What Was the Deadliest War in History?

The Battle of Normandy, World War II. World War II is considered to be the deadliest war of all time.
The Battle of Normandy, World War II. World War II is considered to be the deadliest war of all time.

There have been some deadly wars fought on large scale throughout history, resulting in the deaths of millions whose fatalities have been caused by either indirect or direct effects of war. Death caused by such wars includes mass executions, genocides, or annihilation under the rule of ruthless dictators. World War II is often considered to be the deadliest war of all time, with an ultimate death toll estimated at around 85 million people. Below is a list of the most gruesome wars the world has ever seen in order of death toll. 

10. Chinese Civil War, 1927-1949 (8 million deaths)

The Chinese Civil War began in 1927, and was fought between the loyal forces to the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the loyal forces to the Kuomintang (KMT), a major political party in the Republic of China. There were 8 million fatalities The war was about the struggle for control of China. The Civil War can be divided into two phases from 1927 to 1937 and from 1946 to 1950 when major hostilities ceased. The war resulted in a significant historical turning point for the country following the establishment of the People's Republic of China.

9. Timurid Conquests, 1370-1405 (8 million deaths)

The Timurid Empire was established when regions conquered by the empire came together around 1370. The empire was comprised of modern day Afghanistan, Mesopotamia, the Caucasus, Iran, parts of Turkey, Pakistan, Syria and much of Central Asia. The empire was established by a Turco-Mongol warlord known as Timur. During the reign of the Timurid Empire about 8 million people died.

8. Hui Minorities War, 1862-1877 (12 million deaths)

The Hui Minorities War is also known as Tongzhi Hui Revolt, or Dungan Revolt was a religious and ethnic war fought between 1867 and 1877, during the rulership of Tongzhi the Emperor of the Qing Dynasty. The war involved Hui Muslims and other Muslim ethnic groups from the provinces of Ningxia, Shaanxi, and Gansu in China. The Tongzhi Hui Revolt started over a pricing squabble when a Hui did not receive some bamboo poles he had purchased from a Han merchant. The war resulted in 12 million deaths.

7. Tang-Yan Wars, 755-763 CE (13 million deaths)

The Tang-Yan Wars, also known as the An Lushan Rebellion, was a calamitous rebellion against China's Tang dynasty. The rebellion started when general An Lushan proclaimed himself emperor of Northern China on December 16th, 755. An Lushan established a rival dynasty known as the Yan Dynasty, which collapsed on February 17th, 763. The rebellion ended with a death toll of 13 million people.

6. World War 1, 1914-1918 (18.4 million deaths)

Also known as the Great War or First World War, World War I was a global war which originated in Europe on July 28, 1914, lasting up to November 11, 1918. World War I was among the largest wars in history with over 70 million military personnel which included 60 million Europeans. About 18.4 million people died as a result of the war. World War I was one of the deadliest conflicts in history.

5. Chinese Civil War, 1850-1864 (25 million deaths)

The Chinese Civil War of 1850 to 1864 also known as Taiping Civil War or the Taiping Rebellion was fought between the Qing Dynasty and Heavenly Kingdom of Peace movement. The war started when local officials from the Guangxi province of Southern China began persecuting the God Worship Society which was a millenarian sect. The sect was headed by Hong Xiuquan, a self-proclaimed young brother of Jesus. Death estimates of the war were about 25 million.

4. Qing Conquests, 17th Century (25 million deaths)

Also known as the Qing Conquest of the Ming, the Manchu Conquest of China or the Ming , the Qing transition was a period of conflict during the 17th century between the Qing dynasty of northeastern China and the Ming dynasty of southern China. The war resulted in the collapse of the Ming dynasty and approximately 25 million deaths.

3. War of Three Kingdoms, 2nd & 3rd Centuries CE (38 million deaths)

The Three Kingdoms, which existed between the 2nd and 3rd Centuries CE, was a tripartite apportionment of China between the Wu, Shu, and Wei states, preceding the Jin Dynasty and following the Han dynasty. The period in which the three Kingdoms ruled is marked as one of the bloodiest in the history of China. The wars resulted in about 38 million deaths.

2. Mongol Invasions, 13th & 14th Centuries (55 million deaths)

The Mongol Conquest and Invasions took place during the entire 13th century leading to the establishment of the Mongol Empire. By 1300, the empire had already extended to Eastern Europe and much of Asia. With a death toll of about approximately 55 million, historians regard the Mongol invasion as one of the deadliest conflicts in human history.

1. World War 2 & Sino-Chinese War, 1939-1945 (85 million deaths)

The Second World War was a global war fought between 1939 and 1945. However, related conflicts had already begun prior to the war. The Second World War involved a vast majority of countries in the world, becoming history's most widespread war involving over 100 million people from more than 30 countries. The war was marked by the mass killings of civilians, notably with the Holocaust being responsible for 11 million deaths. Another example of mass killings was the atomic bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. World War II resulted in about 85 million deaths.


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