You get the occasional right-winger circulating stuff suggesting that Communism killed more than Nazism. Actually false.
The Wikipedia says that World War Two caused 70 to 85 million deaths, only 21 to 25 million of them military.[A] But you could excuse him responsibility for Japan’s war on China and the wider Pacific War that followed. He did choose to make friends with Japan and to cut Germany’s earlier ties to Chiang Kai-shek and the Kuomintang. But Japan had been working towards the conquest of China long before Hitler came to power.
I made the following estimates:
|Low estimate||High estimate|
|Dutch East Indies||3,000,000||4,000,000|
|Allied Pacific War military deaths[B]||3,237,000||3,237,000|
This is being generous to Hitler. Deaths in India were mostly caused by Churchill refusing to do anything about the Bengal famine. His immediate fault, but in part caused by a European war that was Hitler’s fault.
Since many figures are rounded to the nearest million, I summarise this as Hitler having caused 45 to 52 million deaths in a war he had no need to fight. 34 to 41 million for military ends. Perhaps 11 million killed by a death-machine that drained resources from the war and helped defeat him.
Hitler’s guilt includes responsibility for the deaths of around seven million non-Jewish Germans, plus millions more of what he’d have defined as part of the superior Nordic race. Strange that even a small minority of Germans remember him well.
How does that compare to World War One? The Wiki says:
“The total number of military and civilian casualties in World War I was more than 41 million: there were over 18 million deaths and 23 million wounded, ranking it among the deadliest conflicts in human history.
“The total number of deaths includes from 9 to 11 million military personnel and about 5 to 6 million civilians.”[C]
Those numbers don’t quite add up: partly due to rounding. But the article as at 16th August 2018 also seems to have failed to add ‘Civilians killed’ to ‘Excess Civilian Deaths’.
Detailed figures are:
|Civilians killed||Excess Civilian Deaths||Military Deaths|
Excess deaths exclude the Flu Pandemic, which killed 20 to 100 million worldwide.[D] This was much worse that other pandemics – the previous one had killed one million and the next one to one and a half. If you assume that a normal pandemic would have occurred without the war, then deaths from the ‘Great War’ were 37 to 117 million, mostly caused by a flu epidemic that became much more deadly while spreading among the men in the trenches.
It was called Spanish Flu, because Spain was neutral and allowed honest reporting of flu deaths.[E] It is believed to have started in the USA in 1917 and to have spread among soldiers. War created ideal conditions for this flu to adapt to spread between healthy young men under extreme stress and living without good hygiene. It killed far more young adults than other flu pandemics.
But the Nazi death-machine was a logical extension of earlier massacres, with European empires and European settlers the major offenders.
Some such purification, mostly not including Jews as targets, had been widely discussed well beyond the circle of Nazis and their supporters. There was quite a lot of it in British and US Science Fiction.[F] One of the worst instances was The Marching Morons by Cyril M. Kornbluth, in which an intelligent minority exterminate the rest of the human race. It was published in 1951 and the Science Fiction fan community gave it an award in 1965 as one of the best novellas written up to that date. It even has those organising the extermination of the inferior making use of tricks invented by the Nazis. This despite Kornbluth himself being of Polish-Jewish ancestry. It’s as if he thinks that the basic idea was fine, but the Nazis stupidly killed the wrong people.
The whole matter of calling it the Holocaust nicely distances the mass killing of European Jews from massive genocide of populations outside of Europe by European empires. Empires that generally included Jews as part of the white elite, and only a minority of Jews, mostly left-wing, rejected this unfair privilege.
To me, it seemed obvious that Hitler was a particular instance of a much wider crime: I detailed this in an article entitled Jews as ‘Collateral Damage’ in the Fall of the British Empire.[G] Britons including Charles Darwin objected to slavery, but were quite happy with the extermination of inconvenient natives in Patagonia, Australia, New Zealand etc. And the Concentration Camp was invented in South Africa. Used to suppress independent-minded Boers who were guilty of sitting on gigantic gold reserves that the British Empire wanted. Racism was not the issue: both sides favoured whites dominating and taking the best land.
The other major falsehood is claiming tens of millions ‘murdered by Mao’. Chinese Communism didn’t go in for mass killings. And errors made in developing a very poor society were balanced by the things that went well. You can see that from the charts below:
Imperfect, but much better than had a less determined man been in charge.