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| Friday, January 27, 2006

Statistical Summary of Major U.S. Wars, With a Comparison to the Iraq Campaign

        Originally here, reproduced with some additions.

USCWC -- Statistical Summary: America's Major Wars



I. The Military Participation Ratio


Conflict Population Enrolled Ratio
(millions) (thousands)
Revolutionary War 3.5 200.0 5.7%
War of 1812 7.6 286.0 3.8%
Mexican War 21.1 78.7 0.4%
Civil War: Union 26.2 2,803.3 10.7%
: Confederate 8.1 1,064.2 13.1%
: Combined 34.3 3,867.5 11.1%
Spanish-American War 74.6 306.8 0.4%
World War I 102.8 4,743.8 4.6%
World War II 133.5 16,353.7 12.2%
Korean War 151.7 5,764.1 3.8%
Vietnam War 204.9 8,744.0 4.3%
Gulf War 260.0 2,750.0 1.1%


        The military participation ratio is the percentage of people
under arms.  While the ratio for the Second World War seems surprisingly high compared with those for the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, this is due to the fact that the War for Independence took place before the Industrial Revolution, and the Civil War occurred before its fullest impact, while the nation's womanpower was not tapped in either earlier conflict as well, for either military or economic mobilization.  The figure "Enrolled" represents the number of personnel maintained in the service.  It is somewhat unreliable, since it includes multiple enlistments in the case of wars prior to 1900, and is a gross figure, including all personnel ever in the service during the conflict.  In addition, figures for post-1945 wars are polluted to some extent by the fact that a significant portion of the forces under arms during these conflicts were not actually directly engaged in the war, but were securing the nation's other global commitments.


II. Casualties



<------------Casualties------------>
[-----Deaths---]
Total Total
Conflict Enrolled Combat Other Deaths Wounded Casualties
Revolutionary War 200.0 4,435 * 4,435 6,188 10,623
War of 1812 286.0 2,260 * 2,260 4,505 6,765
Mexican War 78.7 1,733 11,550 13,283 4,152 17,435
Civil War: Union 2,803.3 110,070 249,458 359,528 275,175 634,703
Confederate 1,064.2 74,524 124,000 198,524 137,000 + 335,524
Combined 3,867.5 184,594 373,458 558,052 412,175 + 970,227
Spanish-American War 306.8 385 2,061 2,446 1,662 4,108
World War I 4,743.8 53,513 63,195 116,708 204,002 320,710
World War II 16,353.7 292,131 115,185 407,316 670,846 1,078,162
Korean War 5,764.1 33,651 * 33,651 103,284 136,935
Vietnam War 8,744.0 47,369 10,799 58,168 153,303 211,471
Gulf War 2,750.0 148 145 293 467 ^ 760


                               <-----Percentages----->  Duration
Conflict                Ratio KIA Dead Casualty Months KIA/Month
Revolutionary War 2.4 2.2% 2.2% 5.3% 80 55
War of 1812 3.0 0.8% 0.8% 2.4% 30 75
Mexican War 1.3 2.2% 16.9% 22.2% 20 87
Civil War: Union 1.8 3.9% 12.8% 22.6% 48 2,293
Confederate 1.7 7.0% 18.7% 31.5% 48 1,553
Combined 1.7 4.8% 14.4% 25.1% 48 3,846
Spanish-American War 1.7 0.1% 0.8% 1.3% 4 96 &
World War I 2.7 1.1% 2.5% 6.8% 19 2,816
World War II 2.6 1.8% 2.5% 6.6% 44 6,639
Korean War 4.1 0.6% 0.6% 2.4% 37 909
Vietnam War 3.6 0.5% 0.7% 2.4% 90 526
Gulf War 2.6 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 1 148



        Combat deaths refers to troops killed in action or dead of
wounds. Other includes deaths from disease, privation, and accidents, and includes losses among prisoners of war. Wounded excludes those who died of their wounds, who are included under Combat Deaths. Ratio is the proportion of wounded in action to combat deaths. Note that the wounded figures do not include cases of disease. Under Percentages, KIA refers to the percent of those enrolled killed in action, Dead to the percent dead from all causes, and Casualty to the percent killed or injured. KIA/Month, killed in action per month, gives a fair indication of the intensity of combat.

Notes:

* Non-battle deaths not known for these wars.

+ Confederate non-battle deaths and wounded estimated.

& Actually only six weeks of sustained combat.

^ There was only one month of combat.

III. Financial Cost



Conflict Cost in $ Billions Per Capita
Current 1990s (in $1990)
The Revolution (1775-1783) .10 1.2 $ 342.86
War of 1812 (1812-1815) .09 0.7 92.11
Mexican War (1846-1848) .07 1.1 52.13
Civil War (1861-1865): Union 3.20 27.3 1,041.98
: Confederate 2.00 17.1 2,111.11
: Combined 5.20 44.4 1,294.46
Spanish American War (1898) .40 6.3 84.45
World War I (1917-1918) 26.00 196.5 1,911.47
World War II (1941-1945) 288.00 2,091.3 15,655.17
Korea (1950-1953) 54.00 263.9 1,739.62
Vietnam (1964-1972) 111.00 346.7 1,692.04
Gulf War (1990-1991) 61.00 61.1 235.00


        The table compares the cost of America's principal wars
since 1775 on the basis of then current and 1990s dollars. Current dollars are the actual numbers spent at the time. Thus, a 1775-1783 dollar had the equivalent purchasing power of $10.75 in 1990s terms. Actually this conversion is only a very rough guide, but at least gives some idea of the relative costs of the ten wars on an adjusted basis. However, it is not possible to take into account drastic changes in social structure (most Americans were farmers in 1775, and didn't use much money), and the increasing affluence of American society over the two centuries covered by the table.

        Note that the figures are for direct costs only, omitting pension costs, which tended to triple the ultimate outlays. The table also omits the cost of damage to the national infrastructure during those wars waged on American soil. Confederate figures are estimated.

        For the Gulf War it is worth noting that various members of the allied coalition reimbursed the U.S. for 88-percent ($54 billion) of the amount shown, so the actual cost to the taxpayer was only about $7 billion, roughly the same as for the Spanish-American War, and on a per capita basis only $26.92, arguably the least expensive war in the nation's history.

        Compiled by Al Nofi, reformated and total deaths calculated by Stephen M. St. Onge
 
Proportionate Deaths
Population Total Total Pop. for a population
Conflict (millions) Deaths Wounded Casualties Ratio of 300 Million
Revolutionary War 3.5 4,435 6,188 10,623 85.71 380,143
War of 1812 7.6 2,260 4,505 6,765 39.47 89,211
Mexican War 21.1 13,283 4,152 17,435 14.22 188,858
Civil War: Union 26.2 359,528 275,175 634,703 11.45 4,116,733
Confederate 8.2 198,524 137,000est. 335,524 35.59 7,263,073
Combined 34.3 558,052 412,175est. 970,227 8.75 4,480,921
Spanish-American War 74.6 2,446 1,662 4,108 4.02 6,684
World War I 102.8 116,708 204,002 320,710 2.92 341,584
World War II 133.5 407,316 670,846 1,078,162 2.25 915,316
Korean War 151.7 33,651 103,284 136,935 1.98 66,548
Vietnam War 204.9 58,168 153,303 211,471 1.47 85,165
Gulf War 260.0 293 467 760 1.15 877
Iraq War 300.0 2,377 2,377

        Sources: Table 2-23: "Principal Wars in which the US Participated:
US Military Personnel Serving and Casualties" prepared by Washington Headquarters Services, Directorate for Information Operations and Reports. US Department of Defense Records.

Other Related Links:

USCWC Links--Casualties

America's Wars and Casualties
America's Wars Fact Sheet
Americans Killed in Action


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        And always remember Steve's words of political wisdom:
THE HOUSE OF SAUD MUST BE DESTROYED!

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