World War 2 Casualties
Insights, and statistics by country
World War 2 was the deadliest event in human history. Over 60 million people were killed, 1/3 soldiers and 2/3 civilians.
From the main aggressors' point of view, the casualties of World War 2 can be divided to 3 distinct and obvious groups :
- Two main battlegrounds - For Hitler's Nazi Germany, the main target, the main prize to be conquered, was Russia (then called the Soviet Union).
For Japan's militarist expansionists, the main target, the main prize to be conquered, was China.
But these two 'prizes' are huge.
Russia is the world's largest country, and it has a particularly harsh winter.
China was not just huge in size but also the world's most populated nation.
And both Russia and China kept fighting fiercely despite suffering staggering casualties, unprecedented mass cruelty against their civilians, and the loss of vast territory.
They both kept fighting, all the way to the final victory, and as a result, these two giants, and Poland, which is located between Germany and Russia,
paid the highest price in casualties. Together, the Soviet Union + China + Poland, suffered 40 millions casualties. That's 2/3 of the global casualties, and 3/4 of the Allies casualties.
- Two main aggressors - Germany and Japan fought their aggressive war fiercely, against the combined forces of the world's largest and most powerful nations, and even as the war
turned against them they kept fighting fiercely to the end. For that, they and their minor allies paid heavily with 12 million casualties, 2/3 of them Germans.
- Secondary battlegrounds - the mighty war effort of the United States of America, the brave stand of Great Britain, the valiant fighting of Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders and others,
and the tremendous courage of those in Western Europe and East Asia who lived under German or Japanese occupation and actively resisted, must never be understated,
but from the point of view of the aggressors, from the beginning to the end of the war, they and their sacrifice were a secondary battleground. Their losses were accordingly lower,
totalling 12 million casualties, divided between many nations. That's 1/4 of the Allies casualties.
Of these 12 millions, 407,300 (0.6% of the total) were US troops. The US, more than all other nations, was able, industrially technologically and geographically,
to pay for its war effort much more in material resources than in blood.
And now some details by country:
- Soviet Union - 24 million casualties, more than a 1/3 of the total. From a population of 168 millions, the Soviet Union mobilized during the war,34.4 million troops,
and the remaining civilians lived under extreme conditions which made war production the only priority. This meant that despite its enormous losses,
the Soviet Union kept fighting fiercely, kept recruiting new armies, and mass-produced weapons, and almost nothing but weapons.
Soviet casualties were 10.7 million soldiers (31% killed!) and nearly 13 million civilians. 14% of the population was killed, or murdered by the Germans, following Hitler's explicit directive to use
In four years of war, the Soviet Union's average casualties rate was 7556 soldiers and 9110 civilians per day.
- China - 10 million casualties ( 3 million soldiers and 7 million civilians ) killed in China's struggle against the Japanese invasion and occupation, and as a result of Japan's unrestrained cruelty.
These losses were 1.9% of China's huge population.
- Germany - 7.3 million casualties. Nazi Germany, who wanted to conquer the world and was defeated by it,
suffered 5.5 million killed troops from a total of 18.2 million (30% killed!), and 1.8 million civilians.
In six years of war, Germany's average casualties rate was 2649 soldiers and 886 civilians per day.
- Poland - 6.2 million casualties, 17.8% of the population!.
Poland was rapidly conquered in the first month of the war, losing 240,000 soldiers, but then suffered six years of extremely cruel occupation,
which added six million civilians to its casualties, half of them Jews.
Almost the entire Jewish population of Poland was murdered, in a deliberate Nazi policy of genocide, and Jews from all over
Nazi-occupied Europe were sent to Poland, to be murdered in the large death camps that the Nazis built there because their initial methods of forced starvation and mass shootings
did not kill fast enough. From a global Jewish population of 18 millions, of which 11 millions lived in Europe, Nazi Germany murdered 5.9 millions, of which 1.5 million were children.
The Jews are the ethnic group which suffered the highest casualty rate in World War 2, a 1/3 of their global population, and over 1/2 of their European population.
1.5 million Jews fought in the war against Nazism as Soviet, American, British, Polish soldiers, and 250,000 were killed (16% killed).
- Indonesia - 4 million civilians killed by the Japanese occupation.
- Japan - 2.6 million casualties. Japan lost 2 million soldiers from a total of 8.4 millions (24% killed), and 600,000 civilians.
- Yugoslavia - 1 million casualties, 6.6% of the population.
Yugoslavia was also rapidly conquered by Germany, but kept fighting extensive guerilla war against the Nazi occupation, at the cost of half a million troops and half a million civilians.
- Hungary and Romania - two allies of Germany. Each lost 300,000 troops, and each allowed Hitler to murder half a million of its Jewish citizens.
- France - was defeated by a Nazi invasion within days, losing 200,000 soldiers, and then remained occupied until 1944, losing 367,000 civilians.
- Italy - 291,000 casualties. Italy's soldiers did not 'match' their dictator's megalomaniac aspirations of conquest, and from 3.4 million troops, 291,000 were killed (8%) and 1.3 million
surrendered (38% POWs!).
- Great Britain - 450,000 casualties (85% troops, 15% civilians). Together with its overseas Commonwealth countries, the British Empire mobilized 17.8 million troops, of which 580,497
were killed (3.2%), at an average casualty rate of 267 per day.
- United States of America - 418,500 casualties, almost all troops. The US mobilized 16.3 million troops during World War 2, so its casualties were 2.5% of the troops, the lowest
relative casualty rate of all the armies mentioned here ( Russia 31%, Germany 30%, Japan 24%, Italy 8%, Britain 3%). This was thanks to US ability to mobilize not just huge manpower, but
also to equip its troops, and even its allies' troops, with huge quantities of excellent weapons and equipment, making them the best-equipped military force in history.
Even so, US troops were killed at an average rate of 302 per day.
Russia In World War 2
When Did Hitler Lose The War ?
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