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Mid-Range Wars and Atrocities of the Twentieth Century
Alphabetical Index
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List of Recurring Sources:
Aletheia, M. D., The Rationalist's Manual (1897):
AWM: Australian War Memorial Fact Sheet [http://www.awm.gov.au/encyclopedia/war_casualties.asp]
These cost more lives than the American losses in Vietnam (58,135), but not as many lives as five years of murder in America (119,700 killed 1990-94). Or another way of looking at it, each atrocity on this page killed roughly the same number of people as a single year of medical mistakes in the USA (44,000 to 98,000).

  1. Dutch East Indies, Aceh War (1873-1914): 70 000
    • Clodfelter
      • Dutch: 2,317 KIA + ten times that to disease
      • Atjeh people lost 11,187 (1904-1907)
    • Hans Bakker [​http://www.uoguelph.ca/~vincent/hbakker/war.htm​]
      • Dutch: 7,700 officers and soldiers died in battle or disease
        • Schulten estimates 2,267
        • Zentgraaf est. 7,707
      • Acehnese guerilla fighters: 30,000-100,000, died of battle or diseases
  2. Boxer Rebellion (1899-1901): 115 000
    • Rummel:
      • War: 10,000
      • Democide: 105,000
      • TOTAL: 115,000
    • Hammond: In North China, 32,000 Chinese Christians killed, plus 200 missionaries.
    • Small & Singer, battle deaths:
      • China: 2000
      • Japan: 622
      • Russia: 302
      • UK: 34
      • France: 24
      • USA: 21
      • TOTAL: 3,003
    • Eckhardt: 13,000 civ. + 3,000 mil. = 16,000
  3. Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902): 75 000
    • Pakenham, Thomas, The Boer War (1979):
      • British killed in battle: 5,774 k
      • British died of disease or wounds: 16,168
      • Black auxilaries killed: 2,000
      • Boers killed: 7,000
      • White civilians died in camps: 18-28,000
      • Blacks dead in camps: 12,000
      • [TOTAL: 66,000 ± 5,000]
    • Gilbert: 28,000 whites and "more than" 50,000 blacks died in the camps.
    • Encarta
      • British: 28,000
      • Boers: 4,000
      • Civilians died in camps: 20,000
      • [TOTAL: 52,000]
    • Steve Attridge, Nationalism, Imperialism and Identity in Late Victorian Culture: Civil and Military Worlds (2003):
      • British killed in battle: 7,792 kia
      • British died of disease: 13,250
      • Boers killed: 6,000
      • White women and children in camps: 26,370 died
      • Blacks dead in camps: 14,154 "official figure ... now known to be wrong"; actually >20,000
      • [TOTAL: >73,412]
    • Trager, People's Chronology​: 20,000 Boer women & children d. in camps.
    • Singer: 22,000 UK
    • Eckhardt: 13,000 civ. + 22,000 mil. = 35,000
    • COWP: 22,000 UK; 35,000 total
    • AWM: 606 Australian deaths
  4. Colombia (1899-1902): 100 000
    War of a Thousand Days:
    • Britannica​: 60-130,000
    • Encarta​: 60-130,000
    • Small & Singer: 100,000
    • Dict.Wars: 100,000
    • Eckhardt: 75,000 civ. + 75,000 mil. = 150,000
  5. Somalia​, Mohammed Abdulla Hasan (1899-1920): 100 000
    Mad Mullah Jihad
    • According to the Library of Congress [​http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/sotoc.html​], this war caused the deaths of about one third of the northern Somali population. The 1911 Britannica estimates 300,000 people in British Somaliland, so the death toll might have been something like 100-150,000. (depending on whether the 300000 was estimated before or after the one-third had died)
    • By summing the battle casualties in the campaigns that are descibed in the OnWar.com essay for the 1899-1905 phase of the war, I determined that the dervishes suffered some 11,700 casualties (K+W) fighting the British, which would come to around 3,000 KIA, plus another 1,000 killed in battle with the Abyssinians. The British lost something over 200 KIA.
  6. Russia (1900-17): 95 000
    Romanov Regime:
    • Rummel blames Tsar Nikolai for 1,070,000 democides; however, his evidence is (by his own admission) not as solid as he would like, so take this number with a grain of salt. Also, 975,000 of these would be included among the dead from the First World War (many -- 400T -- being mistreated POWs, along with 75T Turks/Kurds massacred, 83T German deportees dead, etc.) so we only have some 95,000 democides which occurred independently of WW1. Some 2,000 of these were killed in Jewish pogroms.
    • Eckhardt, civil conflicts in 1905-06:
      • Pogrom, Russians vs Jews: 2,000
      • Peasants & Workers vs Govt: 1,000
    • James Trager, The People's Chronology (1992): Pogroms in Russia kill some 50,000 Jews by 1909 ("1905")
    • OnWar.com: Pogroms in Russia (1903) k. 50,000 Jews
    • NOTE: I can't find supporting evidence for these high numbers killed in the pogroms. Most individual events seem to have killed dozens, and very occasionally hundreds.
      • "In the famous pogrom of Kishinev in 1903, there were 49 Jewish deaths out of a Jewish population of about 50,000; in Bialystok in 1906, 70 deaths out of about 48,000 Jews." (​http://www.west.net/~jazz/felshtin/redcross.html​)
      • "During 1903 and 1904, 45 pogroms occurred, 95 Jews and 13 non-Jews were killed, and 4,200 people were severely injured." (​http://www.factsofisrael.com/blog/archives/000418.html​)
  7. Herero War, German Southwest Africa (1904-07): 75 000 [make link]
    • 1911 Britannica: 5,000 Germans, 20-30,000 Herero k
    • Thomas Pakenham, The Scramble for Africa, p.615: The Nama population was reduced from 20,000 to 9,800 [-10,200], the Herero from 80,000 to 15,000 [-65,000].
    • Mark Cocker, Rivers of Blood, Rivers of Gold (1998): 75,000 Africans
    • Eckhardt: 80,000 civilians
    • Robert Edgerton, The Fall of the Asante Empire: 1,400 Germans KIA
  8. Russo-Polish War (1918-1920): 100 000
    • Singer
      • USSR: 60,000
      • Poland: 40,000
      • TOTAL: 100,000
    • Eckhardt: 100,000
    • Urlanis calculates 37,000 Poles KIA, and cites...
      Polish official commission:
      • killed: 17,278 (Urlanis: "underestimation")
      • dead: 30,337
      • missing: 51,374
  9. Morocco (1921-26) 68 000
    War in the Rif
    • Eckhardt: 11,000 civ. + 29,000 mil. = 40,000
    • Small & Singer, partial
      • Spain: 4,000
      • France: 25,000
      • Moroccans: unknown
    • Stanley Payne, Politics and the Military in Modern Spain (1967):
      KIA from 1916 to 1927: 17,082 Spanish + 2,394 Regulares (Moors serving Spain, partial count)
    • Clodfelter
      • French: 10,000 d. all causes
      • Spain: 50,000 d. all causes
      • Rif rebels: 30,000 killed and wounded
      • [TOTAL: ca. 67,500]
    • OnWar.com
      • Berbers: 5,000
      • France: 16,000
      • Spain: 15,000
      • TOTAL: 36,000
  10. Manchuria (1931-33): 60 000
    • Singer:
      • Japan: 10,000
      • China: 50,000
      • TOTAL: 60,000
    • Eckhardt: 60,000
  11. Chaco War (1932-35): 100 000 [make link]
    • Dictionary of 20C World History
      • Bolivia: 50,000
      • Paraguay: 35,000
      • TOTAL: 85,000
    • Bruce Farcau, The Chaco War (1991), deaths from all causes
      • Bolivia: 50,000
      • Paraguay: 40,000
      • TOTAL: 90,000
    • Marley
      • Bolivia: 57,000
      • Paraguay: 36,000
      • TOTAL: 93,000
    • Our Times: 100,000
    • Clodfelter
      • Paraguay
        • KIA: 12,000
        • Disease: 36,000
      • Bolivia: 52,397, incl...
        • KIA: 25,000
        • Died as POWs: 4,264
      • [TOTAL: 100,397]
    • Small & Singer
      • Bolivia: 80,000
      • Paraguay: 50,000
      • TOTAL: 130,000
    • John Gunther, Inside Latin America​: 135,000
    • Eckhardt: 70,000 civ. + 130,000 mil. = 200,000
  12. Israel (1948 et seq.): 65 000 [make link]
    • Israel has been almost continuously at war throughout its existence. Here's the tally:
    • Wars:
      1. War of Independence​, 1948
        • Singer:
          • Israel: 3,000
          • Egypt: 2,000
          • Syria: 1,000
          • Jordan: 1,000
          • Iraq: 500
          • Lebanon: 500
          • TOTAL: 8,000
        • Eckhardt: 8,000
        • B&J
          • Jewish military: 4,000
          • Jewish civilians: 2,000
          • 8,000 Arabs
          • TOTAL: 14,000
        • WPA3
          • Israel: 6,000
          • Arabs: 15,000
          • TOTAL: 21,000
        • Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs ("Israel MFA"): 6,373 Israelis KIA [​http://www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/go.asp?MFAH00us0​]
        • 5 March 1991 AP
          • Israel: 6,200
          • Arabs: 2,000 regular soldiers + thousands irregulars
        • [MEDIAN TOTAL: 8,200]
      2. Suez War, 1956
        • WPA3
          • Egypt: 1,650
          • Israel: 189
          • UK: 22
          • France: 10
          • TOTAL: 1,871
        • 5 March 1991 AP
          • Egypt: 2,000-3,000
          • Israel: 172
          • UK, France: 82
          • TOTAL: 2,254 to 3,254
        • Hartman:
          • Egypt: 2500-3000
          • Israel: 181
          • UK, France: 32
          • TOTAL: 2,713 to 3,213
        • Eckhardt: 1,000 civ. + 3,000 mil. = 4,000
        • Israel MFA: 231 Israelis KIA
        • [MEDIAN TOTAL: 2,800]
      3. Six Day War, 1967
        • Singer
          • Egypt: 10,000
          • Syria: 2,500
          • Jordan: 6,100
          • Israel: 1,000
          • TOTAL: 19,600
        • 5 March 1991 AP
          • Egypt: 11,500
          • Jordan: 6,094.
          • Syria: 1,000
          • Israel: 777
          • TOTAL: 19,371
        • Hartman
          • Egypt: 10-15,000
          • Syria: 1,000
        • WPA3
          • Arabs: 4,000
          • Israel: 983
          • TOTAL: 4,983
        • B&J
          • Israel: 700
          • Arabs: 25,000 "casualties"
        • Israel MFA: 776 Israelis KIA
        • Israeli Defense Force [​http://www.idf.il/english/history/born4.stm​]
          • Jordan: 800 KIA
          • Egypt: 15,000
        • Sachar, A History of Israel from the Rise of Zionism to Our Time, which would be 1996
          Israel: 759
        • [MEDIAN TOTAL: ca. 16,600]
      4. Israeli-Egyptian War, 1967-70
        • Singer:
          • Israel: 368
          • Egypt: 5000
          • TOTAL: 5,368
        • 5 March 1991 AP: 721 Israelis
        • Israel MFA: 1,424 Israelis KIA
        • Eckhardt: 50,000 civ. + 25,000 mil. = 75,000 (incl. 6-Day War). [Without supporting evidence, I doubt 50T civilian deaths]
        • [MEDIAN TOTAL: ca. 6,400]
      5. Yom Kippur War, 1973
        • WPA3
          • Egypt: 5,000
          • Syria: 3,000
          • Israel: 2,812
          • Other Arab: 340
          • TOTAL: 11,152
        • B&J
          • Egypt: 5,000
          • Syria: 3,000
          • Israel: 3,000
          • Iraq: 200
          • TOTAL: 11,200
        • Sachar:
          • Egypt: 7,700
          • Syria: 3,500
          • Israel: 2,552
          • TOTAL: 13,752
        • Eckhardt: 16,000
        • Singer:
          • Egypt: 5,000
          • Syria: 8,000
          • Israel: 3,000
          • Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia: 401
          • TOTAL: 16,401
        • 5 March 1991 AP
          • Egypt: 15,000
          • Syria: 3,500
          • Israel: 2,569
          • Iraqi: 125
          • TOTAL: 21,194
        • Israel MFA: 2,688 Israelis KIA
        • [MEDIAN TOTAL: ca. 14,900]
      6. TOTAL for these wars:
        • Israel: 6,800-11,100
        • Egypt: 23,700-40,000
        • Syria: 5,000-11,500
        • Jordan: 7,100
        • TOTAL: Adding the above gives us 43,000 to 70,000 military (and up to 51,000 civilians, but we only have Eckhardt's estimates on this.) Other estimates for the total:
          • [TOTAL of MEDIANS, above: ca. 48,900]
          • CDI: 125,000 deaths (1948-97)
          • Ploughshares 2000: >100,000 in 1948, 1967, and 1973 wars. Plus, 12,000 people, including 500 Israelis, during 1978 and 1982 invasions of Lebanon
          • Israel MFA: 20,093 Israelis KIA through 1997
    • Civil Strife:
      Israel vs. Palestinians:
      • SIPRI 1997: 13,000 killed (1948-96)
      • B'Tselem: The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in The Occupied Territories [​http://www.btselem.org/English/Statistics/Total_Casualties.asp​] 9 Dec 1987-May 2003 (cross-ethnic killings only)
        • In Occupied Territories
          • Palestinians: 3544
          • Israelis: 532
        • In Israel
          • Palestinians: 106
          • Israelis: 610
        • TOTAL
          • Palestinians: 3650
          • Israelis: 1142
          • TOTAL: 4792
      • 1st Intifada:
        • 28 May 1992 [Glasgow] Herald: since Dec. 1987
          • 904 Palestinians k by Israelis
          • 88 Israelis k by Palestinians
          • 473 Arabs k by Palestinians
          • TOTAL: 1,465
        • 9 Dec 1992 Irish Times: since Dec. 1987
          • 1,121 Palestinians k by Israelis
          • 103 Israelis k by Palestinians
          • 535 Arabs k by Palestinians
          • TOTAL: 1,759
      • 2nd Intifada:
        • 1 Oct. 2001 Chicago Tribune​: about 650 Palestinians + 170 Israelis since 28 Sept 2000
        • Ploughshares 2000: >1,500
  13. East Germany (1949-89): 100 000
    Communist Regime
    • 27 Oct. 1991 LA Times: 100,000 died in captivity or were executed for political offenses in E.G. (citing an official report by the unified German govt.)
    • 27 Oct 1991 Independent (London): 100,000 d., incl. 65,000 in or on way to post-war Soviet camps.
    • Rummel: 70,000 democides, 1948-87
    • 9 April 1990 UPI: 90,000 (acc. to Association for the Victims of Stalinism) or 56,000 (other sources) Germans k./d in Soviet detention camps after WW2. Mostly hunger.
    • 23 June 1991 Chicago Tribune​: 40,000 German political prisoners d. in Soviet-run camps after WW2
    • WHPSI: 6,162 political executions, 1948-52
    • 12 Aug 2004 Agence France Presse: 1,065 died fleeing E. Germany; 227 died in Berlin, 190 after the construction of the Wall.
  14. Congo Crisis (1960-64): 100 000
    • WHPSI: 14,003 deaths by political violence, 1958-67.
    • Dan Smith (1997): 100,000 killed in 1960 war.
    • Eckhardt: 100,000
    • Singer: 100,000, plus 50 Belgians (1960-67)
    • B&J: 110,000 (1960-64)
    • Dunnigan (1991): 100,000 to 110,000
    • Peter Forbath (The River Congo (1977)): at least 200,000
  15. Iraq (1960s)
    Govt. vs. Kurds
    • Eckhardt: 100,000 civ. + 5,000 mil. = 105,000 (1961-70)
    • B&J
      • 1961-66: 10,000
      • 1968-70: 2,000
      • TOTAL: 12,000
  16. Angola (1961-75): 80 000
    • Anti-colonial war
      • Dunnigan (1991): 120,000
      • Hartman:
        • 4,000 Portuguese
        • 25,000 insurgents
        • 50,000 civilians
        • TOTAL: 79,000 "casualties" (killed only?)
      • Eckhardt: 30,000 civ. + 25,000 mil. = 55,000
      • WHPSI (1958-77): 43,337
    • Atrocities:
      • Dict.Wars: 20,000 Africans k. in 1961 revolt.
      • Basil Davidson, In the Eye of the Storm : Angola's People: 300 Europeans k. by Kongo; 20-30,000 Africans k. by Portuguese, 1961
      • Hartman: 7,000 massacred by UPA Guerillas; 30,000 massacred in retaliation, 1961
      • Harff & Gurr: 40,000 Kongo, Assimilados were victims of repressive politicide, 1961-62
  17. Mozambique​, Anti-colonial war (1961-75)
    • Hartman:
      • 3,500 Portuguese
      • 10,000 FRELIMO
      • 50,000 civilians
      • TOTAL: 63,500
    • Eckhardt: 30,000
    • WHPSI: 4,625 (1958-75)
  18. North Yemen (1962-70): 100 000
    • 1984 World Almanac: 150,000
    • Singer: 100,000 (plus 1,000 Egyptians)
    • Eckhardt: 101,000
    • B&J: 100,000 (incl. 1,000 Egyptians + 1,000 Saudis, 1962-67)
    • 5 March 1991 AP: 70,000
  19. Nicaragua (1972-91): 60 000
    • Sandanista Rebellion (1972-1979)
      • WPA3: 10,000
      • 30,000 (​Britannica​)
      • 35,000 (Singer)
      • Eckhardt: 25,000 civ. + 10,000 mil. = 35,000
      • 40,000 (Our Times)
      • 50,000 (Chomsky 1987)
      • MEDIAN: 30,000
    • Contra Rebellion (1981-90): 30 000
      • WPA3: 10,000
      • B&J: 25,000 (1980-95)
      • 30,000 (​Washington Post, 6 Feb. 1990)
      • Dict.Wars: 30,000
      • Eckhardt: 15,000 civ. + 15,000 mil. = 30,000 (to 1987)
      • 30,000 (1990 SIPRI)
      • 57,000: (​Chicago Tribune​, 27 July 1989)
      • MEDIAN: 30,000
  20. Philippines (1972- )
    Guerrilla Wars
    • 29 Jan. 2003 Philippine Daily Inquirer​: Killed in Communist rebellion, AFP Intelligence Service report:
      • Government forces: 9,867 (1971-2002)
      • Communist rebels: 22,799 (1971-2002)
      • Civilians: 10,672 (crossfire, 1969-2002)
      • Total: 43,338
    • 1990 SIPRI: 50,000 (Moro insurrection, Mindinao: 1975-1986)
    • 1992 War Annual: 50,000
    • B&J: 60,000, Mindinao, 1970-95
    • Eckhardt (1972-87)
      • vs. Muslims: 20,000 civ. + 15,000 mil. = 35,000
      • vs. Communists: 20,000 civ. + 15,000 mil. = 35,000
      • TOTAL: 70,000
    • CDI: 75,000 (Govt. vs. New People's Army and National Liberation Front: 1969-97)
    • Ploughshares 2000
      • Mindinao: 100,000-150,000 since 1971
      • vs. NPA: 25,000 since 1969
      • TOTAL: 150,000 ± 25,000
    • D.Smith (1991): 80,000 ("20 years")
    • Dictionary of 20C World History: 120,000 (Moro insurrection, Mindinao: 1969-1996)
  21. Colombia (1970s, 1980s, 90s): 45 000
    Govt vs Communist guerrillas
    • Before 1990
      • 27 July 1989 Chicago Tribune​: 50,000 to 1989
      • (War Annual 4): 70,000 killed, 1973-89
      • Dictionary of 20C World History: 80,000 (vs. drug cartels, 1986-90)
    • After 1990
      • 23 May 1999 Denver Rocky Mtn News: 45,000 since 1986
      • Ploughshares 2000: 40,000 since 1990
      • 28 June 2001, Xinhua News Agency: 40,000 in past decade
      • August 2000 International Enforcement Law Reporter​: 35,000 civilian deaths and disappearances since 1987
      • 20 January 2002 Austin American Statesman​: 35-40,000 in past decade.
      • 16 Dec. 1999 NY Times: 35,000 in last 10 years
      • Washington Post (15 Jan. 1996): 17,000 deaths, 1990-94, acc2 to a report by the [Colombian] National Planning Dept.
    • Whole length
      • 1 July 2001, Xinhua News Agency: 200,000 k over 37 yrs
      • 20 January 2002 Austin American Statesman​: ca 200,000
      • Agence France Presse
        • 6 May 2002: some 200,000 deaths in almost 4 decades
        • 2 August 2001: 200,000 in 37 yrs
        • 6 Sept. 2000: 120,000 deaths in 4 decades
      • 13 July 1999, The Times [London]: 50,000 in 3 decades
      • [MEDIAN: ca. 45,000]
      • 10 September 2001 UPI: >40,000 in 37 yrs.
      • 16 Jan. 2000 Toronto Star: 35,000 in 30+ years
      • 17 Jan. 2000 Independent [London]: 30,000 in 35 years
      • B&J: 30,000 (1965-95)
  22. El Salvador (1979-92): 75 000
    Govt. vs. guerrillas
    • Total Deaths:
      • Britannica​: 70,000
      • 24 Dec. 1989 Arizona Republic​: 71,000
      • Clodfelter: 73,000, incl. 60,000 civilian (to 1990)
      • B&J: 75,000
      • Compton's​: 75,000
      • Encarta​: 75,000
      • Our Times: 75,000
      • Dict.Wars: 80,000
    • Disappearances (included above): 9,000 (Grenville)
    • Murders: 30,000 (1979-81, Chomsky (1987))
  23. Sierra Leone (1991-2002): 75 000
    Gov't vs. Revolutionary United Front
    • B&J: 100,000 (1991-95)
    • SIPRI 1997: over 3,000
    • CDI: 30,000 (1989-97)
    • 29 April 1999 AP: 14,000
    • 23 May 1999 Denver Rocky Mtn News: 15,000 (1991-96); 500,000 to 1999
    • Ploughshares 2000: 20-50,000
    • 27 June 2000 USA Today: perhaps as high as 75,000
    • 18 May 2000 The Times [London]: 75,000
    • 7 May 2003 Agence France Presse: 200,000
    • 7 Oct. 2004 CNN: 50,000
    • [MEDIAN: ca. 75,000]
  24. Algeria (1992-2002): 100 000
    Fundamentalist Moslem Insurrection, govt. vs. FIS and GIA:
    • CDI: 75,000 (1992-97)
    • Washington Post, 13 Jan. 1998: 75,000
    • 23 May 1999 Denver Rocky Mtn News: 80,000
    • Dict.Wars (1999): 70,000
    • Ploughshares 2000: 100,000
    • New York Times: 60-70,000 (15 Jan. 1998); 100,000 (27 Jan. 2000)
    • 26 June 2003 Agence France Presse: 100,000+
    • 8 April 2004 Guardian​: up to 150,000
  25. Eritrea-Ethiopia War (1998-2000) 70 000
    • FAS 2000: 40,000 soldiers KIA
    • 23 May 1999 Denver Rocky Mtn News: 50,000
    • 9 June 2000 Chicago Tribune​: 70,000
    • 21 Dec 2005 BBC: 80,000
    • Ploughshares 2000: 70-120,000 mil. + civ.
List of Recurring Sources
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Last updated Oct. 2010
Copyright © 1999-2010 Matthew White