During the Second World War, over 60 million people lost their lives.
While this seems like an unimaginable number that would have been difficult to comprehend at the time, it’s all the more shocking when you consider that so many of these casualties were not involved in the battle, but were executed by their own governments due to their race or political views.
Because of this, many scholars and historians are now suggesting that the Good War was actually one of the worst wars in history and that its labelling as such should be reconsidered in order to prevent any more wars from occurring in the future.
The high death tolls of the second world war
The second world war was one of the bloodiest conflicts in human history. It resulted in an estimated 70 million deaths and left many families without fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters. In order to put these figures into perspective, if every person on earth were killed off at this rate it would take less than 10 years for humanity to become extinct.
The terrible reality is that the second world war did not just kill millions of people; it also fundamentally changed their lives forever.
With such a heavy toll taken on the lives of so many, it should come as no surprise that death plays a prominent role in the literature about this period. Death is a common theme in many novels written by authors who lived during that time.
For example, Viktor Frankl’s book Man’s Search for Meaning (published in 1946) discusses his experiences in four different Nazi concentration camps. These camps ranged from labour camps where inmates were used as slave labour almost immediately upon arrival.
The causes of death during the war
Most of the deaths during the second world war happened because of the fighting or enemy fire before even making contact with enemy forces, which increased their chances of dying significantly. Although combat was a major cause of death for soldiers in Europe, it was not the only factor affecting survival rates during wartime.
German civilians died more often as a result of air raids than they did in battles. There are many reasons why civilians were more likely to be victims of bombs while they were out doing everyday tasks like shopping, picking up supplies and attending social events.
One reason was simply that there weren’t many military targets within cities, so bombing campaigns focused on civilian areas instead.
Another possible reason could be the fact that bomber planes were inaccurate and had difficulty hitting targets.
Often times buildings around civilian populations would get bombed instead, leading to innocent bystanders being killed in large numbers. For example, one night raid on Hamburg by the British Royal Air Force resulted in over 45,000 people being killed; approximately one-third of them were children under the age of 16 years old.
The majority of these children died from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by burning fires and damaged gas pipes. In other cases, widespread destruction can lead to further complications such as disease epidemics when water and sewage systems are destroyed along with food sources like stores and farms.
The effect of death on the soldiers and Civilians
The effect of death on soldiers and civilians during the Second World War was a tragic reality that they had to live with every day.
However, it was necessary for their survival and future. Death was an inevitable part of the war, a fact that soldiers and civilians accepted as they continued to fight for their country and protect the lives of those around them. It is not easy to imagine what people in this time period went through emotionally, especially if one did not experience it firsthand. They lived in constant fear of being killed by enemy forces or dying from disease or starvation because resources were scarce.
Soldiers who were captured by the enemy often faced torture and possible execution if they were lucky enough to escape alive. On top of this, women and children lived in constant fear of being raped by invaders who entered their villages looking for food or seeking revenge after battles were fought nearby.
Children also grew up without parents because they died in battle. Others saw family members get shot down in front of them and would have to live with the memories until the day they died. If a soldier survived a battle unscathed, he would still go back home to see his house destroyed and all his loved ones gone.
The aftermath of the war
The aftermath of war can be a difficult time for everyone involved.
The horror of having to fight and kill people, sometimes close friends and family, is something that stays with you for the rest of your life. This is something that is especially true for those who were fighting in the second world war, as many had to take part in terrible atrocities on behalf of their nation.
For these individuals, it may have been an unbearable burden to carry around with them for so long. It has been theorized that this was one of the leading factors in the high suicide rates among veterans returning from war.
In some cases, they would return to find their homeland destroyed and nothing left to live for.
In other cases, they would find themselves no longer able to function in society due to PTSD or other mental disorders caused by the trauma of battle. If they didn’t commit suicide outright, some resorted instead to drinking heavily or taking drugs which lead them into lives of crime and destitution before eventually dying a slow death alone in squalor.
Fortunately, much has changed since then thanks to advances in medicine, technology, and psychology.
Medical professionals are now better equipped than ever to help service personnel overcome PTSD after being exposed to horrible things while on duty abroad.
Soldiers are taught techniques for dealing with stress before deployment and receive ongoing counselling during their service period in order for them not only to cope but also make a successful transition back home afterwards without feeling overwhelmed by what they experienced overseas.