Estimates of the total number of human deaths attributable to World War II vary widely, and have increased over time as new research, especially in the former Soviet territories, has brought new evidence to light. As a result, the formerly accepted estimate of about 60 million now seems conservative, and some historians suggest the true figure to be over 80 million, with the ratio of combatant to civilian deaths being roughly 2:5. The toll on the Soviets was by far the highest, totalling over 20 million. Worldwide, about 5 million died as prisoners of war. A large number of the civilian deaths were due, besides bombings, to war-induced disease and famine and to persecutions and genocides. In Europe, over 6 million Jews, gypsies and other ‘undesirables’ were systematically murdered, most of them from Poland, Byelorussia and Ukraine. Over 2 million were gassed at Auschwitz alone. In the Far East, China now estimates its civilians killed by the Japanese as more than 20 million.
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