Wars have been fought for a variety of reasons including land, power, honor, freedom, and religion. And although many wars are certainly remembered for their influence on the course of history, their most painful memory is always the cost to human life. So, from the battlefields of ancient Greece to the jungles of Vietnam these are the 25 bloodiest military campaigns in history.
The Wars of Alexander the Great
King Alexander III of Macedon was considered one of the greatest military commanders of all time as he was undefeated in the battle. At the time of his death, he had conquered most of the known world for Greece and left millions of casualties behind.+
The Battle of Kalinga by the Mauryan Empire
The battle of Kalinga is one of the largest battles ever to be fought on the Indian subcontinent. It was between Ashoka the Great of the Mauryan Empire and the feudal republic of Kalinga which was defeated due to Ashoka’s brutal strength. Interestingly enough, however, the brutality of the bloodshed led Ashoka to Buddhism.
The Battle of Salsu
The battle of Salsu was a huge battle between the Sui Dynasty of the Chinese and the Korean Kingdom of Goguryeo. In 612, the Sui Dynasty deployed over one million men to invade Goguryeo who defiantly resisted the Chinese. The Korean military defended their fortress against the Chinese army and navy for several months by drowning thousands of Sui’s men. The Goguryeo Cavalry pursued the remaining Sui forces that retreated to the Liaodong peninsula.
The Battle of the Badger Mouth
The fighting between the Mongolian Empire and the Jin Empire escalated when Genghis Khan insulted and enraged Emperor Weishaowang in his statement that the latter was unfit to be an emperor and a leader because he was a coward. He further fueled the fire by adding that an emperor should be a man from the sky like him. This news spread quickly to both their armies and resulted in numerous campaigns including the battles at Wushabao, Datong, the Badger Mouth campaign, and the battle of Guihebao. It only ended with the Mongol occupation of Juyongguan, but the campaigns resulted in the deaths of 500,000 people or more.
Building off what we just talked about, the Mongolian Empire was one of the largest to ever exist on the face of the planet. It was so vast that it’s territory comprised 20% of the Earth’s land. When it comes to ruthlessness, no one could outdo the bloodthirsty Mongolian armies under Genghis Khan, and the bloodshed was so great that according to legend 100,000 Chinese citizens once committed mass suicide just to avoid them.