World War 2 Casualties
How Many People Died in World War II?
- How Many People Died in World War II?
- History of Accounting for the War Dead from World War 2
- World War 2 Casualties (Pie Chart)
- World War 2 Casualty Tables
- U.S. Military World War 2 Medal of Honor Recipients
- World War 2 Casualties (Civilian Deaths)
- World War 2 Casualties Video
- World War 2 Casualty Resources
World War 2 was the bloodiest conflict in human history. More than 65 million World War 2 casualties resulted in death, more than 2.5% of the world population. Of those, an estimated 25 million were military personnel, while the rest were civilians. The war was notable for the Nazi-sponsored genocide of the Jewish people resulting in more than 5.9 million deaths, and the impact of “Total War” on the world’s population.
The war also had a lasting impact on the global economy, with many countries still feeling the effects of the conflict decades later. It is a reminder of the devastating consequences of war and a stark reminder of the importance of peace.
History of Accounting for the War Dead from World War 2
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, a significant amount of research has been conducted regarding World War 2 casualties, with the resulting opening of previously closed scholarly resources. Current estimates show that the number of war dead within the postwar borders totals 26.6 million individuals. The IPN (Polish Institute of National Remembrance) places their estimated war dead between 5.6 and 5.8 million people within Poland. Depending on the definitions placed on deaths or casualties that resulted from warfare or crimes against humanity by historians, the figures will vary across resources.
World War 2 Casualties (Pie Chart)
- Allied military personnel: Approximately 15 million
- Allied civilian population: Approximately 45 million, including deaths from war-related famine, disease, and direct violence.
- Axis military personnel: Approximately 6 million
- Axis civilian population: Approximately 20 million, including deaths from war-related famine, disease, and genocide, as well as direct violence.
It is important to note that these numbers are estimates, and the actual figures may be higher or lower depending on the source and methodology used. Additionally, these numbers do not include deaths that occurred in the years immediately following the war due to lingering effects such as starvation and disease or fatalities resulting from the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
World War 2 Casualty Tables
The majority of deaths occurred in the Soviet Union and China, which both suffered massive casualties during the war. The exact number of deaths is complex due to incomplete or unreliable record-keeping and varying definitions of war-related deaths. However, it is widely agreed that World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history.
World War 2 Total Deaths
The totals listed are approximate and based on a variety of sources.
World War 2 Casualties (Military Deaths)
World War 2 Jewish Deaths By Country
U.S. Military World War 2 Medal of Honor Recipients
The U.S. Medal of Honor was first created during the U.S. Civil War and is the highest military award or decoration presented by the government to armed forces members. To receive the medal, the individual must have put their own life at risk while performing beyond the call of duty against an enemy of the U.S. Based on the nature of the medal; it is commonly awarded posthumously (after death). During World War 2, 464 Medal of Honors were awarded, and 266 of those were posthumous. 42 medals were awarded for action during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (15) and 27 during the Battle of Iwo Jima. The only Medal of Honor ever awarded to a member of the US Coast Guard was during World War 2.
World War 2 Casualties (Civilian Deaths)
As time moves on and previously closed records become released, the total toll of World War 2 on the civilian populations has become better recognized. Specifically, the fall of Communism and the opening of records in the former Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, and other countries have helped modern historians better understand the number of civilian casualties suffered during World War 2. The totals below should be treated as approximate figures.
World War 2 Casualties Video
World War 2 Casualty Resources
The U.S. National Archives has several World War 2 Casualty resources across the U.S. Armed Forces and many records regarding other nations. The official U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Records branch (Bureau of Naval Personnel) still maintains the Navy and Marine Corps’ 1947 IBM printout arranged chronologically by campaign annotating the official World War 2 casualty accounting. The ships and units in alphabetic order are listed beneath each campaign, followed by the personnel casualties by the last number. Each sailor or marine’s service number, rank, rate, casualty code, and date of casualty are listed. The original and supplementary records have since been transferred to the Modern Military Branch, National Archives and Records Administration located at 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740-6001.