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FACT SHEET --
The Tragedy of War
- 1.5 million people died in wars in the 16th century.
- 6 million people died in wars in the 17th century.
- 6 million people died in wars in the 18th century.
- 20 million people died in wars in the 19th century.
- 105 million people died in wars in the 20th century, 45 million of them
(including 6 million Jews) in World War II.
- Two-thirds of the Ottoman Empire's Armenian population (1.5 to 1.8 million
people) was wiped out by the Turks in 1915. This prototypical genocide
established the precedent which Hitler emulated in his systematic
extermination of the Jews.
- In World War I, only 15% to 20% of all soldiers were willing to fire at
the enemy; in the Korean war, 55% were willing to shoot to kill; in Vietnam,
the rate was 90%.
- 80,000 people died immediately as a result of the A-bomb attack on
Hiroshima, and another 140,000 had perished by the end of 1945. 60% of the
city was destroyed, and its prewar population of 343,000 reduced by
- 30 million Russians died in Stalin's purges or from the famines triggered
by his policies.
- Approximately 1 million people died as a result of China's "Cultural
Revolution," and 20 to 30 million perished from the man-made famine that was
a direct result of the "Great Leap Forward."
- 2 million civilians, 1.1 million North Vietnamese Viet Cong and 250,000
South Vietnamese troops were killed in the Vietnam war. 58,000 American
soldiers died, and 2,000 were reported missing in action.
- Approximately 2 million people, a quarter of Cambodia's population, were
killed by the Khmer Rouge.
- It is thought that roughly 30,000 people died in the Gulf War (although
the CIA places the total much higher). Of these, 22,000 were Iraqi troops
and 2,278 were Iraqi civilians. The Desert Storm Coalition forces suffered
240 casualties, including 146 U.S. deaths. It is estimated that 100,000
Iraqis have since died as a direct or indirect result of the war.
- In the most intensive act of genocide since the Holocaust, the West
Pakistani military murdered 3 million Bengalis and raped 400,000 Muslim
women in Bangladesh.
- 1.2 million people have been murdered by the Chinese in Tibet.
- 1 to 1.5 million people have died so far in Rwanda, mostly Tutsi murdered
by the Hutu.
- About 150,000 people have died as a result of the breakup of Yugoslavia.
- Between 1991 and 1993, 20,000 to 50,000 women were raped in the former
Yugoslavia. 80% of these rapes occurred in custodial settings; that is to
say, the women were raped by their captors, with the tacit approval of
- There are presently 110 million land mines in 64 nations worldwide. These
land mines kill 800 people a month and maim thousands. 55% of all land mine
victims die before receiving medical assistance; 28% of all survivors
require the amputation of one or both legs.
- There are currently 300,000 child soldiers throughout the world. In the
last ten years, children under the age of 18 have participated in armed
conflicts in 32 nations; children under the age of 15 have fought in 20 of
- There are presently 13 million displaced children who have been forced
from their homes but remain within the borders of their own countries. In
Angola, one sixth of the entire population has been uprooted. In Columbia,
two out of three displaced children have witnessed the murder or attempted
murder of at least one family member.
- Upwards of 200 people have died in the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict, most
of them Palestinians. A combined total of 50,000 people were killed in the
1967 and 1973 Arab-Israeli wars.
- There are roughly 300 armed conflicts or wars presently being waged
throughout the world. Most victims of these conflicts are innocent
civilians, women and children.