Cost Of Wwii Essay, Research Paper
World War II was shattering end to a difficult period in history. Although there are no exact figures on the lives lost, money spent, or property destroyed, we do know World War II killed more people, destroyed more property, disrupted more lives, and probably had more far reaching consequences than any other war in history. World War II was by far the most dreadful conflict in human history.
The battlegrounds of World War II spread to nearly every part of the world. Troops fought in the steaming jungles of Southeast Asia, in the deserts of northern Africa, and on islands in the Pacific Ocean. Every battle waged cast everyone more money and destroyed more property. Property damage as a result of World War II was immense (See pictures A, B, J, &L). Although there are no exact figures, the cost of the war is estimated at more than two trillion dollars. The United States alone spent an estimated $341 billion during World War II. However, this did include $50 billion for lend-lease supplies, of which $31 billion went to Britain, $11 billion to the Soviet Union, $5 billion to China, and $3 billion to thirty five other countries. Once totals were all added up, the United States was found to have spent the most on the war by far. Germany was next, having spent $272 billion; followed by the Soviet Union spending $192 billion. Next was Britain who spent $120 billion followed by Italy’s billion and Japan’s $56 billion. Although these are fairly accurate figures, the money spent by each individual country does not come close to being the war’s true cost.
Property damage was a huge cost following World War II. Entire cities including Stalingrad, Warsaw, Hamburg, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki lay in ruins following World War II. Cities in Japan such as Hiroshima and Nagasaki had been leveled by atomic bombs. Numerous cities in both Europe and Asia that had very little or no military significance at all were totally destroyed. For example, the British with American aid deliberately destroyed Dresden with bombs. Dresden, like many other cities, had little military importance and in this particular case was filled with refugees. In Central Europe the mass destruction of cities and towns left tens of millions homeless and many stateless. Also, in Russia many of the main western cities were completely devastated. Not only did World War II cost everyone involved millions of dollars in supplies, aid, etc., but it cost everyone millions of dollars in property damage. No one involved in World War II escaped this devastation of damages untouched.
The human cost of World War II was also enormous. Although the exact number of people killed because of World War II will never be known, the best estimates put the death roll as approximately 50,000,000 (See pictures C&I). It is estimated that military deaths totaled about seventeen million. Civilian deaths were even greater as a result of starvation, bombing raids, massacres, epidemics, and other war-related causes (See picture D). The battlegrounds spread to almost every part of the world. Battles were waged on frozen fields in the Soviet Union, below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, and in the streets of many European cities. Undoubtly, the losses of the Soviet Union were the greatest. The most likely total of military and civilian deaths is 20,000,000, seven million being soldiers and 13 million being civilians. In addition, in the areas occupied by the Germans about two-thirds of the houses and productive capacity was destroyed. Estimates show that these areas lost more than 5,000,000 people. Perhaps 1,000,000 Yugoslavia civilians also died at the hands of the Germans. Numbers in German area are so high because of the Nazi murder’s of the Jews and other groups. Hitler’s concentration camps and the deportation of thousands also contributed greatly(See pictures M & O). Outside the Soviet Union the heaviest losses were most likely in China. Estimates of the Chinese losses vary from less than 3,000,000 to up to 15,000,000. It is believed that higher figures give a more precise picture of the losses in China. Compared to the other nations, the Western allies escaped lightly. The United States lost less than 300,000 people and Britain lost under 500,000. The countries of the British Empire lost an additional 120,000 lives, considerably less than those lives lost in World War I. Japanese casualties were in the area of 2,000,000. This number is so great because of the development of the atomic bomb and it’s use in Hiroshima and Annsaki. Also, the Italians lost about 500,000 people to World War II. About 4,000,000 civilians of other Eastern European countries also died. It is also estimated that the armed forces of Yugoslavia, Hungry, Poland, and Rumania all lost between 300,000 and 400,000 lives. Bulgaria had the fewest casualties with only 20,000 lives lost. In Western Europe, France lost 500,000 people, half of them being civilians. Even Holland lost 200,000 lives. Although Belgium and the Scandinavian countries numbers were not as high compared to other countries, they did suffer heavily in relation to their small population.
Economically, World War II cost the World many inner and outer problems. Primarily, the most significant casualty over the long term was the world balance of power. Britain, France, Germany , and Japan ceased to be great powers in the traditional military sense, leaving only two, the United States and the Soviet Union. Also, World War II weakened both Europe’s economic power and its claim to superiority over nonindustrial nations. Exhausted by the damages and tensions built up by the war, Europe had a lot of trouble holding onto colonies elsewhere in the world. Although some nations like the United States actually improved it’s economy (manufacturing capability), because of World War II the atomic age was brought about. Even though this may be thought of as an improvement in technology, it was actually a threat to everyone in the world. The atomic age vastly increased the destructive potential of any other future war anywhere. Indeed this did make the United States the leading power in the world, but it also aroused destructive weapons in history. Lastly, but most importantly, World War II disrupted even the lives and futures of those who survived. The pain of those who survived did not end with the war (See pictures G & N). For those who live through the camps, life would never be the same. Millions of people found themselves homeless, their cities destroyed, and their families either dead or torn apart (See pictures E & F). All of these costs added up and caused many years of tension and turmoil. Although the war ended in 1945, the cost of the war continued to be added up many years later.
World War II is by far the greatest war in history in terms of human and material resources expended. Three-fourths of the world took place in it and in return everyone paid. The cost of World War II was so immense it was almost impossible to calculate the cost. Not only did it cost billions of dollars, but it cost millions of lives as well. This was he most destructive war in history and the lucky that survived eventually paid.