Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Sunday, September 1, 2019

World War I Deaths Summarized in Three Graphs

Published in the educational resource Repères produced by the Centre Européen Robert Schuman, the three pie-chart graphs below provide a proportional sense of the relative suffering caused by the war among alliances, countries, and military vs. civilians. First, here some introductory comments the author has provided. Note that deaths from the Spanish influenza pandemic are not included in the figures.

The total number of military and civilian casualties in World War I, was around 40 million. There were 20 million deaths and 21 million wounded. The total number of deaths includes 9.7 million military personnel and about 10 million civilians. The Entente Powers (also known as the Allies) lost about 5.7 million soldiers, while the Central Powers lost about 4 million.

Estimates of casualty numbers for World War I vary to a great extent. Military casualty statistics listed here include combat-related deaths as well as military deaths caused by accidents, disease, and deaths while prisoners of war. Most of the casualties during WWI are due to war-related famine and disease. Civilian deaths due to the Spanish flu have been excluded from these figures, whenever possible. Moreover, civilian deaths include the Armenian Genocide.


  1. Some bracing, clear visualization. Note how large Russia and Germany loom.

    Question: would Armenian genocide victims appear under "Central Powers Civilians"?

  2. I wonder what the percentage of deaths for the Entente military would look like if viewed from the point when the US joins the conflict to the end of the war.

  3. Influenza deaths among military should probably be included. Very high percentage of gas casualties came home as respiratory cripples and died early on with much suffering. Much PTSD and high rate of suicide was seen, as well. As a boy I can remember seeing WWI amputees and blind begging and selling Poppies on city streets. One can only wonder about the loved ones left behind...? The War to End All Wars.

  4. is this a primary source for ww1