The Toll of War: The Soviet Union’s Population during World War II

What was the lowest available population to the Soviet Union in WW2?

The exact lowest available population figure for the Soviet Union during World War II is difficult to determine due to various factors such as casualties, displacement, and migration. However, it is estimated that the population of the Soviet Union reached its lowest point during the war in 1942 or 1943.

The impact of the war on the Soviet Union was immense. The country suffered heavy casualties, with millions of soldiers and civilians losing their lives. Cities and infrastructure were devastated, and millions were displaced or forced to evacuate. In addition, the war led to widespread famine and disease, further contributing to the population decline. While specific figures may vary, it is clear that the Soviet Union suffered significant population loss and hardship during this period.

World War II: A Defining Chapter in Human History

The Second World War is one of the most significant and transformative periods in human history. This global conflict, which lasted from 1939 to 1945, engulfed nations, reshaped geopolitical landscapes, and produced immense human suffering and resilience. In this article, we delve into the historical narrative of World War II, exploring its causes, key events, and lasting impact on the world. Join us on this journey as we uncover the complexities and profound lessons of this tumultuous chapter.

The Seeds of Conflict

We begin by examining the factors that laid the groundwork for the outbreak of World War II. From the Treaty of Versailles and the rise of totalitarian regimes to economic instability and territorial ambitions, we explore the intricate web of circumstances that set the stage for this devastating conflict.

The global theater

World War II was fought on multiple fronts, spanning continents and oceans. We explore the major theaters of war, including the European, Pacific, African, and Eastern fronts, highlighting key battles, strategies, and turning points that shaped the course of the conflict.

Heroes and Leaders

World War II produced remarkable leaders and countless stories of heroism. We spotlight influential figures such as Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Joseph Stalin, as well as courageous soldiers, resistance fighters, and ordinary individuals who made extraordinary contributions to the war effort.

The Holocaust and Human Tragedy

The Holocaust, a horrific genocide perpetrated by the Nazi regime, remains one of the darkest chapters in human history. We explore the systematic persecution and extermination of millions of innocent people, and reflect on the profound lessons it continues to teach and the importance of remembrance.

Technological Advances

World War II witnessed unprecedented technological advances that revolutionized warfare. From the development of nuclear weapons and radar to the use of tanks, aircraft, and cryptography, we examine how these innovations affected the course and outcome of the war.

The Aftermath and Legacy

The aftermath of World War II ushered in a new world order. We delve into the postwar era, discussing the formation of the United Nations, the Cold War, the decolonization movement, and the lasting social, political, and economic effects that shaped the second half of the 20th century.

World War II’s Impact on Ordinary Lives: Sacrifices, Challenges, and Resilience

World War II had a profound effect on the lives of ordinary people around the world.

Mobilization and Conscription

As nations prepared for war, ordinary people, including men and women, were mobilized for military service. Conscription or voluntary enlistment became common, resulting in a significant portion of the labor force being called up to serve in the armed forces. This created labor shortages in various industries and disrupted families and communities.

Rationing and shortages

The war led to widespread rationing of essential goods and resources. Items such as food, fuel, clothing, and even basic commodities became scarce due to disrupted supply chains and the diversion of resources to the war effort. People had to cope with limited supplies and adjust their lifestyles to make do with less.

Women’s role and empowerment

World War II created new opportunities for women in various countries. As men served in the military, women took on traditionally male roles, working in factories, farms, and other essential industries. This shift challenged social norms and contributed to women’s empowerment and increased participation in the workforce.

Evacuation and Displacement

The war required the evacuation of millions of people, especially children, from cities and areas threatened by bombing or invasion. Families were separated and individuals had to adapt to new environments, often living with host families or in unfamiliar regions. Displacement and the loss of homes and communities caused significant upheaval and emotional distress.

Bombings and air raids

The war saw extensive aerial bombing and air raids on cities and civilian populations. Ordinary people faced the constant threat of bombing, resulting in loss of life, destruction of homes and infrastructure, and immense psychological trauma. Air raid shelters and blackouts became part of everyday life as people sought to protect themselves from enemy attack.

War Propaganda and Censorship

Governments used propaganda to shape public opinion and maintain morale. Ordinary people were exposed to extensive wartime propaganda through the media, posters, and films designed to unite and motivate the populace. Censorship was also widespread, controlling the flow of information and limiting dissenting voices.

Post-war reconstruction and reconciliation

After the war, ordinary people faced the arduous task of rebuilding their lives, homes, and communities. Efforts were made to reconcile and heal the wounds of war, both within countries and between nations. Reconstruction and recovery took time, and societies underwent significant changes as they sought to move forward from the devastation of war.

Exploring the Depths of World War II: Recommended Books and Documentaries

Here are some notable books and documentaries about World War II that provide valuable insight into the historical events, personal accounts, and broader impact of the war.


  • “The Second World War by Antony Beevor: A comprehensive and accessible account of World War II that combines military strategy, personal narrative, and political analysis.
  • “The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank: The poignant and powerful diary of Anne Frank, a Jewish girl hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam during the war. It offers a personal perspective on the human experience during that time.
  • “Band of Brothers by Stephen E. Ambrose: This book tells the true story of Easy Company, a unit of American paratroopers, from their training to their involvement in major battles, providing a gripping account of their bravery and camaraderie.
  • “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer: A landmark work that provides a comprehensive history of Nazi Germany, examining the political, social, and military aspects of the regime.
  • “The Longest Day by Cornelius Ryan: A gripping narrative that vividly portrays the events leading up to and on D-Day, offering a compelling and detailed account of one of the most significant military operations in history.


  • “The World at War” (1973): A landmark documentary series narrated by Sir Laurence Olivier that offers a comprehensive and in-depth examination of World War II through interviews, archival footage and expert analysis.
  • “Ken Burns: The War” (2007): A compelling documentary series from acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns that focuses on the experiences of American individuals and communities during World War II.
  • “Apocalypse: The Second World War” (2009): A French documentary series that uses rare and colorized footage to create a visually stunning and immersive account of the war.
  • “WWII in HD” (2009): A documentary miniseries that uses high-definition, colorized footage and first-hand accounts to bring the war to life, providing a unique and immersive viewing experience.
  • “The Battle of Britain” (2010): A documentary that explores the pivotal Battle of Britain, using interviews, re-enactments and archival footage to explore the heroic efforts of the RAF during the battle.


World War II is one of the most monumental events in human history, leaving an indelible mark on nations, societies, and individuals around the world. The end of the war in 1945 marked a turning point that shaped the rest of the 20th century and beyond. As we reflect on the legacy of World War II, several important conclusions emerge.

First, World War II demonstrated the devastating consequences of unchecked aggression, totalitarianism, and the dangerous appeal of extremist ideologies. The war revealed the depths of human cruelty and the horrors of genocide, especially the Holocaust, and served as a stark reminder of the importance of upholding human rights, promoting tolerance, and preventing the recurrence of such atrocities.

Second, World War II demonstrated the resilience, courage, and sacrifice of individuals and nations in the face of adversity. It demonstrated the power of unity, cooperation, and collective action to combat tyranny and preserve fundamental freedoms. The war witnessed acts of heroism, resistance movements, and alliances forged in the pursuit of a common cause, underscoring the strength of the human spirit and the capacity for positive change even in the darkest of times.

Third, World War II served as a catalyst for transformative global shifts. It led to the reconfiguration of geopolitical boundaries, the rise of new superpowers, and the decline of colonial empires. The war also laid the groundwork for the creation of international institutions such as the United Nations to promote peace, diplomacy, and collective security.

Finally, World War II had a profound and lasting impact on societies and cultures around the world. It spurred technological advances, including the development of nuclear weapons and advances in aviation, medicine, and communications. The war also brought about significant social changes, such as the empowerment of women, the civil rights movement, and the dismantling of colonial systems.

As we look back on World War II, we must remember the lessons it taught us. It reminds us of the importance of diplomacy, dialogue, and international cooperation in resolving conflicts. It underscores the need for vigilance against the forces of hatred and intolerance. Above all, the Second World War reminds us of the immense cost of war and the need to work towards a more peaceful and inclusive world.


What was the population of the Soviet Union during WW2?

Russian estimates suggest that the total population of the Soviet Union in 1941 was 195.4 million people, before it fell to 170.5 million in 1946 due to the devastation of the Second World War.

What was Soviet Union population?

The 1989 Soviet census (Russian: Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989, lit. ‘1989 All-Union Census’), conducted between 12 and 19 January of that year, was the last one that took place in the Soviet Union. The census found the total population to be 286,730,819 inhabitants.

What was the Soviet Union’s population in 1940?


(The population decline during the war years themselves was more drastic, from almost 200,000,000 on July 1, 1941, to some 170,000,000 in 1945.) (3) If there had been no war, the population of 194,000,000 in 1940 would have reached a total of about 224,000,000 in 1950.

What was the population of the Soviet Union during the Cold War?

290 million

Throughout the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union had relatively similar total populations. The U.S.’ population grew from around 205 million to almost 250 million people between 1970 and 1990, while the USSR’s population grew from around 240 to 290 million in this time.

What percentage of the Soviet population died in ww2?

In terms of total numbers, the Soviet Union bore an incredible brunt of casualties during WWII. An estimated 16,825,000 people died in the war, over 15% of its population.

What was the largest population of the Soviet Union?

Throughout the history of the Soviet Union, Russians were consistently the largest ethnic group in the USSR. Of a total population of 262 million people in 1979, the share who were Russian was over 137 million, which is equal to roughly 52 percent.

What was the Soviet Union’s population in 1939?


The last reliable population figure was that of the census of January 17, 1939, which showed a population of 170,500,000. Since that date, both before and after the war, there have been incorporated into the Soviet Union territories with a prewar population of about 24,000,000.

How many people did the USSR lose in WWII?

27 million Soviets

As many as 27 million Soviets lost their lives, with as many as 11.4 million military deaths joined by up to 10 million civilian deaths due to military activity and an additional 8 million to 9 million deaths due to famine and disease.

What was the population of the Soviet Union in 1930?

160 million

In January 1934, at the Seventeenth Congress, Stalin mentioned: ‘the growth of population in the USSR, which rose from 160 million at the end of 1930 to 168 million at the end of 1933′, thus forcing the figure from 8 to 10 million.

How big would the USSR be today?

The USSR touched 11 of the world’s 24 time zones and had a land area of more than 22,402,200 km² (8,649,500 mi²), nearly matching that of the entire continent of North America.
Former USSR Countries 2022.

Country Russia
Capital Moscow
Independence 12-December-1991
Area 17,098,242 km²
2022 Population 145,805,947

What was the population of the Soviet Union in 1970?

241,720,134 people

The Soviet population in 1970 was recorded as being 241,720,134 people, an increase of over 15% from the 208,826,650 people recorded in the Soviet Union in the 1959 Soviet census.

What was the Soviet Union’s population in 1939?


The last reliable population figure was that of the census of January 17, 1939, which showed a population of 170,500,000. Since that date, both before and after the war, there have been incorporated into the Soviet Union territories with a prewar population of about 24,000,000.

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