These staggering graphics put the WWII death toll in perspective.

Trigger warning: Images of war.

The civilian and military deaths of World War II make it, to this day, the most deadly in the history of our world.

But I had no idea of the full scope of this until I watched the video below. But first, a tiny little personal story.


How many places in the United States have trenches left over from a war with the rest of the world?

I have a friend in Germany who showed me some of the World War II trenches in the woods by his house near Aachen just about 10 years ago. I was blown away by that. We have some things like that left over from the Civil War, but nothing related to a world war. In fact, in some of those trenches and former battlefields, there are still unexploded weapons found even now. What it really means is: World War II is still not finished killing people.

Unexploded bomb found in Koblenz, Germany, 2011. Image by Holger Weinandt/Wikimedia Commons.

When people think of war, they often think of soldiers and those who actively seek to do battle.

Overall, of the people killed in World War II, one-third of them were military and the rest civilians.

The Soviet Union (Russia) had by far the most casualties, both civilian and military. This was largely due to things like the Siege of Stalingrad — entire cities were cut off from food, water, and supplies for years, and starvation was all around. (It was also because Russia was headed by a ruthless dictator at the time, Joseph Stalin.)

Kiev, June 23, 1941. Image by K. Lishko/Wikimedia Commons.

Then there was the Holocaust, which claimed 6 million Jewish civilians and some others as well, such as Roma ("gypsies"), people with disabilities, gays, etc.

There were also events like D-Day (June 6, 1944), that cost 2,500 U.S. soldiers' lives in a single day.

D-Day landing, Omaha Beach, Normandy. June 6, 1944. Image by U.S. Coast Guard/Wikimedia Commons.

When you see the scale of this and consider the total number of lives, both civilian and military, from all countries who had casualties in World War II, the figures are simply astounding.

70 million dead. In six years.

More people died in World War II than in any other war in history. Between the civilian and military casualties, it adds up to roughly the entire 2013 population of the states of New York, New Jersey, and California ... combined.

I work on and write about things from all over the Internet, so I've seen pretty much everything “shocking," “terrifying," and all kinds of things “you won't believe."

But this? I've watched the clip at least 10 times, and I still can't get my mind around it.

The image above is just a taste from Neil Halloran's "The Fallen of World War II." You can see the whole video below; it's 18 minutes and chock full of data on how many lives — civilian and military — were lost.

These are some of the more fascinating parts:

  • The death count of American soldiers starts at about 2:00, including totals, D-Day, and Okinawa.
  • European totals start at 3:20, when Germany invaded Poland. There were so many countries involved, it's pretty amazing. These numbers include battles as well as mass executions.
  • At 4:30, the Western Front, involving Britain and the U.S., begins.
  • Some really staggering numbers about the Eastern Front (the Soviet Union, including Stalingrad) begin about 5:00. This is where the German army began to incur massive losses. The Soviet Union was the first country to defeat Germany but at an almost unbelievable cost in the lives of soldiers and civilians.
  • Civilian deaths, including the Holocaust, begin at 7:30. The Holocaust itself killed about 6 million people.
  • Numbers for the Asian theatre, including Hiroshima and Nagasaki, begin at 12:00.
  • The grand total is revealed about 13:15, and then that's compared with other conflicts throughout history.

At 07:20, you can pause the narration to interact with the charts. It will show you graphics like this via mouseover:

U.S. military deaths.

German military deaths.

And then, it proceeds to get into the civilian deaths, including The Holocaust. It's fascinating, if pretty sobering.

But the good news is, we haven't had a conflict like it since. Let's do what we can to keep it that way, eh?

Because weapons have become so much more destructive than they were then, the idea of another world war is actually much more unthinkable than ever before.

So you may be thinking, "Hey, Upworthy ... this really isn't very UPworthy, if ya know what I mean?!"

When I first watched this, I was actually shocked at the total numbers of people who died in World War II — especially the totals for people in other countries, which we see less often than those for the U.S. only. When the body count hits 70 million, it's something I can't begin to fathom. The 1905 George Santayana axiom goes, "Those who cannot remember the past are destined to repeat it" ... well, that's what I take from this. Your mileage may vary.

Watch it all here:

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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Researchers at Harvard University have studied the connection between spanking and kids' brain development for the first time, and their findings echo what studies have indicated for years: Spanking isn't good for children.

Comments on this article will no doubt be filled with people who a) say they were spanked and "turned out fine" or b) say that the reason kids are [fill in the blank with some societal ill] these days are because they aren't spanked. However, a growing body of research points to spanking creating more problems than it solves.

"We know that children whose families use corporal punishment are more likely to develop anxiety, depression, behavior problems, and other mental health problems, but many people don't think about spanking as a form of violence," said Katie A. McLaughlin, director of the Stress & Development Lab in the Department of Psychology, and the senior researcher on the study which was published Friday in the journal Child Development. "In this study, we wanted to examine whether there was an impact of spanking at a neurobiological level, in terms of how the brain is developing."

You can read the entire study here, but the gist is that kids' brain activity was measured using an MRI machine as they reacted to photos of actors displaying "fearful" and "neutral" faces. What researchers found was that kids who had been spanked had similar brain neural responses to fearful faces as kids who had been abused.

"There were no regions of the brain where activation to fearful relative to neutral faces differed between children who were abused and children who were spanked," the authors wrote in a statement.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less