The truly enormous scope of World War II is almost impossible to understand in hindsight. The war devastated vast swathes of Europe, East Asia, the Pacific, and North Africa, while its influence touched upon every part of the planet.
Randal Olson, a Computer Science graduate research assistant at Michigan State University, has helped to illustrate the true devastation. His charts showcase the percentage of a country’s population that died during WWII.
Belarus suffered the worst devastation of any country during the war in terms of a percentage of its population. Over a quarter of its population, 2,290,000 people, died during the conflict.
In terms of total numbers, the Soviet Union bore an incredible brunt of casualties during WWII. An estimated 16,825,000 people died in the war, over 15% of its population. China also lost an astounding 20,000,000 people during the conflict.
As a comparison, here are the number of American deaths in every major war the U.S. has entered:
June 6 will mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day Invasion of Normandy. During this battle alone there was an estimated 6,603 U.S. casualties, 2,700 British casualties, 1,074 Canadian casualties, and between 4,000 and 9,000 German casualties.