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:

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

A simple solution for all ages, really.

School should feel like a safe space. But after the tragic news of yet another mass shooting, many children are scared to death. As a parent or a teacher, it can be an arduous task helping young minds to unpack such unthinkable monstrosities. Especially when, in all honesty, the adults are also terrified.

Katelyn Campbell, a clinical psychologist in South Carolina, worked with elementary school children in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. She recently shared a simple idea that helped then, in hopes that it might help now.

The psychologist tweeted, “We had our kids draw pictures of scenery that made them feel calm—we then hung them up around the school—to make the ‘other kids who were scared’ have something calm to look at.”



“Kids, like adults, want to feel helpful when they feel helpless,” she continued, saying that drawing gave them something useful to do.

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