Visualising the numbers – The Fallen of World War II

Today and tomorrow we remember the end of the war in Europe 72 years ago. I think this video provides a fitting illustration of what that war meant to nations and families around the world – and why we commemorate its end.

It’s also an excellent example of what can be done with data visualisation. I don’t think I have seen a better presentation of the reality of that war – of the numbers of soldiers and civilians killed in the different countries during that war.

Something to aspire to for anyone involved in data presentation.

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10 responses to “Visualising the numbers – The Fallen of World War II

  1. lindarosarn

    It seems the British and Americans rarely give credit to the Russians for their role in WWII.

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  2. I agree, Linda. This is the point of this In the Now video – but the graphics are nowhere near as effective as the one in the post

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  3. “It seems the British and Americans rarely give credit to the Russians for their role in WWII.”

    Not true, Linda. As a U.S. citizen, I can say that the Russian sacrifice during World War II is very well known and appreciated. Although it is true that most depictions of WWII in U.S. popular culture do center on U.S. involvement, and that is only natural, it is also true that Russian involvement is also depicted.

    For example, the popular U.S. film, “Enemy at the Gates,” starring U.S. and British actors (Ed Harris, Jude Law . . ) depicts the Nazi invasion of Russia at the Battle of Stalingrad.

    The contributions of Russia’s defense of freedom are widely acknowledged in the United States. I have heard “The 1812 Overture,” the musical depiction of Napoleon’s invasion of, and defeat by, Russia, played on our Independence Day.

    To suggest that U.S. Americans are uninformed about these great sacrifices is a sad over generalization.

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  4. David, I am sure you can find examples like you site but what about the overall messages? My impression is that most in the west are pretty ignorant of what the Soviet peoples suffered – that is why I thought this visualisation was so effective.

    I guess the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Have a scan through the events and media coverage of the 72 commemorations in the US and the Russian Federation today. Also, check out what political leaders say in their comments on the anniversary.

    I was struck last year how in Obama’s comments the commemoration was really about US losses and I don’t think he referred to Soviet losses. In contrast, Putin in his comment did give thanks to those from other nations, including the US, who died in this fight. On past performance, I am sure he will do the same today.

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  5. Perhaps you are correct. Perhaps not enough credit is given to the Russian sacrifice. I don’t know a thing about the sacrifices New Zealand made in World War II, and I would never give a thought of looking into it other than to argue a point with you. But I was aware of the great suffering of the Russian people.

    True, U.S. citizens are not the most enlightened. If you were to ask one of us what our country is, most would ignorantly say, as Linda did in her first comment, America. But clearly, the United States is not alone in the ignorance of its citizens. I don’t doubt most people in the world, Chinese, Iranians, Brazilians, etc., . . are unaware of the great sacrifice the Russian people made in the face of the Third Reich.

    Nevertheless, I found this on the webpage of the Eisenhower Institute, as in President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who sat in the Oval Office during what was perhaps a period of the worst relationship between the Soviet Union and the United States, . . . who sat in the Oval Office during the horrible era of anti-Soviet McCarthyism. Take a look at it. I hope it alters your perception, if only a bit.
    http://www.eisenhowerinstitute.org/about/living_history/wwii_soviet_experience.dot

    Yes, I do agree, the Russian contribution to the War deserves more recognition.

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  6. Yes, I do agree, the Russian contribution to the War deserves more recognition.

    Good, you are almost there, David. The next step is to recognise what these sacrifices have meant to the Russian psyche and their concerns over territorial integrity and defence against hostile hegemony from NATO.

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  7. Richard, you clearly haven’t taken a look at the link I provided from the Eisenhower Institute. Had you read it, you would have seen this remark, and would not have repeated the sentiment in your comment:

    ” For those who remembered the war, any cold war policy that would repel any future aggressor on their soil- or discourage any group of nations from contemplating it-was an acceptable sacrifice.”

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  8. It was an interesting article, and in general not news to me, but as the Cold War is over I don’t see the quoted comment has relevance in regard to the recent aggressive hegemony by NATO toward Russia.

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  9. Richard: “It was an interesting article, and in general not news to me.”

    Far be it from you to admit that you lack knowledge of something, but perhaps what was news to you was the possibility that this viewpoint could have originated from anyone in the United States, as evidenced by the first few comments. More newsworthy is the fact that it was found on a website which bears the name of the President who sat in office during the extreme McCarthy hysteria. . . And that was my point for offering it.

    ” . . but as the Cold War is over I don’t see the quoted comment has relevance in regard to the recent aggressive hegemony by NATO toward Russia.”

    Far be it from you to admit that your reading skills are lacking, but as the quote spoke of “any future aggressor on their soil . . ,” it is completely relevant.

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  10. No problem with my comprehension and that’s because I don’t ignore the first and qualifying part of the sentence and instead only present the second part.

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