its competitors by herding villagers across the country into giant people’s communes. In pursuit of a utopian paradise, everything was collectivised. People had their work, homes, land, belongings and livelihoods taken from them. In collective canteens, food, distributed by the spoonful according to merit, became a weapon used to force people to follow the party’s every dictate. As incentives to work were removed, coercion and violence were used instead to compel famished farmers to perform labour on poorly planned irrigation projects while fields were neglected.

    A catastrophe of gargantuan proportions ensued. Extrapolating from published population statistics, historians have speculated that tens of millions of people died of starvation. But the true dimensions of what happened are only now coming to light thanks to the meticulous reports the party itself compiled during the famine….

    What comes out of this massive and detailed dossier is a tale of horror in which Mao emerges as one of the greatest mass murderers in history, responsible for the deaths of at least 45 million people between 1958 and 1962. It is not merely the extent of the catastrophe that dwarfs earlier estimates, but also the manner in which many people died: between two and three million victims were tortured to death or summarily killed, often for the slightest infraction. When a boy stole a handful of grain in a Hunan village, local boss Xiong Dechang forced his father to bury him alive. The father died of grief a few days later. The case of Wang Ziyou was reported to the central leadership: one of his ears was chopped off, his legs were tied with iron wire, a ten kilogram stone was dropped on his back and then he was branded with a sizzling tool – punishment for digging up a potato.

    The basic facts of the Great Leap Forward have long been known to scholars. Dikötter’s work is noteworthy for demonstrating that the number of victims may have been even greater than previously thought, and that the mass murder was more clearly intentional on Mao’s part, and included large numbers of victims who were executed or tortured, as opposed to “merely” starved to death. Even the previously standard estimates of 30 million or more, would still make this the greatest mass murder in history.

    While the horrors of the Great Leap Forward are well known to experts on communism and Chinese history, they are rarely remembered by ordinary people outside China, and has had only a modest cultural impact. When Westerners think of the great evils of world history, they rarely think of this one. In contrast to the numerous books, movies, museums, and and remembrance days dedicated to the Holocaust, we make little effort to recall the Great Leap Forward, or to make sure that society has learned its lessons. When we vow “never again,” we don’t often recall that it should apply to this type of atrocity, as well as those motivated by racism or anti-semitism.

    The fact that Mao’s atrocities resulted in many more deaths than those of Hitler does not necessarily mean he was the more evil of the two. The greater death toll is partly the result of the fact that Mao ruled over a much larger population for a much longer time. I lost several relatives in the Holocaust myself, and have no wish to diminish its significance. But the vast scale of Chinese communist atrocities puts them in the same general ballpark. At the very least, they deserve far more recognition than they currently receive.


    I. Why We so Rarely Look Back on the Great Leap Forward

    What accounts for this neglect? One possible answer is that the most of the victims were Chinese peasants – people who are culturally and socially distant from the Western intellectuals and media figures who have the greatest influence over our historical consciousness and popular culture. As a general rule, it is easier to empathize with victims who seem similar to ourselves.

    But an even bigger factor in our relative neglect of the Great Leap Forward is that it is part of the general tendency to downplay crimes committed by communist regimes, as opposed to right-wing authoritarians. Unlike in the days of Mao, today very few western intellectuals actually sympathize with communism. But many are reluctant to fully accept what a great evil it was, fearful – perhaps – that other left-wing causes might be tainted by association.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Dislike Dislike x 1
  2. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2004
    Messages:
    7,905
    Likes Received:
    189
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Occupation:
    IT Nerd
    Location:
    Dallas, Tx Jubail, Saudi Arabia
    In China, the regime has in recent years admitted that Mao made “mistakes” and allowed some degree of open discussion about this history. But the government is unwilling to admit that the mass murder was intentional and continues to occasionally suppress and persecute dissidents who point out the truth.

    This reluctance is an obvious result of the fact that the Communist Party still rules China. Although they have repudiated many of Mao’s specific policies, the regime still derives much of its legitimacy from his legacy. I experienced China’s official ambivalence on this subject first-hand, when I gave a talk about the issue while teaching a course as a visiting professor at a Chinese university in 2014.

    II. Why it Matters.

    For both Chinese and westerners, failure to acknowledge the true nature of the Great Leap Forward carries serious costs. Some survivors of the Great Leap Forward are still alive today. They deserve far greater recognition of the horrible injustice they suffered. They also deserve compensation for their losses, and the infliction of appropriate punishment on the remaining perpetrators.

    In addition, our continuing historical blind spot about the crimes of Mao and other communist rulers, leads us to underestimate the horrors of such policies, and makes it more likely that they might be revived in the future. The horrendous history of China, the USSR, and their imitators, should have permanently discredited socialism as completely as fascism was discredited by the Nazis. But it has not – so far – fully done so.

    Just recently, the socialist government of Venezuela imposed forced labor on much of its population. Yet most of the media coverage of this injustice fails to note the connection to socialism, or that the policy has parallels in the history of the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, and other similar regimes. One analysis even claims that the real problem is not so much “socialism qua socialism,” but rather Venezuela’s “particular brand of socialism, which fuses bad economic ideas with a distinctive brand of strongman bullying,” and is prone to authoritarianism and “mismanagement.” The author simply ignores the fact that “strongman bullying” and “mismanagement” are typical of socialist states around the world. The Scandinavian nations – sometimes cited as examples of successful socialism- are not actually socialist at all, because they do not feature government ownership of the means of production, and in many ways have freer markets than most other western nations.

    Venezuela’s tragic situation would not surprise anyone familiar with the history of the Great Leap Forward. We would do well to finally give history’s largest episode of mass murder the attention it deserves.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2011
    Messages:
    3,743
    Likes Received:
    439
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Aircraft Engineer
    Location:
    Nelson
    It is a peculiar trait (although certainly not unique) of South American nations that at some stage in in many of their turbulent, yet brief histories, their governments carried out the most heinous barbarism against their own people.

    [​IMG]

    ESMA: Argentina's dirty war: the museum of horrors
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. fubar57

    fubar57 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2009
    Messages:
    11,084
    Likes Received:
    1,044
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Heavy Equipment Operator
    Location:
    Jungles of Canada
    You can win a lot of bar bets with that info Roland. I'm forever getting into "discussions" with people who are adamant that it was Hitler or Stalin and then I'll link them to a few websites
     
    • Like Like x 2
  5. Capt. Vick

    Capt. Vick Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2008
    Messages:
    7,869
    Likes Received:
    637
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Long Island, New York
    And yet Mao is still revered over there...oh and add to that Mao's last gasp, "The Cultural Revolution".
     
  6. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Messages:
    6,782
    Likes Received:
    997
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    CGI Creator
    Location:
    Osaka
    That was Mao's mistake.
    He did not intend to kill people.
     
    • Dislike Dislike x 1
  7. Michael Paquette

    Michael Paquette New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2016
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Gender:
    Male
    To a degree. They know what he did but he's also credited for founding the China that exists today. His pictures are still present in public but not as many as there has been in the past. It's an uncomfortable truth they live with.
     
  8. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2008
    Messages:
    15,185
    Likes Received:
    2,027
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Public Safety Automotive Technician
    Location:
    Redding, California
    Home Page:
    I have to agree with Shinpachi, as Chairman Mao did not intend for that blunder to happen. It was a poorly thought out program that had dire consequences.

    The ministers in charge of the relocation and work parties certainly paid for their mistake, but it was not intentional like Stalin's many military and civilian purges or the civilian purges conducted by Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge.
     
    • Dislike Dislike x 1
  9. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,871
    Likes Received:
    571
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Toronto
    "... He did not intend to kill people"

    You are more charitable than I am ... I think he was quite indifferent to human life
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. gumbyk

    gumbyk Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2009
    Messages:
    1,623
    Likes Received:
    205
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Occupation:
    Aviation QMS/SMS consultant
    Location:
    Blenheim
    Indifference is not intentional killing.

    Personally, I couldn't really care less whether some people on this earth were alive or not. Doesn't mean I'd kill them given the chance.
     
  11. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,871
    Likes Received:
    571
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Toronto
    #11 michaelmaltby, Aug 5, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2016
    "... some people".

    What are we talking about here, gumbyk, :) .... random individuals?..... specific social classes? ... tribes, perhaps? .... or nationalities? :)

    Mao was no innocent bystander watching some spontaneous social engineering experiment take place .... he was a lecherous egotist who manipulated a "gang" of deputies with the assistance of his wife and created realities that effected hundreds of millions of peoples' lives. '

    Ignoring realities (nature) to pursue political dogmatism fairly describes Mao's policies and behavior. He was the architect of mass murder just as surely as Stalin, Hitler or Pol Pot, IMHO.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Messages:
    6,782
    Likes Received:
    997
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    CGI Creator
    Location:
    Osaka
    In June 1938, Chiang Kai-shek destroyed several embankments along the Yellow River to stop the advance of Japanese Army.
    Floods killed hundreds of thousands of Chinese people.
    Japanese soldiers were obliged to stop and rescue them.
    Chiang was a murderer as he intended it.

    Refugees_of_Yellow_River_Flood.JPG
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  13. Frank Stewart

    Frank Stewart New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2016
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Gender:
    Male
    #13 Frank Stewart, Aug 12, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 13, 2016
    Edited because of political BS.
     
    • Dislike Dislike x 3
  14. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2008
    Messages:
    15,185
    Likes Received:
    2,027
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Public Safety Automotive Technician
    Location:
    Redding, California
    Home Page:
    In case you're not aware, there is NO political bullsh!t in the forums here.

    You want to talk historical perspective, fine, but this "right wing, left wing, blah blah blah" doesn't last long, so you might want to edit your post before a moderator "encourages" you to do so.

    And I might suggest you take your own advice and actually read some historical references before posting again.
     
    • Winner Winner x 1
  15. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2009
    Messages:
    24,064
    Likes Received:
    655
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Korporate Kontrolleur
    Location:
    South Carolina
    I was amazed last year when I first read about this and I was just blown away and it served very little purpose. He also did a number on the Taiwanese when he and his crew fled there after mainland China fell.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  16. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Messages:
    6,782
    Likes Received:
    997
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    CGI Creator
    Location:
    Osaka
    #16 Shinpachi, Aug 13, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2016
    So, LIFE dated May 9, 1938 tells what happened in Nanking too.

    "Horrors beyond human imagination took place in Nanking between Dec. 10 and 18, 1937. Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, despite expert advices, had left some of his best troops to make a last stand inside the city. When the walls were breached, Chinese soldiers stripped to their underclothes and ran around looking for civilian clothes to disguise themselves. Japanese shot down everyone seen running or caught in a dark alley. Soldiers and civilians were tied in groups of 50 and executed in cold blood!"

    Chiang's side reported he had left about 50,000 soldiers in the city.
    Japanese side counted about 80,000 stripped uniforms there.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  17. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2004
    Messages:
    7,905
    Likes Received:
    189
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Occupation:
    IT Nerd
    Location:
    Dallas, Tx Jubail, Saudi Arabia
    Regarding Shinpachi's post about Nanking, I know it has it's own perspective, but the book by Iris Chang called the Rape of Nanking is very good. I've been lazy and want to get the Diaries of John Rabe as well to get his perspective, I just haven't done it yet.

    And Frank Stewart and all 4 of your posts to this site, take your thumbs down and blow it out your ear. This has no political aspect at all but a historical reference with an almost genocidal aspect which I had no idea even happened. If I didn't know about it, there a probably others that didn't as well so I posted it here for others to read and maybe learn something.

    Forum rules.......no politics! Thanks to the Moderator that cleared that post up.
     
  18. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2008
    Messages:
    15,185
    Likes Received:
    2,027
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Public Safety Automotive Technician
    Location:
    Redding, California
    Home Page:
    You tell him, Thor!! :lol:

    Regarding that debacle at Nanking - that was a sizable force that Chaing Kai-shek left to defend the city. He should have either withdrawn the entire force to a better defensive position or utilized them to better effect.

    I know the Imperial Japanese Army was seen as an invincible force, but the Chinese commanders should have had better control over their troops and with that control, could have done considerable damage to the advancing IJA.
     
  19. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2008
    Messages:
    10,674
    Likes Received:
    676
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Urban Design/Strategic Studies Tutor
    Location:
    Orange NSW
    I have no doubts that Mao was a ruthless individual. And I accept that in terms of sheer numbers he is probably the main man. but I still don't put him in quite the same class as hitler or stalin.

    Stalin was paranoid and delusional, and could kill on a mere whim. As could hitler. at the end, hitler reportedly was taking pleasure from watching members of the July plot conspiracy being tortured then hanged with piano wire. to me that is the product that only someone really sick could derive pleasure from.

    Mao, was quite prepared to sacrifice others to achieve what it was he needed. but as far as I am aware, he did not derive satisfaction from those losses.

    The current nth Korean leadership has to come close to these numbers. I read recently they are actively encouraging their workers to take crack cocaine. They cant feed their workers, but they can get you crack, on the cheap......
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  20. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2004
    Messages:
    7,905
    Likes Received:
    189
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Occupation:
    IT Nerd
    Location:
    Dallas, Tx Jubail, Saudi Arabia
    I agree with you that he didn't derive satisfaction, but also to the degree that he didn't care as long as his goal was met. Does the means justify the end? I think the 45 million dead (estimated) would disagree.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
Loading...

Share This Page