When one searches the Internet for the biggest killers in world history, the general consensus seems to be:
- Mao (~60m fatalities)
- Stalin (~30m fatalities)
- Hitler (~10m fatalities)
However most sources refer to publications and estimates made by specific historians, which vary greatly (often by many millions - see Wikipedia entry on Stalin as a good example) between one another - which makes me wonder how much of that is based on sound data, and how much are really just historical "guesses". So my question follows:
How accurate (in historical terms) are all these estimates and, in particular, are there any peer-reviewe papers that can provide a systematic breakdown of their basic component numbers (i.e. deaths due to direct orders, particular failed policies, war efforts etc.) incl. data sources and error margins for each component?
Example sources: http://www.answers.com/Q/Who_is_the_Biggest_killer_in_world_history http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Stalin http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mao_Zedong http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolf_Hitler ... and a ton of other websites :)