16 June 2014

Breaking Down Soviet WWII Losses: Summary


Total demographic loss of the Soviet Union in the Soviet-German War is 28 million people. This includes 26,6 million estimated loss in excess of expected deaths calculated by ADK, the 1,1 million deaths due to war-related causes of people expected to die in the time frame in accidents and of natural causes and 0,3 million expected deaths due to Soviet repression. Of the 28 million loss 2.7 million is migration loss and 25.3 million is actual war dead. Of the second figure 1.5 million deaths are due to Soviet state repression and 23.8 million are due to war and policies of the occupier.

Military Deaths

Of the 25.3 million deaths due to war up to 11 million are what are usually deemed "military deaths". These, however, include 3.1 million deaths of Soviet POWs in German custody (not all of whom were actually military personnel), 20,000 POW deaths in Finnish custody and 135,000 Red Army men executed by Soviet military tribunals, as well as 7.25 million deaths of Red Army men due to combat, accidents and disease, 250,000 deaths of Soviet partisans and militiamen and 250,000 deaths of Soviet citizens who fought as part of non-Soviet forces, mainly in German service.

Not counting prisoners of war and soldiers condemned in courts martial who were the victims of enemy states and of their own state, and fighters who died as part of non-Soviet forces, the proper Soviet military dead adds up to 7.5 million regulars and irregulars, of whom more than 300,000 due to frostbite and disease and 150,000 in accidents.[45]

Civilian Deaths

Of the upwards of 14.3 million civilian deaths 7.5-8 million occurred due to general privation associated with the German invasion and occupation. Just over half of such deaths occurred in the western USSR mainly due to ruthless economic exploitation of the occupation. The remainder occurred in the interior USSR mainly due to the fact the German advance eastwards had cut off the Soviet Union from the majority of its food surplus areas. A further 0.9 million civilian deaths occurred in blockaded Leningrad, and 200,000 among Soviet forced laborers in German-run Europe and children born to them. 1 million perished in the course of the war in the prisons, camps and colonies of the Soviet penal system, and 300,000 during deportations or internal exile, again mostly due to malnutrition, exhaustion and disease.

2.55 million Jews, citizens of the Soviet Union, were murdered in the course of the Jewish Holocaust, mainly by application of direct violence. The Germans further shot or otherwise killed some 850,000-1,050,000 non-Jews. Mainly in anti-partisans reprisals, but also as part of killing policies or repression against Communists, the Roma, the intelligentsia, the urban underground and in forced evacuations accompanying their retreat. Some 100,000-200,000 civilians perished in German bombing of Soviet cities and towns, and some 200,000-400,000 were killed in the course of, and in the aftermath of battles between armies by German and Soviet battle munitions shells, rockets, land mines and the like. The Soviet state executed 65,000 Soviet civilians for political, or ostensibly criminal offenses, and the Soviet partisans killed probably about 60,000 in reprisals against perceived collaborators. A further 50,000 civilians were murdered in the course of the Polish-Ukrainian conflict in western Ukraine.

Roughly speaking there were just over 4 million civilian deaths due to hard violence by all sides, as well as just over 10 million such deaths due to privation and associated deterioration in health.

POW and Civilian Deaths Inflicted by the Germans

3.1 million Soviet prisoners of war, who were neither exclusively soldiers, nor were they actually afforded the privileges of POW status perished in German custody. Majority of them in 1941 and 1942 when the Wehrmacht carried out a conscious policy of eliminating its Soviet POWs by deliberately arranging for them to starve to death. 0.9 million Soviet civilians perished in besieged Leningrad. These died as a result of a starvation blockade of the city that occurred in the course of a battle, but which the Germans intended to put up even had they broken the resistance of the Soviet defenders of the city. 200,000 Soviet forced laborers and their newborn children died having been deported to Germany, or German-occupied Europe. 7.5-8 million civilians died during the war due to general privation and shortage of food, mainly caused by the German invasion and exploitation under the occupation. Of these just over one half among the 60 million under German occupation, and just under one half among the 130 million (including the 16 million refugees from the west) in the interior Soviet Union which had been cut off from its agriculturally most productive regions by the German advance.

2.55 million Soviet Jews were murdered in the Nazi program to exterminate Jews across their empire in Europe. The German security apparatus shot or killed using other violent means an estimated 650,000 people in anti-partisan reprisals in the countryside. Some 200,000-400,000 Soviet civilians were murdered in all other German policies of mass killing and political and social repression. 100,000-200,000 people died in German bombing of Soviet cities. 200,000-400,000 civilians may have perished due to military battles, probably at least one half due to German munitions.

In total the Germans inflicted some 15.7 million deaths among Soviet civilians and soldiers they had already captured and disarmed. Of this figure million one quarter were killed due to hard violence such as being shot. Three quarters died due to privation, mainly of hunger and disease.

Deaths of Soviet Citizens Inflicted by the Soviet Side 

A quarter of a million Soviet citizens died serving in various non-Soviet fighting formations, mainly the German-organized auxiliary police (Schuma), the SS, the Wehrmacht and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA). One million Soviet citizens, victims of Soviet repression, perished in prisons and as forced laborers in camps and colonies of the gulag, mainly due to malnutrition, exhaustion and disease. 300,000 Soviet citizens, also victims of Soviet repression, perished of much the same causes in internal exile after being deported, mainly in nationality-based deportations. 65,000 Soviet citizens were executed by Soviet civil authorities and probably some 135,000 citizens serving in the Red Army by Soviet military authorities. If military battles killed 200,000-400,000 people Soviet munitions accounted for a big portion of that, possibly even one half.

In total the Soviet side directly inflicted about 1.9 million deaths among inhabitants of the USSR, of whom more than 200,000 were Soviet citizens in German service fighting against the Soviet Union.

Table 1 - Total Soviet Losses
Calculated loss in excess of expected deaths (Andreev, Darskii, Kharkova) 26,600,000
War-related deaths of people expected to die in the timeframe of other causes (Harrison) 1,100,000
Expected deaths due to Soviet repression 300,000
Total deficit of the Soviet population in the war 28,000,000

Table 2 - Soviet Losses by Cause

Demographic loss of the Soviet Union in the Soviet-German War 28,000,000
Of that losses in migration deficit (Ellman, Maksudov) 2,700,000
Total Soviet war dead 25,300,000
Of that losses due to Soviet state repression 1,500,000
Total Losses due to war and occupation 23,800,000

Table 3 - Losses due to Soviet State Repression

Deaths in prisons, camps and colonies of the gulag 1,000,000
Deaths in deportations, internal exile and the labor army 300,000
Executions by civil authorities 65,000
Executions by military tribunals 135,000
Total deaths due to Soviet state repression 1,500,000

Table 4 - Losses due to War and Occupation

Red Army and NKDV losses due to combat, accidents and disease 7,250,000
Soviet partisan deaths 150,000
Opolchenie militia deaths 100,000
Soviet citizens killed fighting in non-Soviet formations 250,000
Deaths of Soviet prisoners of war in German captivity 3,100,000
Deaths of Soviet prisoners of war in Finnish captivity 20,000
Deaths of Soviet forced laborers in German-run Europe and children born to them 200,000
Jewish citizens of the Soviet Union murdered in the Holocaust 2,550,000
Civilian deaths in the Siege of Leningrad 900,000
Non-Jewish Civilians killed in German anti-partisan reprisals in the countryside 650,000
Non-combatants killed in the Polish-Ukrainian conflict in Galicia and Volhynia 50,000
Killed in reprisals of the Soviet partisans 60,000
Civilians killed in all other German killing policies and repression 200,000-400,000
Civilian deaths in the German aerial bombing of Soviet cities and towns 100,000-200,000
Civilian deaths due to battle munitions in, and in the aftermath, of battles 200,000-400,000
Civilian deaths due to general privation due to invasion and occupation 7,500,000-8,000,000
Total deaths due to occupation and war 23,800,000

Table of Contents


45. 270,000 Soviet regulars died due to disease, but there would have been tens of thousands of more such deaths among Soviet partisans.

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