“More people died in World War II than any other war in history,” explains Neil Halloran in The Fallen of World War II. In his 15-minute film, Halloran uses innovative data visualization techniques to put the human cost of WW II into perspective, showing how some 70 million lives were lost within civilian and military populations across Europe and Asia, from 1939 to 1945. As one commenter put it, “One million, six million, seventy million. Spoken or written, these numbers become … incomprehensible. Presented graphically, they hit closer to the heart. As the Soviet losses climbed, I thought my browser had become frozen. Surely the top of the column must have been reached by now, I thought.” He’s referring to the staggering number of Soviets who died fighting the Nazis. If you fast forward to the 6‑minute mark above, you can see what he means.
The video comes accompanied by an interactive website, where users can “pause during key moments to interact with the charts and dig deeper into the numbers.” To use this interactive website, you will need a fairly new computer and a modern browser.
You can contribute money and support the ongoing Fallen of World War II project here.
If you would like to support the mission of Open Culture, consider making a donation to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us continue providing the best free cultural and educational materials to learners everywhere. You can contribute through PayPal, Patreon, and Venmo (@openculture). Thanks!