Are 90% of all wartime casualities Civliians? Hard to believe!

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LightDragoon
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Since the dawn of the 20th century, can 90% of all wartime deaths be attributed to civllians alone?
Yes the weapons and tactics of warfare changed drastically, and we've seen the horrendous effects of genocide during wartime, however I just find this statistic hard to believe.

LD
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Jjj90
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During the war about 250,000 Polish soldiers were killed; 5 million Polish civilians died.

More Yugoslavian civilians died than soldiers, the same can be said in Greece, France, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Holland, Belgium, Norway, Luxembourg. Pretty much anywhere Hitler sent his troops.

It's one of the fallacy's of holocaust denial; the suggestion that Hitler 'wasn't all that bad really'. Or do these idiots deny the many millions of gentile deaths too? Sigh...

Anyway, yes, war has changed, civilians are a worthless commodity.
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Oldcon1953
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(Original post by LightDragoon)
Since the dawn of the 20th century, can 90% of all wartime deaths be attributed to civllians alone?
Yes the weapons and tactics of warfare changed drastically, and we've seen the horrendous effects of genocide during wartime, however I just find this statistic hard to believe.

LD
I find that a very believable figure.
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Oldcon1953
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(Original post by Jjj90)
During the war about 250,000 Polish soldiers were killed; 5 million Polish civilians died.

More Yugoslavian civilians died than soldiers, the same can be said in Greece, France, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Holland, Belgium, Norway, Luxembourg. Pretty much anywhere Hitler sent his troops.

It's one of the fallacy's of holocaust denial; the suggestion that Hitler 'wasn't all that bad really'. Or do these idiots deny the many millions of gentile deaths too? Sigh...

Anyway, yes, war has changed, civilians are a worthless commodity.
I agree warfare did change at the turn of the 20th century but I would add it changed again at the turn,(approx), of the 21st century. Since many feel the U.S military is at the center and the cause of every military death worldwide I'll use us as an example of how war has again changed. If the U.S. felt civilians were a worthless commodity like you say we would be building bigger and more destructive weapons but the opposite is true. We are in fact building smaller but incredibly precise munitions. Just big enough to vaporize those unlucky enough to wind up in our sites and, with any luck, a few of the targets closet friends.
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Octohedral
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civilian_casualty_ratio

More detailed breakdown, just for people's reference.
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Jjj90
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(Original post by Oldcon1953)
I agree warfare did change at the turn of the 20th century but I would add it changed again at the turn,(approx), of the 21st century. Since many feel the U.S military is at the center and the cause of every military death worldwide I'll use us as an example of how war has again changed. If the U.S. felt civilians were a worthless commodity like you say we would be building bigger and more destructive weapons but the opposite is true. We are in fact building smaller but incredibly precise munitions. Just big enough to vaporize those unlucky enough to wind up in our sites and, with any luck, a few of the targets closet friends.
That's true, war is ever changing. I don't think the USA or Britain ever showed the absolute contempt for civilians that Hitler, Stalin, Mao or Pol Pot showed.
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El Salvador
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Yes, especially because weapons have become more and more for mass destruction. We've only really have had total wars since the world wars.
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Oldcon1953
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(Original post by Jjj90)
That's true, war is ever changing. I don't think the USA or Britain ever showed the absolute contempt for civilians that Hitler, Stalin, Mao or Pol Pot showed.
I agree. I would even say that considering the extensive use of the troops of both nations, American and British troops are some of the most disciplined there are. There are of course other nations with disciplined armies.
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Octohedral
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Reading the link I posted would suggest it's not true (unless you count famine deaths). The direct combatant civilian deaths have been largely just over 50% for major wars like WW1, WW2 and the Mexican Revolution. Even NATO in Yugoslavia and the US drone strikes in Pakistan (which are hard to quantify) are estimated at around this level. Israel and Palestine seem to vary from very low to very high, but I know too little to make any comment.

The wars that did seem to support the figures are: "the estimated ratio in Afghanistan: three to one. In Iraq, and in Kosovo, it was worse: the ratio is believed to be four-to-one. Anecdotal evidence suggests the ratios were very much higher in Chechnya and Serbia".

Where the figures are high it tends to be down to either 'terrorist tactics' (direct attack or civilians, or using them as human shields), genocide, or indiscriminate shelling and use of munitions.

Warfare has changed, but in two different directions. It's no longer seen as a right to 'rape and pillage' as you go along - there are people actively trying to reduce this figure, and in some cases they have reached as low as 1:30 (something of a mixed achievement). On the other hand, advanced technology means that it's possible to sit far away from your victims, and bomb the place where they might be whilst seeing the dead civilians as statistics, not people. Similarly, because of this technology people are less used to directly getting their hands dirty on the ground, where you can discriminate. The other side can use this to hide in groups of civilians. It's not all down to bombing though - large ratios also occur whenever one side hates the other, and wants to wipe its people out, as opposed to respecting the people, but fighting over land or resources.

I don't know how accurate / biased Wikipedia is, but the article is worth reading.
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Octohedral
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(Original post by Oldcon1953)
I agree warfare did change at the turn of the 20th century but I would add it changed again at the turn,(approx), of the 21st century. Since many feel the U.S military is at the center and the cause of every military death worldwide I'll use us as an example of how war has again changed. If the U.S. felt civilians were a worthless commodity like you say we would be building bigger and more destructive weapons but the opposite is true. We are in fact building smaller but incredibly precise munitions. Just big enough to vaporize those unlucky enough to wind up in our sites and, with any luck, a few of the targets closet friends.
And in case my above post seemed at all anti-West (it wasn't), I agree with Oldcon. This isn't my area of expertise, but from speaking to friends in the military (some of whom have been unable to fire back at people who are trying to kill them because they don't know there are no civilians in the building), and from what I've heard in general, America try to limit civilian deaths.
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