High Death Rates During The Civil War

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The Civil War 's staggeringly high death rate is most often attributed to the fact that in this war, Americans were fighting Americans – every death of the war counted as an American death. Though this is true, it is not the only factor which led to the war 's extremely high death rate. For example, new war strategies shifted the war from a limited war to a war of attrition; new war technology made killing faster and easier; and lack of medical knowledge made treating wounded soldiers difficult. One reason for the high death tolls of the Civil War was the late shift in military leaders, which changed the war to a war of attrition. Though both the Union and the Confederate armies began the war thinking that it would be brief and relatively …show more content…
This was technology that hadn 't existed during previous wars. For instance, a new rifle developed in France was used by both sides during the war. The muskets that had been used previously took time to reload, and were inaccurate and worked poorly over long distances. These new rifles were much more accurate and deadly than the ungainly muskets that had been used in past wars. New types of cannons, which fired grapeshot and canister, made it possible to gun down entire rows of soldiers. Though the North had more access to these weapons, since they could produce them in their factories, the South was able to smuggle or steal weapons to use in retaliation. In addition, the South developed a new kind of ironclad ship which they could use to defeat many of the North 's wooden ships at sea. All of this new technology helped soldiers kill each other easier and faster, which increased the death toll …show more content…
During this war, President Truman authorized the dropping of atomic bombs on two Japanese cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The effects of these weapons weren 't known at the time, and they ended up killing hundreds of thousands of Japanese citizens. This is yet another instance in which new war technology made killing larger groups easier and faster – over 100,000 people are estimated to have died instantly, and hundreds of thousands more would die in the following months. Going into the Civil War, many thought that it would be short and mostly casualty-free; however, it ended up lasting four years and having the highest casualty rate of any American War. The high casualty rate is often attributed to Americans fighting Americans, but there were other factors present that made this particular war so bloody and grim. These factors included lack of medical knowledge, new war technology, and changing war

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