Skip to content

America’s Deadliest Wars

America has always been at war. Here are the Top 10 Deadliest involving American lives. Over time I will be looking back at each of these wars and break them down for what they really were. These Wars are ranked solely on American Lives lost in combat. I plan to do individual Historical Documents for each of these events and will link them in this page. Or visit the History page for more.

1st Honorable Mention: Indian Wars

  • Date: 17th and 18th Centuries
  • American Casualties: 1,000+
  • Indian Casualties: ?

Before we get started. It is worth mentioning the Indian Wars, although it doesn’t make Top 10, it shaped America well before the established United States of America, and many lives were lost before and after, especially on the sides of the Indians. It is hard to calculate the many American Soldiers lives lost, but we know from the many various wars in both the 17th and 18th centuries, come out well over 1,000 deaths.

2nd Honorable Mention: Spanish/Philippine American Wars

  • Date: 1898-1913
  • American Casualties: approx. 1,300
  • Spanish Casualties: approx. 700
  • Philippine Casualties: approx. 10,000

The reason I have added the Spanish American War with the Philippine American War is because they were back-to-back, the results of the Spanish American War in 1898 led straight into the Philippine American War as tensions rose when the Philippines realized that the Americans did not come to save them from Spanish rule, but to rule for themselves. Americans saw that the Philippines were incapable of running themselves and decided it best they do it for them.

10. Mexican American War

  • Date: 1846 -1848
  • American Casualties: approx. 1,700
  • Mexican Casualties: 5,000+

In what was no more than a territorial dispute, Mexico and America fought over the independent Texan Nation. Not much more can be said of this war, however it is well worth a dive into its history.

9. War of 1812

  • Date: 1812-1815
  • American Casualties: 2,200+
  • British Casualties: 2,700+

Round 2 for the United Kingdom, they wanted revenge not even 30 years after the Revolutionary War. This was somewhat brought about because of tensions in the north borders between United States and the United Kingdom.

8. War on Terror

  • Date: 2001-2021
  • American Casualties: 5,000+
  • Iraqi Casualties: 35,000+
  • Taliban Casualties: 52,000+

Our latest wars yet, most notably the War in Afghanistan and the Iraq War. There are a few other operations we can get into later as being part of the War on Terror. First kicking off with the collapse of the World Trade Centers, followed by Weapons of Mass Destruction 2 years later, the United States of America deployed operations across the Middle East to combat terrorists, but the story is much deeper than that of course.

7. American Revolutionary War

  • Date: 1775-1783
  • American Casualties: 7,000+
  • British Casualties: 8,000+

The first war birthing the United States of America. Gaining independence from Great Britian, this war was not what you remembered it being, involving several other European nations.

6. Korean War

  • Date: 1950-1953
  • American Casualties: 33,000+
  • South Korean Casualties: Maybe 2,000,000?
  • North Korean Casualties: 294,000+

Making a large jump in casualties is the Korean War, as part of the Cold War. This war was a result in stopping the red wave of communism. The domino effect as you may have heard. The war that almost got us going full out war with China, our new present day threat.

5. WWII: Pacific War

  • Date: 1941-1945
  • American Casualties: 42,000+
  • Other Allied Casualties: 4,000,000+
  • Japanese Casualties: 2,500,000+

Another war that started for other reasons than what you remember, the Pacific War was ultimately kicked off when the Japanese bombed Pear Harbor. This brought the United States into the greater World War II, first going on the offensive on the Western Front for reasons, then finally launching an offensive against the Japanese later in the next year. Ending with the nuclear bombing on two Japanese cities, causing the Emperor to finally give up.

4. Vietnam War

  • Date: 1969-1975
  • American Casualties: 47,000+
  • South Vietnamese Casualties: 254,000+
  • Vietcong Casualties: 660,000+

Also part of the Cold War, was the Vietnam War. One where the United States once again reluctantly got involved with. Ending with what use to be the only war America lost.

3. World War I

  • Date: 1914-1918
  • American Casualties: 53,000+
  • Other Allied Casualties: 5,400,000+
  • Central Powers Casualties: 4,400,000+

Once again. World War I, the Great War. The United States joined the Great War after learning from the British of an intercepted telegraph where Germany promised an alliance against the United States with Mexico should the United States join forces with the British, as they essentially already were with supplies being shipped throughout the war with them already.

2. WWII: Western Front

  • Date: 1941-1945
  • American Casualties: 286,000+
  • Other Allied Casualties: 7,250,000+
  • German Casualties: 5,500,000+

Making another big jump in casualties on the side of the Americans, World War 2’s Western Front was 5 times worse than number 3. For reasons not clear, Germany declares war on the United States when the U.S. declares war on Japan. Perhaps because of the United States hand in largely backing the Allies through the first 2 years of conflict in Europe. Because of this entry into the war, Germany could no longer carry on the fight with its heavy losses on the Eastern Front with Russia, effectively ending the war.

1. American Civil War

  • Date: 1861-1865
  • United States Casualties: 365,000+
  • Confederate States Casualties: 290,000+
  • Total American Casualties: 655,000+

Perhaps what you did not expect. The American Civil War at number 1 for most casualties at war by over twice the amount from number 2. Shortly after succeeding from the Union, the Confederate States asked the United States to leave Fort Sumter, a base established by the Union on Confederate land. When refusing to vacate, the Confederates began bombarding the Fort, after which the Union soldiers surrendered. After 1 casualty on the side of the Union during the battle from a self-inflicted cannon fire, they peacefully left the base back to Union grounds. However, the United States took this as the first shots fired and the Civil War began. Much is to be said about this war, including the undoubtably false statement that slavery was the central cause of war. Who would argue that more than a quarter million White Americans would die to free slaves, then turn around and oppress them afterwards? This is clear proof that the American Civil War was not what you thought it was.

Bonus: World War 3

  • Date: ?
  • American Casualties: Millions

No doubt that in the near future, World War 3 will be here. When it shows we will see numbers beyond recognition. With American interests deeply embedded across the world, it is no doubt we will find ourselves front and center of yet another World War. This time with a breakdown in American society with the failure of digital infrastructure, and the use of tactical nukes destroying military divisions and fleets in seconds. Only time will tell. Be ready.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *