Here are estimates for those who died during WWII:
Axis: 6,582,000 Military, 1,686,000 Civilian
Allied: 14,276,800 Military, 25,686,900 Civilian
Totals 20,858,800 27,372,900 48,231,700 or 43% military and 57% civilian deaths. (Source: http://warchronicle.com/numbers/WWII/deaths.htm)
Some estimates for WWII dead are as high as 60 million people. I was thinking about this carnage the other night. I often think about the battle deaths for the military and civilians especially in my war, the Korean War. In Korea I saw the devastation and the effect of the invasion from the north on the civilian population.
We had two young boys with our company which we had picked up along the road. They stayed back with our cooks and we bought them cowboy outfits from a catalog. Finally the Red Cross found their grandparents and we lost them along with two perfectly good Russian trucks that we were not allowed to keep either because they were not our issue. Our issue, like all the rest of our equipment left over from WWII, was a bunch of trucks that belonged in the junk yard.
We had a number of ROK soldiers serving in our outfit. I had five (5) in my platoon. One was Ree Tay Hee or Ety who had lost two brothers to the invasion and did not know if his father and two brothers were dead or alive. Ety had a brother at home living with their mother and teenage sister. He was killed in a railroad accident. (I know what it is like to pass between cars of a train in the wintertime. I learned that years after the war on a business trip to Korea.) Ety’s brother feel between the cars. I remember how sad Ety was and how sad I was as well as the rest of our platoon. I worried then and still do about his sister and mother and how they would survive in the battered city of Seoul.
When I got home, I got a layer saying that Ety had been seriously wounded in the Iron Triangle.
Such was the situation for families in Korea and such was the situation for families in WWII as the war destroyed the happiness of many. I feel it in my bones as I watch the sorrow in the families in our nation as the war dead and wounded come home. (The sadness never leaves as I still pine for two of my older friends who died in WWII, both with the 10th Mountain Division. They were Orville Roderick and Norville McDaniel. I made them characters in Bull, one of my novels.)
As I was thinking about the war dead the other night I thought about them holding hands like the paper dolls we use to make when we were kids. Every mile would have about 1000 persons who have passed on. The dead from WWII were in two groups. One group stretched around the globe at the equator. The second group passed through Greenwich, England and circled the earth at the North- and South Poles. Not taking in the fact that the earth is an oblate spheroid, they made two perfect complete circles.
Just how long must this crap go on?
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