Top Cases of Genocide Killings in History

The deliberate and intentional killing of masses of people is one of the most heinous acts that any individual or groups could ever do to others. We’ve learned through history that mankind is more than capable of such horrendous acts, and there have been groups and individuals in the past that have perpetrated genocide. These are some of the top cases of genocide killings that have happened and that had tremendous repercussions in our humanity’s history.


1. The Holocaust


Probably one of the most infamous cases of genocide, the Holocaust happened in Nazi-Germany from 1939 to 1945 during World War II. The highest estimate of the death toll during this genocide was between 6 million to 17 million deaths and includes all deaths during that time. The lower estimates of 5 million to 6 million deaths depict the figure of Jewish deaths. 


2. Holodomor


The Ukrainian genocide lasted one year from 1932 and 1933 and included a death toll that had its highest estimates at 7.5 million. This genocide killed off 10% of the Ukrainian population through artificial starvation. The famine was supposedly planned and implemented by Stalin to prevent Ukrainian independence. The deaths during this period have been largely compared to the deaths in the Holocaust.

(On a lighter side, check our article discussing dry to cooked quinoa ratio)

3. Cambodian Genocide


During 1975 to 1979, roughly 21% of the Cambodian population was killed during this genocide. That amounted to roughly 3 million people. The killings happened at the Democratic Kampuchea and were carried out by infamous leader Pol Pot under the Khmer Rouge regime. This regime followed Maoism principles and was a socialist agrarian republic. During this time, many Cambodians were forced to work at labor camps and were subject to forced labor, abuse, malnutrition, and mass execution.


4. Kazakh Genocide


An estimated 42% of the Kazakh population died during the Soviet famine that lasted two years from 1931 to 1933. The man-made famine affected a lot of Soviet areas, but the Kazakh ethnic group had the highest percentage of people killed during this time. The region was one of the most severely affected during that time. After the famine, only 38% of the population of Kazakhstan were Kazakhs.


5. Armenian Genocide


From 1915 to 1922, at least 50% of Armenians that lived in Turkey were exterminated—that’s roughly 1.5 million people. The genocide started when the Ottoman authorities gathered and killed over 200 intellectuals and various leaders from the Armenian community. The genocide killings were carried out during and after World War I. The killings were carried out in two phases. First, the men were massacred in large numbers. Next, the women, children, and the elderly had to go on a death march towards the Syrian Desert with no food or water.