December 7, 2009


On this day, 68 years ago, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.  To the average American, this was a shocking act.  The Japanese sank four US Battle ships and damaged four more. They also sank or damaged three cruisers and three destroyers.  They also destroyed 188 aircraft.  In total, they killed 2,402 people and wounded 1,282.

Before attacking Pearl Harbor, the Japanese had ravaged China.  They further conquered French Indochina (Vietnam) once France fell to Germany.  The US had been building forces in Hawaii and the Philippines to deter the Japanese from going any further.  However, the US had also halted oil and metal sales to Japan forcing her hand.  Many even believe the US had advance notice of the attack but let it happen knowing this would bring the country into the war allowing many bankers and industrialists to make very large profits.

World War 2 was a devastating war for both the Allies and the Axis powers.  It was also bad for those countries and peoples who just happened to be in the way, such as China or the peasants in Russia.  I decided to see just how bad this war as well as all other have been for the US in terms of deaths and injuries.  See the chart below for the 10 worst wars for the US, in terms of deaths.  Even though the US was only in World War 1 for 1.5 year, she still lost over 116 thousand men.  These are numbers to think about.  Many young men and women have given their lives for the US.  Many of these deaths were of kids the same age as my oldest son.  I’m both grateful for them and sad for them at the same time.

Rank War Years Deaths
1 War of Southern Independence 1861–1865 625,000
2 World War II 1941–1945 405,399
3 World War I 1917–1918 116,516
4 Vietnam War 1964–1973 58,151
5 Korean War 1950–1953 36,516
6 American Revolutionary War 1775-1783 25,000
7 War of 1812 1812–1815 20,000
8 Mexican–American War 1846–1848 13,283
9 Iraq War 2003–present 4,328
10 Philippine–American War 1899–1913 4,196

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