No matter how you look at it, World War II was devastating. Entire cities with many centuries of history were destroyed, and the loss of life was incalculable. Just about every American family was affected by World War II in one way or another, and residents of every state were killed in action.
The death toll of World War II is nearly impossible to comprehend. The United States suffered a total of 416,800 military deaths during the war, and other countries lost even more of their armed forces – including Japan (2 million), China (3 to 4 million), Germany (5.5 million), and the Soviet Union (up to 10.7 million). And that’s only the military. The U.S. sustained only about 1,700 civilian deaths during the course of the war, but it’s been estimated that the number of Chinese civilians killed may have exceeded 50 million. (These are the countries that suffered the most civilian casualties in World War II.)
The lives lost during World War II were cut short by a global conflict not of their own making, and when FDR made the decision to send American troops into harm’s way he knew that many of those young men would not be returning home. They made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the world from fascism, and each left grieving families behind. (Some were among the most decorated war heroes in American history.)
Thousands – in some cases hundreds of thousands – of men and women from every state served in World War II, a global calamity whose echoes and repercussions are still being felt today, 82 years since the first shots were fired.
The Department of Defense breaks out deaths differently, with Army and Army Air Forces deaths measured as killed in action, as well as by injuries or wounds sustained on the battlefield (the U.S. Air Force as an entity independent of the Army wasn’t formed until 1947). The Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard assessed their totals as combat deaths, including from wounds and disease.
Click here to see how many people from your state died in World War II
24/7 Tempo calculated the totals and ranked the states according to which saw the most servicemen fall from combat. The total number of service members from each state is a rough estimate from Quora using historical enlistment records in the National Archives.
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