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Death Tolls for the Man-made Megadeaths of the 20th Century
Pieces of Wars
List of Recurring Sources
Alphabetical Index
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Bloodiest Battles of the 20th Century
By the beginning of the 20th Century, the concept of battle had gotten extremely vague. The idea that armies would bloodlessly maneuver into position before engaging in a brief, concentrated clash of arms was a thing of the past. Twentieth Century wars were continuous in both time and space. They were fought day and night, winter and summer, over weeks and months at a time. Major battlefronts often spanned entire countries, and even minor battlefields could easily be fifty mile wide and fifty miles deep. Obviously any attempt to isolate individual battles in this continuity is not going to be easy; however, the events listed here have been labelled battles at one time or another.
(Most of this list would not be allowed under the narrow, 19th Century definition of "battle". A purist would probably count only a few naval engagements (Midway, Jutland, etc.) and a few geographically restricted operations (Berlin, D-Day, etc.) -- especially those confined to single islands (Okinawa, Iwo Jima, etc.) -- as proper battles. Unfortunately for the purist, common usage has already expanded the term to include larger events such as the Battle of Britain, the Battle of the Bulge and the Battle of the Atlantic, all of which would be called "campaigns" in Napoleonic or American Civil War usage. My definition is typically loose, and I have counted a "battle" as any military operation that is usually discussed and analysed by historians as a single event.)
These battles are ranked by the number of military deaths only. I have not counted civilian deaths because then we would drift off into the realm of massacres. If we decide that Okinawa and Leningrad deserve a higher ranking because of associated civilian losses, then we'd have to consider counting Hiroshima and Nanjing, and that's just a different category altogether. For the same reason, I haven't counted POWs that were escorted safely away from the battlefield, only to die later in captivity.
One of the difficulties in compiling this list is that many writers don't realize that casualties​, deaths and losses are not the same thing, so they count "losses" as killed, and call the dead "casualties". I've preferred taking numbers from sources that demonstrate that they know the difference. If I have found a source where the killed are differentiated from the wounded on one side but not the other, I generally have applied the same ratio to all sides. Otherwise, I just make do with the standard 3:1 ratio of wounded to killed.
One comment: The unprecedented scale of the two world wars becomes apparent when we realize that even small pieces of them killed more than most of the other complete wars of the Century. Even more horrific, World War II's Russian Front produced 13 of the century's 15 bloodiest battles all by itself. (The siege of Leningrad alone could rank as the 20th Century's 12th worst atrocity once civilian deaths are added in.) In fact, part of why this list so long is that I wanted to get far enough down to show some other wars as well. To help you keep these straight, I've color-coded the principle wars: World War I, World War II in Russia and World War II elsewhere​.
Here then is a very debatable and incomplete list of contenders for the title of the 20th Century's bloodiest battles. My own estimate of total military deaths in each is in bold following the name and date. All my sources are listed, so if it's not immediately apparent where I got it, consider it as just a rough guess.
  1. Leningrad​, World War II (8 Sept. 1941-27 Jan. 1944) 850 000 [make link]
    • David Glantz, The Siege of Leningrad 1941-44: 900 Days of Terror
      • Total number of soldiers and civilians who perished: 1.6M-2.0M
      • Soviet civilians: 642,000 d. in blockade (est. at Nuremburg trials), plus another 400,000 d. in evacuations, for a total of about a million.
      • Soviet soldiers: 1,017,881 k/cap/mis + 2,418,185 wd/sick = 3,437,066 casualties [p.179]. (Based on statistics of Leningrad "Front", i.e. army group [p.220: 332,059 k. + 24,324 non-combat dead + 111,142 captured & missing = 467,525 "irrevocable"​], it appears that KIA would be 71% of k/c/m, or ca. 725,000)
    • Erickson, Barbarossa: The Axis and the Allies. Table 12.4 (USSR KIA)
      • Defense (10 July-30 Sept. 1941): 214,078
      • Operation ISKRA (12-30 Jan. 1943): 33,940
      • L'grad-Novgorod Offensive (14 Jan.-1 March 1944): 76,686
      • [Total: 324,704]
    • Clodfelter
      • USSR: at minimum 100,000 mil. + 800,000 civ.
      • Germans: 500,000 casu. k/w/c
    • Harrison E. Salisbury, The 900 days: the siege of Leningrad (2003) p.516
      Overall total of 1,300,000 to 1,500,000 deaths, military and civilian.
  2. Stalingrad​, World War II (Sept. 1942-31 Jan. 1943): 750 000 k. [make link]
    • Britannica "Stalingrad"
      • Official Russian military historians est. 1.1M Soviet soldiers lost their lives.
      • Soviets recovered 250,000 German + Romanian corpses in + around Stalingrad. Total Axis losses (GRIH) estimated at 800,000 d.
    • Guinness World Records: 1,109,000 k. total
    • Richard Overy, Russia's War (1997)
      • German losses: 147,000 dead + 91,000 POWs
      • Soviet KIA, citing Erickson, Barbarossa: The Axis and the Allies. Table 12.4
        • Defensive operations: 323,856 k.
        • Offensive operations: 154,885
        • [Total: 478,741 k + 651,000 wd. = 1,129,741 casu.]
    • A. Beevor, Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege: 1942-1943 (1998)
      • "In the whole Stalingrad campaign, the Red Army had suffered 1.1 million casualties, of which 485,751 had been fatal."
      • In the pocket
        • 250,000 or 268,900 or 275,000 or 290,000 or 294,000 trapped (citing multiple sources), incl...
          • Germans: 195,000 or 232,000
          • Romanians: 5,000 or 10,000 or 11,000 or 12,000
          • Hiwis (Soviet POW turncoats): 19,300 or 20,300 or 50,000
        • 25,000 wounded evacuated.
        • Soviets record 111,465 Axis POWs taken (19 Nov.-31 Jan.) plus 8,928 in hospitals
        • [est. ca. 290T in pocket - 25T evac. - 121T POWs = ca. 144T k.]
    • William Craig, Enemy at the Gates (1973)
      • Soviets: 750,000 kwm
      • German: 400,000 lost
      • Italian: >130,000 lost
      • Romanian: 120,000 lost
      • Hungarian: 120,000 lost
      • [TOTAL: 1,520,000 casualties]
    • Stephen Walsh, Stalingrad : The Infernal Cauldron, 1942-1943
      • Germans: >600,000 casualties (k/w/c), Army Groups A, Don and B, 28 June to 2 Feb.
      • Italian: 84,830 k/m/c + 29,690 wd./frostbitten 11Dec.-31Jan.
      • Romanian: 158,854 k/w/m
      • Hungarian: 80,000 k + 63,000 wd. in 2nd Hung.
      • TOTAL: 494,374 casualties among Germany's allies
    • Webchron [​http://campus.northpark.edu/history/webchron/easteurope/Stalingrad.html​]
      • Soviet: ½M killed
      • German: 147,000 "lost" + 91,000 POWs
      • [TOTAL: 647,000]
    • Palmowski: 146,000 Germans and Romanians k.
    • Gilbert
      • Germans: 160,000 d. + 90,000 POWs
      • Romanians: 65,000 POWs
    • John Erickson, Hitler Versus Stalin
      • Germans: 147,000 K
      • Rumanians: 140,000 "lost"
    • 2 Feb. 1993, The Age (Melbourne)
      • "[T]wo million men, women and children ... died."
      • "800,000 German soldiers died, including 130,000 ... [in the] blockade of the Sixth Army."
    • Edwin Hoyt, 199 Days: the battle for Stalingrad (1993)
      • In the six weeks since moving from the Don R. [? maybe 21 Aug-27 Sept], German 6th Army lost 7,700 k.
      • Oct. 14: 2,000 German dead in the Tractor Factory
      • p.276: "In less than seven months the Stalingrad dead numbered over three million."
    • Clodfelter
      • Soviets: 300,000 casualties
      • Axis
        • 200,000 Germans killed, wd. or captured inside encirclement.
        • 100,000 Germans k/w/c outside encirclement.
        • 150,000 non-Germans Axis k/w/c
    • 28 Feb. 2003 Guardian (London)
      • "At Stalingrad the Soviets lost a million people."
      • "... 150,000 Germans lay dead."
    • ANALYSIS
      • Let's start with ca. 480T Soviets KIA. (Erickson, Beevor, Overy)
      • Add the common estimate of 147,000 German 6th Army personnel killed within the pocket.
      • Over 9,700 Germans were killed in the weeks of street fighting, before the Soviet encirclement. (Hoyt) That's incomplete, so let's double it.
      • Romanian casualties run from 120-160,000, so a quarter of the mid-point would give us 35,000 k.
      • The Italians lost 85-130,000, so a quarter of the mid-point would give us 27,000 k.
      • Hungarians: Let's assume that it was comparable to the Italians and Romanians: 30,000
      • Germans outside the pocket: Hard to say. As a pure guess, let's say 10,000.
      • TOTAL of what we've got here: 749,000.
  3. Moscow​, World War II (Sept. 1941-Jan. 1942): 719 000 [make link]
    • Erickson, Barbarossa: The Axis and the Allies. Table 12.4 (USSR KIA)
      • Defensive operations (30 Sep.-5 Dec.): 514,338
      • Offensive operations (5 Dec.-7 Jan.): 139,586
      • [Total: 653,924]
    • Clodfelter: 55,000 Germans KIA, Nov15-Dec15
    • Some guy on Internet
      • Germany: 200,000 k/w/c
      • USSR: 700,000 k/w/c
    • NOTE 1:
      • Albert Seaton, The Battle for Moscow 1941-1942 (1971) gives these German losses on entire Eastern Front during Barbarossa:
        • 22 June-26 Nov. 1941: 187,000 Germans K+M
        • 27 Nov. 1941-31 March 1942: 108,000 Germans K+M
        • [TOTAL: 295,000]
      • Richard Overy, Russia's War (1997) tells us that the Soviets lost 3.1 million killed by Spring 1942.
      • Conclusion: During the first chaotic phase of the war, it seems that the Soviets lost 10 soldiers killed for every German killed. Thus, in each early battle, we can estimate German losses to be 1/10 Soviet.
  4. Kiev, World War II (7 July-26 Sept. 1941): 678 000 [make link]
    • Erickson, Barbarossa: The Axis and the Allies. Table 12.4 (USSR KIA): 616,308
    • See Moscow​, NOTE 1: 62,000 Germans
  5. 1st Smolensk​, World War II (10 July-10 Sept. 1941): 535 000 [make link]
    • Erickson, Barbarossa: The Axis and the Allies. Table 12.4 (USSR KIA): 486,171
    • See Moscow​, NOTE 1: 49,000 Germans
  6. Voronezh-Voroshilovgrad​, World War II (28 June-24 July 1942): 371 000+
    Erickson, Barbarossa: The Axis and the Allies. Table 12.4 (USSR KIA): 370,552
  7. 1st Belorussia​, World War II (22 June-9 July 1941): 375 000
    • Erickson, Barbarossa: The Axis and the Allies. Table 12.4 (USSR KIA): 341,073
    • See Moscow​, NOTE 1: 34,000 Germans
  8. Operation Bagration or 2nd Belorussia, World War II (23 June-29 Aug. 1944): 350 000 [make link]
    John Erickson
    • Barbarossa: The Axis and the Allies. Table 12.4
      • USSR KIA: 178,507
      • 1st Polish Army: 1,533
    • The Road to Berlin (1983) and Hitler vs. Stalin (2001): 130,000 Germans k. by 30 June. 40,000 trapped Germans killed in Minsk Pocket, July.
  9. Kursk, World War II (4-22 July 1943): 325 000 [make link]
    • Zetterling, Kursk 1943: a statistical analysis (2000)
      • Soviet Dead: 254,470 killed+missing
        • Kursk defensive operations (5-23 July): 70,330
        • Orel offensive operations (12 July-18 Aug.): 112,529
        • Belgorod-Kharkov (3-23 Aug. 1943): 71,611
      • German casualties: 203,000 killed, wounded + missing
    • Richard Overy, Russia's War (1997)
      • Defensive operations: 70,000 dead
      • Breaking German line afterwards: 183,000
      • [Total: 253,000]
    • Erickson
      Barbarossa: The Axis and the Allies. Table 12.4 (USSR KIA)
      • Defensive operations (5-23 July): 70,330 k. (total casualties: 177,847)
      • Orel Offensive (12 July-18 Aug.): 112,529
      • Belgorod-Kharkov (3-23 Aug. 1943): 71,611
    • The Road to Berlin (1983): Russians claimed 70,000 Germans k.
    • Nik Cornish, Images of Kursk
      • Soviet "losses" (defnsv 5-23 July): 177,847
      • German "losses" (offnsv 5-20 July): 49,822
    • Clodfelter: 70,000 Germans KIA, 5-15 July
  10. Somme​, World War I (1 July-18 Nov. 1916): 306 000 [make link]
    • Gilbert, History of the Twentieth Century (emphasizes that most previous numbers refer to total casualties, not just dead.)
      • UK: 95,675 k.
        First day: 20,000 k.
      • French: just over 50,000 k.
      • German: 160,000+ k.
      • TOTAL: 300,000+ k.
    • Clodfelter
      • UK: 90,000 k., incl. 19,240 on the 1st day.
      • "Losses" (k,w,m,c)
        • UK: 415,690
        • German: 434,500
        • French (incomplete): 202,567
        • [TOTAL: 1,052,757+]
    • Strachan, The First World War (2003)
      First day: 19,240 British k.
    • Ellis & Cox, World War I Databook
      • UK: 108,700 k. (498,000 casu.)
      • France: (195,000 casu.)
      • German: (420,000 casu.)
      • [TOTAL: 1,113,000 casu.]
    • Palmowski: 1,000,000 k., incl. 600,000 on Allied side.
      First day: 19,000 British and 185 Germans k.
  11. Verdun, World War I (21 Feb.-16 Dec. 1916): 305 000 [make link]
    • War 1914-1918 [​http://www.war1418.com/battleverdun/slachtoffers.htm​]
      • French: 162,308 dead or missing
      • German: 100,000 d/m
      • Total: 262,308 d/m
    • Strachan, The First World War (2003)
      • French: 162,440 dead
      • German: 143,000 d.
      • [Total: 305,440 d.]
    • Clodfelter
      • Official French History: 162,308 KIA or Died of Wounds
      • French "losses" (k,w,m,c) according to...
        • Official French History: 377,231
        • Churchill: 469,000
        • highest authoritative: 542,000
      • German "losses" (k,w,m,c) according to...
        • Official French History: 337,000
        • Churchill: 373,000
        • highest authoritative: 434,000
    • 4 Aug. 2002 Ottawa Sun: 300,000 deaths
    • 10 Sept. 2003 Seattle Post-Intelligencer: "killed 340,000 soldiers"
    • Palmowski, Dictionary of 20th Century World History:
      • Allied: 400,000 k.
      • German: 350,000 k
      • [TOTAL: 750,000 k.]
    • Wikipedia: >250,000 ("Verdun") or 700,000 ("List of Battles")
    • Ellis & Cox, World War I Databook
      • France: (362,000 casu.)
      • German: (336,000 casu.)
      • [TOTAL: 698,000 casu.]
  12. Rzhev​-Vyazma​, World War II (8 Jan.-20 Apr. 1942): 272 000+
    Erickson, Barbarossa: The Axis and the Allies. Table 12.4 (USSR KIA): 272,320
  13. 2nd West Ukraine​, World War II (24 Dec.-17 Apr. 1944): 270 000+
    Erickson, Barbarossa: The Axis and the Allies. Table 12.4 (USSR KIA): 270,198
  14. North Caucasus​, World War II (25 July-20 Apr. 1942): 262 000+
    Erickson, Barbarossa: The Axis and the Allies. Table 12.4 (USSR KIA)
    • Defensive: 192,791
    • Offensive Operation DON: 69,627
    • [Total: 262,418]
  15. Berlin, World War II (16 April-7 May 1945): 250 000 [make link]
    • Erickson, Barbarossa: The Axis and the Allies. Table 12.4 (USSR KIA): 78,291
    • 30 May 2004 Washinton Post review of Inside Hitler's Bunker by Joachim Fest: Fest est. >300,000 Red Army soldiers died, contrasted by reviewer with Antony Beevor's est. (Fall of Berlin 1945) of 78,000 Soviet dead.
    • Martin Sorge, The Other Price of Hitler's War (1986): 100,000 civilians d. incl. 20,000 cardiac arrest and 6,000 suicide. Not incl. 52,000 refugees k. caught in air raids. (citing Cornelius Ryan)
    • Wikipedia
      • Soviet: 305,000 k.
      • German: 325,000 soldiers + civilians k.
    • Some guy on Internet (Jason McDonald)
      • Soviet: 305,000 d.
      • German: 325,000, incl. civilians k.
    • [I'm figuring 78T Soviets + 325T German deaths - 152T civilians]
  16. 1st West Ukraine​, World War II (22 June-6 July 1941): 189 000
    • Erickson, Barbarossa: The Axis and the Allies. Table 12.4 (USSR KIA): 172,323
    • See Moscow​, NOTE 1: 17,000 Germans
  17. Battle of France, World War II (10 May-22 June, 1940): 185 000 [make link]
    • Ellis John, World War II : a statistical survey, (killed+missing, France Campaign)
      • French: 120,000
      • Germans: 43,110
      • British: 11,010
      • Belgians: 7,500
      • Dutch: 2,890
      • Italians: 1,250
      • [TOTAL: ca. 185,000]
    • Wikipedia
      • French: 90,000 killed
      • Germans: 27,074 killed and 18,384 missing
  18. Lower Dnieper​, World War II (26 Sept.-20 Dec.1943): 173 000+
    Erickson, Barbarossa: The Axis and the Allies. Table 12.4 (USSR KIA): 173,201
  19. Königsberg​, World War II (13 Jan.-9 April 1945): 168 000
    • John Erickson
      • Hitler Versus Stalin: 42,000 Germans k. + 25,000 civilians
      • Barbarossa: The Axis and the Allies. Table 12.4 (USSR KIA): 126,464 k. in E. Prussia offensive (13 Jan.-25 Apr.)
    • Edwin Hoyt, 199 Days: the battle for Stalingrad (1993): 84,000 Germans k.
  20. Donbass-Rostov​, World War II (29 Sept.-16 Nov. 1941): 157 000
    • Erickson, Barbarossa: The Axis and the Allies. Table 12.4 (USSR KIA): 143,313
    • See Moscow​, NOTE 1: 14,000 Germans
  21. Passchendaele or 3rd Ypres, World War I (31 July-12 Nov. 1917): 150 000 [make link]
    • Perrett, The Battle Book
      • British: 80,000 killed+missing (not captured)
      • German: 50,000 k+m (not cap.)
    • Strachan, The First World War (2003): 70,000 British k.
    • Ellis & Cox, World War I Databook
      • UK: 60,300 k. (396,800 casu.)
      • France: (112,000 casu.)
      • German: (348,300 casu.)
      • [TOTAL: 857,100 casu.]
    • Philip Warner, Passchendaele (1987)
      • Casualties (K+W)
        • 1st Ypres: 130,000 German + 108,000 Allied [= 238,000]
        • 2nd Ypres: 35,000 German + 60,000 UK [+ 10,000 Fr. = 105,000]
        • 3rd Ypres: 260,000 German + 300,000 UK + 8,500 Fr. [= 568,500]
      • German cemetaries in the area
        • Langemarck: 44,294 graves
        • Hooglede: 8,247
        • Menin: 47,864
        • Vladslo: 25,664
        • [Total: 126,069]
      • British cemetary at Tyne Cot has 11,871 graves, also 54,986 names on the gate and 35,000 names on the back wall of bodies never found.
      • [Calculation: 260/425 (61%) of German casualties occurred at 3rd Ypres, so ca. 77,000 of the graves came from there.]
    • Western Front Assoc. [​http://www.westernfrontassociation.com/thegreatwar/articles/research/passchendaele1917.htm​]
      • UK: 250,000 casualties
        60,000 k.
      • German: 400,000 "losses"
    • BBC: 325,000 Allied and 260,000 German casualties. [TOTAL: 585,000]
    • Salient Re-enactors Detachment [​http://www.stormpages.com/frogpage/salient.html​]
      "In the Ypres Salient battlefields there are over... 40,000 unidentified graves.... Four memorials list the names of the more than 90,000 soldiers whose bodies have never been found or identified." [Note: According to this source, these cemeteries and these statistics cover all the battles in the Ypres area, not just the 3rd.]
    • Miller [​http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/comment/ypres3.html​]
      • UK: 300,000 lives lost
      • German: 250,000 lives lost
      • [TOTAL: 550,000]
    • Phillips [​http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/comment/gpypres.html​]
      • UK: 244,000 to 324,000 "lost"
      • German: 200,000 to 400,000 "casualties"
      • [TOTAL: ca. 584,000 casualties ± 140,000]
    • [ESTIMATE: Five of the six estimate of total casualties fall in the range 550-650 thousand. I'm guessing a quarter of the mid-point (600,000) were KIA. (Estimates of British dead are consistently in the 60,000 to 80,000 range.)]
  22. Okinawa​, World War II (1 April-21 June 1945): 148 000 [make link]
    • Toland, Rising Sun (1970)
      • Japanese soldiers: 110,000 lost
      • Okinawan civilians: 75,000 k.
      • US: 12,520 marines and sailors K+M
      • [TOTAL: ca. 122,500 military]
    • Gilbert, History of the Twentieth Century
      • Japanese soldiers killed: 107,500 bodies counted + 20,000 burned in caves + 7,800 Japanese aircraft shot down. [= 135,300]
      • Okinawan civilians: 80,000+ k.
      • US: 7,613 k. on land + 4,907 k. at sea [=12,520]
      • [TOTAL: ca. 147,800 military]
    • Global Security [​http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/facility/okinawa-battle.htm​]
      • Japanese soldiers: 107,539 k + 23,764 sealed in caves + 7,830 Japanese aircraft shot down. [=139,133]
      • Okinawan civilians: perhaps 100,000 k.
      • US: <8,000 marine & army + <5,000 navy = 12,000+
      • [TOTAL: ca. 151,000 military]
    • Reader's Companion to Military History
      • US
        • Land: 7,374 k. + 239 m.
        • Sea: 4,907 k.
        • [TOTAL: 12,520]
      • Japanese, sea and air: 10,000
    • Perrett, The Battle Book
      • USA: 7,374 k. on land
      • Japan: 107,500 known KIA, excl. trapped in caves
    • Johnson, Modern Times
      • US: 12,500 dead or missing
      • Japanese: 185,000 k.
  23. Normandy​, World War II (6 June-19 Aug. 1944): 132 000 [make link]
    • Clodfelter: 16,293 USAns k. to 24 July 44
    • D-Day Museum [​http://www.ddaymuseum.co.uk/faq.htm#casualities​]
      • Allies:
        • Ground forces: 37,000 d. whole battle
        • Air forces: 16,714 d.
        • Buried in war cemeteries:
          • US: 9,386
          • UK: 17,769
          • Canadian: 5,002
          • Poles: 650
          • [Total: 32,807]
      • Germans: 200,000 K+W
        77,866 buried in war cemeteries.
      • French civilians: 15-20,000 k.
      • D-Day (6 June) alone: 2,500 Allied KIA, incl. 1,465 USAn and 340 Canadian
    • CBC: 5,020 Canadians k. [​http://www.cbc.ca/news/dday/​]
    • [Est.: 37T+17T Allied + 78T Ger.]
  24. Gallipoli​, World War I (19 Feb. 1915-9 Jan. 1916): 130 000 [make link]
    • Ellis & Cox, World War I Databook ("Dardanelles")
      • UK: 18,000 k.
      • Aus.: 8,100 k
      • NZ: 2,700 k
      • India: 1,360
      • France: 27,000 all casualty types
      • Turks: 86,700
      • [TOTAL: ca. 123,600]
    • Strachan, The First World War (2003)
      • Turks: 86,692
      • Aus.: 8,709 k
      • NZ: 2,721 k
      • "French suffered 10,000 more than the Australians" [ca. 18,709]
      • UK: "French dead were less than half those of the British" [UK: ca. 38,000+]
      • [TOTAL: 155,000]
      • [NOTE: I think maybe he meant that the British (instead of French) suffered 10,000 more than the Australians (i.e. 18,000), which would then make the French (at half the British) dead 9,000. Then the total would be 125,000.]
    • Wikipedia:
      • Allies: 44,072, incl....
        • UK: 21,255
        • Aus.: 8,709
        • NZ: 2,701
      • Turks: 86,692
      • [TOTAL: 130,764]
    • The Canadian Press (CP) January 7, 1990
      • Allied forces (UK, French, Australian, NZ, India): 46,000 k.
      • Turks: 86,692 officially. Unofficially, up to 250,000.
      • [Total: ca. 132,700]
    • 26 April 2005 Guardian
      • Allies
        • killed: 55,000
        • missing: 10,000
        • disease: 21,000
      • Turks: 80,000
      • [TOTAL: 166,000]
    • 22 Nov. 2003, Courier Mail (Queensland) and Herald Sun (Melbourne), AU
      • UK: 21,000 k.
      • Aus.: >8,700 k
      • NZ: 2,700 k
      • France: one third of 27,000 [=9,000]
  25. Budapest​, World War II (late Oct. 1944-mid Feb. 1945): 130 000
    John Erickson
    • Barbarossa: The Axis and the Allies. Table 12.4: 80,026 USSR KIA (29 Oct-13 Feb)
    • The Road to Berlin (1983): 50,000 German + Hungarian troops k. (27 Oct.-14 Feb.)
  26. Lemberg​, World War I (Aug.-Sept. 1914): 125 000 [make link]
    Ellis & Cox, World War I Databook ("casualties")
    • Russia: 255,000 casualties (45,000 POW)
    • Austria-Hungary: 400,000 casualties (100,000 POW)
    • [TOTAL: 655,000 casu. minus 145,000 POWs = 510,000 K+W. Divided by 4 for KIA]
  27. Battle of the Frontiers​, World War I (Aug. 1914): 115 000 [make link]
    Ellis & Cox, World War I Databook ("casualties")
    • France: 211,000 K+W
    • Belgium: 12,300 K+W
    • UK: 14,000 K+W
    • German: 220,000
    • [TOTAL: 457,300 K+W. Maybe one quarter of these KIA]
  28. 2nd Smolensk​, World War II (7 Aug.-2 Oct. 1943): 108 000+
    Erickson, Barbarossa: The Axis and the Allies. Table 12.4 (USSR KIA): 107,645
  29. Chernikov-Poltava​, World War II (26 Aug.-30 Sept. 1943): 103 000+
    Erickson, Barbarossa: The Axis and the Allies. Table 12.4 (USSR KIA): 102,957
  30. Manchuria​, World War II (9-17 Aug. 1945): 92 000 [make link]
    • Clodfelter
      • USSR: 8,219 k.
      • Japan: 83,737 k.
    • Perrett, The Battle Book
      • USSR: 8,219 k.
      • Japan: 84,000 k.
  31. 2nd Aisne, World War I (April-May 1917): 86 000
    Ellis & Cox, World War I Databook ("casualties")
    • France: 182,000
    • German: 163,000
    • [TOTAL: 345,000 casualties, one fourth of which is 86,250]
  32. 2nd Somme or Lys, World War I (March-April 1918): 80 000
    • Clodfelter: 22,000 UK k.
    • Ellis & Cox, World War I Databook
      • UK: 31,400 k. (343,800 K+W)
      • France: (112,000 K+W)
      • German: (348,300 K+W)
      • [TOTAL: 804,100 K+W. Using same K:W ratio as UK yields ca. 80T k.]
  33. 2nd Marne, World War I (July-Aug. 1918): 80 000
    Ellis & Cox, World War I Databook
    • UK: 16,000 K+W
    • US: 40,000 K+W
    • France: 95,200 K+W
    • German: 168,000 K+W
    • [TOTAL: 319,200 K+W. One quarter of that is ca. 80T k.]
  34. 1st Baltic, World War II (22 June-9 July 1941): 83 000
    • Erickson, Barbarossa: The Axis and the Allies. Table 12.4 (USSR KIA): 75,202
    • See Moscow​, NOTE 1: 8,000 Germans
  35. Polyarnoe-Karelia​, World War II (29 June-10 Oct. 1941): 74 000
    • Erickson, Barbarossa: The Axis and the Allies. Table 12.4 (USSR KIA): 67,265
    • See Moscow​, NOTE 1: 7,000 Germans
  36. Battle of the Atlantic, World War II (3 Sept. 1939-24 May 1943): 73 000 [make link]
    • BBC
      • Allies [44,000]
        • Merchant seamen: 30,000
        • Servicemen: 8,000
        • Coastal Command: 6,000
      • German submariners: 29,000
      • [TOTAL: 73,000]
    • Clodfelter
      • Allied air crews: 8,874 k.
      • UK and Commonw. ship crews: 22,898 lost
      • U-Boaters: 28,000 lost
      • [TOTAL: ca. 60,000+]
    • USMM: 30,248 Allied merchant seamen lost
    • Keegan, The Price of Admiralty
      • Allied merchant seamen: 30,000
      • U-Boaters: 28,000
    • [NOTE: I'm making an exception here and counting civilian deaths (i.e. merchant seamen) since they were an actual part of the battle, not just innocent bystanders.
  37. Leyte, World War II (20 Oct. 1944-12 Jan. 1945) 69 000 [make link]
    Toland, Rising Sun (1970)
    • Japanese: of 70,000, only 5,000 survived
    • US: 3,500 k.
  38. Donbass​, World War II (13 Aug.-22 Sept. 1943): 66 000+
    Erickson, Barbarossa: The Axis and the Allies. Table 12.4 (USSR KIA): 661,166 KIA + 207,356 Wounded = 273,522 casualties [sic.]
    661,166 is probably a typo for 66,166
  39. Basra, Iran-Iraq War (1986-87): 65 000+
    • Clodfelter: During the period 12/86-4/87, mostly around Basra
      • Iran: 50,000 k
      • Iraq: 8,000-15,000 k
    • 1 Aug. 1988, U.S. News & World Report, "Lessons of history's bloodiest battle" by John Keegan: "It is not unrealistic to estimate that 750,000 Iranian soldiers have died [in the War], most of them killed in the last three years ... around Basra."
    • Some guy on Internet (Elson Boles in 10 Oct. 2002 Counterpunch​): "In the last major battle of the Iran-Iraq war, some 65,000 Iranians were killed, many by gas."
  40. Lvov-Sandomir​, World War II (13 July-29 Aug. 1944): 65 000+
    Erickson, Barbarossa: The Axis and the Allies. Table 12.4 (USSR KIA): 65,001
  41. 3rd Aisne, World War I (May-June 1918): 64 000
    Ellis & Cox, World War I Databook ("casualties")
    • France: 96,200
    • UK: 28,700
    • German: 130,400
    • [TOTAL: 255,300 casualties, one fourth of which is 63,825]
  42. 2nd Artois, World War I (May-June 1915): 62 000
    Ellis & Cox, World War I Databook
    • France: 35,000 k. (102,500 casu.)
    • UK: (28,200 casu.)
    • German: (49,500 casu.)
    • [TOTAL: (180,200 casu.) Extending the same ratio as France (34%) gives 61,500 KIA]
  43. 2nd Baltic, World War II (14 Sept.-24 Nov. 1944): 61 000+
    Erickson, Barbarossa: The Axis and the Allies. Table 12.4 (USSR KIA): 61,468
  44. Monte Casino, World War II (1943-18 May 1944): 60 000 [make link]
    30 May 2004 Washinton Post review of Monte Casino by Matthew Parker: 60,000 Allied and German dead.
  45. 2nd Arras or Vimy Ridge, World War I (8 April-16 May 1917): 60 000 [make link]
    Western Front Assoc.:
    • British: 150,000 casu.
    • Germans: 100,000 casu.
    • [TOTAL: 250,000 K+W.]
  46. 1st Ypres, World War I (Oct.-Nov. 1914): 60 000 [make link]
    • Ellis & Cox, World War I Databook ("casualties")
      • UK: 58,200
      • France: 50,000
      • German: 134,300
      • [TOTAL: 242,500 casualties, one quarter of which is 60,625]
    • Philip Warner, Passchendaele (1987): 130,000 German + 108,000 Allied [= 238,000] casualties (K+W) at 1st Ypres
      [Calculation (see 3rd Ypres, above): 130/425 (31%) of German casualties occurred at ist Ypres, so ca. 39,000 of the graves came from there.]
  47. 2nd Champagne​, World War I (Sept.-Oct. 1915): 57 000
    Ellis & Cox, World War I Databook ("casualties")
    • France: 143,600
    • German: 85,000
    • [TOTAL: 228,600 casualties, one fourth of which is 57,150]
  48. Tet Offensive​, Vietnam War (29 Jan.- mid-Feb 1968): 56 000 [make link]
    • Gilbert, History of the Twentieth Century (during Tet Offensive and the month following); also Karnow, Vietnam: a history, citing Gen. Westmoreland
      • Vietcong: as many as 50,000
      • US: 2,000
      • South VN soldiers: 4,000
      • [TOTAL: 56,000]
    • News & Record (Greensboro, NC: 28 March 2004)
      • NLF + NVA: 45,000
      • SVN: 2,788
      • US: 1,536
      • [TOTAL: 49,324]
    • Wikipedia
      • NLF + NVA: 35,000
      • SVN + US: 3,900
        US: 1,100
      • [TOTAL: 38,900]
  49. Korsun Pocket, World War II (24 Jan. 1944-17 Feb. 1944): 55 000+
    • John Erickson, Hitler vs. Stalin (2001): 55,000 Germans k.
    • [Part of West Ukraine, above]
  50. Voronezh-Kharkov​, World War II (13 Jan.-3 March 1943): 55 000+
    Erickson, Barbarossa: The Axis and the Allies. Table 12.4 (USSR KIA): 55,475 in Sov. offensive
  51. Meuse-Argonne​, World War I (26 Sept.-11 Nov. 1918): 50 000
    • Clodfelter (also WorldWar1.com​): 26,277 Americans k.
    • Ellis & Cox, World War I Databook ("casualties")
      • US: 117,000 casu.
      • German: 100,000 casu.
      • [TOTAL: 217,000 casu.]
  52. 11th Isonzo, World War I (Aug.-Sept. 1917): 50 000
    Ellis & Cox, World War I Databook
    • Italy: 40,000 k. (166,000 casu.)
    • Aus-Hung: 10,000 k. (85,000 casu.)
    • [TOTAL: 50,000 k.; 251,000 casu.]
  53. Hsuchow​, Chinese Civil War (1927): 50 000
    Gilbert, History of the Twentieth Century​: 50,000 k. in b. between Guomindang & Northern Army
  54. Kharkov​, World War II (4-25 March 1943): 45 000+
    Erickson, Barbarossa: The Axis and the Allies. Table 12.4 (USSR KIA): 45,219 k. on defense
  55. Crimea, World War II (8 April-12 May 1944): 45 000
    John Erickson
    • Barbarossa: The Axis and the Allies. Table 12.4: 17,754 USSR KIA
    • The Road to Berlin (1983): 110,000 Germans k/w/c [?= ca. 27,500 k.]
  56. 10th Isonzo, World War I (May-June 1917): 43 000
    Ellis & Cox, World War I Databook
    • Italy: 36,000 k. (159,000 casu.)
    • Aus-Hung: 7,300 k. (65,700 casu.)
    • [TOTAL: 43,300 K; 224,700 casu.]
  57. Seelow Heights​, World War II (16-18 April 1945): 42 000
    Antony Beevor, Fall of Berlin 1945: 30,000 Soviets k. and 12,000 Germans
  58. Imphal, World War II (8 March-13 July 1944) 40 000
    • Donovan Webster, The Burma Road: Japanese lost 30,000 dead at Imphal and Kohima. UK & Indians lost 15,000 (not spec. dead)
    • Toland, Rising Sun (1970): 65,000 Japanese died in whole offensive.
    • Perrett, The Battle Book
      • Japan: 53,000 d. all causes, 29 Mar-22 June
      • Allies: 17,000 casualties, incl. 13,000 wd.
  59. Battle of the Bulge or Ardennes Offensive, World War II (16-29 Dec. 1944): 38 000
    • Elstob, Hitler's Last Offensive (1971)
      • Germans: 19,000 KIA in Ardennes and Nordwind
      • USA: 16,000 KIA (16 Dec.-25 Jan.)
      • UK: 200 KIA
      • [TOTAL: 35,000]
    • Gilbert, History of the Twentieth Century
      US: 19,000 k.
    • Clodfelter
      USA KIA: 19,246
    • Webchron [​http://campus.northpark.edu/history/webchron/World/Bulge.html​]
      • US: 19,000 k.
      • German: 100,000 k,w,c
  60. Ebro, Spanish Civil War (24 July-18 Nov. 1938): 37 000
    • Spartacus: 6,500 Nationalists k [​http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/SPebro.htm​]
    • Probert Encyclopaedia [​http://www.probertencyclopaedia.com/FB5.HTM​]
      • Republicans: 30,000 k
      • Nationalists: 33,000 k+w
  61. Tannenburg & Masurian Lakes, World War I (Aug.-Sept. 1914): 37 000
    • Clodfelter
      • Russia: 30,000 k.
      • Germany: 13,000 k/wd/m
    • Ellis & Cox, World War I Databook ("casualties")
      • Russia: 267,000 casualties (137,000 POW)
      • German: 80,000 casualties
    • Warfare in World History by Michael Neiberg: 30,000 Russians k. at Tannenburg + 125,000 casualties at M. Lakes. Germans lost less than 30,000 at T'burg.
    • [If Germans "lost" <30T, then maybe 7T k.]
  62. Mukden​, Russo-Japanese War (20 Feb.-10 March 1905): 36 000
    • Clodfelter
      • Russians: 20,000 k. or missing (not captured)
      • Japanese: 15,892 k.
    • Wikipedia
      • Russians: 26,500 k.
      • Japanese: 41,000 k+w
  63. Taierhchüang​, Sino-Japanese War (24 Mar-8 Apr 1938): 31 000
    • Perrett, The Battle Book: 20,000 Japanese k.
    • Clodfelter
      • Chinese: 15,000
      • Japanese: 16,000
  64. Saipan, World War II (1944) 30 000
    • Toland, Rising Sun (1970)
      • Japanese soldiers: 30,000+
      • Japanese civilians: < 22,000
    • Gilbert, History of the Twentieth Century
      • Japanese soldiers killed: 20,000 KIA + 7,000 k. in suicide charges
      • Japanese civilians: 8,000 k. in fighting + 4,000 suicides
      • US: 3,426 k.
      • [TOTAL: ca. 30,000 military]
  65. 3rd Isonzo, World War I (March 1916): 29 000
    Ellis & Cox, World War I Databook
    • Italy: 20,400 k. (65,500 casu.)
    • Aus-Hung: 8,200 k. (41,800 casu.)
    • [TOTAL: 28,600 K; 107,300 casu.]
  66. Iwo Jima, World War II (19 Feb.-9 April 1945) 28 000
    • Gilbert, History of the Twentieth Century
      • Japanese soldiers: 20,000
      • US: 6,821 marines + 900 sailors
    • Johnson, Modern Times
      • US: 4,917 d.
      • Japanese: >18,000 k.
  67. Chosin Reservoir​, Korean War (27 Nov.-11 Dec. 1950): 28 000
    25 Dec. 2002 AP
    • US: 3,000
    • Chinese & N.Korean: 25,000
  68. Suomossalmi​, Russo-Finnish War (11 Dec. 1939-6 Jan. 1940): 28 000
    Perrett, The Battle Book
    • USSR: 27,500 killed and frozen to death
    • Finland: 900 k.
  69. Guadalcanal​, World War II (1942-1943): 27 000
    • Toland, Rising Sun (1970)
      • Japanese: 25,000+
      • US: 1,042 Marines + 550 GIs = 1,592
      • [TOTAL: ca. 26,600]
    • Johnson, Modern Times
      • US: 1,592 fatalities
      • Japanese: 25,000 lost
    • Perrett, The Battle Book
      • USA: 1,600 k.
      • Japan: 14,000 KIA + 9,000 d. of dis./starv.
    • Zimmerman [​http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USMC/USMC-M-Guadalcanal/USMC-M-Guadalcanal-A.html​]
      • Japanese: 28,500 lost
      • US: 1,202 d.
      • [TOTAL: ca. 29,700]
  70. Operation Kheiber​, Iran-Iraq War (Feb-March 1984): 26 000
    • Clodfelter: "Operation Kheiber" 14 Feb.-6 March 1984
      • Iran: 20,000
      • Iraq: 6,000
    • CSIS
      • Iran: 20,000
      • Iraq: 6,000
    • Iran Chamber Society: Operation Dawn V: "... within a few kilometers of the strategic Basra-Baghdad waterway. Between February 29 and March 1 [1984], in one of the largest battles of the war, the two armies clashed and inflicted more than 25,000 fatalities on each other."
  71. Warsaw​, Russo-Polish War (13-25 Aug. 1920): 25 000
    Wikipedia
    • Soviets: 15,000-25,000
    • Poles: 4,500
  72. Changsha or Hengyang, Sino-Japanese War (June-Aug. 1944): huh?
    • Wikipedia: Over a million Japanese lives lost, incl. 360 officers. Five million Japanese casualties total.
    • NOTE: A million is utterly ridiculous -- that's how many Japanese were killed in the entire Pacific War -- but if we agree that 360 officers were killed, then maybe 15 times as many enlisted men or 5,400 were killed as well. (That's the ratio from the German Army 1871-72, the only such statistics I have on hand.)
  73. 1st Marne, World War I (Sept. 1914): 20 000+
    Ellis & Cox, World War I Databook ("casualties")
    • France: 80,000 casu.
    • UK: 1,700 casu.
    • German: ?
  74. Guam, World War II (21 July-10 August 1943): 20 000
    • Probert Encyclopaedia [​http://www.probertencyclopaedia.com/FB4.HTM​]
      • Japanese: 18,250
      • US: 1,744
    • Dupuy, The Encyclopedia of Military History (1970)
      • Japanese: 10,000 k. (plus several hundred suicides)
      • US: 1,400 k.
  75. Port Arthur, Russo-Japanese War (1 June 1904-2 Jan. 1905): 20 000
    Clodfelter
    • Russians: 6,000
    • Japanese: 14,000
  76. Manila, World War II (3 Feb.-4 March 1945): 18 000
    Perrett, The Battle Book
    • USA: 1,000
    • Japan: 16,665
  77. Market-Garden​, World War II (17-25 Sept. 1944): 16 000
    Wikipedia
    • Germany: 4,000-8,000 k
    • UK: 6,484
    • USA: 3,542
    • Polish: 378
    • [TOTAL: 16,404 ± 2,000]
  78. Halhin Gol, or Nomonhan, Soviet-Japanese War (20-31 Aug. 1939): 15 000
    Wikipedia
    • Soviets: 6,831
    • Japanese: 8,440
  79. Caporetto​, World War I (24 Oct-10 Nov 1916): 14 000
    Ellis & Cox, World War I Databook
    • Italy: 10,000 k. (330,000 casu.)
    • Aus-Hung: 2,400 k. (20,400 casu.)
    • Germany: (15,000 casu.)
    • [TOTAL: 12,400 Aus+It KIA + ? ca. 1,750 Ger.]
  80. Leyte Gulf, World War II (23-26 Oct. 1944): 13 000
    Clodfelter
    • Japan: 10,500 k
    • USA: 2,800 k
  81. Peleliu, World War II (15 Sept.-25 Nov. 1944): 12 000
    Wikipedia
    • Japan: 10,695
    • USA: 1,336
  82. Dien Bien Phu, French Indochina War (13 March-7 May 1954): 10 000
    • CNN [​http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/cold.war/episodes/11/spotlight/​]
      • French: 2,200 d.
      • Viet Minh: 8,000 k
    • Karnow, Vietnam: a history
      • French: 2,000
      • Viet Minh: 8,000
  83. Kuwait, Gulf War (24-27 Feb. 1991): 10 000
    • The PBS news show Frontline estimates 10,000 Iraqi military k. in the ground war. (​http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/gulf/appendix/death.html​)
    • John Heidenrich ("The Gulf War: how many Iraqis died?" Foreign Policy, 22 March 1993): 1,500-9,500 Iraqi soldiers killed in KTO.
    • 29 April 1999 AP: The US lost 147 killed in battle
    • 11 Nov. 2000 Times [London]: 47 British soldiers
  84. Anzio, World War II (22 Jan.-23 May 1944): 10 000
  85. Celaya, Mexican Revolution (6-15 April 1915): 10 000
    • Clodfelter
      • 1st Battle: 557 Constitutionalists + 1800 Conventionists k.
      • 2nd Battle: 500 Constitutionalists + 7000 Conventionists k.
      • [TOTAL: 9,857]
    • Ronald Atkin, Revolution! Mexico 1910-20​: Villa lost 4000 KIA
  86. Kwajalein​, World War II (1944) 9 000
    Johnson, Modern Times
    • Japanese: almost 8,500
    • US: 373
  87. Jutland, World War I (31 May 1916): 9 000
    Keegan, The Price of Admiralty
    • Germany: 2,551 k.
    • UK: 6,097
    • [TOTAL: 8,648]
  88. 1st El Alamein​, World War II (1-27 July 1942): 7 000
    • Some guy on Internet
      • UK/Allied losses: 13,000 casu.
      • Axis losses: 22,800 casu. incl. 7,000 POWs
    • [Est.: 13T + 22.8T - 7T / 4 = 7,200 KIA]
  89. Tarawa​, World War II (21-24 Nov. 1943) 6 000
  90. 2nd El Alamein​, World War II (23 Oct.-3 Nov. 1942): 5 000
    • Clodfelter
      • British: 2,350 k.
      • German: 1,100
      • Italian: 1,200
      • [TOTAL: 4,650]
    • Some guy on Internet
      • UK/Allied losses: 13,500 casu.
      • Axis losses: 59,000 casu.
    • Wikipedia: 30,000 Axis POWs
  91. Belleau Wood, World War I (1-26 June 1918): 4 000
    Wikipedia
    • German: unkn. (8,625 graves in German cemetery.)
    • USA: 1,811 k. (2,289 graves in American cemetery + names of 1,060 missing)
  92. Tsushima​, Russo-Japanese War (10 Aug. 1904): 4 000
    Wikipedia
    • Russians: 4,380 k.
    • Japanese: 117 k.
  93. Midway​, World War II (4 June 1942): 4 000
    Keegan, The Price of Admiralty
    • Japan: <3,000 k.
    • USA: <1,000
  94. Battle of Britain, World War II (10 July-31 Oct. 1940): 2 000
    Spartacus
    • British: 792 planes lost. 544 members of the air crews killed
    • German: 1,389 planes lost
Worst Massacres of the 20th Century
(Well, one more list for people to yell at me about...)
Here are some of the major episodes in which huge numbers of non-combatants were killed at more or less a single place over a relatively limited time. The traditional definition of massacre would require that all the killing be done deliberately and face-to-face over the course of a day or two, but I've loosened up that part in order to compare numbers from a variety of concentrated mass killings.
I'm not saying that all of these events are morally equal. International law usually allows the destruction of the war-making abilities of the enemy, including their industrial infrastructure, transportation network and (unfortunately) their workforce; however, once a civilian population or collection of prisoners comes under the control of a conquering army, they are no longer a threat, and they are supposed to be treated with basic human decency. It all depends on whether the victims constitute an immediate threat, an eventual threat, or no threat at all. You're allowed to kill sleeping enemy soldiers in an armed camp in a war zone, but not sleeping enemy soldiers in one of your POW camps. A merchant ship sailing in an armed enemy convoy may be torpedoed without warning, but an unarmed merchant ship sailing alone on the high seas should be challenged and allowed to evacuate passengers and crew first.
Just to belabor an obvious point, these are individual events at single points on the map - usually a city, prison or town. Most of the killing at Treblinka, for example, occurred inside a .1345 or .21 square kilometer camp. The Rwanda massacres, on the other hand, were many events spread out across the 26,338 square kilometers of an entire country, so I don't count those. In borderline cases such as Katyn (three related massacres) and Kolyma (a large complex of labor camps operating for many years), I've leaned toward inclusion because these are smaller parts of a larger whole. Total death tolls for multiple events considered collectively can be found using the main index.
For the purists among you, I've starred (*) the events that are usually considered to fit into the narrowest definition of massacre: the deliberate, face-to-face and immediate killing of helpless victims. Also, I've used brown font to label events of the Holocaust.
  1. Auschwitz​, Poland (German death camp: Jan. 1942-Jan. 1945): 1 200 000 [make link]
    • US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Historical Atlas of the Holocaust and www.ushmm.org
      • Jews: 1,100,000
      • Poles: 75,000
      • Roma: 21,000
      • Soviet POWs: 15,000
    • Norman Davies: 1,200,000-1,500,000 victims, of which 800,000-1,100,000 Jews
  2. Treblinka​, Poland (German death camp: July 1942-Fall 1943): 800 000 [make link]
  3. Leningrad​, USSR (urban siege: 8 Sept. 1941-27 Jan. 1944) 641 000
    • David Glantz, The Siege of Leningrad 1941-44: 900 Days of Terror: 641,000 Soviet civilians died in siege; one million dead in siege and evacuation.
    • Richard Overy, Russia's War (1997): a million civilians unaccounted for. Officially 632,253 died in siege.
  4. Belzec, Poland (German death camp: March 1942-July 1943): 600 000 [make link]
  5. Kolyma​, USSR (Soviet GULAG: 1930-mid 1950s): 500 000 [make link]
    Adam Hochschild, The Unquiet Ghost: asked four researchers. "One estimated [the death toll] at 250,000, one at 300,000, one at 800,000, one at more than 1,000,000."
  6. Majdanek​, Poland (German death camp: Oct. 1942-Nov. 1943): 360 000 [make link]
    • US Holocaust Memorial Museum
    • CNN: 200,000-360,000
  7. Chelmno​, Poland (German death camp: 8 Dec. 1941-April 1943): 320 000 [make link]
    • PBS Nova: 360,000
    • US Holocaust Memorial Museum
  8. * Nanjing​, China (massacre of civilians and POWs by Japanese: 13 Dec. 1937-Feb. 38): 260 000
    see sources
  9. Sobibor​, Poland (German death camp: 1 March 1942-Oct. 1943): 250 000
  10. * Bykivnia​, near Kiev, USSR (Stalinist burial site, 1930s): 200 000 [make link]
    • Raymond Pearson, The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Empire, 2nd ed. (2002): "near-incredible" 200,000
    • Michael Hamm, Kiev: "Perhaps 120,000 victims were buried there; another estimate puts the figure as high as 225,000."
    • Taras Kuzio, Ukraine: Perestroika to Independence (2000): "a mass grave reputed to contain over 200 000 bodies."
  11. Warsaw​, Poland (urban uprising: 1 Aug.-2 Oct. 1944): 200 000 [make link]
    • Gilbert, History of the Twentieth Century​: 200,000 Poles, mostly civilians
    • Spartacus: 18,000 insurgents + 150,000 civilians k. [​http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/2WWwarsawU.htm​]
    • Richard Overy, Russia's War (1997): 225,000 "in the largest single atrocity of the war."
    • John Erickson, Hitler Versus Stalin ("lost", implied to be KIA)
      • Polish Home Army: 15,000
      • Germans: 17,000
      • Civilians: 200,000-250,000 k., incl. 40,000 shot in 5 days
  12. * Kuropaty​, near Minsk, USSR (Stalinist massacre site: 1938-39): 150 000 [make link]
    • Raymond Pearson, The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Empire, 2nd ed. (2002): 30,000
    • Some guy on Internet (Marika Henneberg): around 30,000 people buried in 510 mass graves at Kuropaty Woods, but there may actually be 900 graves [That indicates some 60/grave and maybe 54,000 people total]
    • Richard Overy, Russia's War (1997): 150,000-200,000 bodies
    • Some other guy on Internet​: 510 burial pits found in Kuropaty, each containing ca. 150 bodies, or some 75,000 bodies total. Possibly 1,000 pits originally [If 1,000 pits, then ca. 150,000 bodies]
    • Ian Dear, The Oxford Companion to World War II, "Belorussia": "several hundred thousand" in mass graves.
  13. Stalingrad​, USSR (urban battle: Sept. 1942-31 Jan. 1943): 140 000 civilians
    • Wikipedia: 100,000+ civilians died
    • 2 Feb. 1993, The Age (Melbourne): "[T]wo million [Soviet] men, women and children ... died." [incl. soldiers]
    • Moscow Times, Feb. 4, 2003: "More than 400,000 civilians were in Stalingrad when the battle began.... By the time the battle was over... only 10,000 to 60,000 remained .... Many civilians presumably were killed by the bombing and shelling, or succumbed to starvation and cold. But others were evacuated during the battle, sent to toil in Germany as slave laborers or managed to flee the besieged city on their own."
    • [ANALYSIS: Purely a guess... The Moscow Times offers 5 possible fates for the 350,000 missing civilians: killed, succumbed, evacuated, sent, managed. If we assign equal probability to each of these 5 possibilities, 70,000 civilians would have ended up in each category. The number who were killed or succumbed would total 140,000.]
  14. Hiroshima​, Japan (nuclear strike by US: 6 Aug. 1945): 122 000
    • 1946 Manhattan Engineer District study: 66,000
    • US Strategic Bombing Survey: 60,000-70,000
    • ww2guide.com​: 70-80,000
    • Messenger, The Chronological Atlas of World War Two: 80,000 k. + 10,000 missing
    • Some guy on Internet (Dan Ford): 90,000, based on...
      • 1946 Manhattan Engineer District study: 45,000 first day, 19,000 next few months, 66,000 by 1946. The author (Ford) suggests adding 20,000 transients not on official census.
      • 1946 Hiroshima police estimate: 78,150 dead and 13,983 missing. [a total of 92,133 presumed dead] Also, 129,558 total casualties, including minor and major injuries.
      • No sources given:
        • The Radiation Effects Research Foundation website: 90,000-140,000 in 1945
        • Hiroshima Peace Site website: 140,000 deaths by December 1945
        • Guinness Book of Records: 155,200 killed, including deaths from radiation within one year.
    • Palmowski, Dictionary of 20th Century World History: 80,000 immediately. 60,000 more within a year.
    • Swatosh, Wings, wars and life: an autobiography (2007) p.70: 83,793
    • Howard Zinn, The people's history of the United States, p.422: 100,000
    • Gilbert, History of the Twentieth Century​: 92,233 d in first two weeks. 138,890 names on 1986 cenotaph.
    • 5 August 1999 Chugoku Shimbun​: "Actual Status Survey of Atomic Bomb Survivors"
      • Identified victims who died by the end of 1945: ca. 88,800 counted
      • Official estimate (1988): 140,000 ± 10,000
    • Johnson, Modern Times: 100,000 that day, 100,000 subsequently
    • New Scientist​, 15 April 1976, "New Japanese Report Registers Grim Atom Bomb Toll": 119,000 died in 1945, plus , acc2 official lost survey.
    • Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists​, Jun 1986, p.37, citing 1946 official city survey:
      • died in the first year: 118,661
      • missing: 3,677
      • TOTAL: 122,338
    • CBS: as of 6 Aug 2004, there were 237,062 dead listed on the Hiroshima city cenotaph. Including 5,142 who had "died from cancer and other long-term ailments over the past year" [... although IMO counting as fatalities people who survived 59 years after the event is stretching the definition of massacre a bit thin. Most people don't even survive 59 years after their own birth.]
  15. Changchun​, China (urban siege: May-Sept. 1948) 120 000
    • Jung Chang, Mao: the unknown story: Civilian population dropped from 500,000 to 170,000. The official "watered-down" Communist figure is 120,000 deaths by starvation.
    • [I'm accepting the official number because Change doesn't take into account the number of refugees who escaped the city. See [​www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,887835,00.html​]
  16. Berlin, Germany (urban battle: 16 April-7 May 1945): 100 000
    • Martin Sorge, The Other Price of Hitler's War (1986): 100,000 civilians d. incl. 20,000 cardiac arrest and 6,000 suicide. Not incl. 52,000 refugees k. caught in air raids.
    • John Erickson, Hitler Versus Stalin: ditto
  17. Vorkuta​, USSR (Soviet GULAG: 1932-62): 100 000 [make link]
    • Davies, Europe: a history: no death toll offered, but it "held some 300,000 souls in 1953"; "more human beings perished there than at Auschwitz" [Davies exaggerates these things, IMO.]; "second only to Kolyma".
    • 3/1/04 Telegraph​: >100,000
  18. * Manila, Philippines (massacre of civilians by Japanese: Nov. 1944-Feb. 1945): 100 000
    • Gilbert, History of the Twentieth Century​: 100,000 Filipinos k.
    • William Manchester, American Caesar (1978): "nearly 100,000 Filipinos were murdered by the Japanese"
    • PBS: "100,000 of its citizens died."
    • World War II Database​: 100,000
  19. Tokyo, Japan (air raid by US: 9 March 1945): 84 000
    • Factmonster.com​: "Two fire bombing raids on Tokyo [the second was in May 1945] killed 140,000 citizens."
    • Gilbert, History of the Twentieth Century​, v.2, p.650: first official death toll was 83,793, but eventually set at 130,000
    • Mark Selden, Before the Bomb: The "Good War", Air Power and the Logic of Mass Destruction​: Official estimates of roughly 100,000 seem "implausibly low".
      • Strategic Bombing Survey: 87,793 [sic]
      • Rhodes: > 100,000
      • Tokyo Fire Department: 97,000
    • The History Net: 83,793
    • Clodfelter: 83,793
    • ww2guide.com​: 83,000
    • Paul Johnson, Modern Times, p.424: 83,000
    • Douglas Brinkley, David Rubel, World War II: the Allied counteroffensive, 1942-1945​, p.279: 83,000
    • Howard Zinn, The people's history of the United States, p.422: 80,000
  20. Jasenovac​, Yugoslavia (Croatian concentration camp: 1941-1945): 77 000
    • Jewish Virtual Library: 56,000-97,000
      • Serbs: 45,000-52,000
      • Jews: 8,000-20,000
      • Romani: 8,000-15,000
      • Croats: 5,000-12,000
    • Wikipedia
      • National Committee of Croatia report, 15 Nov.1945: 500,000-600,000
      • Later analysis, 1980s: ca. 50,000
      • Belgrade Museum of the Holocaust: 77,743 names of victims gathered.
  21. Mauthausen​, Austria (German concentration camp: 1938-1945): 70 000
    Historical Atlas of the Holocaust​: 70,000
  22. Buchenwald​, Germany (German concentration camp: 1937-1945): 65 000
    3 Oct. 1991 Orlando Sentinel (Florida)​: 65,000 (also 11 June 1991 Chicago Tribune​)
  23. Stutthof​, Danzig (German concentration camp: Sept.1939-May 1945): 60 000
    Historical Atlas of the Holocaust​: >60,000
  24. Kryzwolka​, Poland (death of Soviet POWs at German hands: 194-): 46 000
    Gilbert, History of the Twentieth Century​: 46,000
  25. Nagasaki​, Japan (nuclear strike by US: 9 Aug. 1945): 45 000
    • ww2guide.com​: 35-40,000
    • Messenger, The Chronological Atlas of World War Two: 35,000 k. + 5,000 missing
    • 1946 Manhattan Engineer District study: 39,000
    • US Strategic Bombing Survey: 40,000
    • Gilbert, History of the Twentieth Century​: 40,000 k. instantly and 5,000 in next 3 months. 30 years later, final death toll set at 48,857.
    • Howard Zinn, The people's history of the United States, p.422: 50,000
    • Swatosh, Wings, wars and life: an autobiography (2007) p.70: 74,000
    • Clodfelter: 35,000-75,000
    • Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum​: 73,884
    • Palmowski, Dictionary of 20th Century World History: 74,000
    • Johnson, Modern Times: 74,800
  26. Hamburg​, Germany (air raid by UK: 28-29 July 1943): 42 000
    • Johnson, Modern Times: 40,000
    • Gilbert: 42,000
    • US Strategic Bombing Survey: 60,000-100,000
  27. Komorowo​, Poland (death of Soviet POWs at German hands: 194-): 42 000
    Gilbert, History of the Twentieth Century​: 41,592 bodies exhumed
  28. * Ponary, near Vilna, Lithuania (massacre of Jews by Germans: 1st wave, July-Dec. 1941): 40 000
    • Gilbert: 21,381 in 5 months (July-Nov. 1941)
    • Historical Atlas of the Holocaust​: 40,000 in 1st wave of killing (Oct-Dec 1941). Killing resumed Sept. 1943
    • PBS Nova and Wiesenthal Center: 70,000-100,000 to 1944
  29. Stalingrad​, USSR (German air raid: 23 Aug 1942): 40 000
    • Edwin Hoyt, 199 Days: the battle for Stalingrad (1993): 40,000 civilians k. in German air raid.
    • Anthony Beevor, Stalingrad: the fateful Siege: 1942-1943​: 40,000
    • Richard Overy, Russia's War (1997): same
  30. Gross-Rosen​, Germany (German concentration camp: 1941-Feb. 1945): 40 000
    Historical Atlas of the Holocaust​: 40,000
  31. Breslau​, Germany (urban battle: 1945): 40 000
    Martin Sorge, The Other Price of Hitler's War (1986): 40,000 civilians d.
  32. * Odessa​, USSR (massacre of Jews by Romanians: 22-23 Oct. 1941): 36 000
    • Richard Overy, Russia's War (1997): 75,000 to 80,000 k.
    • Historical Atlas of the Holocaust​, p.74: 39,000
    • Gilbert: 35,782 at Nikolayev and Kherson
    • PBS Nova: 34,000
  33. Dresden​, Germany (air raid by UK & US: 13-14 Feb. 1945): 35 000
    • Houston Chronicle review of Dresden: Tuesday, February 13, 1945 by Frederick Taylor (2004)
      • "[C]asualty figures the German press put out -- 135,000 or 250,000 or even 400,000 dead.... nothing more than creative efforts of Nazi propagandists."
      • "[O]nly after the fall of the Soviet Union did records emerge that documented the true casualty figures -- 25,000 to 35,000 dead."
      • see also Palm Beach Post and NY Times reviews: 25,000-40,000
    • Martin Sorge, The Other Price of Hitler's War (1986): 35,000
    • Spartacus: "Recent research suggest that 35,000 were killed but some German sources have argued that it was over 100,000" [​http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/2WWdresden.htm​]
    • Messenger, The Chronological Atlas of World War Two (1989): 50,000
    • Gilbert, History of the Twentieth Century​: 39,773 bodies IDed. At least 20,000 missing. All told, as many as 80,000 d.
    • NOTE: The most commonly cited death toll is 135,000​, but not among scholars.
    • Wikipedia: 135,000 ("Aerial bombing of cities" 5/04)
    • Johnson, Modern Times: 135,000
    • Irving: The Destruction of Dresden (1966): 135,000. See also Nizkor's discussion of this.
  34. * Babi Yar, near Kiev, USSR (massacre of Jews by Germans: Sept. 1941): 33 000
    • PBS Nova: 34,000
    • Gilbert: 33,771 k. in 3 days
    • Harper Collins Atlas of the Second World War: 33,771 according to German records
    • Michael Hamm, Kiev: 33,000 (29-30 Sept.)
    • Richard Overy, Russia's War (1997): >30,000 (29-30 Sept.)
    • US Holocaust Memorial Museum
      • Historical Atlas of the Holocaust​: 33,000 in first two days
      • Holocaust Ency.: "In the months following the massacre, German[s]... killed thousands more.... [S]ome 100,000 people were murdered at Babi Yar."
  35. Flossenburg (German concentration camp: 1940s): 30 000
    CNN: 30,000
  36. * Rumbula Forest, outside Riga, Latvia (massacre of Jews by Germans: Nov-Dec 1941): 27 000
    • PBS Nova: 27,000 victims
    • Historical Atlas of the Holocaust​: 28,000 k. in 1st wave, Nov-Dec.
  37. Berlin, Germany (air raid by US: 3 Feb. 1945): 25 000
    • Spartacus​: 25,000
    • Worldwar-2.net​: 25,000
    • Martin Sorge, The Other Price of Hitler's War (1986): 22,000 (49,000 d. in 310 Berlin air raids throughout the war)
  38. * Sook Ching Operation​, Singapore (massacre of Chinese by Japanese: Feb-March 1942): 25 000
    The lowest of the high estimates. See sources
  39. Königsberg​, Germany (urban battle: 9 April 1945): 25 000
    John Erickson, Hitler Versus Stalin: 25,000 civilians
  40. Guty, Poland (death of Soviet POWs at German hands: 194-): 24 000
    Gilbert, History of the Twentieth Century​: 24,000
  41. * Bataan, Philippines (abuse of POWs by Japanese: 9 April-May 1942): 23 000
    Gilbert, History of the Twentieth Century
    • Death March: more than 5,000 Filipinos and 600 USAns d.
    • First few weeks after: more than 16,000 Filipinos and 1,000 USAns d.
  42. Herat, Afghanistan (Soviet air raids, March 1979): 20 000
    2 June 2002 LA Times: 20,000 civilians
  43. The Blitz, London, UK (German air raids: 7 Sept. 1940-May 1941): 20 000
  44. Pforzheim​, Germany (air raid by UK: 23-24 Feb. 1945): 18 000
    Gilbert: 17,600
  45. * Trebizond​, Turkey (massacre of Armenians by Turks: July 1915): 17 000
    Gilbert: All but a few hundred of 17,000 [also UK Archives​]
  46. Belgrade​, Yugoslavia (German air raid: 6 April 1941): 17 000
    Gilbert: 17,000 civilians k. (also Anthony Beevor, Stalingrad​)
  47. * Choeung Ek, Phnom Penh, Cambodia (Khmer Rouge killing field: 1975-79): 16 000
    • 30 Dec. 2003 AP: of 16,000 prisoners at S-21, only 14 survived
    • Rachel Hughes​: Prisoners from S-21 were taken to Choeung Ek for execution. 89 graves with 8,985 skeletons have been exhumed, out of an estimated 129 graves total. [Calculation: 129/89*8985=13023]
    • Generally it's reported that 17,000 people died here, but I can't find a solid source for this.
  48. * Pinsk, Belorussia, USSR (massacre of Jews by Germans: 29 Oct. 1942): 16 000
    PBS Nova: 16,000 victims
  49. Bautzen​, East Germany (Soviet concentration camp: 1945-50): 16 000
    9 April 1990 UPI: 16,000 German political prisoners d.
  50. * Bitlis, Turkey (massacre of Armenians by Turks: June 1915): 15 000
    Gilbert: 15,000 [also UK Archives​]
  51. * Kaunas (Kovna), Lithuania (massacre of Jews by Germans: Oct/Nov. 1941): 15 000
    • PBS Nova: 15,000 (6 Nov.)
    • Historical Atlas of the Holocaust​: 10,000 (28 Oct.)
  52. * Katyn etc., USSR (massacre of Polish POWs by Soviets: April-May 1940): 15 000
    see sources​.
  53. * Dneprpetrovsk​, USSR (massacre of Jews by Germans: Oct. 1941): 11 000
    • PBS Nova: 11,000
    • Richard Overy, Russia's War (1997): 11,000 elderly Jews & children k. in single operation
  54. * Vinnitsa​, Ukraine (Stalinist massacre, 1938): 10 000
    • Anthony Beevor, Stalingrad: the fateful Siege: 1942-1943​: >10,000 Ukrainians massacred by NKVD
    • Raymond Pearson, The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Empire, 2nd ed. (2002): 10,000
  55. * Simferopol​, Crimea, USSR (massacre of Jews by Germans: 30 Dec. 1941): 10 000
    PBS Nova: 10,000
  56. Hama, Syria (urban uprising: Feb.1982): 10 000
  57. Buchenwald​, East Germany (Soviet concentration camp: 1945-50): 10 000
    11 June 1991 Chicago Tribune​: 8,000-13,000 German political prisoners d.
NOTE: Before you ask, here are some massacres that fall below the 10,000 threshhold: Addis Ababa, Amritsar​, Chahardara​, Coventry, Dinant, Guernica​, Hue, Cassinga​, El Mozote, Halabja​, Jedwabne, Kanto, Kishinev​, Kislowodsk, Kwangju​, Lidice, Lusitania​, Malmedy, Mazar-e Sharif, My Lai, Nogun-ri​, Nyarubuye​, Oviedo, Puputan​, Sabra, Satiru, Setif, Shanghai​, Sharpeville, Shatila, Srebrenica​, Taejon, Tamines​, Tiananmen Square, Wilhelm Gustloff​, Zanzibar​.
Meanwhile, here are some massacres which may have passed 10,000 victims, but I haven't yet found reliable (or even common) estimates.
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Last updated April 2005
Copyright © 2004-05 Matthew White