- Do not count days. Do not count miles. Count only the number of Germans you have killed. Kill the German - this is your mother's prayer. Kill the German - this is your child's plea. Kill the German - this is the cry of your Russian earth. Do not miss. Do not let up. Kill.
- During the Union's campaign in the South in the twilight of the American Civil War, this was very much the feeling, especially towards the "snake-pit of secession", South Carolina. Columbia was burnt to the ground, and Atlanta and Charleston suffered extensive damage. One Southern diarist recounted: "[The Northern soldiers] say they are sorry for the women and children, but South Carolina must be destroyed". William T. Sherman's "March to the Sea", and extended scorched-earth campaign designed to decisively destroy the Confederacy's ability to wage war was another example:
So we made a thoroughfare for freedom and her train,
Sixty miles in latitude, three hundred to the main.
Treason fled before us for resistance was in vain,
While we were marching through Georgia.
- On the other side, there was Jack Hinson. Though he was initially neutral at the outbreak of the war, Hinson joined the Confederate war effort after Federal troops cut off his sons' heads and stuck them on his gate posts. Hinson killed as many as 100 Union soldiers with his 50-caliber Kentucky Long Rifle. He was never apprehended despite the commitment of four Union regiments to pursuing him.
- When 14th century French noblewoman Jeanne de Clisson's husband was betrayed by his best friend and executed for treason, she sold all the Clisson lands to buy a fleet of warships, painted them black and dyed the sails red, and made herself a pirate admiral who only attacked French ships. If she found any noblemen aboard, she would execute them by beheading, the same fate that ended her husband's life. But she would always leave at least one sailor alive, so she could send him off with a message — "Tell the king of France that the Lioness of Brittany is coming for him." (She never did get to kill the king, but the aid she provided to the English side likely played a significant role in the English victory at Crecy, one of the most important battles of the Hundred Years' War).
- Octavian Caesar and Marc Antony ruthlessly hunting down the Tyrannicides of Julius Caesar, making this Older Than Feudalism.
- As well as the failed revenge campaign of Pompey the Great's son, Sextus, against the Second Triumvirate of Octavian, Antony and Lepidus.
- Antony was not as vengeful as you might think. While it's true that Antony and Caesar were close friends for much of their lives as well as cousins they were not on particularly good terms when Caesar was assassinated. To compound matters everyone (including Antony) expected him to be Caesar's primary heir, but when the will was read Antony's name was not even mentioned. Plutarch went as far as to suggest that Antony knew about the plot and allowed it to happen, and for his part Antony actually pardoned the assassins at first. Though he famously denounced them as murderers during his eulogy of Caesar. (Octavian on the other hand epitomized this trope, going as far as to recruit an army and march on Rome while he was nineteen.)
- The Battle of Lechfeld is a medieval example. Pagan Hungarian Nomads had taken advantage of a rebellion in East Francia to Rape, Pillage, and Burn their way across the kingdom. Deciding enough was enough, King Otto I called 8000 Heavily Armored Knights and Infantrymen together at Lechfeld to do battle with the invaders. Despite being outnumbered 2 to 1 by deadly horse archers, the German Knights pinned them down and slaughtered the Hungarians to a man. 1000 were killed in battle, 1500 were killed by local farmers defending their lands, and 2000 more were chased down and slain while attempting to flee. All in all, this put an end to Hungarian Incursions in Western Europe.
- As referred to in a flim about the life of Wyatt Earp, after the "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral", Earp hunted down and killed most of the Clanton gang. Not because of the shootout; because three weeks later, Ike's boys shot and killed Wyatt's brother Morgan, while he was playing billiards. And did it from behind, to boot. The "Gunfight" was just business for Wyatt, due to his being town marshal and the Clantons refusing to abide by the local "no guns inside the deadline" ordinance. Backshooting his brother made it personal.
- Following the massacre at the 1972 Munich Olympics, Israel's Mossad launched several operations to kill as many Palestinian operatives as they could find information on who may or may not have been associated with the attack. Israel still denies the operations took place (as they were extremely illegal in international law).
- There was also Operation Nemesis (named after the Greek Goddess of divine retribution) carried out by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, which was payback for the Armenian Genocide. For more information, look here.
- When Steve Irwin died, some Australians did not take his death well and condemned the stingrays, the creature that killed him (in self-defence). Thus, shortly after, several mutilated stingrays were found near some of Australian beaches. Irwin's friends took notice and condemned the mutilators, because Irwin wouldn't have wanted a retribution on those who caused his death. You know... the same animals that Steve Irwin dedicated his life to preserving.
- ... or, in this case, on completely innocent members of the same sentient (in some ways like us and in some ways differently) species.
- The utter carnage wreaked by the Red Army when it entered Germany during World War II was seen by the Soviets as justified vengeance for the 25+ million dead (the vast majority civilians) that the Soviet Union had suffered. To use the word "hatred" to describe Soviet feelings about the Germans is to reveal the limitations of the English language in describing emotion: practically every single Soviet soldier at this point in the war had a personal, murderous vendetta against Germany that was finally being given vent.
- Mariya Oktyabrskaya may be one of the Red Army's shining examples of this trope, when her husband was killed in action near Kiev in 1941 she enlisted and sold all her possessions to raise the 50,000 roubles needed to donate a tank to the army on one condition, they let her drive, the State Defence Committee agreed thinking it'd be good publicity. When she arrived at the battle of Smolensk in 1943 the other soldiers considered her a publicity stunt... until she started fighting, maneuvering her T-34, emblazoned with the words "Fighting Girlfriend", like a veteran. She destroyed many German machine gun and artillery positions and was the first of her brigade to breach the enemy positions. And that was only the beginning of her two-year campaign against the Nazis, which would ultimately gain her the Gold Star of the Hero of the Soviet Union, the highest award for military bravery offered by the USSR.
- After being gang raped by villagers incited by the upper-caste man who killed her lover, the Thakur Sri Ram, Phoolan Devi put together her own gang of bandits and avenged reports of rape and abuse through castration and dismemberment of the perpetrators. Based on reports that Sri Ram could be found in one of those villages, she returned with her gang and, in frustration at not being able to find him, executed 22 Thakur men, turning her into India's most wanted but also a folk hero eventually elected to Parliament. Fictionalized as the film Bandit Queen.
- When Queen Boudicca's husband died, the Roman moneylender Seneca called in a debt of 40,000,000 sesterces (a debt the Iceni neither agreed to nor wanted). The men sent in to collect this debt also had Boudicca flogged and raped her two daughters in front of her. In response Boudicca rallied a massive army of rebel Celts and led a bloody crusade against the Romans occupying Britain. Before she was stopped, she massacred three of Britain's largest Roman cities, slaughtering at least 70,000 civilians in the process. It required three entire Roman legions to finally bring her down.
- That is, the first legion that tried it found itself outnumbered fifty to one at least, so no surprise at the result there (all the infantry were wiped out, some of the cavalry and the senior officers escaped). Boudica's last battle, the Battle of Watling Street, saw her faced by two legions, mustering about 5% of her own numbers. It was a complete Curb-Stomp Battle, but not the way Boudica was hoping. The Romans completely cut her men to pieces, chased down those who tried to flee, and after the fight some of the roman soldiers butchered the families of the rebels (they were brought out to watch the expected victory from a safe distance). After Boudica's death, the Roman's forcibly relocated the remaining Iceni to a Romanized town and launched retaliatory attacks against the other tribes for good measure.
- Do you remember the Khwarezmian Empire? No? That's the point--there's a good reason for that. Mainly because Genghis Khan literally wiped the entire civilization out of existence. The reason? Because one of the local governors harassed and even killed some of Genghis Khan's emissaries. When he was captured, that particular governor allegedly had molten silver poured into his eyes and mouth.
- This is one reason why you shouldn't shoot the messenger. Especially Genghis Khan's messenger. It should be mentioned that it was a messenger of peace, and that Genghis Khan sent them messengers twice, basically giving them a second chance after killing his first messengers. After the second time, well, he destroyed them all.
- Though to be fair, kingdoms that did surrender to him usually had to endure a period of Rape, Pillage, and Burn before the Mongol Hordes moved on, so its somewhat understandable that his emissaries weren't exactly popular.
- In first century Vietnam lived two sisters named Trung Trac and Trung Nhi. When Trac's husband stood up against the ruling Chinese, he was killed and Trac was raped. But what the Chinese didn't know was that the Trung sisters had been trained from childhood in the art of warfare and the martial arts. The sisters raised an army of 80,000, mostly women, and took back as many as 65 citadels before the Chinese managed to defeat them. Rather than die at the hands of the Chinese, the two sisters drowned themselves. Needless to say, the Trung sisters are highly revered in Vietnam.
- John "Liver-Eating" Johnson. Mountain man in the American west, Crow Indians killed his pregnant wife. He proceeded to spend the next twenty five years hunting down the Crow, killing them, taking a bite out of their livers and spitting it out, declaring it unfit to eat as an insult. After amassing a body count of roughly forty, the Crows finally decided to make peace with him, inviting him into the tribe and making him an honorary chieftain.
- Prior to becoming one of the victims in the Wonderland Murders, Ron Launius was a mercenary and a drug dealer who was a suspect in over two dozen murder cases, but could never be convicted because of the sudden deaths of so many of the witnesses. He once made a trip to Mexico to buy from members of a drug cartel, but they instead robbed him and held his wife for ransom. Launius robbed two banks to pay his wife's ransom, then killed the kidnappers anyway. He also killed the men who had set up the deal.
- Buford Pusser was a sheriff in Tennessee who was riding with his wife to a call when a car pulled up and fired on them, killing her and critically wounding him. He single-handedly killed every man and then went on to wage a war on moonshining, illegal gambling, and several other criminal activities in his county before dying in a car accident. This man was so awesome that not one, but two movies were made based on his story, the second of which starred Dwayne Johnson.
- The Barbary Pirates demanded tribute from a certain obscure new nation on the grounds that Nobody Ever Complained Before. The result was that the US Navy came after them and spent several years beating on them. During the War of 1812 the Barbary Pirates went back to their old tricks and afterwards the US Navy returned and gave them another whaling.note At this the British decided that the colonials had a pretty good idea going, peace having broken out in Europe. So they sent the Royal Navy after them. Finally after all that was done, the French simply landed and conquered the whole area.
- On a recon mission in WWII, Leo Major's best friend Willy was killed by Nazis. Leo responded by strapping three machine guns to his back, grabbing a sack of grenades, and went on the warpath, leaving a trail of destruction so great the Nazis were convinced they were fighting an entire attack force. He proceeded to bust down a door and kill four Nazi high commanders before burning down the Gestapo headquarters nearby. He proved to be such an unstoppable killing machine, the entire Nazi garrison retreated.
- When Bashkirian Airways Tupolev 154 and DHL cargo Boeing 757 collided over Überlingen, southern Germany in 2002, 74 people were killed. Among those were wife and two kids of Ossetian architect Vitaly Kaloyev. The accident was due to flight control error (That's only partially true, there was the Bashkirian's pilots failure to follow TCAS) Kaloyev hired a private investigator to find out the individual flight controller who had been at job at that fateful night. It turned out to be a Danish man named Peter Nielsen. So Kaloyev tracked him down, and stabbed him to death with a knife in front of Nielsen's wife and three children at his Zürich home on 24 February 2004. The Swiss police tracked him and he was sentenced for murder. He was released from prison on basis of insanity in November 2007 and banished from Switzerland. He received a hero's welcome home in Russia, and he was nominated as the Minister of Public Constructions in Ossetia.
- The United States in World War II following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
- Quite infamously the United States during the Spanish-American War.
- In March of 1944, Chindit George Cairns was involved in attack on a Japanese-held hill. When a Japanese officer hacked off his arm with a katana, he went berserk, killed him, grabbed the katana in his remaining arm, and sprinted up the hill, chopping any Japanese soldier anywhere near him. He left a trail of blood and dead and wounded Japanese until he fell over dead. From blood loss from his severed arm.
- After Prince Igor of Kiev was killed by the tribe of Drevlians, they sent 20 ambassadors to his widow, Princess Olga, to convince her to marry their Prince Mal. She buried them alive. After that she asked Mal to send his best men to help her on her journey to him. She invited them to the bathhouse, locked them up and set the building on fire. Then she invited some more Drevlians to her husband's funeral, and, after they were drunken, killed about 5,000 of them. And then Olga went to war against them, and defeated them, and burned down their capital Iskorosten.
- Supposedly, the reason the Drevlians killed Igor is because, after coming with a large force to take the yearly tribute, he got greedy and came back with a token force to take even more. Seeing their chance, the Drevlians easily overcame his bodyguards, tied him to two bent tree trunks, and let go. They, obviously, didn't think about the consequences.
- In 2004, Marvin Heemeyer armored a bulldozer, mounted guns, monitors, and cameras into the metalwork, and used it to destroy 13 buildings in Granby, Colorado, all of which were owned by people he had some kind of dispute with, including the town hall. He also installed loudhailers that broadcasted his intentions for razing the community. The bulldozer rampage finally stopped because Heemeyer's insane modifications had stressed the mechanics of the bulldozer beyond anything they were meant to endure, and the beast died in a heap of smoke. Heemeyer pulled the trigger on himself, leaving the authorities to find the scene of his suicide after carving open the bulldozer's armor. Also a Taking You with Me, because the bulldozer's armored cocoon had no way for him to escape once it was lowered over him.
"Sometimes reasonable men must do unreasonable things."
- A farmer in Vermont flattened several police cars because he was angry about being charged with marijuana possession.
- Another man drove right through City Hall in Wichita, soon after being cited for having loud music in his car, he got 10 years for the rampage.
- "The Nazis entered this war under the rather childish delusion that they were going to bomb everyone else, and nobody was going to bomb them. At Rotterdam, London, Warsaw and half a hundred other places, they put their rather naive theory into operation. They sowed the wind, and now they are going to reap the whirlwind" - Air Chief Marshall "Bomber" Harris, Royal Air Force. He wasn't kidding. The reason the USAF bombed by day and the British at night? The USAF believed that the best use of bombers was precision strikes against German factories. The RAF believed that the fact that the factories were intact made no difference so long as the people that worked them got no sleep, had no homes, and were demoralized and depressed.
- Christopher Dorner, after having been dismissed from the LAPD, went on one, posting a long, rambling manifesto, in which he named specific officers he wanted to kill, killed the daughter of the attorney who represented him at the hearing where he was dismissed, as well as her fiancee, before killing a police officer and running up to Big Bear mountain range, where he killed another officer, and holed himself up in a cabin. Then the police themselves got in on the act, deciding the Klingons were wrong and revenge is a dish best served piping hot, they set the cabin on fire with the intention of watching him burn alive (the Sheriff officially denied this, of course, but few believe it), though in the end he shot himself to deny them the satisfaction.
- The entire Lusitanian War was a big rampage of revenge against the increasingly expansionist Roman Republic. When Rome pretended to make peace with the tired Lusitanians over war and land, only to slaughter 10,000 men women and children. Huge numbers of them spent the next 3 years randomly attacking Roman territories and allies but slowly failing. Just as it looked like Rome would wipe out the last resisting warriors, a survivor named Viriathusof that same earlier massacre reminded them of why they had been fighting. Knowing how Romans fought, he managed to save the several thousand cornered warriors without a loss, leading to a renewed 8 year leadership of revenge against Rome. His leadership caused so much distress in Rome that other tribes rebelled, The recruitment rate in Rome dropped, especially after three legions were lost in the war against the Lusitanians alone. However, the trope is somewhat subverted in that eventually he later spared an army of Romans for peace, knowing that over time, the war would simply drain his peoples numbers, only for the peace treaty to be reneged and himself assassinated. Ironically enough his death triggered another brief rampage or revenge but without his leadership it failed. Adding to the confusion, the Roman's ended up making peace later by giving this tribe exactly what they asked for before this entire mess began, fertile land.
- Pancho Villa himself went on this trope after his war effort against a corrupt Mexican government was virtually starved by an US presidential ban of aid to his forces. He found himself so embittered that he raided a train and had its 18 US occupants stripped naked and executed. Villa later also lead 500 men to raid Columbus, New Mexico for supplies and not only attempted to look, but willingly attacked anyone on site with his men, setting homes on fire. Unfortunately for his men, they were beaten back with high losses. The US President and his people were not pleased, and sent a 4,800 man strong army to hunt him down. Though they never suceeded in catching Villa himself, they did manage almost entirely dismantle his revolution.
- In 1998, Mari Carmen Garcia's 13-year-old daughter was raped. In 2005, the rapist was paroled, and upon returning to their hometown of Benjuzar, Spain, encountered Mari Carmen in the street and taunted her about her daughter. Mari Carmen Garcia then followed the rapist to a bar, walked up behind him, doused him in gasoline, lit a match and burnt him to death. She served one year in prison before being paroled due to special circumstances (namely that almost no one could blame her for sending her daughter's rapist straight to hell in a blaze of white-hot revenge).
- In 1509 the Portuguese had pretty much managed to take over the Indian spice trade from the Venetians and the nations who profited from the old route. In reply, they banded together and financed the Mamluks to attack the Portuguese in the Indian ocean. They surprised an 8-ships strong Portuguese squadron (who fought back for 3 days against 50+ Mamluk vessels) - killing the son of the Portuguese Viceroy before limping to Diu.
The Viceroy threw his recently arrived replacement in jail, scrapped together 18 ships for a punitive expedition, and sailed off for some bloody revenge. The Gujarat governor of Diu sent him a messenger, to whom he basically replied that he was going to Diu to kick the ass of the guys who killed his son and of those who helped them, and that if the Mamluks were gone by the time he arrived, then all his fury would fall on the city alone...
Cue the equivalent of an invasion by eldritch abominations in which the Portuguese easily reduced the port fortifications, made short work of the 100-strong fleet anchored within and crushed the city defenders with arquebuses and hand grenades.
The city was garrisoned and forced to pay a hefty indemnification, but the Mamluk prisoners were hanged, burned alive or tied to the mouths of the cannons and blown to pieces.
- Akku Yadav was a criminal who had been committing rape and murder in the Indian city of Chennai for over a decade, and getting away with it due to police corruption. When he was brought into court, he spotted a woman in the crowd he had raped and called her a whore. This prompted an angry mob of over 200 women to lynch him on the spot, with one of his victims reportedly hacking off his penis.
- The Romans were infamous for what they did to allies that betrayed them, or subjects that rebelled, and did not surrender in time when the Romans came for them. Here's the two most infamous occasions:
- During the Second Punic Wars, the Greek city-states of Sicily, allied with Rome, switched sides after the Carthaginian triumph at Cannae. Rome replied sending against them the survivors of Cannae led by their best general, Marcellus, who razed two cities and then started besieging Syracuse while his troops sent raiding parties. The Sicilians were not impressed, especially as the Romans were failing against Syracuse's walls and Archimedes' inventions... And then the Romans broke through, sacked and demolished the city, and slaughtered anyone but those who could be useful, raped and/or enslaved (and some of those cathegories too, as Archimedes was mistaken for an old fool and killed). Sicily became a Roman province as soon as the other city-states were informed of what had just happend;
- The Romans first came to Judaea when the Jews called them in as protectors, and were comprensibly pissed when they rebelled. When the Romans were finished, over one million Jews had been killed, 97,000 others were sold as slaves, most of the others had left Judaea, and Jerusalem had been completely destroyed save for a single wall of the Temple.
- The Byzantine Empire was the continuation of the eastern half of the Roman Empire, and just like their colleagues in the west you provoked them at your own peril. Best shown by what happened in the last Roman-Persian War: thanks to the Byzantine being weakened by infighting, attacks from Bulgars and Avars and starting the war under Phocas, the worst of the Byzantine emperors, the Persians of the Sassanid dynasty were overrunning the Byzantine empire, the situation being so bad that Heraclius, who had become emperor after personally killing Phocas, was considering moving the capital to Carthage to rule on the oversea territories only when Persian emperor Khosrau II sent him a most offensive letternote , at which point the entire population of the Byzantine Empire became willing to all sacrifices to make the Persians pay, and they did: when the Persians surrendered, the frontier was back where it was at the start of the war, the Persian military was barely holding on, a Byzantine army led personally by Heraclius had stopped short of the Persian capital, Khosrau had been assassinated and replaced by one of his least favourite sons, and the death of the latter plunged the Persian Empire into civil war.
- The Byzantines were also on the receiving end of this when they tried to pull a fast one on the Grand Catalan Company and its capable, lawless, and beloved commander Roger de Flor. They hired the company to fight the Turks. The Catalans did a good job of it, at the same time plundering Byzantine territory and subjects. The Byzantines decided to rid themselves of these "Western Barbarians" by setting another group of mercenaries on them, the Alans. The Alans killed Roger de Flor but left most of the Grand Company in one piece. Bad move. The enraged Catalans conquered Thessaly and Greece and ruled their own kingdom until 1390.
- While most movies hinge on this premise, this is not a good thing for most people to do or think of doing if a friend or family member gets raped/beaten/otherwise traumatized at the hands of others. Apart from the many obvious legal problems involved, since they're already terrified and vulnerable, bloodthirsty rage from their previously nonthreatening loved ones will usually freak the victim out even more.