01/30/07 - frequency of wars

In today's excerpt - wars:

"No twenty-five year period since 1495 has been entirely without war. ... Luard lists 281 wars for the period 1400-1559, falling to 162 (1559-1648) and 145 (1648-1789), but then rising to 270 (1789-1917) before returning to 163 between 1917 and 1984. ... It is striking that there has not been a single year since 1816 without at least one war going on in the world.

"The death toll in the War of Spanish Succession (1701-13) was 1.2 million. A century later, the Napoleonic Wars killed 1.9 million men. And a century after that, the First World War cost more than 9 million servicemen their lives. Perhaps as many as 8 million people died in the maelstrom of the Russian Civil War of 1918-21 ... But even this figure pales into insignificance alongside the total mortality caused by the Second World War. ... According to the best available estimates, total civilian deaths in the Second World War amounted to 37.8 million, bringing the total death toll to nearly 57 million people [when added to the 19 million military casualties]. In other words, the majority of deaths in the Second World War were due to the deliberate targeting—by all sides—of civilians on land and sea and from the air."


Niall Ferguson


The Cash Nexus: Money and Power in the Modern World 1700 - 2000


Basic Books a member of the Perseus Books Group


Copyright 2001 Niall Ferguson


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