World War II-Related Guinness World Records

November 01, 2017

It’s strange to think, but the Guinness World Records even catalogs records related to times of war. For instance, there’s a record for the “First Formal Declaration of War” and the “Oldest World War I Veteran.” Of course, that also means that there are records pertaining to World War II, and they range from tragic to uplifting.

The following records were either set during World War II or have a direct link to it, despite having ended more than 70 years ago.

Highest Death Toll from Wars

Wreaths at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific

According to the Guinness World Records, the death toll for World War II topped over 56 million people, accounting for a little over 2% of the Earth’s population in 1945. The conflict, which spanned across both Europe and Asia, as well as throughout the Pacific, was especially deadly for nations like the Soviet Union and China. An estimated 26 million Soviet citizens were killed during the war with Germany.

Maybe the greatest tragedy to come from World War II was the death toll in Poland. The over six million dead accounted for 17% of the nation’s population.

The record accounts for both deaths during battle and civilian casualties from every country involved in the war.


Costliest War

The cost of World War II is said to have been more than the combined total of every war that preceded it. At $1.5 trillion in 1945 dollars, World War II comes in as the most-expensive war ever, costing the United States over $341 billion and Soviet Union over $192 billion. The United Kingdom was estimated to have spent $120 billion on World War II, which was over five times as much as its spending during World War I.

Oldest Male Author

pearl Harbor Survivor from Colorado James Downing

USS West Virginia survivor Jim Downing

Pearl Harbor survivor Lt. Jim Downing became the oldest male author on record when he published his book The Other Side of Infamy in 2016. Detailing his experiences at Pearl Harbor and in the Pacific, the book was published when Downing was 102 years old.

The Colorado Springs resident is also the second-oldest living Pearl Harbor survivor, second only to Ray Chavez.






Largest Attendance at a Film Screening

In August of 2012, the film The Story of Stars and Stripes Honor Flight premiered at Miller Park Stadium in Milwaukee, WI to an audience of 28,442 people. The incredibly high turnout helped it set the record for the largest attendance at a film screening.

The film, presented by Stars and Stripes Honor Flight, follows the lives of four World War II veterans who took part in the first trip organized by the Milwaukee-based Stars and Stripes Honor Flight.

Largest Gathering of People Dressed as Rosie the Riveter

Rosie Fest

The World War II icon got plenty of recognition with this quirky record. At 2,229 people, the record was broken in August of 2016 during the Rosie Rally at the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historic Park in Richmond, CA.

The over 2,000 women—and men—who showed up donned their best Rosie gear, paying immense tribute to the much-loved representation of strong women during World War II.

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