Image Credit: Lawrence Voelger, cmhistory.com.
War has been a scourge of the world and mankind since time immemorial, but no period in history has witnessed a greater number of wars or greater destruction brought about by them than has the last hundred years.
Prior to 1914, war had never been universal, but in both World War I and II, global war was waged. In the latter, all but 12 small nations of the world were militarily or technically involved, and 93 million people served in the armed forces of both sides. Of these, 25 million died. Civilian casualties were unprecedented: In the Soviet Union alone, over 20 million civilians died as a result of the war. The Washington Post noted:
[The] 20th-century wars have been “total wars” against combatants and civilians alike. … The barbarian wars of centuries past were alley fights in comparison.
Richard Harwood, “Death in the 20th Century,” Washington Post, 27 Apr 1995