The Guardian

A century on, why are we forgetting the deaths of 100 million? | Martin Kettle

The 1918 Spanish flu outbreak killed more people than both world wars. Don’t imagine such a thing could never happen again
Flu victims in an American emergency hospital near Fort Riley, Kansas, in 1918. Photograph: AP Photo/National Museum of Health

This year marks a century since some women got the vote; a century since the end of the first world war; 50 years since the 1968 revolts; 70 since the founding of Israel and the NHS. All have been well marked. So it is striking that the centenary of one of the most devastating events in human history has been allowed to pass thus far with almost no public reflection of any kind.

This year is the 100th anniversary of the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918. Estimates about its impact vary. But when you read that a third of the entire global population probably caught the Spanish

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