This is a surprisingly hard question to answer.
Part of the problem is deciding what we mean by
"died in war." We could just count all the
soldiers who died, or we could also include all of
the civilians who were also killed by soldiers.
Wars generally cause lots of disease and
starvation, too. Farmland, water supplies, and
homes are often destroyed (accidentally or on
purpose) so many people have to go hungry and live
in unsanitary conditions. These deaths due to
disease and starvation are usually much higher
than the number of people who died on the
battlefield. Another problem is that it's not
clear what we would call "American" wars. The USA
took a major part in World Wars I and II, but the
number of deaths caused or suffered by the
Americans was really only a small fraction of the
To give you an example, in World War
II, about 300,000 Americans died on the
battlefield, about 15 million soldiers worldwide
died on the battlefield, but about 58 million
people died in total, including soldiers and
civilians. I think the majority of those 58
million were people in China, Russia, and Eastern
Europe, where Americans didn't really do much
fighting. Of course these are all just estimates,
since it's really hard to keep track of these
things, especially the non-military deaths.
OK, all that aside, I'll try to answer
your question. The total number of American
soldiers who have died on the battlefield in wars
is somewhere around 660,000 (most of these deaths
came during WWII, WWI, and the Civil War). The
total number of people who have died in these wars
(including disease, etc.) breaks down something
American Revolution: 52,000?
(Only a rough estimate)
War of 1812: 30,000?
(No good numbers)
Spanish-American War: 10,000? (Nobody
WWI: 16 million
Korea: 2.7 million
First Gulf War: 20,000 - 200,000 (there
is still some dispute about the number of Iraqis
Current Iraq war: 50,000 (some
estimates range up to 650,000 - this is very
controversial right now)
So the total is
something like 82 million. Most of these were
people not on the battlefield.
I hope this
comes close to answering your question. I found a
lot of these numbers on Wikipedia.org, which is a
good place to do more research if you're interested.
This is a very difficult question to answer.
First of all, not all conflicts our country has
are considered wars. For instance, the Korean War
and Vietnam War (despite their names) never had
congress declare open war in the regions. Also,
statistics are conflicting between different
sources. To make it even more complicated, do you
mean the number of Americans that have died, or
the number of people that have died, or the number
of combatants that have died, etc? Certainly, too
many people have died in wars already, and no
matter how you slice it, this number is not small.
Even just counting American combatant casualties
in only declared wars would number well over a
million. If you want to count all conflicts
America was involved in (in our short 200 years of
existence), and count noncombatant casualties,
this number is at least as high as hundreds of
millions (deaths including non-combatants and
deaths by non-Americans as well as deaths caused
by other countries).
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