In 1916, at the height of World War One, came Verdun–considered by many to be the greatest and lengthiest in world history. Never before or since has there been a battle of such duration, involving so many men on such a small plot of land. The conflict, which lasted from 21 February 1916 to 19 December 1916, led to casualties estimated at over 700,000 killed, wounded or missing. The battlefield itself was not even 10 square kilometers in size. From a strategic point of view, there could be no justification for these atrocious losses. The battle degenerated into a matter of prestige and principle for two nations, Germany and France, who continued fighting simply for the sake of fighting.