Friday, July 20


History's Bloodiest Wars And Who To Blame

A helpful guide.

Rank Name Aggressor Victim How Many
1 World War II Germany, Japan,
sundry others
best forgotten
Everyone else 40 million+
2 An Lushan Rebellion China China 33 million*
3 Mongol Invasions Mongols Everyone else 30 million**
4 Yuan Dynasty Collapse China China 30 million
5 Ming Dynasty China China 25 million
6 Taiping Rebellion China China 20 million
7 World War I Germany,
Ottoman Empire,
Influenza Virus
Everyone else 15-65 million
8 Tamerlane's Conquests Tamerlane Human decency 15 million
9 Dungan Revolt China China 8 million
10 Russian Revolution Filthy Commies Anastasia,
sound agricultural
5 million

* This single 8th century civil war is estimated to have killed 15% of the population of the entire planet.***
** The mongols, by contrast, only wiped out about 10% of the people in the world. Even WWI and the Spanish Flu together couldn't break into double digits.
*** As reader Ray points out, this number may be slightly exaggerated.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 01:27 AM | Comments (20) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
Post contains 168 words, total size 3 kb.


It's interesting how often China is on that chart.

But when it comes to WWI, it isn't really fair to designate Germany, Austria and the Ottomans as the aggressors. Everyone was champing at the bit looking forward to that war, pretty much.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at Friday, July 20 2012 03:14 AM (+rSRq)

2 Yeah, WWI was pretty much a suicide pact.  I could add a causes column and file that one under stupidity.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Friday, July 20 2012 11:25 AM (PiXy!)

3 China's going to show up a lot on that list because it was unified long ago, because it's bigger in absolute terms than just about anyone, and because until recently, it was a Malthusian test case - it had so many people that almost all its labor had to go into low-intensity agriculture just to feed everyone, and significant disruptions in agriculture (which is among the side effects of war, heh!) were enough to cause widespread starvation.

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at Friday, July 20 2012 12:39 PM (pWQz4)

4 Yeah, listing the axis as the aggressors in wwi is blatant entente bias. France was itching for a fight after being humiliated by Germany in 1870 and was as big an aggressor as any.

Posted by: Jason at Friday, July 20 2012 12:56 PM (6VB4r)

5 Ditto on WW I. One of my old history professors described it this way: imagine a crowded room with everyone having a noose around their neck, and the guy next to him holding it.

And then somebody decided to give his rope a good, hard yank...

The war could have been stopped in 1915, but Wilson, rather than T.R. got elected (he went 3rd party). I believe (since he was instrumental in stopping the Russo-Japanese War) he could have brokered a peace... maybe.

It's one of history's significant 'what ifs'. Much mayhem and negative change resulted from that useless, bloody war.

The rise of communism not the least of it.

Posted by: CPT. Charles at Friday, July 20 2012 01:00 PM (1GunI)

6 And yet, it was the Germans and Austrians that ended up actually starting the war.

Posted by: Chris at Friday, July 20 2012 01:22 PM (j6QBF)

7 I doubt the An Lushan Rebellion caused that many deaths. Yes the census fell massively but most of those people simply left their homes and removed themselves from the census. Many many of them moved into what is now the more populous parts of China but back then were the thinly settled and barbaric lands. Once you were off the census you didn't have to pay taxes and taxes went up astronomically during the civil war.

Posted by: Ray at Friday, July 20 2012 01:59 PM (7v5dF)

8 Ray - Good point on the An Lushan Rebellion.  Not only was there massive disruption and displacement of the civilian population, but the census post-rebellion covered a smaller area.  It seems implausible that two-thirds of the population actually died, as the census numbers would suggest, though clearly there was massive loss of life.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Friday, July 20 2012 02:26 PM (PiXy!)

9 @6
No they didn't. Russia did when she mobilized her army...which Keizer wilhelm begged the tsar not to do btw.

Posted by: Jason at Friday, July 20 2012 04:17 PM (6VB4r)

10 As has been pointed out, the person who put this list together needs to take a history lesson. Let's follow the sequence of events. Serb extremists murder the Arch Duke Ferdinand-Austria wants retribution-Russia supports Serbs and mobilizes Army against Austro-Hungary. Germany did not want war but the Russian mobilization on her borders and the byzantine layers of treaties led to the morass. You might also like to know that the King of England, the Kaiser and the Tsar were all 1st cousins.  Now let's look at the end of WWI and it's impact on WWII. The treaty of Versailles was demeaning and destructive leading to German resentment-main instigators-The  French. In addition, who was the other participant in the Non- agression pact of 1939 and helped slice up Poland- Why it's the peace-loving Joe Stalin (who also invaded Finland).  This table is simple and stupid and shows why there should be a test to allow people to vote. Obama with his understanding of Economics, History, Natural Sciences and Geography would flunk.

Posted by: Vincent Walker at Friday, July 20 2012 10:08 PM (F8nGw)


1. The observation about world leaders being related is interesting, but had no effect on the arms race that preceeded WWI or the war itself. They still contended for possessions in Africa, and they still built battleships designed to fight each other.

2. The Versailles treaty was a scapegoat for the instability of Germany, which lost big in a war it entered. Mentioning the treaty is convenient. Hitler certainly thought so. What is inconvenient were the loans and aid given to Germany. Germany went from being a number of principalities to an empire with a Kaiser to a Weimar Republic to a reich in less than 70 years. That may have also been a factor. Funny how no one wants to mention that. And it was fending off communist uprisings and privation stemming from WWI and the blockade.

3. Were the interlocking treaties a major factor? Yes. But then, Britain and France had treaties with Czechoslovakia in 1938. Ask the Czechs how valuable they were. Germany could have stayed home in WWI. Instead, they launched a pre-planned offensive on two fronts.

Posted by: Blue Hen at Friday, July 20 2012 11:19 PM (6rX0K)

12 Vincent - In other words, Queen Victoria caused WWI?
Oh, and if you think a post labelled "History's Bloodiest Wars And Who To Blame: A helpful guide." and listing the Influenza Virus as an aggressor in WWI should be taken seriously - then you flunk grade school reading comprehension.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Friday, July 20 2012 11:53 PM (PiXy!)

13 Pixy Misa - You are a flaming fool - as usual - George V was King of England 1910. Get your facts straight asshole. Victoria was dead.
By the way - I didn't say they started WWI - reread if you can understand anything beyond 4 letter words. It is indeed ironic that 3 first cousins were heads of state of the major players of WWI.

Posted by: Vincent Walker at Saturday, July 21 2012 02:58 AM (F8nGw)

14 The Thirty Years' War might desreve a special mention, even though the large number of deaths (estimated at 8 million, give or take a few) occurred over a relatively long period. The war devastated the populations of several central European countries.

Posted by: JP at Saturday, July 21 2012 04:45 AM (m8wSv)

15 Actually, George V, Wilhelm II and Nicholas II were not all first cousins to each other.  George and Wilhelm were first cousins (George's father and Wilhelm's mother were siblings and children of Queen Victoria).  George and Nicholas were first cousins (their mothers were sisters and daughters of King Christian IX of Denmark).  Nicholas and Wilhelm were NOT first cousins - they were actually 3rd cousins through a common descent from Paul I of Russia.  However, Wilhelm was first cousin to Nicholas' wife Alexandra, as Alix's mother was another daughter of Queen Victoria.

Posted by: Alia at Saturday, July 21 2012 07:55 AM (2mJE0)

16 Pixy: Vincent - In other words, Queen Victoria caused WWI?

Vinny: Pixy Misa - You are a flaming fool - as usual - George V was King of England 1910.

Winner: Pixy Misa.

Posted by: Wonderduck at Saturday, July 21 2012 11:42 AM (8KjSa)

17 Alia, thanks for the details.

Wonderduck, shush. wink

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Saturday, July 21 2012 02:46 PM (PiXy!)


King in 1910? Depends on WHEN in 1910!

Edward VII: 22 January 1901 – 6 May 1910

George V: 6 May 1910 – 20 January 1936

Posted by: Bruce at Saturday, July 21 2012 04:19 PM (MpXo3)

19 Uh-oh, the pedants are loose!

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Saturday, July 21 2012 04:25 PM (PiXy!)


Unless you close this comment thread, it's going to keep accumulating pedantic nitpicking forever. Five years from now someone will run into it (via the magic of Google) and point out some unimportant detail that you got wrong or didn't include.

I still get letters about USS Clueless, eight years after I stopped writing it.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at Saturday, July 21 2012 09:36 PM (+rSRq)

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