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The 20 deadliest conflicts in human history

Espresso Logo By Ruby Pratka of Espresso | Slide 2 of 21: The deadliest known war in human history is, in fact, in living memory. The Second World War began with Nazi Germany’s invasion of Poland in September 1939 and ended with Japan’s surrender to the United States in August 1945. Although there were many bloody military confrontations, both in the Atlantic and Pacific theatres, atrocities committed against civilians (Hitler’s genocidal persecution of Jews, Gypsies and gays, the Nazis’ two-and-a-half-year siege of Leningrad, the U.S. dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki) accounted for at least as much of the death toll.

World War II (1939-1945, 60 million estimated deaths)

The deadliest known war in human history is, in fact, in living memory. The Second World War began with Nazi Germany’s invasion of Poland in September 1939 and ended with Japan’s surrender to the United States in August 1945. Although there were many bloody military confrontations, both in the Atlantic and Pacific theatres, atrocities committed against civilians (Hitler’s genocidal persecution of Jews, Gypsies and gays, the Nazis’ two-and-a-half-year siege of Leningrad, the U.S. dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki) accounted for at least as much of the death toll.

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