Despite the hope for lasting peace among nations, society always somehow falls into conflict. Some of the world’s greatest wars have left evidence of the destruction and tragic loss of life resulting from people unable to compromise, and the effects of a few decisions can spell disaster for the lives of thousands.
Read on and reflect on some of the deadliest wars in history, many of which ended up taking the the lives of too many soldiers, not to mention innocent civilians.
10. The Biafran War (Nigerian Civil War): 1967-1970
The late 1960’s was a perilous time for many nations, including Nigeria. The country was rife with conflict due to political, economic and cultural clashing that had run rampant throughout the nation even before the British decolonization of Nigeria from 1960-1963. Tensions boiled over and inevitably came to a head over the secession of Biafran.
Unfortunately, many of those affected weren’t even directly involved in the war itself. Many died as a result of starvation and various diseases, which combined with the tragic result of combat, left the country with a death toll of over one million people.
9. The Iran-Iraq War: 1980-1988
Wars are raging in the Middle East even to this day, but the years between 1980 and 1988 proved a long and perilous decade for the two countries. Known as the 20th Century’s longest conventional war, this armed conflict began when Iraq invaded Iran using air and land military forces, which wasn’t even concluded by 1988 – the war ended in a stalemate.
However, this didn’t mean lives were affected any less. Carried out in similar fashion to WWI, each country attacked with large-scale trench warfare, charges with bayonets, machine gun posts armed with soldiers, and eventually heavy use of chemical weapons that brought about another one million lives lost during wartime.
8. The Korean War: 1950-1953
North and South Korea have, to this day, never truly signed a peace treaty over the events that occurred during this war. North Korea made the decision to invade South Korea, and the ensuing armed conflict even brought in some help along the way. The UN (United Nations), with the United States at the helm, were supporting South Korea while the Soviet Union and China had backed North Korea.
An armistice did end the brutal onslaught at this time, which led to the agreement regarding the Korean Demilitarized Zone separating the two rival countries. While surviving prisoners had been released to return home – a small silver lining among the carnage – the result of this war ended in a death toll of 1.2 million people.
7. The Mexican Revolution: 1910-1920
Now known as one of the greatest upheavals of the 20th century, the Mexican Revolution was one of the most crucial sociopolitical events to ever occur in Mexico. The battles waged here led to a major transformation in Mexican government and culture.
Sadly, such radical changes generally come at a cost, and many gave up their lives to defend their country. Although experts are aware of a significant loss of life, the actual numbers of the deceased are still actually quite vague. It’s estimated that perhaps one and a half million died during the revolt, but another 200,000 may have fled the country. The number of refugees that survived will always probably always remain unknown.
6. French Wars of Religion: 1562-1598
No issue has been the precursor to more wars than religion, and the French Wars of Religion (also called the Huguenot Wars) stand out as one of the largest examples of this constant conflict. This period of civil unrest and military operations transpired between French Catholics and Protestants, and the endless battles made figuring out the exact number of wars that occurred hard to grasp. Historians still remain uncertain.
However, what was obvious was the absolute devastation that fell upon the French population. It’s been calculated that up to four million people lost their lives, not only to the war effort but also as a result of famine and other related diseases of the era.