- The Second World War as an Economic Disaster
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- by Ferguson, Niall
- On April 20, 1949, the New York Times carried three items about Japan. The most arresting headline was: "Japan’s War Cost Is Put at $31 Billion; 2,252,000 Buildings Razed, 1,850,000 Dead." Similar figures were produced in the post-war period for nearly all the combatant countries. In four countries—China, Germany, Poland and the Soviet Union—the death toll was even higher, or five if the mortality of the 1943 Bengal famine is attributed to the war. Altogether, the best available estimates suggest, somewhere in the region of 60 million people lost their lives as a result of the Second World War. In some countries the mortality rate was higher than one in ten. In Poland it approached one in five. No other previous war had been so catastrophic in relative, much less in absolute, terms. Nor was Japan unique in the scale of destruction its capital stock had suffered.
- Publication Type: WCFIA Working Paper
- Published Date: April 23, 2006
- Field of Interest: International Economics
- Ferguson, Niall. "The Second World War as an Economic Disaster." Working Paper 2008-0125, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, April 23, 2006.