How Much Does War Really Cost?

The cost of US wars, then and now
Credit: Norwich University Online

Unfortunately, conflict is a feature of our history. War doesn’t just put lives at risk, it also carries a huge financial burden. The infographic below outlines how much the US has spent on war, covering the World Wars and more recent conflicts. 

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World War II was by far the most costly for the US. Despite the fact that US forces were only involved between 1941 and 1945, this four-year war cost the equivalent of $4.1 trillion in today’s money. To provide some context, America spent around $1.5 trillion on conflicts between 2001 and 2014. The estimated cost of World War I was $334 billion. 

In 1945, defense spending accounted for a staggering 37.5% of US GDP. In 2010, the figure was 4.3%. During 21st century wars, the US has deployed 2.5 million troops, compared to 12.2 million in 1945. 

As well as being the most expensive war for the US, World War II was also the most horrific in terms of loss of life. Over 418,000 people were killed. During the first 15 years of this century, 6,852 lives were lost and over 52,000 people were wounded in action. During the World Wars, governments came up with schemes, including war bonds, to fund military efforts, but today, borrowing money is more common. It is estimated that the US has borrowed more than $2 trillion for defense. 

The financing of WWII contributed to the production of over 12.5 million rifles, 303,000 aircraft and 100,000 armored land vehicles. As time has passed and the nature of war has evolved, investment in intelligence has become increasingly crucial. 

To find out more about the cost of war and gather more information about funding avenues and schemes used to cover costs, why not take a closer look at the infographic below?


Infographic Design By Norwich University
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Prime Aque is the back-end guy of Self-Help. He is a blogger and WordPress front-end designer. Importantly, he is a husband and a father of three wonderful kids. His firstborn are twin girls. He loves writing and sharing.

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