Death by socialism

Diane Sieker photo

While many on the left are presently tripping over themselves to advance socialism in the United States, it might be well to remember that this philosophy has been responsible for more death than any other in world history. What are the numbers? It is hard to really know. Socialist and liberal organizations never disclose such and never support any objective research to know as it undermines their hope of “advancing” socialism in the United States.

Democratic Rep. Larry McDonald of Georgia entered into the Congressional Record April 2, 1979, the numbers as reported by Figaro magazine in November 1978 as 143 million lives lost since 1917. It broke this number into categories. The human cost of communism in the former USSR, 1917 to 1959, under Vladimir Lenin and Josef Stalin was 66,700,000, that of the former USSR from 1959 to 1978 was 3,000,000 minimum and that of China from 1949 to 1978 at 63,784,000, all but two years under Mao Zedong. Another 2,923,700 Germans civilians were killed during expulsions of 1945 and1946.

Following World War II, “freedom fighters” rose in resistance to socialism in East Berlin, Prague, Budapest and the Baltic states between 1945 and 1975, but the price was very heavy; 500,000 were slaughtered by the socialists. Death by socialism was experienced in communist aggression in Greece, Malaysia, Myanmar, Korea, Philippines, Vietnam, Cuba, Africa and Latin America. The report attributed 3,500,000 deaths in these areas combined.

But the highest per capita deaths occurred in Cambodia where 2,500,000 of a total population of 7,000,000 were executed by socialist leader Pol Pot between 1975 and 1978. One of every three people did not have the right to live and died in the “killing fields;” their bones scattered throughout Cambodia.

Chairman Mao Zedong, a favorite of the American left, exterminated 1,176,000 his first year. Death by socialism did not let up after initial enemies were destroyed. Fourteen million Chinese were eliminated in the first five years of Maoism. He came to power in 1949 and died in 1976. He was the greatest mass murderer in human history at 63,000,000 followed, in order, by Josef Stalin between 40,000,000 and 60,000,000, Adolf Hitler at 6,000,000 Jews and 5,000,000 other undesirables, 11 million Germans total, Nikita Khrushchev at 11,000,000 through starving his own Ukrainian people, Pol Pot at 2,500,000 and Vladimir Lenin at 1,861,568 – all socialists. Perhaps Ghengis Khan could compete for third place. He is credited with 40 million, but real documentation as to numbers is impossible to verify 800 years back.

These numbers, consistent with others at the time, vary as to how personally involved each dictator was in the killings. Hitler did not kill anyone personally, but his policies resulted in the death of millions. Khrushchev’s 11 million are not attributed to him but to Stalin as he was working under his direction. Comparatively, Fidel Castro only killed 15,000, but most of these were firing squads at his direction.

Socialists and liberals prefer lower numbers and make the issue about accuracy of the numbers rather than socialism’s horrific death history. To appease them let us cut this horrifying number, 143 million murders due to socialism, in half. It remains horrific.

That former Rep. Larry McDonald would share the numbers provided in Figaro magazine is interesting as he himself was also killed by socialism in Korean Airlines Flight 007, which was shot down by Soviet interceptors in 1983. All 269 passengers and crew were killed. Some believe socialist dictator Mikhail Gorbachev was responsible. McDonald and Sen. Jesse Helms, the two leading opponents of socialism in Congress at the time, were traveling together on the same plane from New York to Anchorage, Alaska, to Seoul, Korea – a tempting soviet target. Finding a friend in Anchorage, Alaska, Helms decided to take a second plane to Seoul, Korea, leaving thereafter. He sent an aid to get McDonald, who was napping on the plane, to switch also, but the aid decided not to awaken the congressman, leaving him to be yet another socialist casualty.

These figures do not cover death due to socialism the last 41 years mostly because of two factors. The first, the more violent nature of socialism has been rejected by most of the world as expressed by the fall of the Berlin Wall, and thereafter the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Still, there have been violent socialists revolutions in Nicaragua led by Daniel Ortega in the 1980s, in Ethiopia, Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 1990s and more recently by Nicholas Maduro in Venezuela. Each has led to extreme economic hardship – even the people eating out of garbage cans – tyranny and death. Over 101,000 died in Bosnia, mainly Bosniaks, who are mainly Muslims, in the first example of ethnic cleansing since World War II.

The second, the United States maintains over 800 military bases throughout the world sufficient to deter any would be mass murders as seen in the 20th century. We are seen as the world’s policemen.

Tyranny lies at the heart of socialism ready to spring forth without warning to its most violent form. The Constitution, when followed, protects us from socialism. It recognizes natural law and individual rights and places limits on the government. Under socialism, no such protection from total government exists. Once a society believes that the wealth of their neighbor belongs to them, it will never be expunged. We are close. If the United States falls to socialism, who will protect us and the world from it? No one.

Dr. Harold Pease is a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and to applying that knowledge to current events. He taught history and political science from this perspective for over 30 years at Taft College.  To read more of his weekly articles, visit