World War 2 Deaths by Country
These are approximate numbers of combined civilian (Holocaust victims included) and military deaths per country
World War II Countries With Most Death Casualties
Starting in September 1939 with the German invasion of Poland and ending in August 1945 with the surrender of Japan, the Second World War raged for six bloody years. World War Two was the most horrific conflict in human history, accounting for over 75 million deaths worldwide.
This grim, horrific figure accounted for 3% of the total population of the world. 85% of total deaths were suffered by the Allied nations. This is mainly because the Allies included the Soviet Union and China, which suffered more casualties than every other nation combined. The remaining 15% of deaths came from the Axis powers, most notably Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.
As many as 55 million of these deaths were suffered by civilians, rather than military personnel. This was by far the highest amount of civilian deaths ever recorded. For reference, around 20 million people died during World War One, with about half of that number being civilian deaths.
However, some nations suffered more casualties than others. It is difficult to know exactly how many people, whether civilian or military, died in many countries. The devastation was such that only a few countries had the luxury of maintaining organised counts of their dead. In countries such as the Soviet Union and Japan, the true death toll may never be known.
World War Two also saw the onslaught of the most horrific case of genocide in human history, when the Nazis slaughtered over 11 million Jews, homosexuals, blacks, disabled people, and other minorities in what became known as the Holocaust. The vast majority of those murdered were civilians from across Europe, especially Eastern European countries like Poland.
The following countries suffered some of the highest death totals throughout the war. The figures are provided with a rough breakdown of how each country reached these totals. However, due to conflicting and incomplete records, it should be noted that many of these figures are approximate.
The vast Soviet Union, also known as the USSR, was a collection of Communist states spearheaded by Russia. It encompassed over 10,000 kilometres of territory, including countries such as Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, and Latvia and Lithuania.
Various counts of the USSR's death toll during World War Two have been given throughout the post-war period. The currently accepted figure, from the Russian Ministry of Defence in 2015, put the Soviet Union's total death toll at 26.6 million people.
Estimates put the number of Soviet soldiers killed at around 8.7 million. Official figures put civilian deaths at 14.6 million, but the real number may have been even higher, possibly as many as 20 million. The Soviet forces saw some of the fiercest fighting of the war. In June 1941, Adolf Hitler initiated Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union. Bloody battles such as Stalingrad, which saw 750,000 Soviets military deaths, defined the course of the war.
However, the civilian toll makes for grim reading. A quarter of the population of the Soviet Union were either killed or wounded during the war. Over 4 million Soviet civilians died due to poor conditions as well as widespread disease and famine.
Another 2 million died as a result of being subjected to forced labour by the Nazis. Millions of Soviets were also captured and interred as prisoners of war by the Germans, and around 3.6 million of these prisoners are believed to have died.
The Chinese civil war that had previously raged between Nationalist and Communist forces was put on hold when the Japanese invaded in 1937.
China suffered mightily at the hands of the Japanese, with an estimated 4 million military deaths and between 10 million and 16 million civilian losses during the war. Estimates of the total numbers vary wildly, and it is unlikely that the true toll will ever be known.
The majority of China's civilian losses came either through disease or due to massacres by Japanese forces. At the infamous Nanking Massacre in December 1937, somewhere between 50,000 and 300,000 civilians were slaughtered by Japanese troops.
Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, setting off a chain of events that would plunge the world into chaos. The Germans swept through much of Western Europe, making effective use of their devastating Blitzkrieg tactics. By 1940, the Nazis had reached the French coast after taking Belgium and France.
Then, in June 1941, the Germans invaded the Soviet Union. Hitler, confident that the Soviets would be subdued by the end of summer, did not equip his troops for the harsh Russian winters. 5.5 million German soldiers died during the war, with as much as 80% of those casualties coming on the Eastern Front.
As the Allies regrouped and began to press the Germans back on both fronts, civilian deaths in Germany began mounting. Between 2 million and 3 million German civilians perished during the war, also due to expulsion from occupied territories, the advances of Allied forces on Germany in 1945, as well as Soviet atrocities and forced labour.
Allied bombing raids devastated German cities such as Cologne, Dresden, and Hamburg. Around 600,000 civilians died in these raids. In October 1943, 10,000 German people died in a single night in the city of Kassel. These raids caused over 160 cities to be engulfed in huge firestorms that killed thousands.
Poland was the first European country to suffer casualties in World War Two. A surprise invasion by Nazi Germany in September 1939 caught Poland off guard. Soon after, the Soviet Union also annexed large swathes of Eastern Poland.
Approximately 5.6 million Poles died during World War Two, almost a fifth of Poland's total population. Only about 240,000 of these were military personnel, split between around 140,000 from the Polish Army and 100,000 Resistance fighters. The rest were civilians, killed either by the Nazis or Soviets.
Around 3.2 million Polish Jews died as a result of the Holocaust, the most of any country. Soviet atrocities also killed thousands of Polish citizens. As many as 22,000 Polish officers were executed by the Soviet secret police during the Katyn Massacre in 1940. More Polish political prisoners were murdered in Soviet-controlled territory.
The Warsaw Uprising of 1944 against the Germans resulted in around 130,000 Polish civilian deaths, as well as approximately 17,000 Resistance fighters.
Dutch East Indies
The Dutch East Indies were a series of colonies in Indonesia that were controlled by the Netherlands. Previously colonies that had been part of the Dutch East India Company, control over the region passed to the Dutch government in the early 1800s. After the Germans occupied the Netherlands in 1940, Dutch control over the East Indies was weakened, and in 1942, Imperial Japan invaded and occupied the colonies.
The number of Dutch East Indies inhabitants that died is estimated to be as many as 4 million, with the vast number of those coming as a result of disease and famine. Many were also imprisoned by the Japanese and used as forced labour. Only around 11,500 deaths were due to direct conflict. Java, one of the most populated islands, suffered the majority of the losses, perhaps as many as 3 million.
As part of the British Empire, India became a vital part of the war against the Japanese in Asia. As well as contributing troops, India was also a vast supply depot and base for Allied forces. And that made it a target.
Possibly as many as 3 million Indian civilians died as a result of famine and disease. This included a notorious incident in 1943, when the British government prioritised other areas of the world over their Indian subjects and did nothing to prevent starvation. Bombing raids by the Japanese were also a contributing cause of Indian deaths.
Indian military losses totalled around 90,000. Indian forces such as the Gurkhas fought fiercely in theatres such as Burma against the Japanese. The British Indian Army also fought in areas like North Africa, Europe, and other parts of Asia.
Imperial Japan was the Axis power located in the East and the Pacific. Imperialist ambitions had come to a head in 1937, when the Japanese declared war on China. Eventually, in December 1941, the Japanese would launch a pre-emptive strike against the United States at Pearl Harbour.
Again, the true number of Japanese dead is difficult to distinguish, but many figures put the toll at around 2.8 million. The majority of these deaths were military casualties, probably around 2.1 million. The Japanese fought fiercely in the Pacific and Asia, battling the Americans and Chinese.
Around 700,000 Japanese civilians were killed during the latter stages of the war as the Allies fought towards Japan. The vast majority of these deaths came from bombing raids launched against Japanese cities, totalling as many as 400,000 casualties.
Then, in August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, killing around 80,000 people instantly. A few days later, a second nuclear weapon was dropped on Nagasaki, causing approximately 40,000 deaths on impact. Japan surrendered the following week.
French Indochina was a collection of French territories in Asia, mainly covering parts of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. In September 1940, France, under its German-controlled government, ceded control of French Indochina to Japan.
The majority of French Indochina's 1.6 million deaths came as a result of widespread famine under Japanese occupation. This toll mainly affected civilians. After the war, independence movements resisted the return of French control.
A large state in the Balkans, Yugoslavia was conquered by Nazi Germany and its European Axis allies in early 1941. It was then divided up between Germany, Italy, and their allies. A number of partisan groups continued fighting throughout the war, but some eventually sided with the Axis.
An official figure from the Yugoslavian government of 1.7 million deaths was released after the war. However, this is widely believed to have been exaggerated, and subsequent research places the figure at around 1.1 million deaths. Many of these deaths were civilians.
Various ethnic groups were present in Yugoslavia, and tensions simmered beneath the surface. During the war, many of these groups took different sides, and several atrocities were committed. Genocide and
At the time of the outbreak of the Second World War, the Philippines was an American commonwealth ally in the Pacific. However, in December 1941, the Japanese attacked the Philippines as it sought to expand its Pacific territories. In May 1942, the Philippines surrendered.
The Philippines suffered around a million casualties during the war. Around 57,000 of those were military deaths, either during the initial Japanese invasion or as part of American forces throughout the war. Filipino guerrillas also continued fighting during the occupation.
As many as 950,000 Filipino civilians died during the war, mainly due to either famine or massacres by the Japanese. The most infamous of these was the brutal Manila Massacre in 1945, where at least 100,000 Filipinos were murdered, possibly as many as 500,000.
Hungary was another European nation that eventually sided with the Axis during World War Two. After the Nazis subjugated Czechoslovakia, Hungary seized territory in the unrest. After pressure from Germany, Hungary joined the Tripartite Pact in 1940. Hungary joined the campaign against Yugoslavia and eventually declared war on the Soviet Union.
In Hungary's various military campaigns during the war, the country lost around 300,000 troops. These losses came mainly in the battles against the Soviets, especially the Battle of Stalingrad, where Hungarian forces were engaged.
Hungarian civilians suffered heavy casualties as a result of the war. While some of these deaths came as a result of collateral damage, the vast majority were Jews and Roma people who were executed by Fascist forces. Approximately 565,000 Holocaust victims were murdered in Hungary, while around 100,000 further civilians died during the war.
After years of unrest as Europe crumbled around them, Romania succumbed to a Fascist coup in 1940 and declared itself an ally of Nazi Germany. Romania was now an Axis power and committed large numbers of troops to Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941.
During the fighting on the Eastern Front, Romania lost thousands of troops, and suffered more losses in the latter stages of the war as the Soviets invaded much of Europe. In total, about 300,000 Romanian military personnel died during the war.
But it was Romania's civilian population that suffered the most, especially under Fascist rule. Following in Hitler's footsteps, Romanian and German forces massacred around 400,000 Jews across Romanian territory. More civilians died during Allied bombing campaigns and the Soviet invasions in 1944.
In 1940, Italian forces invaded Greece to begin the Greco-Italian War. The subsequent Axis invasion of the Balkans in 1941 also extended to Greece. Like Yugoslavia, Greece was divided between Germany, Italy, and other Axis conspirators.
Overall, Greece is estimated to have suffered around 800,000 deaths as a result of the war. Only about 35,000 of these were military deaths in campaigns against the Italians and Nazis, as well as casualties from partisan groups during the occupation.
The remaining 765,000 were civilians. These deaths came as a result of either famine, collateral damage during the fighting, as well as around 60,000 Greek Jews who were killed either in Greece or sent to die in concentration camps across Europe.
As the Germans swept through Northern Europe, they caught France by surprise and swiftly overpowered the country in six weeks. Although some French forces escaped thanks to the evacuations at Dunkirk, hundreds of thousands died during the Nazi onslaught.
Around 250,000 of France's 600,000 deaths were military personnel. About 150,000 of these casualties were suffered by the French army during the German invasion and the Allied retaliation in 1945. About 40,000 French soldiers also died as prisoners of war, whilst around 20,000 French Resistance fighters were also killed.
A further 350,000 civilians died during the war. These deaths were mainly due to executions, and around 100,000 Jews and Roma peoples from France were killed during the Holocaust. However, around 60,000 civilians were also killed by the Allied bombing raids that preceded the D-Day operations in June 1944.
Prior to World War Two, Korea had long been a territory of Japan. It was annexed in 1910, but in around 1938 the Japanese took a more direct involvement. Initially, Koreans were used as forced labour in Japan to help power the war effort. Koreans then eventually became conscripted into the Japanese Army in 1944 during the Pacific War.
Fighting alongside the Japanese in some of the deadliest battles of the war, approximately 22,000 Korean soldiers died. These battles took place across the Pacific Islands as well as in China, Manchuria, and Burma as prison guards. Korean fighters also died in resistance to the Japanese, including the native forces of the Korean Volunteer Army, which fought against Japan's occupation of Korea.
Due to appalling conditions and treatment, many of these forced Korean labourers died. As many as 453,000 Korean civilians died during the war. Around 60,000 workers died in mainland Japan, and as the Japanese were pushed back in the Pacific, they massacred thousands of Korean workers to try and prevent betrayals.
One of the main Allied powers during the war, Britain was involved in the war from the start. Initially British forces tried to resist German invasions in Belgium and France, but were eventually pushed back. Britain itself then became the front-line during both the Blitz and the aerial Battle of Britain.
British forces then took part in the D-Day campaign and final battles against Germany, as well as fighting in Italy, Greece, Asia, and North Africa. In total, around 385,000 British troops were killed during the war. Around 1500 British pilots and personnel died during the Battle of Britain.
Around 70,000 British civilians also died during the war. Many died in German bombing raids during the Blitz. Almost 40,000 people were killed in nine months between September 1940 and May 1941. Almost half of these casualties occurred in London. British civilians also lost their lives in services such as the Merchant Navy, Women's Auxiliary Services, and the Home Guard.
Under the rule of the Fascists dictator Mussolini, Italy was one of the European Axis powers during the war. Italy entered the war in 1940, invading Greece and also areas of North Africa. However, after several defeats and a civil war, Italy surrendered to the Allies in 1943.
The majority of Italian casualties were soldiers and military personnel, around 300,000. These came in campaigns in Greece, North Africa, and European theatres. A further 150,000 civilians are believed to have died, including around 60,000 in bombing raids.
One of the most pivotal countries in the war, American forces battled in both European and Pacific theatres against both the Germans and the Japanese. The US finally entered the war in December 1941 after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour. American troops were also pivotal during the D-Day Landings in 1944 and crucial to overall victory.
Many of America's losses were military, with around 415,000 total troops killed during the war. Around 320,000 deaths were suffered by the Army. The Navy had about 62,500 losses, the Marine Corps suffered approximately 24,500, and the Coast Guard recorded around 2000 deaths.
Some of these losses came as prisoners of war in Germany and Japan. Around 2,400 total American prisoners died during the war. Civilian deaths totaled around 5000, mainly in the merchant naval services. Other losses came as Civil Air Patrol and civilian casualties in scattered aerial attacks.
In some of the first actions that would eventually plunge Europe into war, Germany annexed several regions of Czechoslovakia in 1938. Germany eventually took control of most of the state. During the war, the region suffered around 345,000 deaths.
A small number of these casualties were military deaths suffered by the Czech army and resistance forces, around 25,000. However, the majority of the casualties came as a result of Nazi genocide. Almost 280,000 Czech Jews were massacred by the Nazis, whilst thousands of civilians were executed in villages across Czechoslovakia throughout the war.
As part of territorial agreements with Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union occupied previously independent Lithuania in 1940. When Hitler invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, German forces took control of Lithuania. During the occupation, Lithuania took a passive approach, but still suffered heavy losses.
During the Soviet and German occupations, Lithuania suffered around 340,000 deaths. Very few of these were military casualties. Due to forced conscription by the Germans, around 25,000 Lithuanian soldiers died.
The vast majority of Lithuanian casualties came as a result of genocide by both the Soviets and Nazis. Around 200,000 Lithuanian Jews and other minorities were murdered during the Holocaust, whilst the Soviets killed around 113,400 civilians due to various expulsions and the murder of political prisoners.
At the outbreak of the Second World War, Burma was under the control of the British Empire. The Japanese coveted the territory for its raw materials such as rubber. When Japan launched its attacks against Britain and America in December 1941, Burma was one of their key targets. Thanks to disorganisation in the British force, Japan essentially controlled Burma by 1942.
Japan styled themselves as liberators to the Burmese, and even created a native army to fight alongside them. Burma suffered around 22,000 military deaths during the war, probably as a result of the Allied counter-offensives later in the war.
The majority of Burma's deaths in World War Two came within the civilian population as well as Japanese prisoners. Projects like the Burma-Thailand Railway, also known as the “Death Railway” contributed to the death toll. 80,000 Burmese civilians and 15,000 POWs died during the construction. In total, Burma suffered around 250,000 civilian casualties.
Like many eastern European nations during the war, Latvia was carved up by the larger powers. The Soviet Union occupied Latvia in 1940. Then, in 1941, the Germans took over the country and began exterminating Latvia's Jewish population.
With both the Germans and Soviets occupying Latvia, hundreds of thousands of Latvians joined both sides of the conflict. Around 100,000 Lithuanian soldiers perished in the various campaigns of the Nazis and Soviets during the war.
Out of the 93,500 Jews recorded as living in Latvia in 1939, 70,000 were killed during the war in a series of horrific massacres. 26,000 Jews and other minorities were killed by pro-Nazi Latvian commandos in the infamous Rumbula Massacre in 1941. Around 2000 Gypsies died in Latvia during the war. Approximately 55,000 other Latvian civilians were also killed.
As part of its lightning fast campaigns across Europe, the Nazis invaded the Netherlands in May 1940. The poorly prepared and equipped Dutch army was defeated in a matter of days, and the German occupation began. The Netherlands suffered one of the worst periods of occupation in western Europe.
Between 8,000 and 17,000 Dutch soldiers and resistance fighters died during the Second World War. Resistance groups battled the Germans during the occupation, but struggled to make an impact. The majority of Dutch casualties came from the civilian population.
In Germany's initial attack, thousands of Dutch people perished. 800 civilians were killed during the bombing of Rotterdam. With the Germans introducing rationing in 1944, as many as 30,000 people died from hunger. Around 100,000 Dutch Jews, including Anne Frank, were exterminated by the Nazis during the Holocaust.
Malaya and Singapore
The states of Malaya and Singapore were British territories in Asia prior to World War Two. When the Japanese attacked British and American forces at the end of 1941, it was only a matter of time before these colonies came under attack. Both Malaya and Singapore fell to the Japanese in early 1942.
The majority of deaths in both territories were the result of executions and harsh treatment by occupying Japanese forces. Forced labour killed thousands of Malay people, including around 25,000 who died while building the Thai-Burma Railway. The Japanese also executed around 50,000 Chinese people who had been living in the area.
Singapore suffered around 50,000 total deaths, with Malaya's death toll reaching as many as 100,000.
In 1935, seeking to expand its colonial territory, Italy invaded Ethiopia. After a few months, the Italians had control. In 1940, with British colonies weakened due to events in Europe, Mussolini and the Italians invaded more African territory. However, in 1941 British forces launched a counter-attack and took control of Ethiopia.
Ethiopian soldiers fought alongside the British during the campaigns in Africa, while others were incorporated into the Italian forces defending the territory. Around 5,000 Ethiopian soldiers died during the war. As many as 95,000 civilians also died as a consequence of the fighting as well as atrocities and massacres carried out by Italian forces. Thousands died in Italian concentration camps.
After Germany and the Soviet Union enforced territorial pacts in 1939, Finland was designated as Soviet territory, despite winning independence from Russia in 1917. Over the course of World War Two, Finland fought in three separate campaigns against both the Soviets and Germans.
Unlike the majority of countries affected by the Second World War, Finland suffered very few civilian casualties. Only around 2,000 people were killed, mainly as a result of Soviet bombing raids on Finnish cities.
However, during its various conflicts, Finland recorded 95,000 military deaths. These came in the initial conflict with the Soviets; the Winter War in 1939, a second clash with the USSR in 1941 called the Continuation War, where Finland cooperated with Germany, and the Lapland War against the Nazis in 1944.
Belgium quickly found itself on the front lines of the Second World War when the Germans invaded in May 1940. After just 18 days, Belgium fell to the Nazis. Belgium suffered during the German occupation and lost around 88,000 people during the war.
Most of Belgium's deaths were suffered by the civilian population. Around 76,000 Belgian civilians died during the war. Around 32,000 of these deaths came during the invasion, and over the course of the war about 27,000 Belgian Jews were massacred during the Holocaust.
12,000 Belgian military personnel perished during the war. Again, most of these deaths came during the German invasion. 1,800 Belgian soldiers died as prisoners of war, while around 800 resistance fighters were killed during the occupation.
One of the Soviet territories occupied as a result of a pact with Germany, Estonia suffered around 80,000 deaths during World War Two. In 1941, when the Germans invaded the Soviet Union, Estonia came under Nazi control.
Both the Germans and Soviets treated Estonia harshly. Estonia opted not to resist aggressively, but thousands of people were killed by both powers. The Soviets deported or executed Estonians, especially politicians and police officers. Some 2,200 were killed during the first year. When the Germans took over, around 1,000 Estonian Jews were killed during the Holocaust.
Partisan forces such as the Forest Brothers fought against Soviet control, but could not stop the atrocities. Estonian soldiers also fought for both the Germans and Soviets in their thousands.
Canada – Around 44,000
Canada entered the war in 1939 as part of the Allies and formed parts of the D-Day invasion force. They fought in Europe throughout the conflict. They suffered minimal civilian casualties during the war, but lost around 42,000 soldiers in the fighting. Approximately 1600 Canadians died in merchant naval services and 916 at the failed Dieppe landing raid.
WW2 Deaths by Country in Perspective
- The Soviet Union had twice more World War 2 related deaths than those of all the other major military forces combined (Germany, United Kingdom, Japan and the United States)
- China, which is often neglect in occidental World War 2 discussions, suffered more death casualties than the combined ones of Germany, Poland, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S.
- More Soviet Union and China people died from the war than in all other 50+ involved countries combined.