"History is full of wars that were bloodier than the Second World War. As a proportion of the population, more people were killed during the An Lushan rebellion in 8th Century China, for example, or by the Thirty Years War in 17th Century central Europe.

"But the sheer magnitude of the human tragedy of WWII puts it in a class of its own, and its relative closeness to the present day makes claims on the collective memory that more remote horrors cannot."

Source.
http://www.economist.com/node/21556542

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