Monday, October 23, 2017

Today's World War II Fact

Poland alone lost more citizens than all of the Western European nations, Britain, and the U.S. combined.

–Victor Davis Hanson, The Second World Wars


G. Verloren said...

"Poland alone lost more citizens than all of the Western European nations, Britain, and the U.S. combined."

Interesting choice of terminology. I assume by "citizens", they're referring to both civilians and soldiers?

If you combine civilian and military deaths, over 16% of the total Polish population died in World War II, which is the highest percentage for any country. That's... insane, horrific, and depressing.

The Soviets had a smaller percentage, but a staggeringly higher number of total deaths. The Russians won the war with an unending tide of corpses.

The Germans also suffered tremendous losses, particularly given their smaller population, both in their total military defeat and in the intentional killing of their civilian populations by the Allies.

We in the West often portray in media the Battle of Britain, and the targetting of civilians by the German air forces. But ultimately the civilan losses from such actions were relatively minor. What we seldom see portrayed is the opposite side of the equation - the staggering number of German civilians killed by Allied bombing in the later stages of the war. We were brutal in our pummeling of German cities, purposefully targetting civilians with bombing tactics specifically designed to cause mass destruction and firestorms that literally sucked the oxygen out of the air, causing those who didn't die in the flames to suffocate to death.

The Soviets were even more horrific to German civilians. The casualties from months and months of strategic bombing from the West don't compare to the number of dead that resulted from Russian rapes and retributions at the end of the war, as they swept through occupied regions in the wake of the Nazi regime's collapse. It's a crime that rarely gets mentioned, and one that I fear many in the West simply know nothing about.

It's odd, all these decades later, that we still don't make many movies or write many books about these things. Some people might be familiar with the Bombing of Dresden, but that's about it. And even Dresdden is not nearly as notorious an event as the (largely ineffectual) campaign of V2s being fired at London.

szopen said...

I guess many more people are familiar with bombing of Dresden than with Bombing of Frampol.

G. Verloren said...


I can understand somewhat why the bombing of a small and obsure rural Polish town is poorly known today, given that it was attacked in 1939, technically before the war even officially began, at a time when the western world was focused on overlooking and tolerating Nazi aggression as part of a policy of appeasement.

That said, it's still very strange to me how much attention we give to things like the Evacuation of Dunkirk or the D-Day Landing, and how little we give to the deliberate and indiscriminate killing of civilians, by all parties - and how the attention we do give tends to focus on a small nymber of high profile but ultimately low impact examples.

pootrsox said...

I'm curious-- does this number include all the Jews in Poland? Or were they no longer considered "citizens"? And a note re those Jews: other Polish citizens bore quite a lot of the responsibility for those Jews being rounded up.