Facts for kids: Who invented concentration camps?

concentration camps

Over 30,000 people allegedly died in camps during the Second Boer War.

Despite what you might have read or heard, the Nazis didn’t invent the concentration camp. They did something much worse. During World War Two, Nazi Germany operated extermination camps. The camps had one objective; to kill as many enemies of the German nation as possible. Enemies included political opponents, Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, and communists.

Concentration camps, on the other hand, have a longer history. With the goal of controlling populations of people by locking them up in a confined area, evidence suggests people were doing this to each other in ancient Babylon more than 3500 years ago.

In modern times, concentration camps have been used by many governments to maintain their power. In 1838 the indigenous Cherokee population were locked up by the administration of United States President Van Buren. The Spanish established camps in Cuba as part of their “Reconcentrado” policy during the Spanish-Cuban War of the late nineteenth century. The British locked up families of South African men during the Second Boer War in South Africa to stop the families supporting the Boers. In the 1920s the Soviets set up work camps in Siberia to quash any opposition to the communist government. The United States government locked up Japanese Americans during World War Two despite there being no confirmed threat of attack.

Short answer: It’s hard to say who specifically invented the concentration camp but the term itself became popularised as a result of Britain’s policies during the 1899-1902 Second Boer War.

Facts for kids: Who has the biggest army in the world?

China has the biggest army

China’s reserve air force in training.

Being the biggest army in world doesn’t mean the best army in the world. Factors such as leadership, command and communications, morale, logistics, quality of weaponry, quality of training, and the distinction between professional and conscripted soldiers have to be taken into account. These factors mean a lot.

Take the first Gulf War, for instance. On paper the Iraqi Army looked formidable. It had several hundred thousand soldiers in its ranks, as well as a few thousand tanks and armoured personnel carriers. But it was totally crap when it came to the crunch of battle. Up against the USA and UK it was a bloodbath of almost biblical proportions. The poor buggers were generally hopeless and had no interest in fighting. The land war was over in about 100 hours.

For the sake of convenience, we’re looking at the number of active army soldiers ready to fight, as well as adding personnel from the navy, air force, special operations, and marines.

The biggest army in the world belongs to China. As of early 2014, China has approximately 2,285,000 soldiers on active duty. If this army was a nation it would be ranked 141st in size, making it more populous than than Qatar, Slovenia or Iceland.

Short answer: China has the biggest army in the world and, no, they don’t all look alike. In contrast the USA has the most powerful army in the world and will fight anyone as long as there is oil involved. Even your mum.

Who has the most confirmed kills on the battlefield?

Deadliest sniper

Simo Häyhä killed over 500 men.

When it comes to ‘most confirmed kills’ on the battlefield, few would challenge the record of Simo Häyhä. During the Winter War of 1939-40, the Finnish sniper racked up 505 confirmed kills of Soviet soldiers in less than 100 days.

As a sign of respect – and the fact he wore white camouflage especially suited to snow warfare – the Soviets gave Häyhä the nickname ‘White Death’. Soviet soldiers took Häyhä’s impact on the battlefield so seriously that they specifically deployed snipers and artillery against him.

Eventually ‘White Death’ found his luck running out and ended up on the receiving end of a barrel. He was hit in the left side of the jaw by a Soviet bullet. Although he was seriously wounded, he survived the war and was decorated with the Cross of Liberty, the Medal of Liberty and the Cross of Kollaa Battle.

Short answer: A Finnish sniper known as ‘White Death’ killed 505 Soviet soldiers during the Winter War of 1939-40.