Top 10 Deadliest Wars in the History of Mankind

Multitude deaths and widespread destruction have always been a major part of human history. A few men just declared wars and the youth fought and died for the cause. Wars started between tribes, it then turned cities into battlefield and finally it controlled nations. Huge empires crawled under its effects. Governments dissolved and fell apart in between battles. As Jimmy Carter says- ‘War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good. We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other’s children’, wars are more bad than good.

It is believed that our world craves for balance. This is because of the fact that when there is peace, there is also violence, deaths and wars. Mankind has observed many wars during the course of history. Power was always determined by the ability to win wars and then the size of army played a major role in it, especially during the times of Gladiators. Observing the major historical events it became evident that wars and conflicts were persistent in all major world events. The bloody human history have seen the deaths of more than 350 million people in the most gruesome wars. Humans are caught up in never-ending wars because of certain beneficiaries who control this world. Nevertheless, just read about the Top 10 Deadliest Wars in History of mankind to know more about the people who just perished in split of a second.

This list in based on the number of deaths in the wars which took place around the world, but China has another story to say.


  1. World War II

Deadliest Wars

Location- Worldwide

Years- 1939-1945

The infamous World War II is still remembered by many due to its gruesome and horrific effects on lives of people. Six year of global Armageddon claimed lives of over 40 to 85 million people. Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime took whole of the Europe in the arms of war. Bombing raids killed more than 1 million civilians. Nuclear bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 which shocked the world. This Holocaust claimed lives of up to 11 million Jews, prisoners, homosexuals and disable people. The Katyn massacre and the Nanking massacre were highlights of this war whereas people also died of diseases, famine and starvation. Male population was hugely decimated during World War II.

Deaths- 40-85 Million people


  1. Taiping Rebellion

Location- China

Years- 1851-1864

Deadliest Wars

Hong Xiuquan, the rebel who had visions that he was Jesus’s brother, led Taiping movement against Quig Dynasty in south China. This rebellion led to the most bizarre and bloody uprising which took lives of 70 million people. He established Taiping Heavenly Kingdom in south China and tried to destroy the government of Qing dynasty. French and British aided Qing dynasty. IN this war every civilian was formally trained and conscripted in army. In between the war and deaths, both sides decided to burn agricultural areas which killed people in more than 600 cities. The most brutal and gruesome war resulted in the infamous massacre in the province of Guangdong, more than 1 million civilians were killed by Imperial forces.

Deaths- 32-70 Million people


  1. World War I


 Years- 1914-1918

Deadliest Wars

Even though World War I had its epicenter in Europe but it affected the entire planet. It is estimated that 31 to 65 Million people perished during World War I, including more than 9 Million combatants. Yugoslav nationalist Gavrilo Princip assassinated Archduke Ferdinand and fueled the decade long tensions between the Great powers. This event started the war. Germany used this opportunity to influence countries and made alliance with Britain, France and Russian Empire. USA, Italy and Japan were on allied side whereas Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria were supporting Germany. Armenian Genocide was the most tragic incident during this time. Germans invaded Belgium and killed locals which later was called as ‘Rape of Belgium’. World War I facilitated the beginning to the most gruesome war in history, namely World War II.

Deaths- 31-65 Million people


  1. Wars of The Three Kingdoms

Location- China

Years- 184 AD- 280 AD

Deadliest Wars

The wars of The Three Kingdoms crippled China during 184 AD and 280 AD. Tripartite division of states led to the loss of de facto power of Han dynasty. Those states were Wei, Shu and Wu which started the Period of Disunity and were responsible for this war in China. The Battle of Red Cliffs, in 280 AD, saw brutal fights in Eastern Wu and Cao Wei. Central plains of China was also affected by famine during this time, killing population in surplus. Among many atrocities during this war Dong Zhuo’s forces raped women and burned the conquered areas. These three dynasty’s collapsed in 280 when Jin overthrew Wu Empire, by then 20 % of Chinese perished.

Deaths- 36-45 Million people


  1. An Lushan Rebellion

Location- China

Years- 755 AD-763 AD

Oh yes! The most populated place on earth, China, also has a history of most deadly rebellions. Yan dynasty, led by An Lushan, revolted against Tang dynasty. It separated to become a separate nation in North China in December 755 AD. Three tang emperors-Xuanzong, Suzong and Daizong, faced the rebellion which killed 21 to 36 Million people. The most gruesome conflicts were The Battle of Yongqui, the siege of Suiyang and The Fall of Chang’an. This war also led to diseases, starvation and dislocation of people which increased the number of deaths. This war was considered as the largest atrocity in human history as two-thirds of people died in China which accounted for sixth of world population at the time.

Deaths- 21-36 Million people


  1. Thirty Year’s War

Location- Holy Roman Empire

Years- 1618-1648

Deadliest Wars

This war actually lasted for three decades and it resulted in bifurcation of the Holy Roman Empire. Religious battles in modern Germany killed 5.9 to 11.5 Million people in Europe. War began in between Protestant and Catholic powers. Protestants were Austria and Bohemia, they protested against imposing Roman Catholic absolution by Holy Roman emperor Ferdinand II. Bohemian Revolt, Huguenot Rebellions and various other wars were so brutal that these wars eradicated 40% of German population. It also affected French, Danish and Swedish people. Typhus and other diseases also claimed lives of over a million people. Peace of Westphalia agreement of 1648 formulated Sovereign nation state when the powers of Holy Roman Empire was diminished during these thirty years.

Deaths- 11.5 Million people


  1. Civil War in Russia

Location- Russia

Years- 1917-1921

Deadliest Wars

Conflict between Nationalism and Socialism claimed around 6.7 to 9 Million lives during Russian Civil War. Bolshevik executed Tsar Nicholas and royal family during Russian revolution in 1917 which forced the Western powers to take ferocious actions against him. Red army of Bolshevik allied with Communists whereas USA, France and Britain helped the loyalists of ‘White Movement’ aka ‘Green armies’ in the war. Russian Empire was completely dissolved and Poland, Latvia, Finland, Estonia and many other republics were formed after the war. New communist structure was formed when Bolshevik won in 1921. The ‘Red Terror’ campaigned for mass killings, oppression and torture resulting in most horrendous Civil war.

Deaths- 9 Million people


  1. Chinese Civil War

Location- China

Years- 1927-1949

Deadliest Wars

After so many years of bloodshed, China still is under the influence of war. This civil war was between the forces of Communists Party of China and Kuomintang led Government of China. Chiang Kai-Shek’s government tried to unify the nation and launched northern expedition so that ruling classes increase their power. Second United Front kept the unity between two parties during Japanese invasion for over a period of time but the non-stop fighting still continued. Both parties claimed to be the China’s legitimate government so no peace treaty was ever signed between them. An estimated 3.5 to 8 Million people died from both sides.

Deaths- 8 Million Deaths


  1. Napoleonic Wars

Location- Europe, Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean

Years- 1803-1815

Deadliest Wars

Separate coalitions of European powers-Britain, Austria-Hungary, Prussia, Spain, Portugal, Russia and Netherlands were formed simultaneously. These coalitions were against the French Empire during Napoleonic Wars. Napoleon Bonaparte, military leader, fought over 60 wars and conquered major part of Europe before he died in 1815. He became one of the best ruler who expanded his empire in short period of time. After his demise, the infamous Battle of Waterloo took place under the command of the Duke of Wellington. Millions of people died and finally the British Empire emerged, Spanish empire declined, and nationalism in Italy and Germany emerged. This resulted into 150 years of destruction in the world.

Deaths- 4.9-7 Million people.


  1. Yellow Turban Rebellion

Location- China

Years-184 AD- 205 AD

Again we observe that China has paved its way for the war ground and it seems peace is a rare phenomenon around there. In this war peasants revolted against Han Dynasty in The Yellow Turban Rebellion aka Yellow Scarves Rebellion. Famine in North China was the main reason of this rebellion. This happened under the rule of Emperor Ling in 184 AD. Thousands of farmers migrated to South China. Weak Han governance and high taxes resulted in the rebellion against the government. Both sides paid the price in form of deaths in which 4 million people were massacred. The distinctive clothes of rebels- Zhang Jue, Zhang Bao and Zang Liang, and the Yellow turban were used to differentiate the rebellions from the oppressors.

Deaths- 7 Million people


Lastly, we can clearly see that China has seen deadliest of wars in Human history. It maybe because of its huge size and violent past. Nevertheless, wars lead to genocide. Surprising as it may seem, but wars will always find their way to intrude in the society.

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