World War II was a war that spanned from 1939 to 1945. More than 100 million people from over 30 nations participated in the war. During World War II, most of the nations of the world were divided between two different military alliances known as the Axis and the Allies.
One of the things that stands out most about this war is the number of casualties. Millions of civilians and members of the military were killed in this war, which is the deadliest global war in history.
An exact count of the number of casualties is unavailable, but it is estimated that between 70 million and 85 million people died as a result of WWII. To put this in perspective, this was roughly 3% of the total population of 2.3 billion measured across the world in 1940.
Surprisingly, more civilians died as a result of the war. In fact, more than twice as many civilians died as members of the military. It’s estimated that as many as 55 million civilians died during World War II, while military deaths are estimated to be as high as 25 million. While most people died as a direct result of the war, there were also millions of deaths caused by disease and famine from WWII.
Data show that the now-defunct Soviet Union had the highest number of WWII casualties. As many as 27 million people died. Broken down, this results in as many as 11.4 million military deaths, up to 10 million civilian deaths due to military activity, and an additional 8 million to 9 million deaths due to famine and disease. More than 14 million members of the Soviet Union’s military were wounded as a result of the war.
China also saw a large number of casualties because of its involvement in the war. As many as 20 million people died in China, including up to 3.75 million military deaths and as many as 18.19 million civilian deaths.
In third is Germany, which had up to 7.4 million casualties as a result of the war.
While these three nations saw the highest number of casualties, other countries also lost millions of civilians and military members. The following list names these nations and includes the total estimated deaths of all civilians and members of the military.
- Poland: Up to 6 million
- Dutch East Indies: Up to 4 million
- Japan: Up to 3.1 million
- India: Up to 2.2 million
- French Indochina: Up to 2.2 million
- Yugoslavia: Up to 1.7 million
- France: Approximately 600,000
- Philippines: Approximately 557,000
- Greece: Up to 807,000
- Romania: Approximately 500,000
- Italy: Up to 514,000
- Korea: Up to 533,000
- Hungary: Approximately 464,000
- United Kingdom: Approximately 450,900
- United States: Approximately 419,400
- Lithuania: Approximately 370,000
- Czechoslovakia: Up to 355,000
- Burma: Approximately 252,600
- Latvia: Approximately 250,000
- Netherlands: Approximately 210,000
- Ethiopia: Approximately 100,000
- Malaya and Singapore: Approximately 100,000
- Belgium: Approximately 88,000
- Finland: Up to 95,000
- Estonia: Approximately 83,000
- Canada: Approximately 43,600
- Australia: Approximately 40,400
- Portuguese Timor: Up to 70,000
- Ruanda-Urundi: Up to 50,000
- Albania: Approximately 30,000
- Bulgaria: Approximately 21,500
- Papua and New Guinea: Approximately 15,000
- South Africa: Approximately 11,900
- New Zealand: Approximately 11,700
- Norway: Approximately 10,200
- South Pacific Mandate: Approximately 10,000
- Thailand: Approximately 7,600
- Denmark: Approximately 6,000
- Luxembourg: Approximately 5,000
- Sweden: Approximately 2,100
- Brazil: Approximately 2,000
- Malta: Approximately 1,500
- Newfoundland: Approximately 1,200
- Egypt: Approximately 1,100
- Guam: Up to 2,000
- Iraq: Approximately 700
- Nauru: Approximately 500
- Mongolia: Approximately 300
- Iceland: Approximately 200
- Iran: Approximately 200
- Turkey: Approximately 200
- Cuba: Approximately 100
- Ireland: Approximately 100
- Mexico: Approximately 100
- Switzerland: Approximately 100