Which War Was the First to Have More Battle Deaths than Deaths by Other Causes?

Historically, the majority of war-related deaths were actually caused by diseases and accidents, and it wasn’t until World War II that battle deaths outnumbered deaths from other causes. World War II lasted from 1939-1945 and resulted in about 292,000 battle deaths and about 115,000 deaths from diseases and accidents. By comparison, during the Civil War, the deadliest US war with more than 620,000 deaths, twice as many soldiers died from diseases, such as dysentery and typhus, as those that died in battle. The decrease in disease-related war deaths is attributed to more information being known about diseases and sanitation.

More about wars:

  • An estimated 4% of World War II US veterans were women, compared to 17% of Post-911 Era veterans.
  • The amount of deaths in the US Civil War is roughly equivalent to the US death toll of the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, and the Korean War, combined.
  • In 1862, the first US legislation was passed to allow for a national cemetery for the burial of fallen soldiers. Prior to that, there was no official burial system or system of notifying families.
More Info: history.com

Discussion Comments


@Anon349915-post 1 is close to my estimates.


Also, it must only reference American deaths, as it uses the American Civil War as a comparison, and the Europeans were running into machine guns for four years in World War I before we got there.


Apparently this article is talking about deaths of enlisted service men/women only. In terms of casualties of directly war-associated non-combatants, World War II is usually attributed with 40-50 million deaths, as I recall.

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