Re: [asa] social evolution for Jon Tandy

From: Murray Hogg <muzhogg@netspace.net.au>
Date: Fri May 15 2009 - 21:22:26 EDT

Dehler, Bernie wrote:
>If Hitler and Stalin were like Alexander the Great- the death toll would have been much greater.

Even a cursory investigation into the numbers shows this to be way off the mark;

I've tabled the figures below, but the basic breakdown is;

Alexander: 256 thousand

Hitler: 17 million

Stalin: 22 million

Where the casualty figures for the German/Soviet conflict (approx 4 million) have been equally divided. Arguably Hitler should be credited with the lion's share of these casualties as he started the conflict by invading Russia. I have, however, included figures for the Soviet/Finnish winter war - so not ALL the 4 million (approx) should be credited to Hitler. It doesn't affect the final outcome much, however.

Obviously the total casualties shows Alexander to be far less than those who perished due to Hitler or Stalin. Weighing the figures against world populations shows Alexander in a poorer light, but the claim that he is worse than Hitler or Stalin still doesn't bear up.

Taking world-population as 162 million in 400 BC and 2300 million in 1940 (US census bureau figures: http://www.census.gov/ipc/www/worldhis.html) we get;

Alexander: 260000/162 = 1580 deaths per million of world population

Hitler: 17 million / 2300 = 7391 deaths per million of world population

Stalin: 22 million / 2300 = 9565 deaths per million of world population

On the basis of which figures I think the claim that Alexander was worse than Stalin or Hitler is demonstrably incorrect.

Regards,
Murray

NB: A more detailed breakdown of the figures and their sources is as follows. Note that I thought the original claim was so obviously false that I didn't bother researching this in any depth - if anybody thinks the figures are worth contesting, they can supply alternative figures from more credible sources:

*Estimate of military casualties*

Alexander : 162,000

German/Soviet conflict (including Soviet/Finnish Winter War): 3,964,000

(note that the casualty figures for German actions against non Soviet forces are omitted)

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Most_lethal_battles_in_world_history

*Estimate of civilian casualties*

Alexander: The only known actions against of Alexander against civilian populations were following the seiges of Thebes, Tyre and Gaza. I have been able to find the following figures (which include the military casualties)

Thebes: 36,000 (military and civilian: http://thegreatcommanders.com/destruction_thebes.html)
Tyre: 22,000 (miliary and civilian: http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/article_tyre.html)
Gaza: actual figure unknown (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Gaza) - but take the population of Thebes as an estimate: 36,000

Nazi Germany: 15 to 30 million

(source: http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/NAZIS.CHAP1.HTM)

Stalinist Russia: 20 to 50 million

(source: http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/warstat1.htm)

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Received on Fri May 15 21:23:53 2009

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