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The Aftermath

The Aftermath

The Influenza Pandemic of 1918-19

The deadliest influenza (flu) pandemic in modern history struck the world in 1918-1919.

Researchers now believe that the virus originated in China, made its way to North America with Chinese laborers, and incubated in U.S. Army training camps in early 1918. It traveled overseas with U.S. troops, and spread rapidly across Europe and the rest of the world, aided by wartime conditions. Estimates vary, but 20-100 million people died -- adding another layer of misery to a world already devastated by war.

The Human Cost

World War I was one of history’s deadliest wars, causing over 20 million deaths. Over 8.5 million soldiers lost their lives, and more than 21 million were wounded. There were about 7 million civilian deaths, and countless others were injured, starved or made homeless. This table presents conservative estimates for military casualties of the major combatant nations.

Intervention in Russia

Nearly 13,000 U.S. troops took part in Russia’s Civil War from August 1918 to April 1920.

Other Allied nations also sent men; some actively fought alongside the Russian anti-communists (“Whites”) against the Bolsheviks (“Reds”). U.S. forces primarily carried out defensive operations and guarded American property. However, American participation poisoned relations between the U.S. and communist Russia (which became the Soviet Union in 1922).

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