Fr. Démocide

Sp. Democidio

-> Agression, empire, state, ethnocide, genocide, historicide, war, Westphalia


A term coined by Rudolph Joseph Rummel to refer to massacres organised by governments against their own populations, such as the Stalinist purges and the Maoist Cultural Revolution. These resulted in the deaths of millions of people: up to 21 million for the Nazi genocide in Germany, 50 million for the European colonial enterprises, 62 million in the Soviet Union (1917-1987) and 76.7 million in Communist China (1949-1987) (Rummel 1991, quoted by Chaline 2018, 101).    

Researchers agree that democracies are no more or less war-prone than other regimes, but the detailed study of baseline studies implies that democracies are in fact less warlike. The relevant data are based on the frequency of wars, which applies as much to states that have lost a few dozen people as to those that have lost several million. Rummel further argues, from the available data, that the theoretical interpretation of the warlike character of a regime must take into account the severity of wars. From this point of view, the degree of democracy of a regime is inversely proportional to the severity of its wars in the twentieth century (1900-1987), which means that democracies tend to fight less severe wars than other regimes.