World War II Atrocities

World War II Atrocities

World War II lasted from 1939 to 1945. World War II is considered the deadliest conflict in human history. The death toll from World War II is over 60 million. Just in the United States, 16 million men entered the U.S. military during World War II. World War II was one of the bloodiest and costliest wars of human history. World War II had many atrocities followed by many hardships.

One of the major WWII atrocities was the Holocaust. The Holocaust was an attempt to end the Jewish religion. Around 6 million Jews were killed in concentration camps; however, Jews were not the only ones persecuted. Approximately 220,000 homosexuals were killed, and an estimated 258,000 gypsies were killed, too. The innocent victims were considered “racially inferior” and “undesirables”. Many of the victims were shot (most after digging their own graves), gassed, starved, or worked to death. The Nazis committed genocide on a scale that the world had never seen before. The reason for this was that Hitler blamed them for Germany’s problems; as part of his “Final Solution”, he set out to kill them.

The atomic bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki weighed 10,000 pounds; its explosive power equaled 20,000 tons of TNT. The scientists had named the bomb “Fat Man”. On August 9, 1945, this bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan; the bomb killed roughly 74,000 people. Three days earlier, an atomic bomb “vaporized” the center of Hiroshima. This weapon was called the “Little Boy”. It is estimated that “Little Boy” killed about 140,000 people. The majority of the fatalities were civilians.

On April 9, 1942, around 75,000 Filipino and American soldiers were surrendered to the Japanese Army. The Japanese had only expected 25,000 prisoners of war, but received an overwhelming 75,000. They planned to move the prisoners of war from Mariveles to Camp O’Donnell. Those who could not get a ride from one of the trucks were forced to walk 30 miles on sweltering paths with little or no food, and they were forced to walk barefoot, partially on asphalt. Through the duration of nine days, some prisoners were forced to walk as much as two-thirds of the 90 miles. The prisoners of war were beaten randomly and denied the food that they were promised. Many soldiers were left to die, and others starved to death. After the Bataan Death March, approximately 54,000 of the 75,000 prisoners reached Camp O’Donnell. Out of those who died, it was estimated that 10,000 were Filipinos and 650 were Americans.

On February 19th, 1942, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. Under these terms, approximately 120,000 people from Japanese descent who were living in the United States were forced from their homes and put in internment camps. The government’s reason behind this was that they claimed there was a threat of those people spying for the Japanese. More than two-thirds of the people placed in these camps were American citizens and half of them were children. Some families were separated and placed in different camps. During the entire war, only ten people were convicted of spying for Japan and these were all Caucasians. The people in these camps were only permitted a few possessions, and many people were only given 48 hours before they were evacuated from their homes. These people became easy prey for people who offered them far less than the market prices for the goods they were not able to bring with them.

The people were put in barracks and had to use common areas for all personal activities (such as laundry, washing, and eating). Many people died from inadequate medical care and emotional stress. Some people had to deal with extreme temperatures of deserts. In 1943, internees above the age of 17 were given a loyalty test. In January 1945, the internees were allowed to return to their homes. Some people viewed these camps as a form of concentration camps.

Gulags were forced labor camps in the Soviet Union. In 1931-1932, the Gulag contained approximately 200,000 prisoners in the camps; in 1935, in contained an estimated 800,000 prisoners in camps and 300,000 in colonies. By 1939, there were 1.3 million prisoners in camps and 350,000 in colonies. Some of these prisoners were then forced to fight on the front lines of some of the most dangerous and bloodiest battles. In these camps, the prisoners were tortured and treated in ways that “belittled themselves” and “violated human rights”. One of the worst gulags was Kolyma; in this camp, the temperatures would supposedly drop to -90 degrees. In Kolyma, thirty percent of the prisoners would die each year. People sent to the Gulags included peasants who were accused of “individualistic tendencies”, and those who opposed the establishment of collective farms. Many of these peasants were Ukrainians, Kazakhs, Uzbeks, Kirghiz, Mordovians, and Caucasians. Large numbers of people living in the west of the Soviet Union, Chinese, and Koreans who lived along the eastern border were sent to Gulags towards the center of the Soviet Union.

Others went to Gulags because of their religion. People who were Catholics, Baptists, and members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church were “deported” to Gulags. During WWII, enemies, prisoners of war, and men and women taken from Nazi Germany were all sent to Gulags. It is estimated that an unbelievable 50 million people died in Soviet Gulags between 1930 and 1950.

There are uncountable, unfathomable, disastrous atrocities that occurred due to World War II. Soviet atrocities included the Gulags; German atrocities included the Holocaust. Japanese atrocities included the Death March; American atrocities included internment camps. World War II affected the lives of billions of innocent people. The death toll of World War II included numbers that were unbelievable to most. So many innocent lives were lost. All races, religions, and countries were affected. This was truly a devastating world war that forever impacted the entire planet.