We all know how much chaos, misery and loss wars cause, but do we understand the vastness of plethora caused as an aftermath. Below are some of the most expensive wars, in terms of money and human lives, fought till date
10. Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars lasted from 1803–1815 between the French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon I, and various coalitions formed by European powers, led and financed by the United Kingdom. The wars were a result of the unsettled disputes associated with the French Revolution and the Revolutionary Wars. The recommencement of hostilities the following year made way for more than a decade of constant warfare through five conflicts: the War of the Third Coalition (1805), the War of the Fourth Coalition (1806–7), the War of the Fifth Coalition (1809), the War of the Sixth Coalition (1813), and the War of the Seventh Coalition (1815). The Napoleonic Wars had huge consequences, leading to the spread of nationalism and liberalism, the rise of British Empire as world’s supreme power, the independence movements in Latin America, the collapse of Spanish Empire, the fundamental reorganization of German and Italian territories into larger states and the establishment of radically new methods in warfare. An estimated 6 million people have been sacrificed in these wars.
9. Russian Civil War
The Russian Civil War that lasted from November 1917 – October 1922 was a multi-party war in the former Russia right after the Russian Revolutions of 1917. The fight between socialism on one side and diverse interests like monarchism and capitalism later led to many pro-independence movements and the breakup of Russian Empire to form many sovereign states and Soviet Union. An estimated 7,000,000–12,000,000 casualties, mostly civilians were reported during the war. The Russian Civil War has been described as the greatest national catastrophe that Europe went through.
8. Ming-Qing transition
The Qing conquest of the Ming, better known as the Ming–Qing transition, was a period of disagreement between the Qing dynasty and the Ming dynasty of China in the south. The fall of the Ming dynasty after 46 years obviously had catastrophic effects. An estimated 25 million people were killed in the war.
7. An Lushan Rebellion
An Lushan Rebellion, a devastating rebellion against the Tang dynasty of China began in 755 AD, when general An Lushan established a rivalry with Yan Dynasty by declaring himself emperor in Northern China and ended when Yan Dynasty fell in 763 AD. The rebellion lasted throughout the reigns of three Tang emperors and the subsequent disorder resulted in a huge loss of life and large-scale destruction. It significantly weakened the Tang dynasty, and led to the loss of the Western Regions.
6. Conquests of Tamerlane
Timur (Tamerlane), a Turco-Mongol conqueror was the founder of the Timurid Empire. His ideal was Genghis Khan and all his ordeals were to restore the Mongol empire. After gaining control of western Chagatai Khanate in 1370, he started military attacks across Western, South and Central Asia, the Caucasus and southern Russia to emerge as the most powerful ruler in the Muslim world. An approximate 17 million people are believed to have lost their lives in his conquests.
5. Three Kingdoms
The Three Kingdoms that lasted from AD 184–280 involved the division of China into three states of Wei, Shu, and Wu. The part of the war most commonly referred to is the foundation of the state of Wei in 220 AD and the conquest of the state of Wu by the Jin dynasty in 280 while the unofficial part of the period from 184 to 220 had disordered internal strife between warlords in many parts of China. This period is considered as one of the bloodiest in Chinese history. An estimated 40 million fatalities are said to have been the result of this war. In terms of human life, this war ranks second on the list of most deaths in a war.
4. Taiping Rebellion
The Taiping Rebellion or Taiping Civil War that lasted from 1850 to 1864 was a massive rebellion in China and was fought between the established Manchu-led Qing dynasty and the millenarian movement of the Heavenly Kingdom of Peace. The war covered almost every province of China and was the largest in China since the Qing conquest in 1644. It is one of the bloodiest wars in human history, the bloodiest civil war and the largest conflict of the 19th century, with estimates of war fatalities ranging from 20–70 million to as much as 100 million, with millions more displaced. This was one of the first instances of total war, one in which every man, woman, child was conscripted to fight and no-one was a civilian, and the destruction was horrifying.
3. Mongol Conquests
Mongol invasions and conquests that lasted from 1206 – 1368 resulted in the vast Mongol Empire. By the time the raids were over, the empire covered Asia and Eastern Europe. The destruction in the Mongol conquests has been declared as results of some of the deadliest conflicts in human history. Mongol expeditions brought the bubonic plague along with them, causing massive loss of life in the Black Death of the 14th century.
2. World War I
World War I (WWI, WW1, First World War or Great War) that lasted from July 28, 1914 to Nov 11, 1918 that originated in Europe was one of the largest wars in history. With more than 70 million military personnel involved in the war, over 9 million combatants and 7 million civilians died. The war referred to as War to End All Wars was one of the deadliest conflicts in history, and paved the way for major political changes, including revolutions in the nations involved and to World War II twenty-one years later. As the aftermath of this war, the German Empire, Russian Empire, Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Ottoman Empire ceased to exist. National borders were redrawn, with several independent nations restored or created, and Germany’s colonies were parceled out among the victors. The results were economic depression, renewed nationalism, weakened successor states, and feelings of humiliation (particularly in Germany) which eventually contributed to World War II.
1. World War II
World War II (WWII, WW2 or Second World War) that lasted from 1939 to 1945 was definitely the deadliest and most widespread of all wars. It involved a majority of the world—including the super powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. It directly involved more than 100 million people from over 30 countries who had invested their entire economic, industrial, and scientific resources, erasing the distinction between civilian and military resources. An approximate 50-85 millions lost their lives in the war. Around 11 million people were killed in the Holocaust and another 1 million in the strategic bombing of industrial and population centers (including the Hiroshima and Nagasaki attacks). Undoubtedly the most expensive war in history had a huge impact on global economy as well.