History & Reference - Coney's Stamps

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Uncle Sam - I Want YouU.S. War History

In last months issue I included an article about the founding fathers of the United States of America. During my Internet wanderings I found the following information. This shows a brief overview of the continuing cost of duty and the quest for freedom.

STATISTICAL SUMMARY OF AMERICA'S MAJOR WARS

THE MILITARY PARTICIPATION RATIO

Conflict

(millions)

(thousands)

P/E
Ratio

Causalities

Population

Enrolled

Combat

Other

Wounded

Total

Revolutionary War
200.0
3.5
5.7%
4,435
*
6,188
10,623
War of 1812
7.6
286.0
3.8%
2,260
*
4,505
6,765
Mexican War
21.1
78.7
0.4%
1,733
11,550
4,152
17,435
Civil War: Union
26.2
2,803.3
10.7%
110,070
249,458
275,175
34,703
     : Confederate
8.1
1,064.2
13.1%
74,524
124,000
137,000 +
335,524
     : Combined
34.3
3,867.5
11.1%
184,594
373,458
412,175 +
970,227
Spanish-American
War
74.6
306.8
0.4%
385
2,061
1,662
4,108
World War I
102.8
4,743.8
4.6%
53,513
63,195
204,002
320,710
World War II
133.5
16,353.7
12.2%
292,131
115,185
670,846
1,078,162
Korean War
151.7
5,764.1
3.8%
33,651
*
103,284
136,935
Vietnam War
204.9
8,744.0
4.3%
47,369
10,799
153,303
211,471
Gulf War(#1)
260.0
2,750.0
1.1%
148
145
467 ^

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 woman power 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.

Combat deaths refer 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. Note that the wounded figures do not include cases of disease.
Notes:
* Non-battle deaths not known for these wars.
+ Confederate non-battle deaths and wounded estimated.
^ There was only one month of combat.

FINANCIAL COST

Conflict
Cost in $ Billions
$ Per Capita
Current
1990s
(in $1990)
The Revolution (1775-1783)
0.1
1.2
342.86
War of 1812 (1812-1815)
0.09
0.7
92.11
Mexican War (1846-1848)
0.07
1.1
52.13
Civil War (1861-1865): Union
3.2
27.3
1,041.98
     : Confederate
2
17.1
2,111.11
     : Combined
5.2
44.4
1,294.46
Spanish American War (1898)
0.4
6.3
84.45
World War I (1917-1918)
26
196.5
1,911.47
World War II (1941-1945)
288
2,091.30
15,655.17
Korea (1950-1953)
54
263.9
1,739.62
Vietnam (1964-1972)
111
346.7
1,692.04
Gulf War #1(1990-1991)
61
61.1
235

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. On the other hand, only one country has ever repaid its WWII lend-lease war debts to the US. - Finland

Sources: "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 CONFLICTS NOT COVERED ABOVE

Years

Location

Killed

Wounded

1789

Indian Wars

6125

2156

1798-1800

Franco-Amer Naval War

20

42

1801-1815

Barbary Wars

35

64

1814

Marquesas Islands

4

1

1822-1825

West Indies

3

5

1832

Sumatra

2

11

1835-1836

Texas War Of Independence

704

138

1855

Fiji

1

2

1859-1860

Texas Border Cortina War

5

18

1853

Japan

5

6

1867

Formosa

1

0

1870

Mexico

1

4

1871

Korea

4

10

1899-1902

Philippines War

4273

2840

1899

Samoa

4

5

1900

China Boxer Rebellion

53

253

1902-1913

Moro Campaigns

130

300

1904

Dominican Republic

1

0

1911-1919

Mexico

19

69

1912

Nicaragua

5

16

1915-1920

Haiti

146

26

1916-1922

Dominican Republic

144

50

1918-1919

Russia North Expedition

246

307

1918-1920

Russia Siberia Expedition

170

52

1921-1941

China Yangtze Service

5

80

1927-1932

Nicaragua

136

66

1945-1947

Italy Trieste

6

14

1945-1947

China Civil War

12

42

1950

Inchon

670

--

1954

Matsu and Quemoy

3

0

1958-1984

Lebanon

268

169

1962

Cuba

9

0

1964

Panama Canal Riots

4

85

1965-1966

Dominican Republic

59

174

1966-1969

South Korea

89

131

1967

Israel Attack/USS Liberty

34

171

1980

Iran Operation Desert One

8

0

1983

Grenada

19

100

1983-1991

El Salvador

20

0

1984-1989

Honduras

1

28

1986

Libya

2

0

1987

Persian Gulf

148

467

1989-1990

Panama

40

240

1991-1992

Somalia, Op Restore Hope

8

--

2000

Yemen, USS Cole

17

651

2001-2002

Operation Endure Freedom, Afghanistan

34

28

2002

Operation Endure Freedom, Philippines

12

--

Just looking at numbers does not really do justice to what they really represent.