Top 10 State Sponsored Genocides

Genocide is the intentional mass killing of a group, usually involving civilians, women, children and innocent people on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity or social economic status. Although the term was coined in the post-WWII era, the spirit of the term existed prior to the beginning of 20th century. The definitions of genocides were introduced in the Geneva Conference of 1864 and the Hague Convention of 1899. As such, many pre-Holocaust conflicts were considered to be genocide.

In 1944, a Polish-Jewish lawyer named Raphael Lemkin coined the term Genocide to describe Nazi policies of systematic murder, including the destruction of the European Jews. He formed the word “genocide” by mixing the word geno-, from the Greek word for race or tribe, with –cide, from the Latin word for killing. The following year, the International Military Tribunal held in Nuremberg, Germany,charged top Nazis with crimes against humanity. The word “genocide” was included in the charges, but as a descriptive and not legal, term.

This article provides an overview of 10 state sponsored genocides,which have defined history in the modern and contemporary eras.


1. Genocide of people of Congo

The colonial administration of King Leopold II of Belgium was one of forced labour, mass murder and torture. Estimated range of victims was about 30 million, starting from 1885 and continuing into 20th century. The population of Congo declined from about 30 million to under 9 million during this time of atrocity.

Civilians in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo remain victims of mass killings to this day. The Congonese are still being severe torture and raped at the hands of numerous armed groups operating in the provinces of North Kivu, South Kivu and Orientale.  Conflict in the DR Congo has resulted in an estimated 5.4 million civilian deaths since 1996.

Every hour, approximately 48 Congolese women are being raped. An estimated 2 million women have been victims of rape. Other gender-based violence can be directly associated with the civil war that is still ongoing in the region.


2. Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (1939-1945)

During World War II, United States, conducted atomic bombing against Hiroshima and Nagasaki. During the first 2-4 months, the acute affects killed 90000-166000 in Hiroshima and 60000-80000 in Nagasaki. During the following months large numbers died from burns, radiation sickness and other injuries. Since then more have died due to Leukemia and Cancer.


3. The Nazi Holocaust (1932-33)

Approximately six million European Jews, ethnic Poles, Romani, POWs and Soviet civilians were killed during World War II under a program of state-sponsored extermination by Nazi Germany. Hitler established concentration camps at places such as Auschwitz, Treblinka and Sobibor in which women, children and old people were executed and other inmates were used for slave labour, until they died of exhaustion and disease. The toll is estimated to be at 11 million to 17 million people.

Jews were not the only targets of Nazi extermination policies as the first paragraph suggests. The Nazis also targeted Gypsies, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Communists, twins, and the disabled. Zyklon B was first tested on the disabled in sanitariums before it was used in extermination  caps. Some of these people tried to hide from the Nazis, like Anne Frank and her family. A few were successful, but most were not. Those that were captured suffered sterilization, forced abandonment, separation from family and friends, beatings, torture, starvation, and worse of all death.

In the wake of the Holocaust, many survivors found shelter in displaced persons camps that were administered by the Allied powers, sometimes on concentration camp grounds. Between 1948 and 1951, almost 700,000 Jews emigrated to Israel, including 136,000 Jewish displaced persons from Europe. Other Jewish left for the United States, Canada, Australia and other nations. The last DP camp was closed in 1957. The crimes committed during the Holocaust devastated most European Jewish communities and eliminated hundreds of Jewish communities in occupied Europe countries entirely.


4. Ukrainian Famine

Known as “Holodomor (murder by hunger)”, it was a famine in the Ukrainian SSR from 1932-33 during which millions of people starved to death as a result of the trade and economic policies of Joseph Stalin. It was the largest peace time catastrophe in the history of Ukraine. Estimates of the number of casualties ranged from 2.6 million to 10 million.


5. Bengal Famine of 1943

3 million people died from starvation and malnutrition due to this man-made famine. The British army stored all grains in anticipation of Japanese invasion and exported food to allied forces in middle-east and Europe while the local people starved to death.

In doing this, the British brought on a cold and insensitive economic agenda to India. Economic exploitation damaged the indigenous Indian economy and resulted in a decline in the standard of living and quality of life. The British unwillingness to respond with urgency and vigor to food deficits caused there to be about 2 dozen appalling famines in the British occupation of India.

These famines swept away tens of millions of people. It was one of the worst famines to be recorded since 1770, killing approximately 10 million people in Bengal (one third of the population) and which was exacerbated by the rapacity of the East India Company [1-3,10].

6. Armenian Genocide (April 24,1915)

It was a deliberate and systematic extermination of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire during and just after World War I. The Armenians were forced to march hundreds of miles without food and water to the Syrian Desert. 1 million – 1.5 million died due to starvation, sickness and disease.


7. Darfur Genocide (2003-):

The Darfur Genocide took place in response to uprisings against Arab led government in Darfur. Most of the genocide acts were conducted by Janjaweed, who were hired by the government in Sudan to deal with DLF, SLM and JEM Movements. The whole conflict began in 2003 when DLF’ SLM and JEM resisted the government and accused the latter for being unfair to non-Arabs.  Many resistance movements resorted to violence to solve their problem, which got them into the situation.


8. Asian Holocaust (1930s-1945)

There were several crimes against humanity committed under Hirohito between early 1930s and 1945. Countries affected by the crimes hold the Japanese Imperial Family, military forces and the Imperial Japanese army responsible. Japan, throughout the 1930s and 1940s attempted to annihilate its threats and enemies in their hope to acquire living space in the Pacific region. Many Japanese commanders and personnel were tried and convicted between 1946 and 1951. The two most notable incidents during the Asian Holocaust were: Nanjing, China (1937-‘38) and the Manila, Phillipines massacre where 100,000 civilians were murdered.


9. Greek Genocide (1914-1923)

Under the Ottoman Empire rule, Greeks were persecuted, jailed, massacred and expelled. Many of them were forced to go through death marches as well. Those who could not withstand the conditions were killed or died. 100,000 Ottoman Greeks lost their lives. In 2001, Greeks passed a decree which held Turkey responsible for genocide. Turkey has since denied the claim.


10. Herero and Namaqua Genocide (1904-1907):

Before Hitler came to power, there was Lothar von Trotha. von Trotha was the German commander sent to deal with the uprisings in the German colony Southwest Africa. His policies were known to be harsh against rebellious native in Southwest Africa. In 1904 von Trotha introduced the Annihilation Proclamation of 1904 to eliminate his problem and drove two nations into a desert where they starved to death. Those who survived were sent to work in concentration camps. Approximately 100,000 natives were murdered.


Von Trotha`s intention were known, especially in his letter to Germany before Waterberg.  His solution quoted below illustrates an example of a deliberately planned genocide:


“I believe that the nation as such should be annihilated, or, if this was not possible by tactical measures, have to be expelled from the country…This will be possible if the water-holes from Grootfontein to Gobabis are occupied. The constant movement of our troops will enable us to find the small groups of nation who have moved backwards and destroy them gradually.”


Mahmood Mamdani, When Victims Become Killers: Colonialism, Nativism, and the Genocide in Rwanda, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2001, p. 12

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10 Responses

  1. scorpiorising

    So the US dropping the bomb is number 2? You gotta be f*ing kidding me. It ended WWII for America, and wouldn’t have happened if Japan had left Pearl Harbor alone. Whatever America hating jerk wrote this just HAD to put America somewhere in this list, and I guess that’s the best they could come up with.

  2. eric

    i think america should be #1, hence atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was just a warm up off what continued. Their current policy is to rule the world and show that they can bring down any country with G20 following them, while inside it is a 3rd world country that is just printing money to survive with huge debt, corruption and no chance to pay it off respectfully. `The Roman Empire` will Fall!! They all did. not that i want it, it is just inevitable.

  3. cyrus

    The atomic bombs should be low or not even on the list. using the high estimate of 240,000 that is only a small percentage compared to number 3 the nazi holocaust and almost every other thing on this list. Dropping the bomb was a something that had to be done but it was a tragedy. If not it is estimated that almost 1-2 million allies would become casualties and almost 20 million japanese would have died.

    Also Eric it seems like you your just pissed of at America. You honestly cant say that the atomic bombs and every war and other actions should be called a genocide. I believe you should learn more about america and the japanese during world war two and the after effects.

    Knowing what i know now and if i was in trumans situation i would not hesitate to give the order.

  4. Aras

    Armenian Genocide is a lie. Yes, they were moved this people but 2 fact never told about it.
    1- They are not million people. Few thousand, at top.
    2- Armenian killed almost 300.000 civilian other ethinc groups on this region. Thats why they have force to moved. No one thing about it, because people who killed by Armenian are muslims. Ottoman empire try guard to own people from own people again. This is not genocide. This is tradegy. Because and after this occasion, there are much more casuiltes then Armenia. And Ottoman Empire lost 2 front against English and Russia because that. Armenia still ask for soil to Turkey, and still they occupy Azerbaijan soil.

    And this list all wrong. There was a genocide made by France on North Africa in this ages.

    And English almost killed all native american in this continent.

    Spanish destroy all middle american civilization too.

    And Atomic bomb… I think this act is not genocide. İf USA drop more bomb on Japan, it will be. I think using abomb over a civilian not a genocide, a humanity crime. And yes, i hate USA to use Abomb over civilian.

  5. Dean

    How can you not include the decimation of the Native Indians???? At least 60 million…

  6. Cody

    #2 is bull. if you dont want to win a war move to france with the rest of them.

  7. Paul

    You forgot a few: the Red Khmer in Cambodia, killing 1/3 of the Cambodian population in a few years, the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution in Mao’s China killing millions of people, the deportation of ethnic groups like the Chechens, Tatars, Wolga-Germans etc. under Stalin, killing each time up 40 to 50% of these groups. And yes, Aras, the Armenians defitiely were victims of a genocide perpetrated by the Turks.

  8. Some idiot

    This list was written by a remtard on free school meals. You think the atomic bombing of Nagasaki was aimed at exterminating the entire Japanese race? You think that, because only two bombs were used, it was worse than the conventional bombing of Japan and Germany that killed far more people? You think it’s worse than the god damned Holocaust? Are you fucking mental?

    You Yanks really need to get over this collective guilt-trip you seem to have over defeating a country that was quite simply ridiculously evil by any normal human standard. It’s starting to get pathological.

  9. sid

    What about 1971 genocide of bengalis in bangladesh by pakistan? 3 million were killed. No trial.


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