The Civil War was fought between 1861 and 1865, and remains the deadliest war in American history. Nearly 80 years later, in 1939, World War II would become an even greater example of how war inflicts such casualties. World War II, however, was fought on numerous continents, causing death tolls to soar even higher worldwide.
The American Civil War was fought on only one continent by two warring factions. In total, there were roughly 750,000 casualties during the Civil War, according to demographic historian David Hacker in the "New York Times." According to the National World War II Museum, there was a combined total of 65 million casualties worldwide, including civilian and military deaths.
Military deaths on the battlefield during the Civil War total upwards of 200,000, with the North losing roughly 110,000 soldiers and the South losing about 95,000. There was a total of 15 million military deaths in World War II, according to the National World War II Museum. The United States had 416,800 military casualties.
Civil War Historian James McPherson estimates there were 50,000 civilian deaths during the Civil War. Civilian casualties for World War II are astronomically high, even greater than total military deaths. About 45 million civilians died during World War II, although many estimates are much higher. The National Park Service reports that an estimated 11 million died as a result of the Holocaust. American civilian deaths are recorded at about 1,700, reports the National World War II Museum.
During the 19th century, medical technology was so limited that disease was rampant, actually causing the majority of the deaths during the Civil War. According to PBS, roughly 490,000 people died of disease, rather than from actual battle, a ratio of nearly two out of three. About 20 million civilians died from famine and disease during World War II.