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World War I Vs. World War II: Economic Cost, Damage, Human Loss, Causes And Facts

Published Tue Jun 25 2019 By Dibas Pratap Basnet
World War I Vs. World War II: Economic Cost, Damage, Human Loss, Causes And Facts

The cost of war is almost unfathomable to us, from the losses of lives to the loss of a way of living, it is one of the costliest and saddest events for humankind. All throughout history we have fought various wars which have cost all of the participants dearly.   

The biggest wars in history are the 2 world wars both of which cost all the parties involved a lot of lives and money. The adverse effects of war on such a global scale can change the whole course of history. War affects each and every aspect of our lives the human cost of war is incomprehensible however we can take a look at the economic cost of the World Wars below. 

World War I: Economic Cost, After Effects And Human Loss

The First World War which started in 1914 affected the world economy more than any war before it. Every country that participated in the Great War lost a lot of its citizens and money. The war ended in 1918 but the economic effects of the war are still prevalent today.

Soldiers rallying against their enemy in World War I
Soldiers rallying against their enemy in World War I

The war between The Central Powers and The Allied Powers started after Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary was assassinated in Sarajevo, Bosnia. Britain, France, Russia, Italy, and the United States were The Allies and Germany, Austria-Hungary, Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria formed the Central Power.

Each country involved in the war invested a lot of their money into the war, in fact, Germany alone spent around $37,775,000,000 into the war. Similarly, the following list shows the money spent by the different countries in the world. 

Country/TerritoriesAmount Spent ON WWI
United States$22,625,253,000
Great Britain$35,334,012,000
France$24,265,583,000
Russia$22,293,950,000
Italy$12,413,998,000
Belgium$1,154,468,000
Japan$40,000,000
Serbia$399,400,000
Greece$270,000,000
Canada$1,665,576,000
Australia$1,423,208,000
New Zealand$378,750,000
India$601,279,000
South Africa$300,000,000
British Colonies$125,000,000
Germany$37,775,000,000
Austria-Hungary$20,622,960,000
Turkey (Ottoman Empire)$1,430,000,000
Bulgaria$815,200,000

Financial loss and economic damage can be recovered however, the loss of lives is unrecoverable. The people of each of the countries involved in the war lost a lot of citizens.    

We have listed the casualties of WWI below in the table along with the country which suffered the loss. 

CountryNo. Of Deaths/CasualtiesNo. Of Wounded
United Kingdom867,829 to 1,011,6871,675,000
France1,697,000 to 1,737,8004,266,000
Italy1,052,400 to 1,243,400947,000
United States117,466204,002
Australia59,330 to 62,149152,171
Canada58,639 to 66,996149,732

In total, The Allies lost 9,235,553 to 10,080,391 people in the war and there were 11,611,271 to 12,812,271 more wounded.

Similarly, the Central Powers also lost a lot of their army men as well as normal citizens. The list below shows the death and casualties of the Central Powers

CountryNo. Of Deaths/CasualtiesNo. Of Wounded
Austria-Hungary1,787,000 to 2,081,2003,620,000
Bulgaria187,500152,390
Germany2,198,420 to 2,800,7204,215,662
Ottoman Empire2,825,000 to 3,271,844400,000 to 763,753

The Central Powers lost around 6,997,920 to 8,341,264 in total and 8,388,052 to 8,751,805 were wounded.

World War II: Human Losses, Economic Cost

The 2nd world war started on September 1, 1939, and ended on September 2, 1945. The immediate aftermath of the 1st Great War and a lack of controlling bodies caused the Second World War. The failure of the League Of Nations, the Versailles treaty were among the causes of World War II.     

This war also caused a lot of deaths in fact even more people died in this war than World War I. Similarly, the economic effects of the war were felt by the whole world. The Allied and Axis powers fought a 6-year war that would leave its mark for many years to come.          

American soldiers heading towards Normandy beach during World War II
American soldiers heading towards Normandy beach during World War II

The list of military spending in World War 2 is given below.

CountrySpending
US$341 billion
Germany$272 billion
Soviet Union$192 billion
Britain$120 billion
Italy$94 billion
Japan$56 billion

The Axis Powers, as well as the Allied Nations, also suffered huge human loss, as a matter of fact, according to 3% of the 1940 world population (70–85 million) was lost to the war.  

The following list shows the human loss suffered in World War 2 by various countries: 

CountryNo. Of Casualties (Estimated)
Soviet Union20,000,000
China13,500,000
Germany7,300,000
Poland5,420,000
Japan2,080,000
USA407,318
Italy410,000

Some sources have reported that official losses in the war were around 55 million in total.

The Holocaust

The genocide by Hitler and his Nazi party caused mass genocide of the Jewish people in Germany and Europe. Adolf Hitler started a mass movement against the Jews. The anti-Semitic views of the then German ruling dictator caused unimaginable pain to the people especially the Jewish.  

In fact, 1.3 million Jews were killed in just 3 months of the genocide which is around a quarter of the total Jewish victims.

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