gse_menu_B1

ESSAYS AND ARTICLES

Sue Coe

THE TRAGEDY OF WAR: A MILLENNIAL OVERVIEW

Published by the Galerie St Etienne, 2000

• 1.5 million people died in wars in the 16th century.

 

• 6 million people died in wars in the 17th century.

• 6 million people died in wars in the 18th century.

• 20 million people died in wars in the 19th century.

 

• 105 million people died in wars in the 20th century.

 

• Two-thirds of the Ottoman Empire's Armenian population (1.5 to 1.8 million people) was wiped out by the Turks in 1915. This prototypical genocide established the precedent which Hitler emulated in his systematic extermination of the Jews.

 

• More than 10 million people died in World War I, 6 million of them civilians.

 

• In World War I, only 15% to 20% of all soldiers were willing to fire at the enemy; in the Korean war, 55% were willing to shoot to kill; in Vietnam, the rate was 90%.

 

• 45 million people (including 6 million Jews) died in World War II.

 

• 80,000 people died immediately as a result of the A-bomb attack on Hiroshima, and another 140,000 had perished by the end of 1945. 60% of the city was destroyed, and its prewar population of 343,000 reduced by approximately 65%.

 

• 30 million Russians died in Stalin's purges or from the famines triggered by his policies.

 

• Approximately 1 million people died as a result of China's "Cultural Revolution," and 20 to 30 million perished from the man-made famine that was a direct result of the "Great Leap Forward."

 

• 2 million civilians, 1.1 million North Vietnamese Vietcong and 250,000 South Vietnamese troops were killed in the Vietnam war. 58,000 American soldiers died, and 2,000 were reported missing in action.

 

• Approximately 2 million people, a quarter of Cambodia’s population, were killed by the Khmer Rouge.

 

• A combined total of 50,000 people were killed in the 1967 and 1973 Arab-Israeli wars.

 

• It is thought that roughly 30,000 people died in the Gulf War (although the CIA places the total much higher). Of these, 22,000 were Iraqi troops and 2,278 were Iraqi civilians. The Desert Storm coalition forces suffered 240 casualties, including 146 U.S. deaths. As of 2000, it was estimated that 100,000 Iraqis had died subsequently as a direct or indirect result of the war.

 

• In the most intensive act of genocide since the Holocaust, the West Pakistani military murdered 3 million Bengalis and raped 400,000 Muslim women in Bangladesh.

 

• As of 2000, 1.2 million people had been murdered by the Chinese in Tibet.

 

• As of 2000, 1 to 1.5 million people had died so far in Rwanda, mostly Tutsi murdered by the Hutu.

 

• About 150,000 people died as a result of the breakup of Yugoslavia.

 

• Between 1991 and 1993, 20,000 to 50,000 women were raped in the former Yugoslavia. 80% of these rapes occurred in custodial settings; that is to say, the women were raped by their captors, with the tacit approval of military supervisors.

 

• As of 2000, there were 110 million land mines in 64 nations worldwide. These land mines killed 800 people a month and maimed thousands. 55% of all land mine victims die before receiving medical assistance; 28% of all survivors require the amputation of one or both legs.

 

• As of 2000, there were 300,000 child soldiers throughout the world. In the 1990s, children under the age of 18 participated in armed conflicts in 32 nations; children under the age of 15 fought in 20 of these conflicts.

 

• As of 2000, there were 13 million displaced children who had been forced from their homes but remained within the borders of their own countries. In Angola, one sixth of the entire population was uprooted. In Colombia, two out of three displaced children had witnessed the murder or attempted murder of at least one family member.

 

• In 2000, there were roughly 300 armed conflicts or wars being waged throughout the world. Most victims of these conflicts were innocent civilians, women and children.