World War II Deaths Visualization

Everyone should watch this film by Neil Halloran which manages to convey at least some sense of the scale and proportions of human losses in World War II.  Hopefully, others will follow in the footsteps of this pioneering work.

My main nitpick is that many viewers may walk away thinking that the true World War II figures are known with more precision than they really are.

That said, the narration clearly states that the Soviet number is disputed and could be very much higher than the one with which Halloran shocks his viewers.  He also notes that the number of Roma deaths is disputed and that there is an extremely wide range of estimates of civilians killed by the advancing Red Army during the collapse of the Nazi regime.

Moreover, it seems very unlikely that further information could overturn basic comparative facts cited in the film such as that Poland suffered the highest percent of people killed while the Soviet Union suffered the highest absolute number.

So maybe I’m a little harsh on whether or not Halloran adequately conveys the uncertainty of his subject.  Still, I do worry that future projects will give in to a temptation to sweep too much uncertainty under the rug.

Nevertheless, this project is an extraordinary achievement.

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