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World War II killed more people, involved more nations, and cost more money than any other war in history. Altogether, 70 million people served in the armed forces during the war and 17 million combatants died. Civilian deaths were ever greater. At least 19 million Soviet civilians, 10 million Chinese, and 6 million European Jews lost their lives during the war.
World War II was truly a global war. Some 70 nations took part in the conflict, and fighting took place on the continents of Africa, Asia, and Europe, as well as on the high seas. Entire societies participated, as soldiers, war workers, or victims of occupation and mass murder.
World War I killed more people--9 million combatants and 5 million civilians--and cost more money--$186 billion in direct costs and another $151 billion in indirect costs--than any previous war in history. Politically, it resulted in the downfall of four empires and contributed to the Bolshevik rise to power in Russia in 1917 and the triumph of fascism in Italy in 1922. The war allowed the United States to become the world's leading creditor and industrial power. Its consequences included the mass murder of Armenians in Turkey and an influenza epidemic that killed over 25 million people worldwide.