"The United States has killed more people than any other country on Earth"

I always see people constantly say this online and yet they never offer any proof besides saying generic stuff like “The massacre of the indigenous peoples of America, slavery, World War 2, the war on terror”.

I’m genuinely curious which country would be the #1 in the running if we actually had a tally. It would have to be the British Empire right? You have a state that’s existed since 927 and has been constantly fighting wars and colonizing other countries since then.

I’ve been online a long time, and this opinion is one I’ve seen maybe a handful of times. Where are you hearing this constantly?

Anyway, the US is a mere amateur when it comes to mass deaths.

Twitter mostly, lots and lots of tankies.

I’ve long heard that Belgium’s King Leopold was the most genocidal national leader of all time.

This. The total number of indigenous killed by the United States government per se is relatively small compared to the “accomplishments” of other governments over the ages. Even if you exaggerate the deaths caused by the US and somewhat minimize the culpability of the British, I’d guess that the famine deaths alone in just India would exceed the toll of the US in its entire history.

And that’s not even counting any other deaths that might be laid at Britain’s feet. I’m not saying they’re a particularly bloody empire, but they’ve had almost 1000 years to run up the score. The Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, and Communist China may have surpassed them in just a few decades. And I don’t feel like researching how bloody Imperial China and the Mongols were to see if they also surpass the US.

Do these online sources actually attach a number to the murders attributed to the US?

China’s Great Leap Forward involves maybe 40 million deaths, and while natural factors contributed to the starvation, it’s was largely self-inflicted. I have a hard time figuring out how the United States in its two and a half centuries of existence gets into those sorts of numbers for that one event.

It’s really unlikely to be the United States. We’ve killed out fair share but we just haven’t have the opportunities other countries have had.

This article, for example, which is condemning the United States for all the people we killed in the war on terror puts the death count at 500,000. Half a million in twenty years? Rwanda killed that many people in just three months. Rwanda.

The same is true for other events. Other countries killed far more people than we did in World War I and World War II. Other countries killed more slaves and natives than we did. Our empire was smaller than that of Britain or France or Spain - or even Belgium or Portugal or the Netherlands. And our political purges are pathetic; we’ve never had a Reign of Terror much less a Cultural Revolution.

Look at civil wars. China was fighting a civil war during the same period that the United States was. Theirs lasted fourteen years and killed twenty million people. Ours lasted four years and killed less than two million.

Ah, that makes sense. The last time I had any significant exposure to tankies was when I was at uni many years ago, and they were all highly-privileged idiots playing at edgy politics then too. I’m not surprised there’s a modern twitter equivalent - it used to be pamphlets and badly-printed newspapers :smiley:

Your main question is interesting though. Is it the worst by deliberate policy, or by not knowing about infectious diseases, for example.

The U.S.-caused death toll is puny. Germany and the Soviets racked up a death toll of millions on each other. China killed tens of millions of its own.

With machetes, no less!

That…sounds quite sinister :eek:

The Mongol expansions must be up there, certainly if taken as a proportion of the world population.

This website says 30-40 million “direct deaths” and potentially “hundreds of millions” by America since 1945.

What is a “tanky”?

Nowadays means hardcore modern-day Socialists/Communists who are still heavily apologetic to the Soviet system and/or Communism-by-any-means. Refers originally to the International Communists who defended the Soviet crushing of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956.

Specifically it was a term used for members of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) who were supportive of the Soviet action in Hungary. The CPGB split into approx. a thousand different micro-factions after that.

Nowadays it essentially means Stalinists.

For civilian deaths caused by the government, I found these statistics, which are only for the 20th century:

  1. China: 1949–1987 - the communist party killed 76,702,000 people
  2. USSR: 1917–1987 - the communist party killed 61,910,000 people
  3. Combined western colonialism: killed 50,000,000 people
  4. Germany under Hitler: 1933–1945 killed 20,946,000 people
  5. Japan: 1936–1945 killed 5,964,000 people

From here: What country has killed the most civilians? - Quora
cite given is healthresearchfunding.org (I didn’t check their cite).

Slavery wasn’t the murder and torture fest that some folks make it out to be. Slaves were basically farm animals. How many farmers go out and routinely torture their cows? You don’t do that sort of thing if you want your cows, or your slaves, to be productive. The deaths from slavery mostly come from transporting the slaves across the Atlantic, or from raids and wars related to slavery. Depending on whose numbers you use, somewhere between 1 and 2 million total people died related to slavery, which is definitely not a small number, but it’s not terribly significant when totaled in with other deaths.

Most Americans (including me until I was long out of high school history classes) have a very distorted view of WWII. We think of it as mainly the Germans against everyone else. Sure there was this other front where the Russians were doing stuff, but the U.S. basically came in and saved the day. Russians tend to have the exact opposite view, that the war was mostly Russia against Germany, with this tiny little almost insignificant bit over on the other side. If you really look into it, and especially if you look at the numbers, the Russian viewpoint is actually probably closer to the truth.

Russians killed a staggering number of Germans in WWII. In the battle of Stalingrad alone, Germany lost roughly half a million soldiers. To put that in perspective that’s roughly the same number of soldiers that Germany lost to all of the Allies in total throughout all of WWII. It’s also roughly the same number of soldiers that the U.S. lost total in WWII. And Stalingrad was just one battle. In total, over 4 million Germans died fighting the Russians. But, as huge as that number is, it’s not the number one slot, not even close. While exact numbers are disputed among various sources, the total military deaths for Russia are somewhere between 10 and 20 million, and the total civilian deaths are also estimated to be somewhere between 10 and 20 million.

Deaths caused by the U.S. are almost insignificant in these staggeringly horrible totals.

As for indigenous people, there doesn’t seem to be any good estimate for the population of what is now the U.S. from back in the 1500s. Estimates range from 2 to 10 million. Overall, estimates are that the population of all indigenous people in the western hemisphere was reduced by somewhere between 80 to 95 percent between 1500 and 1700. This includes deaths by smallpox and other diseases and other factors such as scarce resources that would limit population growth or actually cause population decline without necessarily killing anyone. While the U.S. certainly isn’t innocent regarding indigenous deaths, Spain is probably responsible for significantly more deaths simply because there were a lot of Aztecs before Spain came along. Since the Aztec empire was so large, it had the greatest total deaths, even if the percentages were all in the 80 to 95 percent range all through the western hemisphere.

The U.S. definitely isn’t #1. Not even close.

By the way, if you haven’t seen this about WWII, watch it. It’s very good at putting all of the deaths into perspective:

His methodology seems to be that everyone who has died in any war that occurred since 1945 was killed by the United States.

And a hell of a lot of their own troops through suicidal assaults.

The sun will never set on the British Empire.

The same logic is true for slavery. The United States certainly has a bad record in regards to slavery. But hardly the worst.

In terms of deaths, the most lethal part of the slave trade was capturing slaves and bringing them across the ocean. Depending on what figures you accept, over half of the victims died before arriving in the Americas.

But the United States was minor participant in the slave trade. We only became a country in 1776. And we banned the slave trade in 1808. And there were extended period between these two years when we were cut off from any oceanic trade by wars and most states had banned the slave trade before 1808. So most of the people who were killed by the slave trade were killed by Britain or France or Spain or Portugal - or other Africans.

Yeah he basically is saying that minus the Cold War, none of those places would have had people killing each other.

While I will grant that is unreasonable to wash our hands of all the different wars that we’ve played some part in - and we probably do bear the brunt of the matter in a few cases - on the whole, we probably just adjusted which side in the battle took most of the casualties. But the causalities would all have been there on one side or the other either way.