World War II (2)

My father was too old to be drafted, but two of my mother’s four brothers served in the military during the war. My memory is that they were both sent abroad, but they both got back safely.

Thus my fragmented recollections. I had no understanding of the enormity of the war or the huge numbers killed. The U.S. suffered 418,500 military and civilians killed, but the worldwide total was estimated to be 70–85 million, about 3 percent of the 1940 world population (estimated to have been. 2.3 billion). Deaths directly caused by the war (including military and civilian fatalities) are estimated to have been 50–56 million, with an additional 19–28 million deaths from war-related disease and famine.

Even today we Americans have little sense of the monstrousness of war. My innocent and shallow memories are typical of what we understand. And only a tiny fraction of a percent of us has ever experienced the grisly catastrophe of combat. No wonder we are so willing to go to war.

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