DEATH TOLLS REVISITED

12-17-11

On my 12-7 (Pearl Harbor Day) post, I wrote about the worldwide magnitude of the War, stating that 48,200,000+ people (soldiers and civilians) died.   My source for this figure is http://warchronicle.com/numbers/WWII/deaths.htm.

A reader emailed me and asked if this included victims of the Holocaust.   My answer was “I don’t know.   But I will dig some more.”   There are many other resources with estimates of WWII deaths, including: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_casualties (which states there were 62,172,000 to 78,511,00 total deaths), and http://secondworldwar.co.uk/index.php/fatalities (which states there were 61,000,000 deaths).   You can surf these sites and see how they arrived at these estimates.

After looking more closely at my original source numbers, it seemed pretty clear to me that they were way low on civilian casualty numbers for Germany.   Wikipedia’s numbers are quite a bit higher than others — estimating as many as 20,000,000 Chinese civilians died during the War.   I now think my original number of 48,200,000 is low.   50 to 60 million seems to be the widely-held estimate for total WWII deaths to combatants and civilians worldwide.   I still don’t know if my original source factored in the Holocaust (estimates start at 6 million and climb steeply from there.)   So, I have decided to add 6 million to my original 48,200,000 to allow for the Holocaust victims (especially in the German civilian category).   That gives us 54,000,000 deaths.

Fifty four million!   My little brain has problems relating to big numbers.   So, while I was struggling with understanding in concrete terms how many is 54,000,000 I got an idea and found another source for comparison.   It can be found at:   http://exploredia.com/population-of-us-states-2011/. If we start at the northern border of the state of Washington and we kill every man, woman and child and keep going and do the same in Oregon, California, turn left and do Arizona, go north and do Nevada, we will have wiped out 53,452,000 people.   We’re still over a half million short, so we’ll take them out of southern Colorado.

If you’d rather do it in the Northeast, it goes like this: start at the northern boundary of Maine, head south   and do the same annihilation. Turn right, wipe out New Hampshire and Vermont. Turn south, take care of Massachusetts. Keep going, do Rhode Island and Connecticut. Head west and south and wipe out the state of New York (don’t forget the Yankees fans {LOL —just kidding}). When you finish the entire state of New York, cross the river and annihilate New Jersey.   Keep going — do Maryland and Delaware. That brings you to 49,289,000.   Still not enough.   Head south and remove half (4 million of the 8,000,000) folks in Virginia.   That brings us to   53,289,000 Americans, with another 700,000 or so to go.

Sobering, no?

 

On a happier note, I’m about to pick up my brother Bill and niece Rivka at the airport.   They spent the entire week at the National Archives researching deck logs, photos, action reports and the like from CA-69 (through to the final trip to Bremerton Washington and into the mothballs.)   More to come . . . .
Steve

 

 

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