Communism at "Peace"
A Brief Outline of Non-Wartime Communist Atrocities

    Cicero once said, To be ignorant of what occurred before you
    were born is to remain always a child.”

    In light of those words, consider the sparse knowledge shared by
    today's young adults--many of whom are also young parents--
    about a system of horrors that predated their births by less than a
    century. There is a generation coming of age who knows almost
    nothing about communism.

    The horrors are easily sketched. The system has led to the deaths
    of some 80-to-100 million people, even excluding military
    deaths. Of the victims, we find bones that form roadbeds in the
    Arctic Circle (Soviet Union  [56]).  There are victims whose corpses
    were ingested by starving relatives driven to cannibalism
    (Cambodia, China, North Korea, Soviet Union [57]). Some people
    have served as pig food (Bulgaria [58]), while others have served
    as fertilizer to nourish the crops (Cambodia, China [59]). Communism's
    horrors are not difficult to detail--it's the magnitude of the horror
    that is difficult to convey.  Unfortunately, Stalin was all too
    correct when he stated "one death is a tragedy; one million is a
    statistic." It is difficult to conceive of 100 million deaths.  

    The goal of this site is to provide a different kind of sketch
    in hopes of conveying more information in fewer words. The
    method is to make the magnitude palpable by breaking down
    numbers that are nearly impossible to comprehend in their
    totality, while providing demographic information that attaches
    something akin to a human face to each number.

    For our purpose, atrocities are broken into demographics
    such as "the villager"; "the religious"; "the homosexual"; etc.
    Meticulous care has been given to ensure that these numbers
    do not include military or war-related deaths; therefore, we are
    seeing communism's brutality as it truly relates to its citizens
    apart from its expansionist ideals.

    The one exception concerns Peru. The communists (Luminosa)
    lost the civil war, so by definition, any communist atrocities in
    Peru were war-related. However, the numbers for Peru were
    relatively small, while Peru comprised an important part of
    communism's Latin American footprint. Since Peru is an impor-
    tant part of the overall narrative, the country's statistical data have
    been included here although it is made abundantly clear that Peru's
    numbers are war-related and constitute an exception to the
    overall methods of calculation.

    Additionally, meticulous care has been given to categorize
    victims in each country without double-counting them: a
    daunting task since many victims fall into more than one
    category (e.g., most Soviet landowners fall into both the
    kulak and the villager categories). When such a situation
    arises, the victim is placed into one category or the other
    but not both.

    Admittedly, there is a risk of appearing to dehumanize victims
    when presenting them as members of a category--but through
    categories we see the raised imprint of a culture, a society, and
    a people.  Ultimately, in keeping with the goals of the site,
    categories at least come closer to conjuring human faces than
    do the sheer, abstract numbers that are nearly impossible to
    comprehend.  

    Jim McCachren












Jim McCachren served in the Peace Corps in Uzbekistan
in 1994-1995, three years after the Central Asian country
seceded from the USSR. He
has an M.F.A. in creative
writing from the University of Florida and i
s currently an
English instructor at Halifax Community College in
Weldon, NC.