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Staggering Cost In Human Lives of WWll

Our site focuses on stories of the individual, but of course each was playing his or her part in a much greater picture and we can often forget the scale of what was going on around the people we write about. This unique dramatisation paints a stark picture, a horrifying reminder of just how many individual futures were cut short.

“More people died in World War II than any other war in history,” explains Neil Halloran in The Fallen of World War II. In his 15-minute film, Halloran uses innovative data visualization techniques to put the human cost of WW II into perspective, showing how some 70 million lives were lost within civilian and military populations across Europe and Asia, from 1939 to 1945. As one commenter put it, “One million, six million, seventy million. Spoken or written, these numbers become … incomprehensible. Presented graphically, they hit closer to the heart. As the Soviet losses climbed, I thought my browser had become frozen. Surely the top of the column must have been reached by now, I thought.” He’s referring to the staggering number of Soviets who died fighting the Nazis. If you fast forward to the 6-minute mark above, you can see what he means.

The video comes accompanied by an interactive website where users can “pause during key moments to interact with the charts and dig deeper into the numbers.” To use this interactive website, you will need a fairly new computer and a modern browser.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember them. - Laurence Binyon

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Last Modified: 05 June 2015, 14:47