Tuesday, April 10, 2018

All sorts of killings forgotten by history

In WWII, the many civilian massacres by the Japanese in China are often ignored, as are the massacres in Manila by the Japanese after MacArthur's invasion.

and the millions killed or died from famine/disease/displacement and massacres in the Chinese civil war and by the communists who took over that country, like the deaths under Stalin, are ignored by the west and of course, the 20  million from the "Great leap forward" and the many  killed or died during the cultural revolution.

and not just by the communists: LINK
and the history of China is full of civil wars (perhaps because they kept records?) the Taping Rebellion, for example, killed more people than any war until World War I.

the Univ of Hawaii has a website on "Democides" that tries to estimate government deaths, from wars, famines, etc etc. and it makes terrible reading.

these numbers don't look bad until you realize they are the thousands, i.e. total 151 thousand thousand (aka million)

yes, it includes a lot of deaths that can be blamed on Americans, i.e. because the Americans backed their government or didn't stop the kilings.

And we Filipinos remember the deaths in the US takeover of the Philippines. half a million, (again, most resulted from displacement, hunger and epidemics) so the anti Americans are right, but then you look and do some comparisons, and realize that next to mass murderers like Saddam Hussein, the Yanks don't look that bad.

and another pretty well ignored Asian story is the massacre of "communist sympathizers" in Indonesia in the 1960's: which started as political targeting by the military and devolved to a grass roots massacre of any Chinese (mainly non Muslims) who lived there. so do you blame the murders on ethnic hatred, religious hatred by Muslims, or on the fact that the government was afraid of a communist uprising coming from this group (i.e. the leftists blame the Americans of course, never mind the history of communist insurgency in nearby countries that resulted in bloodier wars and massacres).

Most people are vaguely aware that the German soldiers who surrendered at Stalingrad were sent to camps and only a small percentage came home, but I wasn't aware that 2 million Russian POWs captured in the German advance were essentially starved to death. (Wikipedia estimates 3.5 million, or half of the RussianPOW's died).

 Food shortages were one factor, as was the fact that many of the POWs were sick and died of infectious diseases that spread easily in the camps: even the American camps had a high mortality.

World War I is usually visualized as trench warfare, but the link between malnutrition and disease can be seen in the high mortality from the 1918/19 "Spanish flu" epidemic: How many are aware that the British blockade of Germany in WWI was blamed for over half a million civilian deaths, and the famine and disease deaths of Eastern Europe caused by the collapse of Austria Hungary, so food distribution and the economic infrastructure collapsed, or the similar famines from the Russian front, made worse by that country's civil war.

My Austrian aunt relates that she and her sister "ate bark" to survive.

a similar loss of life occurred among civilians before and after World War II of course. But who bothers to read the story of the "eastern Front"?

no, I haven't listened to that book: I am already depressed and don't need more sorrow.

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