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Anti-communist mass killings refer to the political mass murder of communists, alleged communists, other leftists, or their supporters by right-wing, reactionary regimes.


Dirty War

The Dirty War refers to the state-sponsored violence against Argentine citizenry from roughly 1976 to 1983 carried out primarily by Jorge Rafael Videla's military government.

Starting in 1976, the juntas led by Videla until 1981, and then by Roberto Viola and Leopoldo Galtieri, were responsible for the illegal arrest, torture, killing or forced disappearance of thousands of people, primarily trade unionists, students and activists. Videla's dictatorship referred to its systematized persecution of the Argentine citizenry as the "National Reorganization Process".

Up to 30,000 people "disappeared" during this time.[1] Argentine security forces and death squads worked hand in hand with other South American dictatorships in Operation Condor. An Argentine court would later condemn the government's crimes as crimes against humanity and genocide.[2]


Shanghai Massacre

File:Chiang 1.jpg

General Chiang Kai-shek

The Shanghai massacre of 1927, also known as the April 12 Incident, was a large-scale purge of Communists from the Kuomintang (KMT) in Shanghai, ordered by Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek on 12 April 1927, during the Northern Expedition against the warlords.

On April 12, 1927, Chiang carried out purge of Communists from the Kuomintang in Shanghai and began large-scale massacres. Chiang's forces turned machine guns on 100,000 workers taking to streets, massacring more than 5000 people. Throughout April 1927 in Shanghai, more than 12,000 people were killed. The killing in Shanghai drove most of the Communists out of the urban cities and into the rural countryside.[3]

The greatest slaughter took place in the countryside. The White Terror in China took millions of lives, most of them in the rural areas.[4] The Chinese Communist Party was virtually extinguished.[citation needed] At the beginning of 1927, the Chinese Communist Party had about 60,000 members. By the end of the year, no more than 10,000 remained.[citation needed]

228 Incident

File:228 Incident k.jpg

Taiwanee citizen killed by the Chinese Nationalist Army

The 228 Incident, also known as the 228 Massacre, was an anti-government uprising in Taiwan that began on February 27, 1947 and was violently suppressed by the Kuomintang (KMT) government. Estimates of the number of deaths vary from ten thousand to thirty thousand or more.[5][6] The Incident marked the beginning of the Kuomintang's White Terror period in Taiwan, in which thousands more Taiwanese vanished, were killed, or imprisoned. The number "228" refers to the day the massacre began: February 28, or 02-28.

Some of the killings were random, while others were systematic. Taiwanese elites were among those targeted, and many of the Taiwanese who had formed home rule groups during the reign of the Japanese were also victims of the 228 Incident. A disproportionate number of the victims were also Taiwanese middle and high school age youths, as many of them had volunteered to serve in the temporary police forces that were organized by the Committee and the local town councils to maintain public order following the initial rebellion. Several sources have claimed that ROC troops were arresting and executing anyone wearing a student uniform.


Caravan of Death

The Caravan of Death was a Chilean Army death squad that, following the Chilean coup of 1973, ordered or personally carried out the execution of at least 75 individuals held in Army custody in these garrisons.[7] According to the NGO Memoria y Justicia, the squad killed 26 in the South and 71 in the North, making a total of 97 victims.[8] Augusto Pinochet was indicted in December 2002 in this case, but he died four years later without having being judged. The trial, however, is on-going as of September 2007, other militaries and a former military chaplain having been indicted in this case.

Forced disappearances

In the days immediately following the 1973 Chilean coup d'état, the National Stadium was used as a concentration camp holding 40,000 prisoners.[9] Some of the most famous cases of "desaparecidos" are Charles Horman, a U.S. citizen who was killed during the coup itself,[10] Chilean songwriter Víctor Jara, and the October 1973 Caravan of Death (Caravana de la Muerte) where at least 70 persons were killed.[11] In the first three months following the coup, the number of suspected leftists killed or "disappeared" (desaparecidos) soon reached into the thousands.[12] Others operations included Operation Colombo, during which hundreds of left-wing activists were murdered, and Operation Condor, carried out with the security services of other Latin American dictatorships.

Following Pinochet's defeat in the 1988 plebiscite, the 1991 Rettig Commission, a multipartisan effort from the Patricio Aylwin administration to discover the truth about the human-rights violations, listed a number of torture and detention centers (such as Colonia Dignidad, the ship Esmeralda or Víctor Jara Stadium), and found that at least 3,000 people were killed or disappeared by the regime.


Bodo League massacre

File:Bodo League massacre near Daegu.jpg

The execution of political prisoners by South Korean Military Police

The Bodo League Massacre was a massacre that occurred in the summer of 1950 during the Korean War. Estimates of the death toll vary; while police records estimate around 10,000 deaths, the truth commission has said there may be more and according to Prof. Kim Dong-Choon, Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, at least 100,000 people were executed for the suspicion of supporting communism.[13]

In the southeastern city of Ulsan, hundreds of people were massacred by the South Korean police during the early months of the Korean War between 1950 and 1953. 407 civilians were summarily executed without trial in July and August 1950 alone. On January 24, 2008, the former President of Korea Roh Moo-hyun apologized for the mass killings. (See also the mass killings conducted against prison inmates who were suspected leftists at prisons in other cities such as [14] Busan, Masan, and Jinju.)

Jeju Uprising

The Jeju Uprising refers to the rebellion on Jeju island, South Korea, beginning on April 3, 1948. Between 14,000 and 30,000 individuals were killed in fighting between various factions on the island. The suppression of rebellion by the South Korean army has been called “brutal”, resulting in tens of thousands of deaths, the destruction of many villages on the island, and sparking rebellions on the Korean mainland. The rebellion, which included the mutiny of several hundred members of the South Korean 11th Constabulary Regiment, lasted until May 1949, although small isolated pockets of fighting continued into 1953.[15][16]

South Korea's Truth Commission reported 14,373 victims, 86% at the hands of the security forces and 13.9% at the hands of armed rebels, and estimated that the total death toll was as high as 30,000.[17] Some 70 percent of the island's 230 villages were burned to the ground and 39,000+ houses were destroyed.[18]



In an attempt to suppress the revolution following the First World War, militias were formed out of demobilized WWI veterans. The Freikorps, as they were called, were meant as a replacement for the Kaiser's Army, which had evaporated overnight owing to desertion. The Freikorps was sent to suppress the revolution on the streets of Berlin and later invaded the Bavarian Soviet Republic.[19] Comintern journalist and Marxist, Victor Serge, estimated the number of workers who died in the repression of revolutionary developments in Germany from 1918 to 1921 at 15,000.[20] Academic sources state that between 1919 and 1923 there were 354 victims directly traceable to Freikorps actions.[21]

On 5 May 1919 twelve workers (most of them members of the Social Democratic Party, SPD) were arrested and killed by members of Freikorps Lützow in Perlach near Munich, based on a tip from a local cleric saying they were communists. A memorial on Pfanzeltplatz in Munich today commemorates this atrocity.[22][23][24]


German communists, socialists and trade unionists were among the earliest domestic opponents of Nazism[25] and were also among the first to be sent to concentration camps. Hitler claimed that communism was a Jewish ideology which the Nazis termed "Judeo-Bolshevism". Fear of communist agitation was used as justification for the Enabling Act of 1933, the law which gave Hitler his original dictatorial powers. Hermann Göring later testified at the Nuremberg Trials that the Nazis' willingness to repress German communists prompted President Paul von Hindenburg and the German elite to cooperate with the Nazis. The first concentration camp was built at Dachau, in March 1933, to imprison German communists, socialists, trade unionists and others opposed to the Nazis.[26] Communists, social democrats and other political prisoners were forced to wear a red triangle.

Whenever the Nazis occupied a new territory, members of communist, socialist, or anarchist groups were normally to be the first persons detained or executed. Evidence of this is found in Hitler's infamous Commissar Order, in which he ordered the summary execution of all political commissars captured among Soviet soldiers, as well as the execution of all Communist Party members in German held territory.[27][28] Einsatzgruppen carried out these executions in the east.[29]


White Terror

The White Terror in Hungary was a two-year period (1919–1921) of repressive violence by counter-revolutionary soldiers, with the intent of crushing any vestige of Hungary’s brief Communist revolution.

In 1919, an alternative government formed to replace the failed Béla Kun regime. Leading the armed wing of this new government was Admiral Miklós Horthy, one-time Admiral of the Austro-Hungarian Navy.[30]

Horthy named his new force the National Army. Among the officers who answered Horthy’s call were ultra-nationalist soldiers who mounted a campaign of atrocities to avenge the victims of the Red Terror; to suppress any lingering loyalty to Communist principles; and to frighten the population into obedience to the new order.[31]

These units, commonly known as the "White Guard," carried out a campaign of murder, torture and humiliations. Summary executions of people they suspected of Communist allegiance were common; these victims were often hanged in public places to serve as a warning to others. But the White Guard’s definition of who was an enemy of the state was a broad one. They also preyed upon peasants, upon the politically liberal, and very often upon Jews, who were broadly blamed for the Revolution because much of the Communist leadership had been Jewish.[31]


Killings of 1965–66

The Indonesian killings of 1965-66 were a violent anti-Communist purge following an abortive coup in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta.

The killings started in October 1965 in Jakarta, spread to Central and East Java and later to Bali, and smaller outbreaks occurred in parts of other islands,[32] notably Sumatra. As the Sukarno presidency began to unravel and Suharto began to assert control following the coup attempt, the PKI's upper national leadership was hunted and arrested with some summarily executed; the airforce in particular was a target of the purge. PKI chairman, Dipa Nusantara Aidit, had flown to Central Java in early October, and where the coup attempt had been supported by leftist officers in Yogyakarta, Salatiga, and Semarang.[33] Fellow senior PKI leader, Njoto, was shot around 6 November, Aidit on 22 November, and First Deputy PKI Chairman, M.H. Lukman, was killed shortly after.[34]


In 1963, the Kennedy administration backed a coup against the government of Iraq headed by General Abdel Karim Kassem, who five years earlier had deposed the Western-allied Iraqi monarchy. The CIA helped the new Ba'ath Party government led by Abdul Salam Arif in ridding the country of suspected leftists and Communists. In the Ba'athist coup, the government used lists of suspected Communists and other leftists, provided by the CIA, to systematically murder untold numbers of Iraq's educated elite — killings in which Saddam Hussein himself is said to have participated. The victims included hundreds of doctors, teachers, technicians, lawyers, other professionals, military and political figures.[35][36][37] According to an op-ed in The New York Times, the U.S. sent arms to the new regime, weapons later used against the same Kurdish insurgents the U.S. had supported against Kassem and then abandoned. American and UK oil and other interests, including Mobil, Bechtel, and British Petroleum, were conducting business in Iraq.[35]


White Terror

In Spain, White Terror refers to the atrocities committed by the Nationalist movement during the Spanish Civil War and during Francisco Franco's dictatorship.[38]

Most historians agree that the death toll of the White Terror was higher than that of the Red Terror.[citation needed] While most estimates of the Red Terror range from 38,000[39] to 55,000,[40] most of the estimates of the White Terror range from 150,000[41] to 200,000.[42]

Concrete figures do not exist, as many Communists and Socialists fled Spain after losing the Civil War. Furthermore the Francoist government destroyed thousands of documents relating to the White Terror[43][44][45] and tried to hide the executions of the Republicans.[46][47] Thousands of victims of the "White Terror" are buried in hundreds of unmarked common graves, more than 600 in Andalusia alone.[48] The largest common grave is that at San Rafael cemetery on the outskirts of Malaga (with perhaps more than 4,000 bodies).[49] The Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory (Asociación para la Recuperación de la Memoria Historica or ARMH)[50] says that the number of disappeared is over 35,000).[51]


  1. PBS News Hour, 16 Oct. 1997, et al. Argentina Death Toll, Twentieth Century Atlas
  2. La Nación, 19 September 2006. Condenaron a Etchecolatz a reclusión perpetua.
  3. ''Shanghai'' By Bradley Mayhew, URL accessed 2009-07-22.
  4. Maurice Meisner, Mao Zedong, URL accessed 2009-07-22.
  5. 傷亡人數與人才斷層. URL accessed on 2008-09-24. (in Chinese)
  6. (1947). Formosa killings are put at 10,000. New York Times, March 29, 1947. URL accessed on 2006-04-22.
  7. Chile priest charged over deaths, BBC, 1st September 2007 (in English)
  8. Caravan of Death, Memoria y Justicia (in English )
  9. [1] El campo de concentración de Pinochet cumple 70 años
  10. [2] New Information on the Murders of U.S. Citizens Charles Horman and Frank Teruggi by the Chilean Military
  11. [3] BBC: Caravan of Death
  12. [4] BBC: Finding Chile's disappeared
  13. Khiem and Kim Sung-soo: Crime, Concealment and South Korea. Japan Focus. URL accessed on 11 August 2008.
  14. Hardy, Bert. "Political prisoners waiting for being loaded in trucks transferring them to their execution sites, Sept. 1, 1950", Picture Post. 
  15. John Kie-Chiang Oh. Korean Politics: The Quest for Democratization and Economic Development, Cornell University Press, 1999
  16. Hugh Deane. The Korean War, 1945-1953, October 1999, p. 246, China Books & Periodicals.
  17. (2008). The National Committee for Investigation of the Truth about the Jeju April 3 Incident. URL accessed on 2008-12-15.
  18. Page 99-101 - Chalmers Johnson. Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire, 2000, rev. 2004, p. 268, Owl Book.
  19. Carlos Caballero Jurado, Ramiro Bujeiro (2001). The German Freikorps 1918-23: 1918-23, Osprey Publishing.
  20. (2008-06-30) Victor Serge, Year One of the Russian Revolution, URL accessed 2009-07-22.
  21. Linda F. McGreevy. Bitter witness: Otto Dix and the Great War.
  22. Max Hirschberg & Reinhard Weber. Jude und Demokrat: Erinnerungen eines Münchener Rechtsanwalts 1883 bis 1939.
  23. Morris, Justice Imperiled: The Anti-Nazi Lawyer Max Hirschberg in Weimar Germany
  24. Freikorps Lützow in the Axis History Factbook
  25. Non-Jewish Resistance, Holocaust Encyclopedia, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C.
  26. "Horrors of Auschwitz", Newsquest Media Group Newspapers, January 27, 2005
  27. "The war that time forgot", The Guardian, October 5, 1999
  28. Commissar Order
  29. Peter Hitchens, The Gathering Storm, April 9, 2008
  30. Bodo, Bela, Paramilitary Violence in Hungary After the First World War, East European Quarterly, June 22, 2004
  31. 31.0 31.1 Bodo, Paramilitary Violence
  32. Cribb (1990), p. 3.
  33. Vickers (2005), p. 157.
  34. Ricklefs (1991), p. 288; Vickers (2005), p. 157
  35. 35.0 35.1 A Tyrant 40 Years in the Making. New York Times. URL accessed on September 18, 2007.
  36. "The Old Social Classes and the Revolutionary Movements of Iraq", Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1978; Peter and Marion Sluglett, "Iraq Since 1958" London, I.B. Taurus, 1990
  37. Regarding the CIA's "Health Alteration Committee's work in Iraq, see U.S. Senate's Church Committee Interim Report on Assassination, p. 181, Note 1
  38. Beevor, Antony. The Battle for Spain; The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939 (Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 2006), pp.89-94.
  39. Beevor, Antony. The Battle for Spain; The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939. Penguin Books. 2006. London. p.87
  40. Thomas, Hugh. The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. London. 2001. p.900
  41. Casanova, Julían; Espinosa, Francisco; Mir, Conxita; Moreno Gómez, Francisco. Morir, matar, sobrevivir. La violencia en la dictadura de Franco. Editorial Crítica. Barcelona. 2002. p.8
  42. Beevor, Antony. The Battle for Spain; The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939. Penguin Books. 2006. London. p.94
  43. Preston, Paul. The Spanish Civil War. Reaction, revolution & revenge. Harper Perennial. 2006. London. p.316
  44. Espinosa, Francisco. La justicia de Queipo. Editorial Crítica. 2006. Barcelona. p.4
  45. Espinosa, Francisco. Contra el olvido. Historia y memoria de la guerra civil. Editorial Crítica. 2006. Barcelona. p.131
  46. Fontana, Josep, ed. España bajo el franquismo. Editorial Crítica. 1986. Barcelona. p.22
  47. Espinosa, Francisco. La justicia de Queipo. Editorial Crítica. 2006. Barcelona. pp.172-173
  48. Moreno Gómez, Francisco. 1936: el genocidio franquista en Córdoba. Editorial Crítica. Barcelona. 2008. p.11
  49. The Olive Press
  50. [5] "Opening Franco's Graves", by Mike Elkin Archaeology Volume 59 Number 5, September/October 2006. Archaeological Institute of America
  51. Silva, Emilio. Las fosas de Franco. Crónica de un desagravio. Ediciones Temas de Hoy. 2006. Madrid. p. 110
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