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  • One of the earliest recorded purges in history (outside The Bible) occurred after the Peloponnesian War: the victorious Spartans, having installed an oligarchy of "Thirty Tyrants" to govern Athens, left the city to its own devices. The Thirty proceeded to execute or exile the leaders of the former ruling party; then the leaders of the opposition party; and finally anyone they suspected of being able to organize an opposition. Eventually, the Athenians revolted, restored democracy, and issued a general amnesty. However, having learned the value of eliminating ideological enemies, they then proceeded to try, convict, and execute Socrates, because one of his students had been a leader of the Thirty. (Officially, at any rate. Unofficially, they tried him because he was The Gadfly and because while his philosophy may or may not have been anti-democratic, learning it definitely seemed to give his students the idea they were better than everyone else. They then proceeded to convict and execute him because he was a huge dick at trial.)
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  • The Spartans also conducted an annual purge of the Helots, their slave race, which served two purposes. First, it was done by Spartan youths to prove themselves for later military service. Second, the brightest and strongest Helots were specifically targeted, in hopes of preventing slave revolts (this didn't work) or at least cutting down on them by eliminating those that might lead them. The Helots were constantly spied upon by the Spartans, and thus those deemed "fittest" in these ways were singled out for killing in these purges.
  • The downfall of The Roman Republic began as a result of ideological factionalism that resulted in bloody purges of rivals, their families, their friends. These purges are usually (though not always) known as "proscriptions" (from a word originally meaning "advertisement," as the names of the targets were usually, ahem, advertised in a public place—as was the fact that the property of these "enemies of the state" was seized and advertised for public sale), and the process became normalized during The Roman Empire:
    • The Gracchi brothers, Tiberius and Gaius, became popular tribunes keen to pass important land reforms and check some of the bureaucratic corruption of the Senate, and restitution of land intended for veterans. In response, the Senate brutally purged first Tiberius, and later, his brother Gaius, who followed his brother. Both of them, their supporters and their friends, despite being guaranteed immunity by laws and office, were beaten to death with wooden sticks and benches, with the same fate meted out to their supporters, and all of their bodies were dumped into the Tiber River.
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    • The consul who followed the Gracchi was Marius who like the brothers took up the cause of poor soldiers and clashed with the Senate, leading to him and his factions purging the Senate. The Senate in turn summoned Sulla Felix who marched his army into Rome, had himself declared Dictator Perpetuo for the first time, and issued a famous list of proscriptions by which he and his associations (Pompey and Crassus among others) put up lists to mark their opponents for deaths, steal their property and keep it in their hands. One of the individuals who was nearly a victim of Sulla's proscriptions was Marius' nephew Julius Caesar.
    • Caesar as a lawyer and politician championed Gracchian land reform and earned himself much love and support among the Roman people and his soldiers, but having been aware of the precedents visited on Marius and the original brothers, built alliances with a wide coalition to better protect himself, including with Sulla's allies Crassus and Pompey (with whom he formed the First Triumvirate). Eventually a series of political Gambit Pileup and polarization between his group (the Populares) and the conservatives (the optimates) led to the civil war that led to his crossing of the Rubicon. Incidentally, Caesar tried to avoid this himself, part of what made him so popular in the late first century was that he famously didn't conduct any proscriptions against his enemies and instead invoked Defeat Means Friendship. However, this left them alive to plot against him, and he ended up assassinated.
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    • The Second Triumvirate's bloody proscriptions were essentially Octavian's attempt to avoid repeating Uncle Julius' "mistake", he later performed a similar purge on his other rivals before they turned traitor on him (as Pompey did). In the Empire, purges became common in the reign of Tiberius and Sejanus, and the other Julio-Claudians, and it became well-entrenched for the duration of the Empire, with many Emperors targeting any perceived rivals, as well as their friends and families. Many also tried to eliminate recalcitrant senators or generals. This greatly contributed to the chronic Succession Crisis of the later Empire.
    • The word "decimate" originated with the Roman practice of killing every tenth man, drawn by lots, in a rebellious city or military unit, in order to destroy group cohesion. Of course this fell into Didn't Think This Through as this led to entire units having to be reformed, killing one-tenth of your own troops, and destroying the morale of other units, which is why the word "decimate" often carries connotations of destruction and ruination. Sadly, not until the empire split in two and the western half collapsed did the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) emperor realise it was a bad idea.
  • Surprisingly, subverted by Italian Fascists. Instead of killing or imprisoning their vocal opponents, the Fascists forced them to drink castor oil. The castor oil is a strong laxative, and if drunk in quantity, makes to defecate uncontrollably. This technique was said to have been originated by Gabriele D'Annunzio. Victims of this treatment did sometimes die, as the dehydrating effects of the oil-induced diarrhea often complicated the recovery from the nightstick beating they also received along with the castor oil; however, even those victims who survived had to bear the humiliation of the laxative effects resulting from excessive consumption of the oil. This gave The Purge a subverted yet literal meaning. It is said that Mussolini's power was backed by "the bludgeon and castor oil". In lesser quantities, castor oil was also used as an instrument of intimidation, for example, to discourage civilians or soldiers who would call in sick either in the factory or in the military. Today, the Italian terms ''manganello e olio di ricino" (bludgeon and castor oil), even used separately, still carry strong political connotations. These words are still used to satirize patronizing politicians, or the authors of disliked legislation. The metaphoric meaning is "to choose between coercion or abuse".
  • After Möngke Khan, a grandson of Genghis Khan, was named the new Supreme Khan, the Empress Regent and widow of the previous Khan Oghul Qaimish was not happy about it and planned to attack the Coronation and kill Möngke and his supporters. Unfortunately for the conspirators one of Möngke's falconers found out about the plan before it could be carried out and blew the whistle. In response, Möngke carried out his own purge and killed between 77–300 upper-class conspirators. This included the former Empress, who was first stripped of her clothing and interrogated and then executed by being thrown into the river in a felt sack, since the Mongols believed that shedding royal blood would curse them, but that didn't say anything about drowning.
  • During the era of The Crusades, The Knights Templar had grown so rich in wealth and power that King Philip IV of France became jealous and staged a massive arrest of the Knights in France (on Friday October 13, 1307, no less), tortured them into confessing blasphemous sins, and executed as many of them as he could. Five years, later, he got the Pope to disband the order, driving the surviving Templars into other knightly orders — mostly The Knights Hospitallers. And thus were a slew of Ancient Conspiracy theories about the hidden Templar treasure born… (It also led to a story about how the Grand Master of the Templars cursed the royal house of France to the seventh, or tenth, or thirteenth generation, the basis for the legend—and later novels—of The Accursed Kings.)
  • For a long period in the Ottoman Empire, the succession would be decided by palace coup. In the earliest form of this system, the Sultan's sons would kill their brothers and half-brothers, and often also any surviving uncles, nephews, and cousins who might have a claim to the throne. If a successor had been declared, he would carry out the purge to protect his position. If the Sultan died without naming an heir, whoever was left alive at the end of the violence would take the throne. The bloodbath later gave way to imprisoning all royal heirs in the palace (because if the new Sultan dies without issue, backup brothers come in very handy). However, locking your future ruler away from all contact with the real world also proved less than ideal, and the Ottomans eventually adopted automatic birth order succession. The effect of the early purges is still evident in the small number of Osmanlis alive today compared to similarly ancient European noble houses like the Capetians (where many sons survived to found cadet branches), even though the Osmanlis were polygamists (and so could theoretically produce more legitimate heirs) and the European royals weren't.
  • Shortly after reconquering his homeland, Vlad III of Wallachia had the boyars staked and their families worked to death building him a new castle. Granted they'd killed his father and older brother and were a constant source of internal strife, but this event was one of the factors which led to his reputation for bloodthirstiness and his moniker of "The Impaler."
  • The aforementioned St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre instigated by Catherine de Medici against the Huguenots (French Protestants) which is considered the turning point of the French Wars of Religion. Its estimated that between 5,000 to 30,000 people died and though many Catholic leaders praised it at the time (King Philip II of Spain was reported to have laughed when he heard of the killings), many Catholics were horrified and wondered if all that bloodshed was worth it. Even Ivan the Terrible disapproved of the massacre.
  • Pride's Purge during the English Civil War was Exactly What It Says on the Tin: In 1648, Colonel Thomas Pride forcibly removed all of the Members of Parliament he didn't like, opening the way for Oliver Cromwell to more or less become dictator. However, this being the English Civil War (in which nobody took final, decisive action until their hands were forcednote ) the penalty for the opposition was only removal from office, not death, and most of the deposed MPs returned to Parliament after the Restoration of 1660.
  • The Society of Jesus aka the Jesuits were purged during the mid 18th Century for a series of factors, but mainly because they were growing too influential with a firm grip in science and education and were viewed as an obstacle to centralizing and secularizing monarchical power (particularly in the Spanish Americas and Brazil, where the Jesuits were defenders of the rights of the indigenous peoples and a focal point for the emerging independent identities of the Ibero-Americans as separate from Spaniards and Portuguese). The architect of their purge was the Portuguese Prime Minister, the Marquis of Pombal, who influenced by the "enlightened despotism" aspect of the Enlightenment was aggressively hostile to the Jesuits because it reported to an Italian power (The Pope) and tried to operate independently of the government.note  He organized a full-scale war on the Jesuits both in Portugal, and in much of Catholic Europe and Latin America as well, and they ended up pressuring the Pope Clement XIV to suppress the order altogether. The Jesuits were restored later in 1814 and the Marquis was dismissed by the queen regnant Maria I of Portugal, who loathed him since she was devout Catholic that admired the Jesuits (and who by that point was actually reigning from Rio de Janeiro because of the Peninsular War).
  • The French Revolution between 1789 and 1799 saw several Purges, some directed against royalists, some against 'dissenting' factions within the Revolution. First the royalists in 1792, then the Girondins (moderate republicans), then the Hébertistes (more left than Robespierre), then Danton's friends (more right than Robespierre), then Robespierre and friends. And soon after, back-in-power moderates purged the leftists who had helped in throwing away Robespierre. There were also some bloodless purges, including the Coup of 18 Fructidor (in which the Thermidorian moderates purged the royalists in the legislature by removing them from their seats) and the Coup of 22 Floréal (in which the Thermidorian moderates purged the neo-Jacobin leftists in the legislature by removing them from their seats). This all ended when Napoléon Bonaparte (at heart a Thermidorian moderate) completed the Coup of 18 Brumaire, in which he purged all the legislators from the legislature by removing them from their seats, including the Thermidorian moderates, and then dissolving the legislature altogether (having cannons will do that).
  • Immediately after the Red October Revolution, the Bolsheviks executed some representatives of the old regime, and imprisoned political opponents. As the months went by and the ensuing civil war intensified, the purge grew into a Reign of Terror. In fact, all the factions involved in the civil war (the White Army, the Anarchists, the Czech Legion etc.) conducted purges targeting various opponents.
  • The Bolsheviks also murdered all seven members of the immediate Russian Royal family after the Revolution to avoid a power struggle if they lost. They had had them on house arrest in a remote village some 1700km east of Moscow but the Tsarist White Army was approaching their location. They had originally just wanted to kill Tsar Nicholas and his son, Alexis, to get rid of the heirs. They didn’t want to be seen as callous murderers of women but they soon realized that if the Tsarina and the four girls were left alive, their relatives in Germany would send their army to come get them. Not wanting to draw their already tentative hold on the government into war, they had them executed as well.
  • The Nazis conducted several purges, from the party's first ascension to political power right up through the end of World War II.
    • Immediately upon taking power, German paramilitary groups including the "brownshirts" (Sturmabteilung or S.A.) imprisoned all outspoken anti-Nazis, including the leadership of the Social Democratic and Communist parties.
    • The Night of the Long Knives in 1934 was a general purge of Hitler's rivals and sometime-critics, focused on three groups: leaders of other conservative political parties, socialist-leaning members of the Nazi party, and the party's "brownshirt" paramilitary wing which was becoming increasingly violent and independent. The English name for the extra-judicial killings came from the Roman Emperor Tiberius' execution of Sejanus' family and supporters.
    • Kristallnacht in 1938 saw the vandalism and destruction of many Jewish businesses and institutions and the murder or arrest of hundreds upon thousands of Jews and their deportation to Nazi Germany's earliest death camps, thus paving the way for the beginning of the Holocaust.
    • Aktion T-4 was ordered by Hitler on the 1st of September 1939 in his capacity as Reich Chancellor. It ordered the secret decontamination (involuntary euthanasia) of Germany's mentally ill and disabled to conserve food and money. At least 90,000 potential contaminants of Germany's genetic purity were eliminated, though most of these had been sterilized (to prevent them from having genetically deficient children) following the 1935 Laws for the Protection of German Blood and Honour.
    • The German Army's Barbarossa Regulations were applied in the occupied Soviet Union from the beginning of the German invasion. They mandated the execution of people living in the vicinity of partisan attacks against German troops (ratios generally being set at 50:1 for each wounded and 100:1 for each dead German) where the partisans themselves could not be caught (i.e. almost always). As "the Jew is the partisan, the Partisan is the Jew" (German Army's Army Group Centre Rear-Area Security Commander's instructions) these were eliminated wherever they were found by whatever forces were available — whether Army, Police, or native auxiliaries in German service ('Hiwis'). The Partisan War in the occupied USSR killed at least 5 million.
    • Even prior to the invasion, the Commissar Order was issued. It dictated that all captured Soviet commissars were to be shot immediately (in violation of international law, as they would be POWs) along with regular soldiers deemed thoroughly indoctrinated into Communist ideology. Exact numbers of those killed as a result are unknown, though it's estimated as in the thousands. All those issued the order enforced it, though many generals later claimed they hadn't to escape prosecution.
    • Operation Reinhard began in Spring 1942. It disposed of all 'unskilled' (not qualified Doctors, Engineers, Electricians, etc.) Jews in Germany, Czechia, and Poland and enslaved the skilled. It probably killed at least 2 million people.
    • Beginning in Spring 1943, Jews and Roma in German-occupied territories were deported to the Auschwitz-II/Birkenau facility. There, those fit for manual labour were enslaved and the unfit were disposed of. Germany's allies were also approached about the possibility of enslaving their Jews and Roma too, and after certain deals were struck these countries (Romania, France, etc) gave up groups they did not mind losing ('foreign' Jews in France) or actively wanted gone (Romanian Gypsies). German companies worked the slaves hard and fed them little, rendering most rentals 'unfit' in under a year. After the move to underground production prompted by Anglo-American city-bombing, life expectancy dropped to 3 months. At least two million died of overwork or were directly killed at Birkenau.
    • The 20 July Plot to assassinate Hitler led to a mid-war purge of high-ranking military officers that may have accelerated the Allied victory.
  • The Stalinist USSR's Great Purges are perhaps the most infamous Real Life example.
    • Josef Stalin, driven by the ad-hoc bureaucracy, general paranoia, and other "general hunches", began a purge of suspected Trotskyists, traitors and Old Bolsheviks. This resulted in the famous "Moscow show trials", where the accused made, in front of newsreel cameras and the global press, confessions about involvement in the most absurd plots and conspiracies, all of which were determined to have been forced by torture and threats to families (which were carried out in any case).
    • Then the purges extended beyond that scope, and gradually extended to every part of the Soviet Union, and every organ of bureaucracy and the army, leading to a million imprisoned in The Gulag and 800,000 casualties. The NKVD carried out most of the purges, and even they weren't exempt, with first Genrikh Yagoda being denounced and shot, followed by Nikolai Yezhov who oversaw the bloodiest phase of the purges, before becoming purged by Stalin himself and replaced by Lavrentiy Beria, who in turn oversaw the purge of the Polish intelligentsia in the Katyn massacre.
    • The military purges actually weakened the morale of the Soviet armed forces and was a major contributor to the Red Army's sloppy performance in the Soviet-Finnish War, Operation Barbarossa, and the invasion of Poland.
    • Towards the end of his life, Stalin initiated another purge, targeting Jewish professionals across the Soviet Union. This was known as "the Doctor's Plot". It was reversed only on Stalin's death, and then Lavrentiy Beria was shot by Khruschev.
    • Some historians also think Stalin's death was caused by one of his inner circle who were afraid that Stalin was plotting a purge against them and didn't want to give him the chance.
      • At the very least, even if it wasn't an outright assassination, the purges of competent doctors and the fact that those remaining were too terrified of screwing up to even try helping him certainly contributed to his miserable and entirely fitting end.
  • As Stalin's biggest fan, Albania's former communist dictator Enver Hoxha also carried out 5 purges during his rule. The country's tiny population meant that 1 in 3 Albanians came under suspicion at some point in their lives.
  • In the early '50s, the Communist Party in Czechoslovakia orchestrated (with the help of supervisors from Russia) several political processes to exterminate people from the opposition and the Party itself. The whole thing was broadcast on radio, people were coerced to sign pleas to have those people executed (although many did so willingly, it was a crazy time) and the trials themselves were scripted (some members of the jury were pretty much clueless when some of the victims decided not to follow the script). The best known victims of the processes are Milada Horáková, Rudolf Slánský and Heliodor Píka.
  • The numerous regimes modeled after Stalin's USSR or Hitler's Germany also conducted purges, though not quite to the scale of their "mentor" countries. After Stalin's death (1953) the purges in Eastern Europe became less common and far less brutal (people usually lost their jobs instead of their heads, or were put in prisons rather than labor camps).
  • The Khmer Rouge executed at least 700,000 people for being too "bourgeois" or "intellectual" (which could mean simply wearing glasses for reading) or for other tiny infractions, and another 700,000+ died due to starvation and disease. Experts agree that Cambodia's political and economic development was set back by decades as they lost nearly their entire skilled labor force and educated populace.
  • Kind of a feature of Chinese governments since the fall of Qing Dynasty in 1912.
    • Once he made himself President of China, General Yuan Shikai attempted to restore the monarchy, then purged and drove Dr. Sun Yat-sen's KMT underground. In The Roaring '20s, Dr. Sun's successor, military dictator Chiang Kai-shek started a purge of the Communist Party in Shanghai while changing the KMT from democratic socialists into an authoritarian centre-right party. Members of the CCP and their workers' militias were executed by Nationalist troops, the police and the Green Gang under Chiang's ally, crime boss Du Yuesheng. The KMT's secret police also tortured suspected communists to death. The massacre quickly spread into other parts of China during the Warlord era, starting the Chinese civil war as the Communists built an army to fight off both the KMT and the KMT-aligned warlords. Even after being deposed and exiled to Taiwan, Chiang continued his purging ways on the native Taiwanese population, establishing the second longest period of martial law in history, and installed another one-party military dictatorship that thawed out with his death. Although the worst atrocities committed on local Taiwanese lasted from the early years of KMT occupation from 1945 to 1947, with the KMT beginning a legacy of good governance after 1949, the purges continued, with even teenagers being hauled off to labor camps and imprisoned for life for reading banned books. Martial law was ultimately ended by Chiang Kai-shek's son, Chiang Ching-kuo, in the 1980s.
    • The CCP initiated the anti-rightist purge of the early 1950s, when the Chinese Communist Party rescinded its amnesty to all those who had joined before the end of the Civil War. Suddenly, pre-War activities were grounds for re-education or execution even if you'd been a loyal servant of the Party ever since. A few million may have died in the process. At the same time, land reform denounced wealthy peasants as 'feudal' and 'bourgeois' and their property was confiscated. As many as a million landowners and members of their families may have died at the hands of their neighbors with the Party's tacit encouragement, usually tortured to death in public "struggle sessions" by chanting crowds. Many more did not survive the subsequent deportation or re-education.
    • Following the disastrous Great Leap Forward and talk from other CCP leaders that maybe someone else should be in charge, Mao declared a Cultural Revolution in 1966. Young cadres of Red Guards went about trying, reeducating or killing suspected bourgeois sympathizers, destroying ancient Chinese culture, and plunging the country's government and economy into chaos, killing upwards of millions. The country plunged into complete anarchy as mobs raped or tortured, then murdered anyone who looked vaguely suspicious, killing their families as well. Red Guard factions, at first separated by those who were for and against Mao, became so common that nobody could tell the difference between the ones that appeared every day. With assistance from the PLA, Red Guards fought their rival factions in the cities, from small arms to using tanks and anti-aircraft guns against each other. The country couldn't function without being completely paralyzed multiple times a day. Those in the Party who had opposed Mao were expelled, only coming back on his death. At that point, his supporters were themselves purged, most famous being the Gang of Four: Madame Mao and three other top officials who had led the Cultural Revolution.
    • There was even a sort of purge within the purge — after the Red Guards note  had gotten way out of handnote , Mao ordered them to be "sent down to the countryside" to be "reeducated" by the farmers. Nobody liked this arrangement — the radical youths who thought of it as a stab in the back (as well as the fact that it delayed their educations for years or even decades), and the farmers who saw the youths as useless for farming.
  • General Suharto of Indonesia conducted a huge anti-communist purge campaign in 1965-66 with the encouragement and backing of the United States. This was mostly an excuse to eliminate political dissidents who Suharto or his American advisors did not like, as well as ridding the Indonesian military of several rivals, and most of the purge's victims had little if anything to do with communism and more to do with just being in the wrong place or knowing the wrong person.
  • Upon the death of Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1970, the Egyptian leadership decided that it would be best to let Vice-President Anwar Sadat run things for a while, figuring he would be a pushover if they wanted to oust him. By the end of 1971, most of Sadat's political enemies—both among the leadership and outside of it—were either dead or imprisoned, the result of an event known as the Corrective Revolution. Later, when a faction in the military assassinated Sadat for making peace with Israel (most of them were Islamists, who he had previously purged). His successor Hosni Mubarak launched a new purge against them after this, of course.
  • This was a regular feature of life in The '70s right-wing dictatorships of Latin America, like Pinochet's Chile.
  • The Syrian Hama massacre of 1982, ordered by Hafez al-Assad in order to stop an uprising against his government.
  • The Kosovo War was sparked by Serbs conducting ethnic cleansing against Kosovar Muslims. All the Yugoslav Wars featured this, from every side. In fact "ethnic cleansing" was coined as a term due to this.
  • North Korea leader Kim Jong Un has started a purge against his uncle and all of his 200 supporters and their families.
  • A more lighter and mundane example is when an online service purges inactive accounts. This is done to keep databases tidy and the servers running effectively.
  • Starting mid 2016, a purge began taking place in Turkey. After a military coup attempt was suppressed during the night of July 15th and 16th, arrests occurred all over the country. Thousands of people were detained, including military personnel and judges, and civil servants and police officers were fired in significant numbers. Supporters of the ruling AKP party reportedly entered neighborhoods of left-wing and secular citizens, as well as those of Kurdish and Alawi minorities. This even spilled over across the border, with AKP supporters threatening Turkish citizens in countries with a significant number of Turkish immigrants, like Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. The speed and effectiveness of these operations have given rise to rumors that the arrests were pre-planned and the coup was merely a good excuse (or perhaps even staged), much like the Reichstag fire in 1933 was used by the Nazi-party to solidify its power.
  • A non-lethal version takes place at four (or possibly eight) year intervals in the United States when a new Administration comes in. Unlike most of the other Western Democracies, the US has a high portion of partisan political appointees in the cabinet, agencies, and the civil service, many of whom get turfed (or resign) when the new president who is a member of the other party comes into office.
    • Before such things were banned in the late 19th century, the purges were even more drastic, and it is not unknown for entire departments (excepting the very lowest functionaries) to be completely replaced. Back then, the system was known as the "spoils system" (from the phrase "To the victor goes the spoils").
    • This can also apply in other Western-style democracies with some of the highest-ranking civil servants who are appointed directly by elected officials. When a new governing party takes over, they will frequently replace the old civil servants with new ones more amenable to their own goals.
  • Lions will often kill the cubs in their own pride after managing to force out its leader and take the position themselves. There's a genetic reason for this: having a young cub delays estrus, so killing the cubs makes the lionesses fertile sooner and helps ensure the new leader's genes are passed along to the next generation.
  • A non-lethal version: in 2012, FanFiction.Net deleted thousands of fanfictions that had "broken content guidelines", including the original upload of My Immortal. Among fans, this is known as "The Purge."
  • A nonlethal version: YouTube has begun to hit even more channels because of copyright claims note  and strikes, with channels disappearing right and left. Various videos have been made on the subject, with even a hashtag asking what the fuck is going on made. Considering that people live off of making YouTube videos, this spells "bad" in ALL CAPS.
  • Many North American sports franchises are known for non-lethally doing this to management when their teams are performing poorly. It's easier to fire a few coaches or a general manager than to nix the contracts of twenty-plus players. Even when a team isn't doing badly, a new general manager may prefer to choose his own coaching staff rather than keep one hired by his predecessor.
  • In December 2018, Tumblr began a purge of all "adult content", including the display of "female-presenting nipples". There are a few exceptions, including some ancient statuary, nursing mothers and if the nudity is a form of political protest.
  • Between 2017 and 2019, Saudi Arabia made international news with the detaining of several members of the royal family, businessmen, government officials, clerics and political activists by the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The official motive for the crackdowns were to fight corruption and terrorism funding, though outside observers had theorized that it was a power grab to seize their fortune and to silence the Saudi leadership's critics. This only became stronger after the international scandal that was the death of Saudi journalist and dissident Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018, who was assassinated in the Saudi embassy on Turkey with the Crown Prince being accused of ordering his death. Though he denied ordering Khashoggi's death, the international community placed unprecedented scrutiny on the prince to disclose the facts.
  • Subverted with Abraham Lincoln. Many people don't know that John Wilkes Booth had henchmen named George Atzerodt and Lewis Powell who were assigned to kill Vice President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William Seward respectively. Atzerodt simply gave up and Powell managed to injure but not kill Seward. Only Booth succeeded. They were still executed along with some other co-conspirators.
  • The largest mass assassination in history was the Palace of Justice Siege in 1985 where seventeen Colombian politicians were killed, most of them Supreme Court Justices.
  • In 2007, LiveJournal was approached by a group of Moral Guardians and Media Watchdogs calling itself "Warriors for Innocence", requesting that the site (then under the control of a small company called "Six Apart") remove all adult content (even that which was tagged and marked 18+), ostensibly to protect children. Journals and communities of all types were purged from the servers without any prior notification, including (but not limited to) many blogs focused on Slash Fic fanworks, at least one online support group for rape survivors, a support group for nursing mothers, kink and BDSM blogs, fanfiction communities of all kinds, online novels, and more. Many of the LJ-ers whose accounts weren't purged went over to other sites, such as InsaneJournal, JournalFen, and Dreamwidth, as well as to Tumblr. This wasn't the only such incident, either.
  • Both Red Scares in the US featured purges of leftist radicals. Most were simply deported in the First Red Scare, per the Anarchist Exclusion Act following a bombing campaign conducted by the Galleanist anarchists. Those deported were not only anarchists though but also other foreign-born leftists such as socialists and communists. A number of pacifist and left-wing opponents to US involvement in World War One prior were also imprisoned, though most received pardons in 1921. Prosecutions continued sporadically into the 1920s, but not on a scale that could be called a purge. With the start of the Cold War following World War Two a Second Red Scare was begun in the US though. The House Un-American Activities Committee started to vigorously investigate Communists and their supposed sympathizers (HUAC had been there since 1938, but they hadn't been as active earlier). Then Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin made a series of accusations that known Communists were employed by the Democratic administration (McCarthy was a Republican) and the Senate began investigations too. Before it was over, thousands of people had been fired, some imprisoned either for espionage or contempt of Congress when they wouldn't name names, a couple executed as spies, and many more blacklisted. This also coincided with the so-called Lavender Scare, with all known or suspected LGBT employees in the government fired because they were security risks due to being at risk for blackmail, plus "not proper persons" to employ anyway at the time in the opinion of most people.
  • In 2020, Britain's opposing Labour Party started rebranding and repositioning itself as a party of the centre, following a disastrous election defeat in December 2019 and a change of leadership. It is noticeable that the new leader Sir Keir Starmer, an Establishment figure from the party's right wing, has been overseeing a realignment of the Party to the right, clearing out or isolating members who were active in the former centre-left leadership and in its support. The pretext of "anti-semitism" has been used to expel members who were formerly active on the left, shadow cabinet ministers inherited from the previous leadership have been demoted or sacked on various pretexts, and even the previous party leader Jeremy Corbyn is now in a state of limbo that falls one step short of being formally expelled. note 

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