PQC: It’s statism and racism. Period.


Chapter 6: Statistics Of Vietnamese Democide
Estimates, Calculations, And Sources*

By R.J. Rummel

Perhaps of all countries, democide in Vietnam and by Vietnamese is most difficult to unravel and assess. It is mixed in with six wars spanning 43 years (the Indochina War, Vietnam War, Cambodian War, subsequent guerrilla war in Cambodia, guerrilla war in Laos, and Sino-Vietnamese War), one of them involving the United States; a near twenty-one year formal division of the country into two sovereign North and South parts; the full communization of the North; occupation of neighboring countries by both North and South; defeat, absorption, and communization of the South; and the massive flight by sea of Vietnamese. As best as I can determine, through all this close to 3,800,000 Vietnamese lost their lives from political violence, or near one out of every ten men, women, and children.1 Of these, about 1,250,000, or near a third of those killed, were murdered.

Tables 6.1A and 6.1B give the sources, estimates and calculations of Vietnamese killed. As noted, Vietnam was involved in several wars and was for twenty-one years formally divided into two nation-states, North and South Vietnam. Moreover, both parts of Vietnam committed democide against their own people as well as in other countries, and democide was committed by foreigners against them. Not only is Vietnam’s history complex, therefore, but the estimates of those killed in war and democide differ considerably by perpetrator, victims, time, and place. For these reasons I have made a special effort to divide the estimates into the smallest consistent groups and where possible to use the resulting consolidated figures to cross check totals and subtotals.

This will be seen, for example, in calculating the total war-dead (lines 1 to 261 in Table 6.1A). The first war was that against the French, defined here as beginning when the Viet Minh established the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in September 1945 and lasting until July 1954. I divide estimates of war-dead and their calculations or consolidations into those for the Viet Minh (lines 3 to 4), France (lines 7 to 18), civilians (lines 22 to 25), military (lines 28 to 30), and total war-dead (lines 33 to 44). The total war-dead is the figure of interest here, but before accepting its consolidation (line 44) it can be checked against two other ways of getting the total. One is by adding together the separately determined figures for Viet Minh, French, and civilian war-dead (line 45); the other by adding civilian and military war-dead (line 46). This gives us three total war dead ranges for comparison (lines 44 to 46). The three mid-values tend to be relatively close, while the lows and highs are quite divergent. Since we generally want the higher high and lower low, I selected these for the final total and averaged the three mid-values (line 47). Subtracting then the non-Vietnamese war-dead (line 49) gives the cost of the Indochina War as 188,000 to 1,153,000, or 512,000 Vietnamese lives.

War-dead estimates for the Vietnam War abound (lines 53 to 214). I divide these first into civilian and total war-dead for North Vietnam and consolidate them (lines 54 to 67). Then I pull out estimates for Viet Cong war-dead (which may or may not also include North Vietnamese regulars–lines 69 to 83) and I give separately those estimates explicitly for both North Vietnamese and Viet Cong war-dead (lines 88 to 102). For both sets the estimates vary in the years and duration they cover. Accordingly, ignoring estimates for one year or those whose periods or coverage are unclear, I extrapolated the estimates for the years of the war. That is,

extrapolated estimate = (years of war)(estimate/years it covers).

Since many estimates here and later will be so extrapolated, the date taken for the beginning of the war is statistically important. I selected January 1960 based on those considerations given in Death By Government.2 That is, as evidenced by their activity, such as the building of the Ho Chi Minh trial, secret speeches by North Vietnamese leaders, orders to their operatives, and the creation of political front organizations in the south, by this date Hanoi clearly had prepared the way for and had begun a sustained guerrilla and military effort to take over the country. This means that the war lasted for 15.33 years.

However, the war was not equally violent and deadly for each of these years. It was far less intense in the early years than after the full American involvement in 1965. To take into account this possible shift in violence, therefore, I calculated three extrapolations for each estimate, where I made “years of war” successively equal to 12, 13, and 14. Even then this may seem to under or overly weight the estimates, especially for the early 1960s before the United States was fully involved; or those for the period of greatest violence during 1966 to 1969. In any case, I will subsequently check on these results by comparing them against total war-dead estimates.

Returning now to Table 6.1A and the consolidation of the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong war-dead estimates and extrapolations (line 102), this may be checked against those consolidations of the separate war-dead estimates and extrapolations (line 67 and 83) by summing them (line 104). As can be seen, the two different ways of determining North Vietnamese and Viet Cong war-dead yield roughly equal mid and high totals. For a preliminary war-dead range, I take the lowest low and highest high and average the two mid-values (line 105). This is preliminary since in the light of subsequent figures for war-deaths among South Vietnamese and other forces, it may have to be adjusted.

I follow similar procedures to determine a preliminary South Vietnamese war-dead range (lines 108 to 140). Note that the two ways of estimating this range (lines 138 and 139) yield fairly close mid and high totals, but still must be treated with caution. Unlike with the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong war-dead estimates generally, civilian and total war-dead statistics for South Vietnam are not always clear as to whether they also cover democide. I have tried to separate out the ambiguous estimates, but sometimes this demands reading the mind of the source (e.g., lines 109, 132, 134). Even if labeled “war-dead” the estimate may cover all killed during the war, which would include democide (e.g., possibly line 133). In any case, keeping this in mind, I calculate a preliminary South Vietnamese war-dead total as I did for North Vietnam and the Viet Cong (line 140).

Largely uncontroversial war-dead totals then are calculated for South Vietnam’s allies (lines 142 to 179–the three estimates for South Vietnam and allies on lines 182 to 184 are for background only).

Finally I can calculate an overall war-dead total. I list related estimates and their consolidations for civilians (lines 188 to 193), military (lines 196 to 199), and combined (lines 202 to 206), and then check the latter by two sums. One is that of the separate civilian and military consolidations (line 207); the other is of the preliminary North Vietnam/Viet Cong, South Vietnam, United States, and other third party sub-totals (line 208). The three mid-values (lines 206 to 208) are relatively close, while one low is about a third lower than the others. Consistent with my approach, I take this low and the highest high to establish the final range. Its mid-value is the average of the three alternative mid-values (line 209). Subtracting foreign dead from this (line 210) gives a likely Vietnam War, war-dead total of 1,719,000 people (line 211). Since this is not the figure to which the preliminary North Vietnamese/Viet Cong and South Vietnamese war-dead figures summed, they must be adjusted such that they add up to this total. Proportionally adjusting them gives the final ranges and mid-values shown (lines 212 and 214).

Both North Vietnam and South Vietnam were involved in other wars and suffered rebellions of one-sort or another. In South Vietnam there was the suppression of various sects and their independent armies (line 219), rebellions of minorities (lines 222 to 223), the pre-Vietnam War communist inspired guerrilla war directed by North Vietnam from 1954 through 1959 (lines 227 and 228), and the incursion into Cambodia (line 239). For North Vietnam there was a severe local rebellion in 1957 (line 232); and the rebellion of S. Vietnamese against North Vietnam cadre and by National Liberation Front guerrillas after the Vietnam War (lines 233 to 235). And there was North Vietnam’s war in Cambodia (lines 240 to 242), war in Laos (line 246), and war against China (lines 249 to 254). Totaling the consolidated estimates (line 258) and adding this to the other war-dead total gives an overall toll for the years 1945 to 1987 of 1,336,000 to 3,960,000, or a likely 2,509,000 Vietnamese (line 261). This was almost 7 percent of the mid-period population (line 867), or roughly one out of fourteen people

Finally, we can turn to democide. That for North Vietnam involved in the early years a terror devoted to eliminating non-communist nationalists, anti-communists, and those who were pro-French (lines 266 to 275). Once the war against the French was almost over Hanoi turned to destroying and rebuilding the rural economic and power structure. This period, from 1953 to 1956, is very significant and the estimates are very confused. I have accordingly outlined in the table all the estimates associated with it so that the mode of calculation and associated subtotals for this period can be clearly distinguished.

Among the first campaigns was that to “reduce rent,” which really involved ridding the countryside of rich, powerful, and bourgeois peasants. (line 279). There is only one estimate of the associated democide, and for it the source (Hoang Van Chi, a Vietnamese nationalist with first hand experience) cites Professor Gerard Tongas who was in Hanoi during these years (he left in 1959), and which he claims to be accurate.3 I will therefore rely on this estimate in the subsequent calculations.

Once this campaign was completed and the countryside softened up, “land reform” proper took place (this was the taking of land from those who owned more than a defined amount and giving it to landless peasants– a preliminary to full nationalization of the land). There are major problems in estimating those who were killed or died in the campaign. The estimates cover different periods; and some cover strictly the “land reform” campaign while others appear to mix up the “rent reduction” campaign with the “land reform” or “political struggle” campaigns, with on going repression and retaliation (lines 312 to 318), or with democide associated with the suppression of rebellions (lines 322 to 325). I try to handle this by dividing “land reform” estimates in terms of their ostensive inclusiveness. Thus I first present estimates of “executions” (lines 282 to 288); then those executed and otherwise “killed” (lines 292 to 298); and then those who also otherwise died (i.e., “dead”–lines 302 to 308), such as those tagged as wealthy peasants who were deprived of their land, officially ostracized and thus denied food and shelter. Consequently, in consolidating the “land reform” dead (line 309), I made sure that the figures subsumed the consolidated killed estimates (line 299), that this in turn subsumed the consolidated execution estimates (line 289), and that this subsumed the rent reduction killed (line 279). In determining the final democide “land reform” total, I only added the final “land reform” dead (line 309) to those killed in political struggle, etc. (line 319), and the suppression of uprisings (line 326). The probable democide for this four year period then totals 283,000 North Vietnamese (line 329).

But then there was also those who died in prison or at forced labor from 1945 to 1956. One estimate of 500,000 dead (line 335) from President Nixon, which may have been based on secret intelligence estimates, cannot be accepted without some publicly available confirming information or similar independent estimates. Based on other estimates of the prison/camp population I assumed a 50,000 camp population per year and an unnatural death rate of 2 percent per year, on par with the Chinese rate4 and much lower then for the Soviet gulag.5 This gives me a low of 24,000 dead (line 336). There is not enough information to estimate a high or mid number.

Then also there were the POWs from the French Expeditionary Force that were killed. Based on the sources,6 I only dare estimate this number at 13,000 (line 341).

Putting together all these consolidations and calculations, I figure that for the years 1945 to 1956 the Vietnamese communists likely killed 242,000 to 922,000 people (line 347). Above this range I show two other estimates of these dead (lines 344 and 345), one at 700,000 and the other at 500,000 dead. Both are contained within the range at which I arrived.

Through torture, executions, and incarceration the French also committed democide during the Indochina War. Although while hints of this are given in the sources, there is not enough information to even estimate a minimum. We can however count the Vietnamese killed when a French heavy cruiser shelled the civilian areas of Haiphong (lines 350 to 357) and add the consolidated range (line 358) in with the total democide (line 364).

I can now give a summary of the democide for this period (lines 361 to 365).

As to the 1954 to 1975 period, democide continued in North Vietnam (lines 370 to 371) and there is one estimate of it available for 1956 to 1959 from Todd Culbertson, a member of the Editorial Page staff of the Richmond Virginia News Leader. He does not justify or give his sources for this estimate. I guess that the 1956 portion of this estimate includes executions associated with political repression, rebellions, and the last year of “land reform.” These may account for half or more of the estimate and the consolidated range takes this into account. Without giving figures, Bernard Fall (line 371) gives substance to the Culbertson estimate in his discussion of the execution of intellectuals over the years 1956-1960 as a result of the “hundred flowers” campaign similar to that carried out by Mao in China.7

The rest of the estimates for this period are for North Vietnam’s democide in South Vietnam during the pre-Vietnam War guerrilla struggle, during the war itself, and in Cambodia (lines 374-472). It is now clear from documents available since the end of the Vietnam War (similar documents were also available during the war but were considered by many academic area experts as possible South Vietnam or CIA disinformation–since then interviews and speeches by communist leaders and the defection of former communist, National Liberation Front, or Viet Cong high officials or officers, have verified their content)8 that the Viet Cong were not an independent force, but operated under the direction of Hanoi. As discussed in Death By Government, among the Viet Cong the major decisions about who should be killed were made by North Vietnamese operatives. This is not to deny that the Viet Cong, many of whom were recruited in South Vietnam, may have assassinated officials or executed civilians on their own. For these actions, however, they were ultimately answerable to North Vietnamese superiors. Therefore, I attributed all alleged Viet Cong democide to North Vietnam.

One more point. As a result of the 1954 Geneva Agreements that formally ended the Indochina War, Vietnam was officially split into North Vietnam and South Vietnam, all be it until Vietnam wide elections were to be held. As the possibility of these elections receded and both Hanoi and Saigon took on all the domestic and international functions of permanent governments, South Vietnam was also diplomatically recognized by a number of countries and carried out formal diplomatic interaction. Moreover, in the Paris Agreement of 1973 signed with the United States, North Vietnam officially recognized the sovereignty of South Vietnam. Thus North Vietnam’s democide in South Vietnam is treated as foreign democide, not domestic.

The first estimates of this democide concern the North’s assassination and execution of South Vietnamese officials (lines 376 to 387), civilians (lines 393 to 406), and both (lines 411 to 426). These estimates cover many different years and are, where it would help in their consolidation, extrapolated for the years 1954 to the end of the Vietnam War (lines 388, 407, and 428). A problem is that such killing increased in intensity from the early guerrilla years. To compensate for this over the twenty-one years, I extrapolated the low for only fourteen years, the high for eighteen.

Among the best of the estimates are those given by Guenter Lewy, themselves based on an error range of plus or minus 25 percent (which yields the low and high shown with his mid-estimate–lines 379, 395, and 424). When added together these estimates cover the period 1957 to 1972 (line 413) and their range is contained within the final consolidated one (line 428). I also check this consolidation by summing the separate ones for the officials and civilians (line 432). Clearly there is little difference between the two ways of assessing the democide and a final total is determined as usual (line 433).

Because of the disruption caused by the Tet offensive in 1968, South Vietnam was unable to keep count of assassinations during this period and their number usually do not appear in the above. I therefore treat them separately (lines 436 to 448).

Other democides by North Vietnam (lines 454 to 459) include the wanton killing of refugees, shelling of Saigon civilian areas, and killing of American and South Vietnamese POWs. Moreover, the North Vietnamese were heavily involved in Cambodia and also committed democide there (line 451).

The estimated range of refugees killed in one case (line 454) may seem relatively high but is probably conservative. Of the 200,000 refugees that fled the Highlands offensive by the North in March 1975, only 45,000 made it to Tuy-Hoa. Many of the 155,000 missing were killed by North Vietnamese troops; others were captured. Rebel highlanders also fired on the refugees, some were mistakenly bombed by government planes, and still others may have been run over by fleeing government vehicles. Some died by drowning and sheer exhaustion. I estimate that of those missing about 15 percent to 65 percent, most reasonably around one-third, were slaughtered by the North or died due to their actions. Because of the size of this missing figure, I should note that it comes from Phan Quang Dan,9 whose background (MAD., opposition leader, imprisoned by Dim, Chairman of the Interministerial Committee for the Relief of Refugees from Cambodia in 1970, former Secretary of State for Land Development and Hamlet Building, and Minister of Social Welfare and concurrent Deputy Prime Minister) gives much authority to the estimate. He was one of the officials who tried to provide food and camps for the refugees straggling into Tuby-Hoa. Weight is added to his description of this massacre by Louis A. Wiener, an international authority on refugees.10

North Vietnamese troops or their guerrilla Viet Cong surely committed more democide than that for which I have been able to find estimates. Throughout the guerrilla period and during the war they shelled and attacked civilians in strategic hamlets and refugee camps, attacked refugees fleeing on the roads in order to create chaos, shelled civilians in most government controlled cities and towns, and purposely mined and booby-trapped civilian areas (as of mining roads traveled by civilian buses). Moreover, thousands or tens of thousands were abducted to disappear forever, but are not included here under assassinations and executions. The sources give no estimates of these killings and to leave it at this would thus create a large hole in the total democide. Accordingly, I will assume that the additional deaths from these North Vietnam/Viet Cong atrocities and terror amounted to at least 200 a month over the twenty-one years from 1955 to the end of the war. This seems consistent with both sympathetic and unsympathetic descriptions of North Vietnamese and Viet Cong tactics and actions during the war, especially in considering that as a minimum the 200 dead covers the length and breadth of the unestimated North Vietnam/Viet Cong atrocities and terror throughout all of South Vietnam for some thirty days.

I can now total the overall domestic and foreign democide for North Vietnam during this period (lines 467 to 472). One estimate presumably of the overall National Liberation Front democide (line 468) is shown for comparison to the sum of North Vietnam’s democide in South Vietnam (line 467). It is much larger than even the high and is given in the source without explanation, justification, or citation.11 I therefore ignore it. In total then, North Vietnam probably murdered some 216,000 people (line 472).

Next, I consider the democide by South Vietnamese and others (lines 475 to 621in Table 6.1B). First there is that by the South Vietnamese Diem regime (lines 476 to 521). This includes those that died as a result of forced resettlement (lines 476 to 481), arrest and imprisonment (lines 484 to 494), executions and terror (lines 497 to 515), and from South Vietnamese bombing and shelling (line 518). For some of the consolidations or calculations, death rates had to be assumed (e.g., line 481). These were based on descriptions in the sources of the associated conditions and bits of information about deaths. In each case I attempted to bracket with the low and high what seemed to be the extremes.

Taking all these into account, the Diem democide amounts to 16,000 to 167,000 murdered Vietnamese (line 521).

Then I tabulate estimates of democide by the post-Diem regimes. For this the estimates cover much the same categories, but are fuller and apparently more complete. However, death rates also have to be assumed (e.g., line 556) in order to calculate the democide range. One estimate of a massacre in Quang Nam province allegedly by “U.S., puppet, satellite troops” is ambiguous and treated as by South Vietnam (line 569). There was also South Vietnamese democide during its incursion into Cambodia (line 572). Totaling all this (lines 575 and 576) gives South Vietnamese democide during these years as 42,000 to 118,000 people, virtually all Vietnamese (line 577).

A particularly controversial and difficult issue is American democide during the war. As clear from the literature this was a subject of intense propaganda on the one hand and denial on the other. There is no easy way of dealing with this except to study carefully those presumably more objective post-war accounts.12 To at least determine a provisional high, I recorded all estimates, even if manifestly propaganda (e.g., lines 595 and 597).

Consider first those killed in all Allied bombing and shelling (lines 581 to 589). No doubt some of this violated internationally accepted rules of warfare and those laid down by the American command to guide its forces.13 But that killing in defiance of command directives is not democide. The question is how many of these deaths then constituted democide by Allied forces, that is indiscriminate killing resulting from or consistent with higher commands. From the sources it seems that this was a small proportion of the overall toll, possibly 5 to 10 percent (line 590), and probably a tenth to a quarter of this democide was due to American action (line 592). This would mean that American forces murdered by shell and bomb some 400 to 5,000 Vietnamese, most likely some 800. For all American forces throughout South Vietnam, this works out to about 5 to 60 Vietnamese killed per month from 1965 to 1972, which seem prudent brackets on the monthly American democide by bomb or shell.

Then there are the massacres and atrocities that American forces were found or alleged to have done (lines 595 to 598). Most of these are given in North Vietnam/National Liberation Front documents or by their sympathizers. Some of these did occur, as at My Lai, but for some of the others it is unclear whether civilians killed during legitimate military action are being labeled as massacred or not. In any case, the consolidated low and mid-value are such as to assume that beyond those massacres we do know took place there is warrant to some others mentioned (line 601). There is simply not enough information to give a high.

The use of defoliation herbicides and potentially dangerous tear gas (which could kill very young or old civilians caught by the gas in confined areas, such as caves or bunkers) did cause some deaths for which the U.S. must be held responsible (lines 604 to 607).

Finally, we must recognize that aside from what was estimated above, there was throughout American involvement a background of small level atrocities (such as the killing of Viet Cong trying to surrender or of innocent peasants simply because they were running away) and massacres (such as wiping out the inhabitants of a village from which a sniper had been firing). Given the extent and nature of this war for Americans, it seems that a low of near 25 Vietnamese so murdered per month is probably a rock bottom figure, especially considering that this is less than one such killing per day for all American ground action in all of South Vietnam. This low amounts to 2,000 Vietnamese killed in total (line 610).

Summing these various estimates gives us a total American democide of around 4,000 to 10,000 Vietnamese, or a likely 5,500 (line 613). One way of judging whether this figure is way too low or high is to look at it as a monthly ratio to American troop strength. For the seven years of war 1965 to 1971, American troop strength averaged 365,571 personnel.14 This means that by bombing, shelling, and during ground combat, the equivalent of about one Vietnamese per month was murdered for every 5,583 American military personnel. This ratio seems about right to me, given the known atrocities and massacres, the indiscriminate bombing and shelling that did occur, and the confessions about killing POWs or those trying to surrender, all juxtaposed against the early insufficient but later extensive attempts by the High Command to limit such killing, hold soldiers and officers responsible for such acts, and better publicize rules of engagement that would protect civilians.

Other South Vietnamese allies also committed democide, specifically S. Korean troops. As with the estimates of American democide, estimates for the Koreans are usually from propaganda issued by North Vietnam and the National Liberation Front, although there is independent evidence that some democide was committed (lines 618 and 620). I estimate a low of 3,000 Vietnamese murdered, which also takes into account possible democide not given in the sources.

Now I can gather together (lines 624 to 628) and total (line 629) the various estimates of democide by South Vietnam and allies during the Vietnam War and pre-guerrilla period. This sum is then compared to one estimate of democide given by the National Liberation Front (line 630) and its extrapolation for the whole period 1954 to war’s end (line 632). As can be seen, this estimate is contained within the range (line 629) already determined and which accordingly is taken as the final figure (line 633).

Considerable democide followed Hanoi’s victory over South Vietnam in 1975. I show estimates of this or related information (lines 637 to 759), the first of which refer to re-education camps. To determine some range of deaths in these camps, I had to first establish their population. Estimates of this for various periods are shown in the table (line 638 to 668), and consolidated for 1975 to 1980, and 1981 to 1987 (lines 669 and 670). The reason for this periodization is that there were many more inmates during the earlier period and most important, this period was more deadly. Only one estimate of the number of deaths in the camps is available (line 672). Rather than accept this, however, I calculated the toll (line 673) based on an assumed death rate that for the early period was in deadliness closer to the Communist Chinese camps than the more lethal Soviet gulag.15 In the later period the annual toll is assumed about the same as for the later Chinese labor camps. The resulting range includes the one estimate (line 675) and I therefore accept it as final.

Next there are estimates (lines 679 to 683) of the number of forced laborers, including those forcibly deported to “new economic zones,” from which consolidation (line 684) we can try to calculate the associated unnatural deaths. This I do (line 687), assuming a very low annual rate of .75 to 2 percent for the first six years and .5 percent thereafter. This also assumes that the zones were about a quarter to a third less deadly then the camps in the early period and half as deadly later.

Not all democide figures are indirect. Estimates are available on executions (lines 690 to 697), which I consolidate (line 698).

Then there are the boat people for whose deaths at sea Hanoi is responsible. Some of these Vietnamese were forced to flee, some fled out of terror and fear for their lives, some fled by virtue of unlivable conditions that the communists had created for them. To understand the drive to flee on the dangerous open ocean often in unseaworthy boats is to realize the deadly hazards they faced from the regime, as discussed in Death By Government. The table lists estimates of the number of Vietnamese boat people that fled or tried to flee (lines 702 to 711) and their consolidation (line 713). Estimates of the percent of these then dying at sea are also given and consolidated (lines 716 to 730), followed by death estimates (lines 733 to 748). The consolidation of these (749) gives us one overall range of deaths. I calculate another by applying the consolidated percentage mortality to the consolidated number fleeing (line 750). Neither of these totals especially commends itself. In the usual fashion, I therefore took the lowest low and highest high and averaged the two mid-values to get the final range (line 751).

How many of these deaths is the responsibility of the communist Vietnamese, that is, democide? Neither the extremes of “none” or “all” is reasonable. Surely those who were forced to face death at sea, or risked it out of mortal fear of the regime or because their lives and families had been irretrievably ruined by it, should be counted as democide (by analogy consider that if children fled their family in winter because they fear being killed or are brutally abused, and then die of exposure in the snow, the parents could be tried for murder). However, those boat people who left for non-vital reasons, such as for economic reasons, and died at sea should hardly be counted as democide. What the proportion is between the two types of refugees is unknown. I assume that those for which the regime must be held responsible could vary from one-third to two-thirds, most reasonably a half of them. Applying this to the number who fled yields a likely Vietnam democide of 250,000 boat people (line 753).

As calculated elsewhere in this book, the probable democide that Vietnam committed in Cambodia (line 756) and Laos (line 759) are listed in the table.

Finally, I can calculate the overall democide of Vietnam in the post-Vietnam War period (lines 762 to 764). This amounts to 346,000 to 2,438,000 Vietnamese, Cambodians, and Laotians, probably about 1,040,000.

In order to organize the many different kinds of subtotals and totals that have been calculated in the table, I summarize and collect the various statistics (lines 771 to 838) and now compare them to estimates of such totals in the sources. First I total the Vietnamese dead during the Indochina War (line 775) and then for the Vietnam War and its early guerrilla phase (line 785). The resulting range for North Vietnam (and their surrogate Viet Cong–line 787) brackets the one overall estimate available in the sources (line 786).

Next I give estimates of the overall civilian toll during the Vietnam War (lines 791 to 798) and then use their consolidation (line 800) to check the figures I previously calculated, as given by sum of civilians killed in war and all democide during this period (line 802). As can be seen, while the high is appropriately higher, the low is over 100,000 greater than the consolidated figure and raises some question as to the validity of the underlying sub-totals. As a result I reviewed the low of all the various calculations and consolidations going into this sum and find each appropriately conservative. The problem lies with that consolidated low based on extrapolating Lewy’s estimate (line 797) for twelve years. In arriving at his estimate Lewy does not take into account the civilian democide by South Vietnam and Allies nor that by North Vietnam in the North; nor does it take into account those killed in rebellions in South Vietnam. The resulting dead, when added to the civilian war-dead determined above (line 800) would add near 100,000 to the low and bring it close to the summed low (line 802). I therefore accept the sum without adjustment.

Following this are listed estimates of the overall military and civilian toll (lines 805 to 814). As above, I use their consolidation (815) as a check on the overall sum (line 816) of the various calculations and sub-totals for this period. This time the whole range (line 816) is as it should be (the low is lower and high higher) and the mid-value is relatively close to the consolidated one (this also lends further support to the sum for civilians alone).

With these checks completed, I can pull together the various sub-totals and totals and present them in a summary fashion (lines 823 to 838). In total 3,760,000 Vietnamese probably died of political violence during over forty-two years (line 831). Some 1,250,000, or over 33 percent of them were murdered. This does not count Laotians and Cambodians killed by Vietnamese governments, virtually all by Hanoi. When these are added and those Vietnamese killed by foreigners subtracted, the total democide by Vietnamese is 1,760,000 people (line 838).

There are still the democide rates to calculate and other statistics to present. For information I list a number of estimates of Vietnamese refugees and consolidate them (lines 841-860). Then I give population estimates for the whole country (lines 864 to 876), North Vietnam (lines 879 to 890), and South Vietnam (lines 894 to 905). I will use them to calculate the democide rates (line 908 to 942).

Regarding these, the only issue is whether to include North Vietnam’s democide in South Vietnam during the Vietnam War as domestic or foreign democide. For reasons previously given, I consider South Vietnam a separate country during this period and accordingly treat it as foreign soil for North Vietnam. Another issue concerns whether to calculate a democide rate for North Vietnam that would include that portion of South Vietnam it controlled (which in 1964 could have been as high as 80 percent16). This I will not do, since so much of the North’s democide in the South during 1954 to 1975 was in areas controlled by the government. Finally, for those rates that include the period when the North controlled Hanoi and then after its victory over the South, all of Vietnam, I had to calculate them using a weighted average as shown in the table (lines 920, 922, 927, 929). For all Vietnam, Hanoi killed about 1 percent of those Vietnamese under its control, or near 1 out of every 901 people per year.


* From the pre-publisher edited manuscript of Chapter 6 in R.J. Rummel, Statistics of Democide, 1997. For full reference to Statistics of Democide, the list of its contents, figures, and tables, and the text of its preface, click book.

1. Vietnam’s population for 1967, the mid-year of the period, was 36,820,000 (UN Demographic Yearbook 1971, p. 135).

2. Rummel (1994, Chapter 11).

3. Chi (1964, p. 166).

4. Rummel (1991, Table IIA.1, lines 378-382).

5. Rummel (1990, p. 28).

6. Particularly, Lewy (1978, p. 341) and Hyman (1992, p. 42).

7. Fall (1966, pp. 188-90).

8. See, for example, Hosmer (1970), Lewy (1978), Tang (1985), Toai (1990), and Wiesner (1988).

9. Phan (1988, p. xiv).

10. Wiesner (1988, pp. 318-19).

11. I queried Harff and Gurr, the author’s of the estimate, by letter, but received no response.

12. Among the most useful of these I would include Lewy (1978), Andradr (1990), Moss (1990), Wiesner (1988), and Moore (1990)

13. See Rummel (1994, Chapter 11).

14. Calculated from Thayer (1985, Table 4.4, p. 34).

15.See Rummel (1990, p. 28; 1991, Table IIA.1, lines 378-382

16.See O’Neill (1969, p. 7).