Can you guess these deadliest civil war facts?


By: John Miller

6 Min Quiz

Image: wiki commons

About This Quiz

Distant wars are one thing -- civil wars are an entirely different beast. Neighbors and family members take up arms against one another and commit some of the worst atrocities in history. How much do you know about the worst civil wars in history?

Men of fighting age (roughly 13 to 40) died in droves during the American Civil War, especially in the South. What percentage of those men were killed?

Nearly 20 percent of the South's men were slaughtered during the war. About 94,000 were killed in action, and more than 160,000 died from diseases.


Combined, how many Union and Confederate troops died in P.O.W. camps?

So much for caring for prisoners. Nearly 30,000 men -- on each side -- died as P.O.W.s. In some situations, being captured was as good as a death sentence.


Both Union and Confederate soldiers suffered from terrible swelling and blistering in their hands that were caused by what?

An epidemic of scabies, caused by particularly awful mites, made life even more miserable by ruining the skin of soldiers' hands and sometimes making daily tasks impossible. Poor hygiene was to blame. It was just one of the many awful aspects of this awful war.


America's population was around 31 million people in 1860. What percentage of the population died during the conflict?

More than 620,000 troops died in the war, accounting for the bulk of casualties. That was roughly 2 percent of the entire country's population.


What percentage of soldiers died from disease during the American Civil War?

Better check on that cough, Jed. Bullets were deadly, but disease was much, much deadlier. About two-thirds, or 66 percent of soldiers, died from disease during the war.


The American Civil War was the deadliest civil war in human history.

It was a horrific war, to be sure, one that ripped apart families and ruined lives. But the American Civil War is far from the deadliest in history.


With military and civilian casualties combined, which of the following civil wars was the deadliest?

The Chinese Civil War was fought for about 15 years (combined) and altogether it killed about eight million people. It may have been one of the deadliest civil wars ever.


The Chinese Civil War was incredibly deadly. When did it begin?

The Chinese Civil War was a modern conflict. It started in 1927, ran until 1937 and took a bit of a breather during World War II. Then the combatants picked up where they left off and fought until 1950.


Which country interrupted China's bloody civil war?

The Chinese laid down their arms against their brothers, only because they had to deal with Japan. In 1937, Japan set out on a course of imperialism by invading its huge neighbor. The Second Sino-Japanese War was the beginning of the Pacific portion of World War II, and it killed millions of Chinese across the land.


The Chinese Civil War was fought between the nationalists and the _____.

The Chinese Civil War was a vicious fight between nationalists and communists. Hostilities never officially ended, and some historians say that this civil war is technically still on.


After World War II, the communists got a huge surge of weapons and supplies from which country?

The communist government of the Soviet Union was more than happy to offload its surplus weapons (plus those taken from the Japanese in World War II) to the similarly-minded communists in China. The boost in weapons helped them turn the tide of the war.


During the Chinese Civil War, the communists were forced into a year-long retreat that's now called _____.

In late 1934, the communists were outmanned and outgunned and forced to begin a tortuous retreat called the Long March. Some units may have retreated more than 5,000 miles to escape annihilation by nationalist armies.


Which man was one of the most important leaders of the communist side during the war?

Mao Zedong was one of the critical communist leaders. After the war ended, he rose to the top of Chinese politics and became one of the most brutal leaders in world history.


In 1938, Mao Zedong gave a bold speech in which he said: "Political power grows out of ______."

Mao said, "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun." And for the rest of the Chinese Civil War, he encouraged his fellow fighters to kill the nationalists with impunity.


The Korean War was essentially a civil war.

The Korean War was definitely categorized as a civil war, especially during the initial outbreak of hostilities. In 1950, the North set the war into motion by invading the South.


The U.S. opted to fight on which side of the Korean War?

America and the United Nations came to the defense of South Korea. China, on the hand, opted to assist the communist North Koreans. The civil war morphed into a proxy war of sorts.


How many total soldiers died in the Korean War?

More than half a million soldiers died during the war. Civilians suffered greater losses, and perhaps 2.5 million of them were caught in the crossfire.


True or False: World War II was the biggest war ever. It was the deadliest war ever for American troops.

Not even close. About 420,000 American troops died during World War II, the biggest war ever. But the American Civil War killed more than 620,000 troops.


North Korea was devastated by the Korean War. It lost about what percentage of its total population?

Perhaps 15 percent (around 1.5 million) of North Korea's population died during the three-year ordeal. Eventually, the two sides hit a stalemate and sent North Korea reeling into its current disheveled state.


The Spanish Civil War started in 1936. This war is memorable for what reason?

The Spanish Civil War featured blood-curdling atrocities too gruesome to list here. Suffice it to say, the Spanish found creative and psychopathic ways to butcher each other.


Which side of the Spanish Civil War received help from Hilter and his cronies?

The Spanish Civil War pitted the Republicans versus the Nationalists. The Nationalists were delighted to receive assistance from fascists like Hitler and Mussolini. The war wound up killing more than half a million people.


The Russian Civil War found the Red Army fighting _____.

The Russian Civil War started in 1917 and found the Red Army fighting the White Army. The Red Army fought for socialism -- the White Army, for a more democratic version of socialism.


Who was the leader of the Red Army?

Vladimir Lenin was the socialist political firebrand leading the Red Army. Eventually, the socialists won … and established the Soviet Union.


The Russian Civil War may have killed how many people?

The Red and White armies decimated each other and killed civilians by the scores. Perhaps 9 million people died in the conflict, which lasted more than half a decade.


Where did the Taiping Civil War take place?

The Taiping Civil War was another amazingly destructive Chinese conflict. It started in 1850 and didn't end until nearly 14 years later.


The Taiping Civil War happened largely because of a government crackdown on a man named Hong Xiuquan, who believed he was related to which famous person?

Hong Xiuquan believed that he was the younger brother of Jesus. The government cracked down on his version of Christianity … and a terrible civil war broke out.


The Taiping Civil War may have been the deadliest ever.

The numbers are unfathomable. What started as a government crackdown killed perhaps 100 million people, far more than World War II. Some historians believe that the war killed "only" 30 million, a number that would still make it unbelievably devastating.


Where did the epic An Lushan Rebellion take place?

In the year 755, the An Lushan Rebellion took hold of China. It was a mind-bogglingly deadly rebellion against the rulers of the Tang dynasty.


How many people died during the An Lushan Rebellion?

The An Lushan Rebellion happened so long ago that no one really knows the death toll. But some researchers believe that tens of millions of people perished in the conflict.


Why do Chinese civil wars have such high death tolls?

For centuries, China's had a relatively high population density compared to other parts of the world. So when civil war breaks out in China -- it's a bloodbath of the worst kind.


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