Wars and Casualties of the 20th and 21st Centuries

(slowly extending it back to the 19th century as i find data)

by Piero Scaruffi

160 million people died in wars during the 20th century

(See also Modern Genocides)

TM, ®, Copyright © 2009 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.



1860-65: USA civil war (628,000)
1886-1908: Belgium-Congo Free State (8 million)
1898: USA-Spain & Philippines (220,000)
1899-02: British-Boer war (100,000)
1899-03: Colombian civil war (120,000)
1899-02: Philippines vs USA (20,000)
1900-01: Boxer rebels against Russia, Britain, France, Japan, USA against rebels (35,000)
1903: Ottomans vs Macedonian rebels (20,000)
1904: Germany vs Namibia (65,000)
1904-05: Japan vs Russia (150,000)
1910-20: Mexican revolution (250,000)
1911: Chinese Revolution (2.4 million)
1911-12: Italian-Ottoman war (20,000)
1912-13: Balkan wars (150,000)
1915: the Ottoman empire slaughters Armenians (1.2 million)
1915-20: the Ottoman empire slaughters 500,000 Assyrians
1916-23: the Ottoman empire slaughters 350,000 Greek Pontians and 480,000 Anatolian Greeks
1914-18: World War I (20 million)
1916: Kyrgyz revolt against Russia (120,000)
1917-21: Soviet revolution (5 million)
1917-19: Greece vs Turkey (45,000)
1919-21: Poland vs Soviet Union (27,000)
1928-37: Chinese civil war (2 million)
1931: Japanese Manchurian War (1.1 million)
1932-33: Soviet Union vs Ukraine (10 million)
1932: "La Matanza" in El Salvador (30,000)
1932-35: "Guerra del Chaco" between Bolivia and Paraguay (117.500)
1934: Mao's Long March (170,000)
1936: Italy's invasion of Ethiopia (200,000)
1936-37: Stalin's purges (13 million)
1936-39: Spanish civil war (600,000)
1937-45: Japanese invasion of China (500,000)
1939-45: World War II (55 million) including holocaust and Chinese revolution
1946-49: Chinese civil war (1.2 million)
1946-49: Greek civil war (50,000)
1946-54: France-Vietnam war (600,000)
1947: Partition of India and Pakistan (1 million)
1947: Taiwan's uprising against the Kuomintang (30,000)
1948-1958: Colombian civil war (250,000)
1948-1973: Arab-Israeli wars (70,000)
1949-: Indian Muslims vs Hindus (20,000)
1949-50: Mainland China vs Tibet (1,200,000)
1950-53: Korean war (3 million)
1952-59: Kenya's Mau Mau insurrection (20,000)
1954-62: French-Algerian war (368,000)
1958-61: Mao's "Great Leap Forward" (38 million)
1960-90: South Africa vs Africa National Congress (?)
1960-96: Guatemala's civil war (200,000)
1961-98: Indonesia vs West Papua/Irian (100,000)
1961-2003: Kurds vs Iraq (180,000)
1962-75: Mozambique Frelimo vs Portugal (10,000)
1962-75: Angolan FNLA & MPLA vs Portugal (50,000)
1964-73: USA-Vietnam war (3 million)
1965: second India-Pakistan war over Kashmir
1965-66: Indonesian civil war (250,000)
1966-69: Mao's "Cultural Revolution" (11 million)
1966-: Colombia's civil war (31,000)
1967-70: Nigeria-Biafra civil war (800,000)
1968-80: Rhodesia's civil war (?)
1969-: Philippines vs the communist Bagong Hukbong Bayan/ New People's Army (40,000)
1969-79: Idi Amin, Uganda (300,000)
1969-02: IRA - Norther Ireland's civil war (3,000)
1969-79: Francisco Macias Nguema, Equatorial Guinea (50,000)
1971: Pakistan-Bangladesh civil war (500,000)
1972-2014: Philippines vs Muslim separatists (Moro Islamic Liberation Front, etc) (150,000)
1972: Burundi's civil war (300,000)
1972-79: Rhodesia/Zimbabwe's civil war (30,000)
1974-91: Ethiopian civil war (1,000,000)
1975-78: Menghitsu, Ethiopia (1.5 million)
1975-79: Khmer Rouge, Cambodia (1.7 million)
1975-89: Boat people, Vietnam (250,000)
1975-87: civil war in Lebanon (130,000)
1975-87: Laos' civil war (184,000)
1975-2002: Angolan civil war (500,000)
1976-83: Argentina's military regime (20,000)
1976-93: Mozambique's civil war (900,000)
1976-98: Indonesia-East Timor civil war (600,000)
1976-2005: Indonesia-Aceh (GAM) civil war (12,000)
1977-92: El Salvador's civil war (75,000)
1979: Vietnam-China war (30,000)
1979-88: the Soviet Union invades Afghanistan (1.3 million)
1980-88: Iraq-Iran war (435,000)
1980-92: Sendero Luminoso - Peru's civil war (69,000)
1984-: Kurds vs Turkey (35,000)
1981-90: Nicaragua vs Contras (60,000)
1982-90: Hissene Habre, Chad (40,000)
1983-: Sri Lanka's civil war (70,000)
1983-2002: Sudanese civil war (2 million)
1986-: Indian Kashmir's civil war (60,000)
1987-: Palestinian Intifada (4,500)
1988-2001: Afghanistan civil war (400,000)
1988-2004: Somalia's civil war (550,000)
1989-: Liberian civil war (220,000)
1989-: Uganda vs Lord's Resistance Army (30,000)
1991: Gulf War - large coalition against Iraq to liberate Kuwait (85,000)
1991-97: Congo's civil war (800,000)
1991-2000: Sierra Leone's civil war (200,000)
1991-2009: Russia-Chechnya civil war (200,000)
1991-94: Armenia-Azerbaijan war (35,000)
1992-96: Tajikstan's civil war war (50,000)
1992-96: Yugoslavian wars (260,000)
1992-99: Algerian civil war (150,000)
1993-97: Congo Brazzaville's civil war (100,000)
1993-2005: Burundi's civil war (200,000)
1994: Rwanda's civil war (900,000)
1995-: Pakistani Sunnis vs Shiites (1,300)
1995-: Maoist rebellion in Nepal (12,000)
1998-: Congo/Zaire's war - Rwanda and Uganda vs Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia (3.8 million)
1998-2000: Ethiopia-Eritrea war (75,000)
1999: Kosovo's liberation war - NATO vs Serbia (2,000)
2001-: Afghanistan's liberation war - USA & UK vs Taliban (40,000)
2001-: Nigeria vs Boko Haram (1700)
2002-: Cote d'Ivoire's civil war (1,000)
2003-11: Second Iraq-USA war - USA, UK and Australia vs Saddam Hussein's regime and Shiite squads and Sunni extremists (160,000)
2003-09: Sudan vs JEM/Darfur (300,000)
2004-: Sudan vs SPLM & Eritrea (?)
2004-: Yemen vs Shiite Muslims (?)
2004-: Thailand vs Muslim separatists (3,700)
2007-: Pakistan vs PAkistani Taliban (38,000)
2012-: Iraq's civil war after the withdrawal of the USA (?)
2012-: Syria's civil war (130,000)

Arab-Israeli wars
  • I (1947-49): 6,373 Israeli and 15,000 Arabs die
  • II (1956): 231 Israeli and 3,000 Egyptians die
  • III (1967): 776 Israeli and 20,000 Arabs die
  • IV (1973): 2,688 Israeli and 18,000 Arabs die
  • Intifada I (1987-92): 170 Israelis and 1,000 Palestinians
  • Intifada II (2000-03): 700 Israelis and 2,000 Palestinians
  • Israel-Hamas war (2008): 1,300 Palestinians

Main sources:
  • Charny: Genocide - A Critical Bibliographic Review (1988)
  • Stephane Courtois: Black Book on Communism (1995)
  • Clodfelter: Warfare and Armed Conflicts (1992)
  • Elliot: Twentieth Century Book of the Dead (1972)
  • Bouthoul: A List of the 366 Major Armed Conflicts of the period 1740-1974, Peace Research (1978)
  • R.J. Rummel: Death by Government - Genocide and Mass Murder (1994)
  • Matt White's website
  • Several general textbooks of 20th century history
  • Sources vary, and it is difficult to find one reliable source for everything. Many of these numbers keep changing.
  • Caution: In the age of Wikipedia there is also the problem that numbers tend to escalate dramatically as people on each side keep claiming higher and higher casualties. If one had to believe Wikipedia, the Middle East would be depopulated by now (instead of having consistently experienced a population boom).

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