The Instigator
Pro (for)
1 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
9 Points

World War One was the most brutal war

Do you like this debate?NoYes+2
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/15/2014 Category: Education
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,144 times Debate No: 56664
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (11)
Votes (3)




Hello fellow debaters. I have decided to start (what I would call an interesting) a debate titled World War One was the best war. This debate is unique in that we will consider sheer brutality of the wars in question.

Brutality: The state or quality of being ruthless, cruel, harsh, or unrelenting

My opponent is allowed to choose another war they deem more brutal than World War One (besides World War Two, see below for reasons) and then we will have a face off as to why the war of our choice is more brutal than the other.

For obvious reasons I am excluding World War Two from this debate, as it is the only war where atomic bombs were used. Additionally, the Holocaust was a real tragedy that appeals to emotion. As such this war will probably get the sympathy vote and we don't want people to vote for sympathy. We want voters to determine this debate by sheer blood lust.

<a href=; width="454" height="469" />

This debate is presently only open to debaters with a higher or equal rank to me. If you want to accept this debate and due to rank are unable to. Please leave a comment and if I feel you can adequately defend the blood lust I may open the debate to you.

First round is acceptance and a statement of which war you think was the most brutal.

Good luck to my opponent.

On a sidenote: I am trying to be light hearted, but this is clearly a very real and horrible subject.


I have 2 possible wars that could be used for this debate.
1) The 2nd Sino Japanese war: 1937 - 1945 (this is largely not counted as ww2 before 1941)
2) Taiping Rebellion: 1850 - 1864 (Civil wars are also wars; Civil war: "a war between opposing groups of citizens of the same country"[1])

I will present my case after pro does. I would like to remind everybody reading this that even if one of these wars are proven to be more deadly than WW1, the debate belongs to Con. For Pro to win the debate, he must prove that WW1 was deadlier than atleast one both of the wars.


Debate Round No. 1


Thanks to my opponent Theunknown for accepting what I hope will be a learning experience about the atrocities of war. As such I will not be trying to rebut your arguments as it is history. If anything, I will point out an inaccuracy if I see one, it is then for the voters to decide which war was truly the most vile.

The first world war (abbreviated as WWI) was a war between the Entente and the Central powers that occurred mainly in Europe over a time period of 4 years between 1914 and 1918. WWI is also commonly known as the great war as it was the first war which engaged most of the world in armed combat.(1) Looking at this list, one may think that not that many countries were involved. However, it should be noted that this list includes the allies colonies, so for example British Empire means Great Britain, Australia, India, South Africa, Canada and multiple others.(2)

Besides the large majority of nations involved in the war there are a multitude of reasons that I consider this war to be more brutal than any other. In this round and round three I will present the reasons I believe that the sheer madness and brutality that was WWI will hopefully never be eclipsed again in our history.

WWI in many ways was a war of sheer stupidity. It started essentially due to the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and from that day on insanity reigned in Europe.(3) It is a war that should never have happened, but one thing lead to another. Fronted mainly by miscommunication and pride the world descended into to four years of fighting and an estimated death of 37.5 million men and women or to put it differently, the death of 57.5 % of the soldiers that went to fight.(4)

One major change that caused such massive loss of life was that WWI coincided with a massive mechanization era in the world. As such the equipment to fight was new, but the methods of fighting a war were old. For example, before the roll out of tanks the British thought it would be a good idea to still fight with their illustrious cavalry against machine guns. Not a brilliant idea at all as the casualties of the attacks conducted by the cavalries were horrific as they got mowed down by automated weapons.(5)

Another example of the mindless deaths was the cries of “over the top” yelled by commanding officers in the trenches along the Western Front as they tried make advances. Sometimes, very rarely, succeeding only to be driven back into their old trenches again a few days later by the opposing side doing the exact same madness.(6) This is especially ridiculous to think about when we consider the Western front where a large majority of the fighting took place did not move for essentially four years of fighting.(7) So what happened was two sides facing each other across dead mans land and firing menacingly and randomly at certain times of day to try kill those in the other trenches.

In the next round I will talk further about some other advances in technology that made WWI the new era of deadly.

However, the war was not only horrible in that multiple soldiers dies due to sometimes horrific methods such as gassing. There was also the mass genocides that got conducted under the guise of war. The Armenian, Assyrian and Greek genocides purported by the Ottoman Empire during WWI, as well as after, were all horrific in nature and unfortunately a lot about it is still not known.(8, 9, 10) So how many people died during these genocides? According to estimates it is believed that 1.5 million Greeks, 750,000 Assyrians and 1.5. million Armenians were killed in these ethnic cleanings.

In the next round I will talk a little more about some more civilian casualties and war crimes perpetrated during WWI.

Lastly, and something important to realize is the aftermath or side effects of WWI. The infamous Spanish Flu pandemics spread is largely attributed to the conditions of war.(11) This flu virus is claimed to have killed 3 to 5 % of the world population at the time which amounts to 50 million people dead. However, it should also be noted that this is not the only viral outbreak that is attributed to the poor health conditions of the time.

Now I need to see some puppies to feel better. This is war and its horrible.

I hand the debate over to my opponent.














*Quotes from pro are italicized and underlined*

First of all, I would like to note that Pro mentioned 37.5 million people died and 57.5% of soldiers died. This is inaccurate.
In Pro's source ( it says that the total casualties were 37.5 million and 57.5% of soldiers. Casualties are not equal to deaths as my opponent interprets. Casualties = Death + Prisoner + Wounded + Missing.
The actual grand total of the number of deaths is 8.5 million which is only 13% of soldiers who fought in the war, according to Pro's own source.

According to estimates it is believed that 1.5 million Greeks, 750,000 Assyrians and 1.5. million Armenians were killed in these ethnic cleanings.
Oh the hypocrisy in this statement.
Pro stated that he does not want to allow me to do World War 2 because of the holocaust which is a genocide and will gain sympathy vote for me.
However, Pro mentions not one not two but three genocides.
As such, I humbly demand Pro withdraw this point. Otherwise, I have the right to and I shall argue World War 2 and the brutality of the holocausts in round 3.

WWI in many ways was a war of sheer stupidity. It started essentially due to the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and from that day on insanity reigned in Europe.
I do not see how the stupidity or insanity of the casus belli (reason for war) makes a war any more or less brutal.

Now to my own points on why WW1 was not the most brutal war.

2nd Sino Japanese war (which is too underrated in terms of its brutality):
China was invaded by Japan in 1937. Actually no, Japan occupied Manchuria (North-east China) in 1931 and Jehol Province (also north east, but closer to Beijing) in 1933, so it could be argued Japan and China were enemies from 1931 (I mean come on, China did not just give up Manchuria which is a big landmass)[1]. The Japanese fought against china till 1945. Therefore, it is fair to say that Japanese was at war against China for 14 years, which is 3.5 times longer than World war 1 which was only 4 years.
According to Pro, the defenition of brutality includes unrelenting.
The 2nd Sino Japanese war lasted 3.5 times longer than world war one, which means that the combatants of the war were 3.5 times more unrelenting which by Pro's defenition means that the 2nd Sino Japanese war was 3.5 times more brutal than the First World War.
Even if it can be argued that the war started only in 1937, it still makes the 2nd Sino Japanese war twice as long, unrelenting and hence twice as brutal as the First World War.

"Japan’s all-out invasion and Chinese resistance would be second only to the clash between Germany and the Soviet Union in terms of destruction and the number of dead."[2]
Well, it seems 2nd Sino Japanese war was not the deadliest after all. The German invasion of the USSR was the deadliest. But certainly not the first world war.
To put it in numbers, the 2nd Sino Japanese war saw the deaths of 10 million people at its lowest estimate[3]. Even this lowest estimate is 2 million higher than the First world war, which I established above has 8 million deaths.

..the Western front[of World War 1] where a large majority of the fighting took place did not move for essentially four years of fighting.
This does not help Pro's case at all. If anything, it hurts his case.
The western front that Pro was talking about is in the link below. The front lines are drawn and there was little to no movement in those front lines as Pro rightfully pointed out.

Though there was some movement during the war, the front lines remained essentially the same. Major cities such as Paris or London or even Berlin and Vienna were essentially untouched (Bombers were terrible in World War one, so bombing raids to be mentioned), this leads to the logical conclusion that not many civilians were directly impacted in the war. Though there was indirect impact such as families losing husbands, sons, brothers etc.. it is not as brutal as direct impact (obviously). The only civilians to be directly impacted were those living in belgium (with a population of 7.69 million in 1914[4] which became 7.59 million in 1918[4]) and in Russia (cannot find a number for population living under occupation to be honest).

China however, suffered far more of its civilians living under the brutal occupation of Japan. With major cities such as Beijing, Nanjing, Shanghai occupied by Japan. Not to mention that much of the east coast was occupied which contains a huge % China's population of 511 million[5] which was the highest in the world.
Oh, I say that Japan's occupation was brutal because they treated the people brutally. Yes, I speak of the Rape of Nanking (Nanjing Massacre)
Pictures below show a Chinese woman getting raped by a Japanese soldier (sorry for the imagery but it is necessary to prove that I am not fabricating anything) and mass murder of civilians.[6]

" for the Chinese in Nanking became a nightmare. Bands of drunken Japanese soldiers roamed the city, murdering, raping, looting, and burning at whim. Chinese civilians who were stopped on the street, and found to possess nothing of value, were immediately killed. At least twenty thousand Chinese women were raped in Nanking during the first four weeks of the Japanese occupation, and many were mutilated and killed when the Japanese troops were finished with them."[6]
If this is not brutal, I do not know what is. And this is certainly more brutal than being killed by a machine gun whilst cavalry charging. Also note, that thousands of Chinese troops who surrendered were brutally executed. Such brutality even towards those who did not want to fight. This is certainly a very brutal war indeed. I seriously doubt that World War one is as brutal as the 2nd Sino Japanese war.

Note: I don't feel the need to talk about the Taiping rebellion in this round. I will bring it up next round if I need to

Anyway, to summarize:
- I argue that the Sino Japanese War is more brutal than world war one because of the unrelenting (hence brutal according to Pro) occupation of China. With the war lasting from 8-14 years, depending on your prespective.
- The number of people living under Japanese occupation (and duration of the occupation) was far far higher than those under foreign occupation in World War one.
- 10 million people died in the 2nd Sino Japanese War compared to the 8 million in World War one .


Debate Round No. 2


Thanks Con for the interesting information about the Sino-Japanese War. After living in Korea and learning the history of Korea and the rest of East Asia I can assure you Con's history is spot on.

I apologize for the error with the statistics. Yes, that was a horrible mistake on my part so I apologize again.

Regarding the genocides/massacres of WWI. These are relevant as the Ottoman were fighting the Armenians and Greeks as part of their WWI campaign. The Armenians were fighting with the Russians, and as such they were the enemy. The Greeks were actively involved as a participant in the war see reference 1 from round 2. The fact that the Ottomans used this as a pretext to kill civilians means it is a war crime, however it is given the name genocide as that is what you call the deliberate mass executions of people from one culture. I will drop the contention about the Assyrians, as this link between the war is less definitive and can be argued either way. However, the Jews were not a state fighting the Germans in WW2, that is why it will get a sympathy vote. The Holocaust was pure genocide, as it was not a country at war with Germany. All war crimes are incorrect, but lets not fool ourselves these two “genocides” were part of the war.

Regarding the insanity and the time frame given. I was elaborating on the war and giving back story. I know time does not make a war more brutal, but again I was just giving context as I said in round 2 I hope this can also be a history lesson.

Regarding unrelenting, yes Con is right the Sino-Japanese war/occupation did last longer. However, there was not constant bombardment everyday. Life carried on as normal for the most part. The Japanese essentially occupied East Asia and stayed there until after WW2. For example the Japanese occupied Korea from 1910 to 1945. Yes, they were harsh, but companies still flourished, people had families and trade still continued. In contrast, WWI had bombings and gunfire everyday for four years continually, trade stopped unless it was war related, families separated etc. This, is unrelenting.

My opponent also pointed out that major cities were not involved. You need to remember though that the Western Front was 700 kms long. That is massive.(1) To give you an idea of the destruction on the Western Front, here is a picture of Pozières Village (see below) which was in the line of fire of the Western Front. (2) As you can see from this picture and the additional one added below that whole landscapes where reformed by the bombings. In fact, there are even tales of sapper crews blowing up mountains to get enemies to retreat. In fact the sounds of the explosions were heard in some cases as far away as Dublin, Ireland.(3) Additionally, the war was not only raging on the Western Front, it was raging in Russia, Austria, parts of Germany, Turkey, parts of Africa, etc.

Now onto my additional information regarding WWI.

WWI was the first war to actively use chemical warfare with the use of Mustard Gas, Tear Gas, Phosgene etc.(4) These weapons lead to multiple deaths and were in direct violation of the Hague conventions of 1899 and 1907. (5) These gas attacks at times lead to slow death after exposure or extreme burns and hospitalization. Or as Wilfred Owen put it:

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, --
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

Now onto another point. My opponent keeps pointing out the number of civilians murdered in the Sino-Japanese war which I agree is shocking. Before, I pointed out the murders of Greeks and Armenians. However, it does not stop there as was witnessed in the Rape of Belgium. Which resulted in the killing and execution of civilians (estimated 6,000 of the 60,000 civilians killed), forced labor (slavery?) to support the German war effort and massive displacement of 1.5 million Belgians.(7)

Lastly, in closing I would like to mention another medical condition that got a lot of attention after WWI. That is the mental condition called shell shock now commonly known as PTSD.(8) Now while I am not saying that shell shock did not occur before WWI, what I am saying that it was a prevalent medical condition to garner enough attention from doctors of the time.

I will end this round with that thought as just another reason why I believe WWI was the most brutal war to date.

Back over to you Con.











Despite my opponent's justification for using the genocide of the Greeks and Armenians in WW1 as an argument, I still feel that it is very much the same as the genocide of Jews in WW2. Pro's justification for using the Greek and Armenian genocide is that Greeks and Armenians were fighting the Ottoman Empire. Reguardless of whether the ethnic group is fighting or not, the brutality of genocide is the same. And the 'sympathy' is still the same for those who lost their lives. Let's also not forget that many of the Jews who died in the holocaust were from occupied countries.
Either way I am not going to make a bigger issue out of this, but I wanted to put this point out there (And I appreciate Pro dropping the Assyrian genocide).

Pro claims that during the 2nd Sino Japanese war:
there was not constant bombardment everyday. Life carried on as normal for the most part.
He backs up this point by comparing Japanese occupation of China to the Japanese occupation of Korea from 1910 to 1945, where there was essentially no bombings, no killings etc.

Korea was occupied during 1910 to 1945 but the question is: Was Korea at war against Japan from 1910 to 1945?
Korea was made into a protectorate of Japan in 1905 and then was annexed into the Japanese empire in 1910. There was not a bullet fired in this occupation since it was a 'diplomatic annexation'.[1] So of course the Japanese did not treat the Koreans harshly, they were incorporated into Japan. Japan gains little from treating their new Korean citizens harshly (of course there was some level harsh treatment and perhaps killings, but i am speaking in general terms).

With China however, it is war. So it would be ridiculous to compare the peaceful occupation of Korea to a brutal and long war against China.

Con claims that there were no constant bombardments everyday in the 2nd Sino Japanese war.
Goodness Gracious! How could Pro make such an outrageous claim!
Pro knows nothing of the thousands of bombing raids made by the Japanese.
The bombing of Shanghai, Nanjing, Guangzhou by the Japanese have killed thousands.
And worst of all was the bombing of Chongqing. Chongqing was the target of several bombings over the course of 5 years (longer than WW1) from 1938 to 1943. In these 5 years, there were more than 5000 bombing runs by Japan. It killed 10,000 people, mostly civilians. 11 thousand bombs were dropped, they were mostly incendinary bombs. So yes, death by fire to10,000 civilians. This is as bad as a WW1 chemical attack if not worse in my opinion. If this is not brutal, I do not know what is (also these numbers are all conservative estimates, the real number could be much higher and may never be known).[2][3]
So yes, Japan did bomb China a lot with better, faster and deadlier bombers than ww1. I mean for goodness sake, WW1 bombers were biplanes.

Flying itself was only 11 - 15 years old during WW1. Japan in the 1930's and the 40's had far better bombers than a WW1 bomber could ever hope to be. These better bombers had better range so the interiors of China are hit. WW1 did not have devestating air raids on Berlin, Paris, London, Vienna etc. This meant that as long as you were far enough from the front line, you were safe (so yeah, not that brutal).
In the case of the western front (where most of the fighting took place), the front line moved very little and thus cities like Berlin or Paris took no damage since there .
And I really find it hard to believe that WW1 bombs could cause a sound so loud that it could be heard in Dublin even though the bomb exploded in North Eastern France. A nuclear bomb, i would say maybe but defenitely not a WW1 bomb.

the Rape of Belgium. Which resulted in the killing and execution of civilians (estimated 6,000 of the 60,000 civilians killed), forced labor (slavery?) to support the German war effort and massive displacement of 1.5 million Belgians.

lets take into account that highest estimate and add that to the number of the Greeks and Armenians killed. The grand total of civilians killed according to what Pro mentioned thus far is 3 million or let's say 3.5 million at a high estimate.
The number of civilians killed in the 2nd Sino Japanese war numbers around 9.3 million at a low estimate which is 3 times higher than WW1. And I already proved in Round 2 that total deaths of WW1 is 8 million while in the 2nd Sino Japanese war it is 10 million.

Pro conceded that WW1 is less brutal than the 2nd Sino Japanese war on the point of being unrelenting, as WW1 lasted shorter.

However, Pro argues that chemical warfare made WW1 the most brutal war.
The chemical weapons do make WW1 a brutal war but not the most brutal war. Why? Because the 2nd Sino Japanese war saw the use of chemical weapons as well, not to mention Japan's biological weapons.
"during the 14 years of the Sino-Japanese War, Japan used poisonous gases more than 2,000 times in 77 counties of 14 provinces[of china[ in direct violation of the 1925 Geneva Protocol on prohibition on the use of chemical weapons, which Japan had also signed. These attacks killed tens of thousands of Chinese, including many civilians."[5]
I will not insert a gory image here. But my source number [5] has images of the symptoms of the chemical and biological weapons of Japan during the war, if anyone is interested to see the clear brutality of the 2nd Sino Japanese war.

In addition, after the 2nd Sino Japanese war, Japan abandoned a huge stockplie of chemical weapons in China. They were dumped in rivers or buried underground. In the present day, the have started to leak and cause civilian injuries and even deaths.
This is why I argue that the 2nd Sino Japanese war is more brutal than WW1 and logically, World War one was not the most brutal war.

[5]; (warning, this source has gore in it)

Note: I will not use the Taiping Rebellion in Round 4 for arguments since Pro will not have a chance to rebut it. With that, I hand the debate to Pro to make his summary of points and conclusion.
Debate Round No. 3


Thanks to my opponent for a great debate. It is my hope that at least readers of this debate if they are new to this topic will walk away with some new insights.

In this round I will firstly deal with some rebuttals and then move onto a clarification as to why I believe that WWI was the most brutal war.

I feel the need to address one important issue. Numbers do not brutality make. If this was the case then we could easily point to multiple other wars that have higher death tolls than both wars mentioned in this debate. Additionally if we want to get technical depending on the source the death toll is up to 65 million in WWI. Additionally, we need to consider what world populations were like at the point in time to determine how massive these umbers were 1.8 billion in 1920 versus 2.5 billion in 1945. Basically, what I am trying to point out as stated above, numbers are not everything. Although if we look at numbers it works in my favor, as the Sino-Japanese war is not even on the list of deadliest wars.(1) Although the reason the Sino-Japanese war it is not mentioned is that those numbers are included in the world war 2 figures to give a maximum of 72 million.

I apologize for my blanket statement that life carried on as normal. However, lets not be deceived that continual bombings happened on all the cities mentioned in the previous round, viz Shanghai, Nanjing, Guangzhou. The bombings were actually only done for a short time before the troops moved in and took the cities, see my opponents sources in round 3. The one city that received multiple bombings was Chongqing as pointed out by my opponent. In fact using my opponents source we find out that during the five years “268 air raids were conducted against Chongqing.” This is very different to unrelenting bombardment that my opponent is claiming.

My opponent also said “Pro conceded that WW1 is less brutal than the 2nd Sino Japanese war on the point of being unrelenting, as WW1 lasted shorter. ” This is not true in fact what I said was I know time does not make a war more brutal,”. So I am not sure how my opponent has interpreted this as I conceded nothing of the sort.

Lastly regarding disposed chemical weapons during the Sino-Japanese war. This again is nothing amazing after all, there are still unexploded mines and bombs and chemical weapons from WWI too.

In conclusion, here is a list of just some of the topics that I have discussed in this debate. This list surely helps you understand why I believe WWI was the most brutal war.

Mass mechanization and old war techniques that resulted in mass loss of life.

Use of chemical weapons that killed slowly and gruesomely

Unrelenting bombardment for four years.

Flu pandemic due to unsanitary conditions.

Trench warfare that led to new conditions been named i.e. shell shock and trench foot.

Massive number of civilians executed and caught in the crossfire.

The enslaving of Belgian citizens to help the German war effort.

Sheer number of nations involved in the war effort.

Once again I thank Con for a great debate. Good luck in your last round.




To get this point over with, I believe and I am sure Pro does as well (it can be seen in his arguments) that both WW1 and 2nd Sino Japanese war are even on the point of the usage and lack of proper disposal of chemical and biological weapons. So on the point of chemical weapons, both wars are at a draw in terms of brutality.

Also, about the Spanish Flu. That does not help in Pro's case about WW1's brutal. If one side used artilery or primitive planes to hurl Spanish Flu victims at the enemy to infect them, then that would make the Spanish Flu a fair point to make. But there is no such proof that any country resorted to this kind of tactic. So its only logical that the Spanish Flu should not be taken into account (especially also becasue the Spanish Flu pandemic arose AFTER the war).

My opponent claims that Chongqing was bombed 268 times in the course of 5 years, and that claim is backed up in my own source.
My source clearly states "A conservative estimate places the number of bombing runs at more than 5,000". But either way, the damge dealt was the same (very heavy damage.
To restate the facts, over 5 years the bombing of Chongqing "killed an estimated 11,889 people, wounded 14,100 and destroyed 17,608 buildings".[1]
The brutality is the same, whether it happens in a few deadly attacks or spread out over many, less powerful attacks.

My opponent states that death toll counts for little in assessing the brutality of a war.

Of course a death toll must be taken into account. Pro has not proved that the death toll should not be taken into account. He just states and repeats his claim and compares the 2 world populations of 1920 vs 1945 why did Pro even do this? Lives are still as valuable reguardless of whether there is a higher population or not. Since Pro has failed to argue the invalidity of the death toll number, it must therefore be taken into account (which is obvious really, I shouldn't have to explain this).

Pro then further goes on to make yet another outrageous claim that WW1 saw the deaths of 72 million lives. Using a high estimate for the death toll given in Con's source. This is impossible to believe because his source states that 9 million combatants were killed (ok that seems about right), and the 9 million is not a high or low estimate, it is just one number given in con's source. What this means is that according to Pro, 63 million civilians died in the war. This is not even possible if the place where most of fighting took place did not even see its front lines move (western front).
How could 63 million civilians die if none of the major cities were occupied?
But anyway, I have already discussed the part about civilian casualties though, and according to Pro's own points and sources, the total civilians killed were about 3 million which is NOT 63 million. So the death toll for WW1 is NOT 72 million. It is 8 million according to another one of Pro's sources so we will stick to that. Perhaps the 72 million takes into account the Spanish Flu. I disscussed this already but I will restate that: since the Spanish flu came after the war, and since the Flu was not used as a biological weapon, it must therefore not be taken into account.

As I rebut my opponent's points, I find that Pro has made several outrageous claims to prove his arguments.
I mean, lets just think about his claims for a second.

-He stated that China was not continually bombed by Japan. Which I have clearly disproved.

- He compares the peaceful occupation of Korea to one of the most brutal wars which is the 2nd Sino Japanese War.

-He states that higher number of deaths does not make a war more brutal. But does not give reason.

-He gives such an unbelievable death toll for WW1 which is completely illogical as proved above.


I will provide a Final Comparison of both the wars below.

World War One (Pro)

2nd Sino Japanese War (Con)

Death toll

Less Brutal (8 million)

More Brutal (10 million)

Usage of Chemical weapons



Aerial Bombings

Less Brutal (No major cities impacted, Bombers were very crude and basic)

More Brutal (cities like Chongqing took heavy damage, especially with incendiary attacks)

People living under occupation

Less Brutal (only Belgium and parts of Russia were occupied for a brief period, No major cities except Brussels occupied)

More Brutal (Large chunks of China, including the most populated areas and the major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai were occu[ied)

Treatment of People under occupation

Less Brutal (Rape of Belgium with 6,000 dead at lowest estimate)

Total civilians dead = 3.5 million

More Brutal (Rape of Naking with 20,000 dead at lowest estimate)

Total civilians dead = 9.3 million


Less Brutal ( 4 years of war)

More Brutal ( 8 - 14 years of war)

After looking at the Facts which leads me to believe that the 2nd Sino Japanese war was more brutal in every aspect except chemical weapons (which was a draw), it is fair to conclude that the 2nd Sino Japanese war is more brutal than World War one.

Also about the point on the shell shock. If primitive World war one bombs caused so much psychological damage, imagine the incendiary bombs of the Japanese. Imagine seeing your best friend burned alive (many civilians did not have military discipline so their emotion is probably more unstable), that is what many of the Chinese went through and obviously it had the same level of psychological damage if not more.

To conclude, World War one was NOT the most brutal war to date.

-Pro has failed to effectively prove that WW1 was the most brutal war to date
-Pro makes several wild and outrageous statements as I pointed out earlier.

Therefore points should go to Con.


On a leaving note, I urge voters to read through all of our arguments thoroughly before making an unbiased vote. I hope the readers and my opponent have enjoyed this debate and I thank Pro for instigating it.
Debate Round No. 4
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Theunkown 2 years ago

If you have the time, could you please give examples of the provocative statements I made (i was a wee bit surprised to be honest). I would appreciate if you could.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago

I could look at this multiple ways. I could look at it based on death toll (seems odd that Pro kept arguing for it before he decided to state that it wasn't that big of an issue in R4), where Con is giving me the best argument for a higher death toll. The number of civilians dead is similarly more solid on Con. Taking into account the genocides doesn't help much because I'm not given a solid reason to prefer those deaths. I could look at the brutality of occupation, as well as numbers under occupation, and give it to Con, as Pro never argued this. I could look at sustained war, and really the problem here for Pro is that Con is controlling the conversation. I buy that the 2nd Sino Japanese War lasted longer, over the course of which there were consistent bombings. I would have found several arguments compelling (while the front didn't move, it was large, and involved multiple engagements at once, not to mention a constant threat of vast expansion), but I didn't see any of them, so I'm leaning Con here as well. I don't think the flu pandemic is enough to stand on, as a solid link between it and the war was never established.

So I end up going Con on a number of different issues. Well done to both debaters.
Posted by iamanatheistandthisiswhy 2 years ago
@Theunknown: Thanks for the debate. To clarify the death tolls for you. I was just showing that depending on sources you get different estimates. And like I said the Sino-Japanese war does not even fall on the list of deadly. Basically I believe this is due to the numbers falling into the WW2 total. If this is the case then I think its pretty obvious that WWI was more brutal as the Sino-Japanese war is on lists but the estimate is still lower than the high estimate or average of WWI. Thats why I think numbers are irrelevant.
Posted by iamanatheistandthisiswhy 2 years ago
@TheUnknown: I am glad you can enjoy it. I know forfeits can be frustrating, so try add restrictions to your debates. It really helps.
Posted by Theunkown 2 years ago
Man, this has been a good debate. The past few debates I had all ended in a forfeit by the opponent. It was really annoying and I almost gave up on this site. But you have showed me that there are worthy debaters out there.
Thanks for trying in this debate bro :P (that was not meant to be derogatory, it was just to emphasize that nobody really bothers with the debates that I have previously had).
Posted by iamanatheistandthisiswhy 2 years ago
Read the first round its going up soon.
Posted by Envisage 2 years ago
Brutal seems subjective.

To me it seems for example the atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not particularly brutal as most people that died did so instantaneously..

Whereas wars that led to famines, starvation, torture and slavery are prime candidates.

Death isn't an immediate qualifier.
Posted by iamanatheistandthisiswhy 2 years ago
@Empiren: I agree.
Posted by Empiren 2 years ago
WWII isn't even the most brutal war.

Try mongol-china or any war where the losing side was raped/slaved.

WWI was actually pretty ok compared to the older wars.
Posted by iamanatheistandthisiswhy 2 years ago
@Teemo: I would debate against WW2 as I do not believe it was the most brutal. I just believe it will get the sympathy vote as I pointed out. What is the point of having a debate and getting ruined by a sympathy vote.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 2 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Given in comments.
Vote Placed by MyDinosaurHands 2 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: Con wins on virtually all fronts. Pro brings chemical warfare to a tie, as both wars utilized it. Pro does talk about the conditions in the trenches, which I agree are brutal, however this is one small point won out of many lost. Con shows that more people died (and I ran the numbers, a higher % of the world died in Con's war). Con showed that civilian treatment was far worse, with constant air raids and unnecessary pictures of naked women being raped (you say it was there to prove there was no fabrication, but one picture of a woman being raped only proves that one woman was raped). Con shows that the Spanish Flu was part of the aftermath of the war, not an active ingredient in it. I give conduct to Pro for some of Con's somewhat provocative commentary (can give examples in the comments). Overall, very informative debate, good job to both of you. If anyone would like a clarification of this RFD I'm happy ('happy') to give one.
Vote Placed by YYW 2 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: The Sino-Japanese War and Taiping Rebellion were both more brutal than WWI, where brutality is measured by death tolls. This should not have been debated, because it is a basic question of fact. Reality compels a CON win.