Ever since the evolution of humanity, there has always existed this peculiar rage & urgency in our race to prove one’s dominancy upon the other. We all know that in ancient gladiator times, power was determined by the size of the army and its ability to win wars. Well, has it changed that much? We humans seem to be caught in a never-ending war between ourselves. In contrast, the beneficiaries never have done or will do any dirty work and control everything from behind the scenes. The Oxford dictionary describes war as a” state of armed conflict between different countries or groups within a country.”
The following list is not in chronological order, instead is sorted from the war with the lowest death toll to the highest. So here, we have the world’s ten biggest bloodiest wars in history.
10. American Civil War (1861-1865)
The American Civil War was fought between the ‘North’ or the ‘Union,’ and the South, also known as the ‘Confederacy’ formed by the secession of several southern slave states. It was also known as the War Between the States or the Civil War. The war had its roots set on issues of slavery and its extensions of it into the western territories of America. More than 800,000 people were killed in the war.
9. Soviet War in Afghanistan (1979-1989)
A decade-long war between the Soviet-led Afghan forces and the multi-national insurgent groups called the Mujahedeen, with the death toll of well over a million Afghan civilians and those that were participants in the war. Although the war was fought only in Afghanistan, billions of dollars were funded by countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, and a few others.
8. Vietnam War (1955-1975)
Also known as the Second-Indochina War and as this period of American involvement in Vietnam made it, the American War was a sequel to the First Indochina War that was fought between North Vietnam – supported by China and other communist allies and South Vietnam – supported by the United States and other anti-communist allies. Over a million civilians were killed in addition to the hundreds of thousands of participants in the war.
7. Thirty Year’s War (1618-1648)
One of the bloodiest wars on religion, as the name suggests itself, a war that lasted over three decades; Thirty Year’s War was one of the longest and the most destructive conflicts in European history and one of the longest continuous wars in Modern history. Historians have still not come to terms with what ignited the fighting; instead, there seem to be many parallel causes that fueled the war over time. It grew as a religious war at first. Still, it then developed into a continuation of the Bourbon-Habsburg rivalry for the European political pre-eminence, with a death toll of well above 5 million people.
6. Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815)
Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon’s French Empire by opposing coalitions. The war was initially sparked by the French Revolution of 1789 and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly owing to the application of modern mass conscription. French power was stronger than ever as Napoleon’s armies had conquered much of Europe but came to an ultimate military defeat after France’s disastrous invasion of Russia in 1812. With over six and a half million people dead, the war ended, resulting in the restoration of the Bourbon Monarchy in France and the creation of the Concert of Europe.
5. Russian Civil War (1917-1922)
A war fought between the Bolshevik Red Army and the White Army, the loosely allied anti-Bolshevik forces; in the former Russian Empire was a multi-party war with notably many foreign armies like the Allied Forces and pro-German armies warring against the Red Army. The war lasted only five short years but resulted in the death of over 7 million people all in all.
4. Conquests by the Empire of Japan (1894-1945)
The Empire of Japan means the empire and world power that had existed from the Meiji Restoration that happened on 3 January 1868 to the enactment of the post World War II Constitution of Japan on 3 May 1947. Only after a couple of defeats and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki did the Empire of Japan surrender to the Allies on 2 September 1945. The American involvement gave birth to a new constitution and was forced on from 3 May 1947, officially dissolving the Empire, which had already been the cause of over 20 million deaths.
3. World War I (1914-1918)
World War I was one of the bloodiest global wars in humankind, centered in Europe, beginning on 28 July 1914. It was previously called the Great War from its occurrence until the start of the mother of all blood baths in history, World War II. It involved all the great powers in the world, assembled in two opposing alliances the Allies and the Central Powers. The death toll for World War I was estimated to be around a staggering 50 million plus.
2. Mongol Conquests (1206-1368)
A war that sparked at the dawn of the 13th century resulted in the vast expansion of the Mongol Empire that covered much of Asia and Eastern Europe by mid-1300. Many historians believe that Mongol raids and invasions were one of the deadliest conflicts in human history up through that period. The Mongols brought terror to Europe on a scale never seen again until the twentieth century, with more than 60 million killings on their way.
1. World War II (1939-1945)
Also known as the Second World War, fought between the vast majority of the world’s nations – including all the great powers – eventually forming two opposing military alliances like the First World War; the Allies and the Axis. Marked by mass deaths of civilians, including the Holocaust and the only use of nuclear weapons in warfare up to the present, the war resulted in over 70 million fatalities and is believed to be the deadliest, bloodiest war ever in history, which shook the foundations of our existence forever.
Final Conclusion: Although these wars were fought on different territories by various groups and countries in different time periods, the ones who always suffered and lost were the same innocent civilians. Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few, like in these pointless wars for blinding power. A reporter once asked Albert Einstein after World War II had ended, “Sir, what type of machinery and weapons do you think will be used in World War III?” He answered with a smile, “I don’t know about World War III, but if there is a World War IV, then it will surely be fought with sticks and stones.”
Nikhil is musician by choice, writer by profession. Currently, studying Bachelors in Hospitality.