‘Unbelievable’ Video Lays Out the Stark Statistics About World War II

World War II was the bloodiest conflict in human history, but it can be difficult to get a full sense of just how many lives were lost in the fighting.

American soldiers of the 7th Infantry Division take cover in a ditch atop a position known as Rocky Crags during the invasion of Okinawa, Japan, April 19, 1945. (Photo by W. Eugene Smith/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
American soldiers of the 7th Infantry Division take cover in a ditch atop a position known as Rocky Crags during the invasion of Okinawa, Japan, April 19, 1945. (Photo by W. Eugene Smith/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

Data visualizer Neil Halloran set out to fix that.

In a stunning presentation, he lays out estimated death tolls — country by country, battle by battle, atrocity by atrocity.

The deaths suffered by China, Germany and the Soviet Union are particularly staggering; the United States suffered a mere fraction of the deaths those nations endured.

See the incredible video below, and watch for the six-minute mark, when the tally of Soviet losses starts ticking up at an unbelievable rate:

The video has been generating buzz online — and sparking discussions — since its Memorial Day release.

As Halloran noted, some of the figures are disputed, and commenters online were quick to criticize him for referring to all German soldiers as Nazis.

“The majority of those soldiers were not card-carrying members of the Nazi Party,” noted one commenter on Vimeo. “It’s like calling the U.S. dead in Afghanistan or Iraq ‘Republicans’ because the president at the time happened to be a Republican.”

But many commenters merely expressed how blown away they were at the stark presentation of the stats.

“I had no idea on those kind of numbers,” wrote a commenter on Reddit. “70m total is just insane.”

“Unbelievable and sad,” wrote another. “Never realized how much death there was, especially on Russia’s side.”

An interactive version of the video is available at fallen.io.

Follow Zach Noble (@thezachnoble) on Twitter

187 Comments