The 10 worst wars in history

Sushree Behera

Ever since humans have prospered from civilization, an unavoidable perception of “Us vs. them” has remained at our core. To fight for something one believes in and guard it, one must take certain, sometimes inevitable, measures.

Any war that has taken place in the history of humankind has fought for something intangible: pride, principles, values, and religion. The worst wars in history have left indelible scars on humanity, shaping the course of nations and redefining the meaning of resilience.

We rarely witness wars happening for land and money. War perpetuates unrest everywhere, creating an atmosphere. People have fought numerous wars over time, sacrificed themselves for the “greater good” in countless numbers, and experienced both tears of agony and happiness. 

But wars also have boosted the process of industrialization, an improvement in the part of our civilization. It led to inventions and discoveries that paved the way for advancement, but one must understand, at what cost? Ethics aside, let us learn about the most disastrous and worst wars ever fought in history. Top 10 worst wars in history that made a clear dent in our historical trajectory. 

Top 10 worst wars in history

Loss of human life is one of the most significant reasons why most nations today advocate for peace. But some of the deadliest wars that have taken place before presented with a casualty such that it stunned the whole world.

1. World War II

Two powers, the Axis and the Allies, divided the world. It was a war of utmost disaster, taking the lives of millions of people. Human-perpetuated genocide and plague were the two determinants that killed most people during the time. WWII killed more than 70 million people, a staggering death toll that warns that humanity has the power to end itself. 

2. The Second Sino-Japanese War

The imperial Japanese army fought the Second Sino-Japanese War in the years 1937-1945 against the Republic of China’s national revolutionary squad. The war led to the death of millions of people. About 25 million lost their lives. What started as a fight over a small incident on the Marco Polo Bridge led to an upturn of events, eventually leading to the war. 

3. The Qing Dynasty Conquest of the Ming Dynasty

This war is also known as the Manchu Invasion of China, the conflict spanned over a 60-year period. The Qing dynasty, which was starting to rise over the Chinese kingdom, overshadowed and overpowered the existing regime, i.e., the Ming dynasty.

Deep political unrest and violent fight outbreaks often happened during the transition. The growing Qing Dynasty defeated the Ming Dynasty due to excessive opposition. The casualty was over 25 million. 

4. Taiping Rebellion

The Taiping Rebellion is considered to be one of the deadliest rebellions in the history of China. Hong Xiuquan, a self-declared messiah, waged a war against the existing Qing Dynasty.

The leader of the Taiping heavenly kingdom, he waged the war due to various factors like existing political, civil, and economic issues. Christian teachings heavily influenced Hong Xiuquan, and he wanted to rule China based on this religion. 

5. World War I

This war took place in 1914 and ended in 1918. It is also known as the Great War. This war falls into the top 5th position because around 7 to 8.5 million soldiers lost their lives. In 1914, the majority of Europe entered the conflict after the assassination of Austria’s Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

6. An Lushan Rebellion

A colossally massive conflict shook China in 755 AD. The war that lasted for eight years was a straightforward outcome of General An Lushan proclaiming himself as the all-ruling emperor of Northern China, defining the rule of the existing Tang Dynasty. The Tang Dynasty fought against An Lushan with their 4000 mercenaries. The war spanned over, and after much fighting and conflict, it finally ended in 763 AD. 

7. The Dungan Revolt

The Dungan Revolt is the conflict fought between the Hans and Huis, both are ethnic groups living in 19th century China. This was the time when the Qing Dynasty reigned over the entire kingdom. The casualties were reported to have been around 20 million. 

8. The Russian Civil War

The Russian Civil War was fought between the years 1917 and 1922 and came on the list of the top 10 worst wars in history. The war resulted in the death of about 8 to 9 million people, traumatizing the generations to come. The war was fought between two radical groups, the White Army and the Red Army. 

9. The Chinese Civil War

The Chinese Civil War was a dispute between the Chinese Communist Party and the Nationalist Party. Both shared an intense hatred for each other. The war spanned from 1927 to 1949. Eventually, the Communist party secured the victory but at the cost of millions of lives, giving Mao Zedong the power. 

10. The Thirty Years’ War

The Thirty Years’ War was waged between the Catholic and the Protestant factions from the year 1618 to 1648 in Central Europe. The war sucked into many powerful communities in Europe, making it one of the longest, most deadliest wars ever fought in history. 

Read more: 10 things to know to better understand the war between Israel and Hamas

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