World War I death count 'too low by one million'
A file photo taken in 1916 shows French soldiers moving into attack from their trench during the Verdun battle, eastern France, during the first World War. AFP PhotoThe number of soldiers killed in World War I has been vastly underestimated, says French historian Antoine Prost. He tells France 24 how some nations failed to count all their dead and how governments differed over the burial of lost soldiers.
For years, historians of the Great War have settled for the figure of nine million soldiers killed during the bloody conflict that ushered in the so-called "Age of Extremes".
But that consensus has been challenged by an article published this week in the final volume of the "Complete Cambridge History of the First World War", part of a flurry of new studies to mark one hundred years since the war’s outbreak.
Its author, French historian Antoine Prost, says the number of soldiers killed is closer to ten million.
"Official statistics fail to take into account the soldiers who died as a result of illness or while being detained in prisoner-of-war camps,” Prost told FRANCE 24. “The armies often rushed to give their figures, seeking to play down their losses.”
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