11 Facts About World War One Casualties | History Hit

11 Facts About World War One Casualties

Alex Browne

02 Aug 2018
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Here are 11 facts that try to covey a sense of the massive, unprecedented slaughter of World War One. This section makes grim reading and viewing – but the war was extremely grim.

Although in terms of the scale of the slaughter World War One was surpassed by World War Two, the sense of pointless and wasteful loss of life that the meeting of antiquated tactics with industrial weaponry created, remains unparalleled.

1. Total casualties caused directly by the war are estimated at 37.5 million

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2. Approximately 7 million combatants were maimed for life

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3. Germany lost the most men, with 2,037,000 killed and missing in total

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4. On average 230 soldiers perished for every hour of fighting

death-clock

5. 979,498 British and Empire soldiers died

On 7th May 1915, the ocean liner RMS Lusitania was sunk by a German U-boat off the coast of Ireland with more than half the passengers and crew being killed. Some of those lost were Americans and the sinking hardened opinion in the United States against Germany and marked the beginning of the process which led to the USA entering the First World War on the side of the allies. To mark the anniversary of the sinking Stephen Payne joins the podcast. Stephen is a British naval architect and worked on designing passenger ships for over 40 years and is an expert both in their construction and their history. He and Dan discuss the circumstances of the sinking, whether there was any justification for it and the effect it had on public opinion and naval policy.
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See a Commonwealth War Dead: First World War Visualised – based on figures from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

6. 80,000 British soldiers suffered shell shock (roughly 2% of all that were called up)

Shell shock was an incapacitating mental illness believed to be brought on by intense sustained artillery shelling.

7. 57.6% of all combatants became casualties

8. It cost the Allies $36,485.48 to kill an opposing serviceman – significantly more than it cost the Central Powers

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Niall Ferguson makes these estimations in The Pity of War.

9. At nearly 65% the Australian casualty rate was the highest of the war

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10. 11% of France’s entire population was killed or wounded

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11. On the Western Front total casualties were 3,528,610 dead and 7,745,920 wounded

Top up your knowledge of the key events of World War One with this audio guide series on HistoryHit.TV. Listen Now

The Allies lost 2,032,410 dead and 5,156,920 wounded, The Central Powers 1,496,200 dead and 2,589,000 wounded.

Alex Browne

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