The reduced risk for military service personnel of dying during wartime service has been balanced by a sharp rise in civilian casualties.
The risk of death to soldiers in wartime has decreased over the past two centuries. In the American Revolution, casualties from all causes was between one soldier in 7 to one in 10. This had reduced to one in 6 during the American Civil War, by which time deaths from causes other than battle (such as disease) had also decreased but still exceeded battle deaths by 60%. USA servicemen deaths from all causes in World War I was 1 in 41, and non-combat deaths still exceeded combat deaths by 18%. In WWII, the frequency of deaths was similar (1 in 40 of those who served), but for the first time in American history deaths off the battlefield were less than half of those directly caused by fighting. In the Korean War, US deaths from all causes was one in 106; in the Vietnam War one in 150, with non-battle deaths barely 20% of combat deaths.
Up to the end of 1945, about 17 million people had died in wars, rebellions and uprisings. This number is about half the world death toll for the 2nd World War.
More wars were fought in 1987 than in any year previously on record. Apart from the conflict between Iran and Iraq, these are not conflicts between nations, but between peoples within the same nation. Three million people have died in these wars, four-fifths of them civilians. Eight million people have died in conflicts in Africa alone in the thirty year period from around 1967 to 1997, including 1 million Rwandans murdered during the 1994 genocide.
In one study through 1987, the following war deaths were catalogued: Latin America: Columbia, about 100 deaths a year since 1958; El Salvador, 65,000 deaths since 1979; Guatemala, 138,000 since 1966; Nicaragua, 30,000 since 1981; Peru, 10,000 since 1981. Middle East: Iran-Iraq, 377,000 live in eight years; Lebanon, 52,000 since 1982; (the study does not include countries in which uprisings have taken fewer than 1,000 lives a year, as in Israel). Africa: Angola and Namibia, 213,000 since 1975; Chad, 7,000 since 1980; Ethiopia, 500,000 by war and related famine since 1980; Western Sahara, 10,000 since 1975; Mozambique, 400,000 since 1981; South Africa 4,000 since 1985; Sudan, 10,000 since 1984; Uganda, 102,000 since 1981. Asia: Afghanistan, 14,000 Soviet troops and 85,000 Afghans since 1979; Burma, 2,000 since 1985; separatist violence in India, 5,000 since 1984; Indonesia (no reliable estimates from East Timor); Cambodia, 24,000 since 1979; the Philippines, 60,000 since 1970; Sri Lanka, 6,000 since 1984.