I have heard it said that Britain owes its freedom more to the sacrifices made by Russia than to the support given by the United States. Which Allied country made the greatest effort and/or suffered the most in the effort?
In terms of number of people killed it would have to be the Soviet Union, hands down.
What about percentage-wise? What percent of their population was lost to the war as opposed to either England or the U.S.?
I think the Soviet Union would still win percentage-age wise. Belarus for example lost 2/3 of its entire population.
What about China?
Nowhere even close.
If ‘greatest sacrifices’ means ‘most killed’ then the Soviet Union for sure. They lost a staggering number of civilian and soldiers killed during the war.
Um, I guess it depends on how you look at it. Without the US’s support the Brits would have folded. That’s why Churchill was so adamant about bringing the US into the war, despite the fact that the Russians were already fighting the Germans by that point. Without the US’s help, all those Russian dead wouldn’t have mattered either, as the Soviets wouldn’t have been able to fight the same war they fought with our help as they would have been faced with without it.
These kinds of discussions, IMHO, are silly. All three of the major allied powers were integral to the eventual success. Take away any of them and the odds of the allies winning goes down steeply, IMHO anyway. They were all necessary to victory, and in roughly equal parts. The Soviets sacrificed more in terms of their overall causalities, but a lot of that had to do with the Soviet mentality, as well as the fact that the USSR was accessible to the Germans via a land invasion, while the UK wasn’t…and the US isn’t even on the same continent so was basically immune to direct attack on our homeland.
I’m not sure if it would be either fair or accurate to include China in the rankings. China’s situation was really a civil war in which both sides fought Japan in their spare time.
If you want figures, those tables reveal (depending on which figures and which tables you use from that article, and acknowledging we are dealing with unknowns and rough approximations) the following percentages of population lost:
Nazi Germany: 8.0-10.5%
So the biggest loser of population as a percentage, hands down, was Poland. USSR coming in second.
Note that the European portion of the war started in Poland (and that the USSR itself is responsible for some of those Polish deaths). First hit, worst hit.
It kind of depends; the Soviet Union clearly suffered the most casualties, the US spent the most money overall, and the British essentially bankrupted themselves for 30 years to fight the war.
This may not be true–I’ve never been able to find much evidence either way. But when Churchill was giving his “fight on the beaches” speech, he supposedly covered the microphone with his hand and muttered, “And we shall hit them over the head with beer bottles, which is about all we have to fight with.”
The UK lost the largest empire in world history….so while they got off “easy” from a total number of deaths perspective, they shrank almost into insignificance as a result.
That speech was given to the House of Commons – no microphones there in those days. Sounds like the sort of thing he would have said though.
The Soviets paid the highest price IMO. First they had to have Stalin as a leader, plenty of sacrifice right there before the war even got rolling good. Then they lost a huge percentage of their population during the invasion, of course, but Stalin felt his people still hadn’t sacrificed enough so there were more purges and prison camps. The urgency of the war gave Stalin the authority to carry out his draconian actions, I think, some of the post-war purges should count as ‘WWII sacrifices’ for the Soviets.
According to the Wiki link, Belarus lost 25 percent - a huge amount, but not 2/3. The only people who lost anything close to 2/3 of its population were the Jews of Europe with over fifty percent exterminated by the Germans and their ‘helpers’.
I think you could win a lot of bar bets and shock a lot of people by arguing that the US lost fewer than half a million men in WWII. Besides the perception still being that the US won the war with a little help, I think it’s believed that our losses numbered well into millions.
Soviets, based on number of casualties/deaths.
Not relevant unless you hold that a life in a larger population is worth less than one from a smaller one.
No it didn’t, it lost nowhere near that amount.
Does that include the support the Soviet Union gave to Germany from 1939-41? The last trains carrying raw materials to Germany as per the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact crossed the border moments before Barbarossa was launched. Britain was making plans to go to Finland’s aid and to war with the USSR in 1940. If the question is where the German army defeated was, it is without question on the Eastern Front, that is where they suffered by far their heaviest losses and spent the most division/hours engaged in combat. If by effort you mean production of war materials, the US was #1 and the USSR #2 in all categories but land warfare equipment (tanks, artillery, etc) where the USSR was slightly ahead of the US in overall production. Soviet naval production was essentially nil while the US produced the largest navy in history during the war. Lend-lease aid from the US and UK provided the USSR with ~8% of its war materials.
In addition to losing the largest percentage of its population during the war, Poland’s overall contribution to the war effort is often forgotten. Poland had the 4th largest army in Europe when the war ended after the USSR, US and Britain; the Polish army in exile had fought in France (twice), North Africa, Italy, and in the final defeat of Germany.
I’d say Poland is a front runner…especially since they also got fucked over by one of the Allies at the same time. Highest percentage loss of any single country (I don’t count Belarus as such)