Which Countries Believe WWIII is Coming?
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Which Countries Believe WWIII is Coming?

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which countries believe WWIII could be coming?

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The Briefing

  • In every single country surveyed, the majority of respondents believed a world war could break out in coming years
  • Australia was the most pessimistic, and Japan was the most optimistic

Which Countries Believe WWIII Could be Coming?

After a pandemic, rampant inflation, a faltering global economy, and geopolitical flare-ups, it’s no surprise that people have a souring outlook on the future.

Even so, the results of this recent survey by Ipsos are eyebrow raising. In all 33 countries where polling took place, the majority of respondents said they believe a world war on the scale of WWI and WWII could break out between global superpowers in coming years.

Here’s a look at how various countries felt about the possibility of an impending global conflict:

Country% somewhat/strongly agreeChange from 2021 (p.p.)
🇦🇺 Australia81%+8
🇮🇪 Ireland80%n/a
🇲🇽 Mexico80%+8
🇵🇪 Peru80%+3
🇮🇳 India79%+3
🇨🇱 Chile78%+3
🇨🇴 Colombia78%+1
🇲🇾 Malaysia78%+4
🇹🇭 Thailand78%n/a
🇧🇪 Belgium77%+18
🇷🇴 Romania77%n/a
🇨🇦 Canada76%+13
🇺🇸 United States76%+6
🇫🇷 France75%+16
🇬🇧 Great Britain75%+19
🇳🇱 Netherlands75%+15
🇿🇦 South Africa75%+3
🇪🇸 Spain75%+5
🇦🇪 UAE75%n/a
🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia74%+12
Global Country Average73%+10
🇧🇷 Brazil72%+10
🇦🇷 Argentina71%+5
🇹🇷 Turkey71%+8
🇵🇱 Poland70%+4
🇺🇦 Ukraine70%n/a
🇰🇷 South Korea69%+17
🇭🇺 Hungary67%+10
🇨🇳 China64%+6
🇮🇹 Italy64%+19
🇩🇪 Germany63%+17
🇮🇩 Indonesia63%n/a
🇸🇪 Sweden60%+11
🇯🇵 Japan51%+16

Japan was the least sure of an impending global conflict—an opinion that is almost certainly shaped by the country’s historical experience in WWII.

Australia was the most certain of an impending global conflict. The country has a unique relationship with Asian and Western countries, so geopolitical tensions between superpowers may resonate more in the Land Down Under.

The Power of Fear

Given the negative slant of stories covered by mass media and the types of stories that are most widely shared on social media platforms, it’s easy to understand how people have developed such a gloomy view of the future. But “bad vibes” aside, how could this perception translate into real world action?

For one, public opinion helps shape political priorities. A narrative of impending conflict could have an impact on geopolitical policy and relationships.

Another possibility is an increase in military spending across the board. 64% of people across 30 countries somewhat or strongly agree that their home government should beef up military spending “given the dangers in the world.” Aside from Ukraine, India (84%) and Poland (81%) ranked the highest in support of increasing military spending.

One other noteworthy finding is that 85% of people in the countries surveyed believe that the world needs new international agreements and institutions to deal with the challenges faced by the world today, and that world powers are unlikely to respect agreements made through international bodies. These findings are significant since war becomes more likely as cooperation between countries breaks down.

Where does this data come from?

Source: Ipsos, for Halifax International Security Forum

Data note: These are the results of a 33-market survey conducted by Ipsos on its Global Advisor online platform. Ipsos interviewed a total of 32,507 adults aged 18-74 in the United States, Canada, Malaysia, South Africa, and Turkey, 20-74 in Thailand, 21-74 in Indonesia, and 16-74 in the remaining markets between Friday, September 23 and Friday, October 7, 2022.

Editor’s note: Portions of the graphic and article have been amended to more accurately reflect the phrasing of the poll question. We appreciate the thoughtful feedback we received from our readers.

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Datastream

Charted: The Ukraine War Civilian Death Toll

Using data from the UN, this chart shows civilian death toll figures resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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Ukraine war death toll

The Briefing

  • In total, since the war began in February there have been over 7,031 Ukrainian civilian deaths
  • Most of the civilian casualties recorded were caused by the use of explosive weapons, such as missiles and heavy artillery

Charted: The Ukraine War Civilian Death Toll

Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine has wrought suffering and death on a mass scale, with many Russian attacks targeted at civilians.

We’ve created this visual using data from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to better understand how many civilians have died in Ukraine as a result of the war, as well as how many were injured and how many were children.

The Numbers

As of early December, it is reported that 7,031 people in Ukraine have died because of the war — 433 of them children. Another 11,327 have been injured, 827 of which are children. In total, this is over 18,000 people killed or injured.

The figures are difficult to verify due to differing reports coming out of both Russia and Ukraine. The UN OHCHR anticipates that the numbers could be even higher.

The State of the Conflict

The war began on February 24th, 2022 and less than a year in, millions of people have been displaced by the conflict, and thousands of civilians have been injured or killed.

According to the UN, most of the civilian deaths have been caused by wide-ranging explosives such as heavy artillery shelling, missiles, and air strikes, and have been concentrated in Donetsk and Luhansk and in other territory still held by Ukraine.

Additionally, new estimates from Kyiv report approximately 13,000 Ukrainian military or soldier deaths, which has yet to be confirmed by the army.

Where does this data come from?

Source: The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights monthly reports on civilian deaths in Ukraine.

Note: Data on deaths and injuries can vary wildly depending on the source.

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