Anti-communist mass killings

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Anti-communist mass killings refer to the political mass murder of communists, alleged communists, or their supporters.


During the Korean War, thousands of communists and suspected communist sympathizers were killed as what came to be known as Bodo League massacre. Estimates of the death toll vary. According to Prof. Kim Dong-Choon, Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, at least 100,000 people were executed on suspicion of supporting communism;.[1] 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 executed without trial in July and August 1950 alone. On 24 January 2008, the former President of Korea Roh Moo-hyun apologized for the mass killings.


Nazi Germany[edit]

German communists, socialists and trade unionists were among the earliest domestic opponents of Nazism[2] 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.[3] 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.[4][5] Einsatzgruppen carried out these executions in the east.[6]


Killings of 1965–66[edit]

The Indonesian killings of 1965–66 were a violent anti-Communist purge following an abortive coup in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta. Conventional estimates of the number of people killed by the Indonesian security forces over the course of this period run at between 500,000 and 1,000,000.[7]

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,[8] 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.[9] 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.[10]


White Terror[edit]

Main article: White Terror (Spain)

In Spain, White Terror refers to the atrocities committed by the Nationalist movement during the Spanish Civil War and during Francisco Franco's dictatorship.[11]

Most historians agree that the death toll of the White Terror was higher than that of the Red Terror. While most estimates of the Red Terror range from 38,000[12] to 55,000,[13] most of the estimates of the White Terror range from 150,000[14] to 400,000.[15]

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[16][17][18] and tried to hide the executions of the Republicans.[19][20] Thousands of victims of the "White Terror" are buried in hundreds of unmarked common graves, more than 600 in Andalusia alone.[21] The largest common grave is that at San Rafael cemetery on the outskirts of Malaga (with perhaps more than 4,000 bodies).[22] The Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory (Asociación para la Recuperación de la Memoria Historica or ARMH)[23] says that the number of disappeared is over 35,000.[24]


The Thai military government and its Communist Suppression Operations Command (CSOC), helped by army, police and paramilitary vigilantes, reacted with drastic measures to the insurgency of the Communist Party of Thailand during the 1960s and 70s. The anti-communist operations peaked between 1971 and 1973, during the rule of Field Marshal Thanom Kittikachorn and General Praphas Charusathien. According to official figures, 3,008 suspected communists were killed during this period throughout the country.[25] Alternative estimates are much higher. These civilians were usually killed without any judicial proceedings.

A prominent example are the so-called "Red Drum" or "Red Barrel" killings of Lam Sai, Phatthalung Province, Southern Thailand. There, more than 200 civilians[25] (informal accounts speak of up to 3,000)[26][27] who were accused of helping the communists were burned in red 200-litre oil drums – sometimes after having been killed to dispose of their bodies, and sometimes burned alive.[27] The incident was never thoroughly investigated and none of the perpetrators was brought to justice.[28]

After three years of civilian rule following the October 1973 popular uprising, at least 46 leftist students and activists who had gathered on and around Bangkok's Thammasat University campus were massacred by police and right-wing paramilitaries on 6 October 1976. They had been accused of supporting communism. The mass killing followed a campaign of violently anti-communist propaganda by right-wing politicians, media and clerics, exemplified by the Buddhist monk Phra Kittiwuttho's claim that killing communists were not sinful.[29][30]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Khiem and Kim Sung-soo: Crime, Concealment and South Korea". Japan Focus. Archived from the original on 2008-10-07. Retrieved 11 August 2008. 
  2. ^ Non-Jewish Resistance, Holocaust Encyclopedia, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C.
  3. ^ "Horrors of Auschwitz", Newsquest Media Group Newspapers, 27 January 2005
  4. ^ "The war that time forgot", The Guardian, 5 October 1999
  5. ^ Commissar Order
  6. ^ Peter Hitchens, The Gathering Storm, 9 April 2008
  7. ^ Friend (2003), p. 113.
  8. ^ Cribb (1990), p. 3.
  9. ^ Vickers (2005), p. 157.
  10. ^ Ricklefs (1991), p. 288; Vickers (2005), p. 157
  11. ^ Beevor, Antony. The Battle for Spain; The Spanish Civil War 1936–1939 (Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 2006), pp.89–94.
  12. ^ Beevor, Antony. The Battle for Spain; The Spanish Civil War 1936–1939. Penguin Books. 2006. London. p.87
  13. ^ Thomas, Hugh. The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. London. 2001. p.900
  14. ^ 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
  15. ^ Richards, Michael. A Time of Silence: Civil War and the Culture of Repression in Franco's Spain, 1936-1945. Cambridge University Press. 1998. p.11
  16. ^ Preston, Paul. The Spanish Civil War. Reaction, revolution & revenge. Harper Perennial. 2006. London. p.316
  17. ^ Espinosa, Francisco. La justicia de Queipo. Editorial Crítica. 2006. Barcelona. p.4
  18. ^ Espinosa, Francisco. Contra el olvido. Historia y memoria de la guerra civil. Editorial Crítica. 2006. Barcelona. p.131
  19. ^ Fontana, Josep, ed. España bajo el franquismo. Editorial Crítica. 1986. Barcelona. p.22
  20. ^ Espinosa, Francisco. La justicia de Queipo. Editorial Crítica. 2006. Barcelona. pp.172–173
  21. ^ Moreno Gómez, Francisco. 1936: el genocidio franquista en Córdoba. Editorial Crítica. Barcelona. 2008. p.11
  22. ^ The Olive Press
  23. ^ [1] "Opening Franco's Graves", by Mike Elkin Archaeology Volume 59 Number 5, September/October 2006. Archaeological Institute of America
  24. ^ Silva, Emilio. Las fosas de Franco. Crónica de un desagravio. Ediciones Temas de Hoy. 2006. Madrid. p. 110
  25. ^ a b Jularat Damrongviteetham (2013). Narratives of the “Red Barrel” Incident: Collective and Individual Memories in Lamsin, Southern Thailand. Oral History in Southeast Asia: Memories and Fragments (Palgrave Macmillan). p. 101. 
  26. ^ Tyrell Haberkorn (2013). Getting Away with Murder in Thailand: State Violence and Impunity in Phatthalung. State Violence in East Asia (University Press of Kentucky). p. 186. 
  27. ^ a b Matthew Zipple (2014). "Thailand’s Red Drum Murders Through an Analysis of Declassified Documents". Southeast Review of Asian Studies 36: 91. 
  28. ^ Tyrell Haberkorn (2013). Getting Away with Murder in Thailand. pp. 186–187. 
  29. ^ Chris Baker; Pasuk Pongphaichit (2009). A History of Thailand (Second ed.). Ocford University Press. pp. 191–194. 
  30. ^ Thongchai Winichakul (2002). Remembering/Silencing the Traumatic Past: The Ambivalent Memories of the October 1976 Massacre in Bangkok. Cultural Crisis and Social Memory: Modernity and Identity in Thailand and Laos (Routledge). p. 244.