Estimates for the total casualties of World War II, Most suggest that some 60 million people died in the world war II, including about 20 million soldiers and 40 million civilians. Many civilians died because of disease, starvation, massacres, bombing and deliberate genocide. The Soviet Union lost around 27 million people during the war, almost half of all World War II deaths. One of every four Soviet citizens was killed or wounded in that war.
Of the total deaths in World War II approximately 85 percent—mostly Soviet and Chinese—were on the Allied side and 15 percent on the Axis side. Many of these deaths were caused by war crimes committed by German and Japanese forces in occupied territories. An estimated 11 to 17 million civilians died as a direct or indirect result of Nazi ideological policies, including the systematic genocide of around six million Jews during The Holocaust along with a further five million Roma, Slavs, homosexuals and other ethnic and minority groups. Roughly 7.5 million civilians died in China under Japanese occupation, and the Serbs were targeted by the Axis-aligned Croatian Ustaše.
The most well-known Japanese atrocity was the Nanking Massacre, in which several hundred thousand Chinese civilians were raped and murdered. Between 3 million to more than 10 million civilians, mostly Chinese, were killed by the Japanese occupation forces. Mitsuyoshi Himeta reported 2.7 million casualties occurred during the Sankō Sakusen. General Yasuji Okamura implemented the policy in Heipei and Shantung.
The Axis forces employed limited biological and chemical weapons. The Italians used mustard gas during their conquest of Abyssinia, while the Japanese Imperial Army used a variety of such weapons during their invasion and occupation of China (see Unit 731) and in early conflicts against the Soviets. Both the Germans and Japanese tested such weapons against civilians and, in some cases, on prisoners of war.While many of the Axis's acts were brought to trial in the world's first international tribunals, incidents caused by the Allies were not. Examples of such Allied actions include population transfer in the Soviet Union and Japanese American internment in the United States; the Operation Keelhaul, expulsion of Germans after World War II, mass rape of German women by Soviet Red Army; the Soviet Union's Katyn massacre, for which Germans faced counter-accusations of responsibility; the mass-bombing of civilian areas in enemy territory, including Tokyo and most notably the German cities of Dresden, Hamburg, and Cologne by Western Allies, resulting in the destruction of more than 160 cities and killing a total of more than 600.000 German civilians. Large numbers of famine deaths can also be partially attributed to the war, such as the Bengal famine of 1943 and the Vietnamese famine of 1944–45.
World War II Casualties: Total dead
World War II casualty statistics vary greatly. Estimates of total dead range from 50 million to over 70 million. The sources cited on this page document an estimated death toll in World War II of 62 to 78 million, making it the deadliest war ever. When scholarly sources differ on the number of deaths in a country, a range of war losses is given, in order to inform readers that the death toll is disputed. Civilians killed totaled from 40 to 52 million, including 13 to 20 million from war-related disease and famine. Total military dead: from 22 to 25 million, including deaths in captivity of about 5 million prisoners of war.
Recent historical scholarship
Recent historical scholarship has shed new insight into the topic of Second World War casualties. Research in Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union has caused a revision of estimates of Soviet war dead. Estimated USSR losses within postwar borders now stand at 26.6 million. In August 2009 the Polish Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) researchers estimated Poland's dead at between 5.6 and 5.8 million.
The German Army historian Dr. Rüdiger Overmans published a study in 2000 that estimated German military dead and missing at 5.3 million. War dead totals on this page for the British Commonwealth are based on the research of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
Casualties listed here include about 4 to 12 million war-related famine deaths in China, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, India that are often omitted from other compilations of World War II casualties.
World War II Casualties of Human losses by country
Some nations in World War II suffered disproportionally more casualties than others. This is especially true regarding civilian casualties. The following chart gives data on the number of dead for each country, along with population information to show the relative impact of losses. Military figures include battle deaths (KIA) and personnel missing in action (MIA), as well as fatalities due to accidents, disease and deaths of prisoners of war in captivity. Civilian casualties include deaths caused by strategic bombing, Nazi persecution, Japanese war crimes, population transfers in the Soviet Union, Allied war crimes and deaths due to war related famine and disease. Jewish losses in the Holocaust are listed separately for each nation, since they are known. Compiling or estimating the numbers of deaths caused during wars and other violent conflicts is a controversial subject. Historians often put forward many different estimates of the numbers killed during World War II. The distinction between military and civilian casualties caused directly by warfare and collateral damage is not always clear cut. For nations that suffered huge losses such as the U.S.S.R., China, Poland, Germany and Yugoslavia, our sources can give us only the total estimated population loss caused by the war and a rough estimate of the breakdown of deaths caused by military activity, crimes against humanity and war related famine. The footnotes give a detailed breakdown of the casualties and their sources, including data on the number of wounded where reliable sources are available.
- Figures rounded to the nearest hundredth place.
- Population in 1939 - Source: Population Statistics
- War losses are for the national boundaries of 1939.
- Total Soviet losses in the postwar 1946–91 boundaries were 26.6 million.
- Total Polish losses in the postwar 1946 boundaries were about 3,500,000.
- Total Romanian losses in the postwar 1946 boundaries were 460,000
- Military deaths - Losses include deaths of regular military forces from combat as well as non combat causes. Partisan and resistance fighter deaths forces are included with military losses. The deaths of prisoners of war in captivity and personnel missing in action are also included with military deaths. The armed forces of the various nations are treated as single entities, for example the deaths of Austrians, Soviets, French and ethnic Germans in the Wehrmacht are included with German military losses.
- Holocaust victims
The Holocaust is the term generally used to describe the genocide of approximately six million European Jews during World War II, 5.7 million (78%) of the 7.3 million Jews in German dominated Europe died in the war. Estimates for Holocaust deaths range between 5.1 to 6.0 million Jews. Some scholars maintain that the definition of the Holocaust should also include the Nazis' systematic murder of millions of people in other groups persecuted and killed by the Nazis included 130,000 to 500,000 Gypsies; 150,000 to 200,000 handicapped persons  ; 2.6 to 3 million Soviet prisoners of war; 1.8 to 1.9 million Poles; 4.5 to 8.2 million Soviet civilians; about 10,000 Gay men; about 1,000 Jehovah's Witnesses; between 1,000 to 2,000 Roman Catholic clergy and an unknown number of Freemasons. "The fate of black people from 1933 to 1945 in Nazi Germany and in German-occupied territories ranged from isolation to persecution, sterilization, medical experimentation, incarceration, brutality, and murder." During the Nazi era Communists, Socialists, Social Democrats, and trade union leaders were victims of Nazi persecution.
Prisoner of war deaths in Nazi captivity totaled 3.1 Million
- Japanese War Crimes
R. J. Rummel estimates the civilian victims of Japanese war crimes at 5,424,000. Detailed by country: China 3,695,000; Indochina 457,000; Korea 378,000; Indonesia 375,000; Malaya-Singapore 283,000; Philippines 119,000, Burma 60,000 and Pacific Islands 57,000.
Werner Gruhl estimates the civilian victims of Japanese war crimes at 20,365,000. Detailed by country: China 12,392,000; Indochina 1,500,000; Korea 500,000; Dutch East Indies 3,000,000; Malaya and Singapore 100,000 ; Philippines 500,000; Burma 170,000; Forced laborers in Southeast Asia 70,000, 30,000 interned non-Asian civilians; Timor 60,000; Thailand and Pacific Islands 60,000.Werner Gruhl estimates POW deaths in Japanese captivity at 331,584. Detailed by country: China 270,000; Netherlands 8,500; U.K. 12,433; Canada 273; Philippines 20,000; Australia 7,412; New Zealand 31; and the United States 12,935
Out of “60,000" Indian Army POWs taken at the Fall of Singapore, 11,000 died in captivity
There were 14,657 deaths among the total 130,895 western civilians interned by the Japanese due to famine and disease.
- Victims of Soviet Repression
The deaths of 400,000 civilians deported during the Soviet annexations in 1939–40 are included with World War II casualties.
Russian sources list Axis Prisoner of war deaths of 580,589 in Soviet captivity However some western scholars estimate the total at between 1.7 and 2.3 million.
- The Commonwealth War Graves Commission Annual Report 2008–09 is the source of the military dead for the British Empire The war dead totals listed in the report are based on the research by the CWGC to identify and commemorate Commonwealth war dead. The statistics tabulated The Commonwealth War Graves Commission are representative of the number of names commemorated for all servicemen/women of the Armed Forces of the Commonwealth and former U.K. Dependencies, whose death was attributable to their war service. Some auxiliary and civilian organizations are also accorded war grave status if death occurred under certain specified conditions. For the purposes of C.W.G.C. the dates of inclusion for Commonwealth War Dead are 03/09/1939 to 31/12/1947.
- Sources - The footnotes list the details of the losses and their sources.
World War II Casualties: Losses by alliance
World War II Casualties by branch of service