During the Second World War, the U.S. Armed Forces suffered 1,077,245
military casualties. A total of 405,399 military personnel lost their lives,
291,557 in battle and 113,842 because of disease or other causes. Additionally,
671,846 military personnel suffered non-fatal wounds. The Bureau of Labor Statistics
(BLS) estimated that between 1942 and 1945 some 8,931,900 industrial accidents
occurred on the home front. These industrial accidents resulted in deaths, “permanent total disabilities,” “permanent partial disabilities,” and “temporary total disabilities.” This BLS estimate drew on a “comprehensive survey” of manufacturing, “small sample studies” of construction industry, data from the Bureau of Mines and the Interstate Commerce Commission, and “fragmentary data” on agricultural employment. The figure 8 to 1 draws on the BLS’s
estimates of disabling industrial accidents and total military casualties.
While far more military personnel died during the war than civilians in industrial
accidents on home front (the BLS estimated that there were 75,400 deadly or
permanently totally disabling accidents between 1942 and 1945), American industry
claimed more total casualties than the war.
Military and industrial statistics were drawn from: Scott
Sigmund Gartner, “Military personnel and casualties, by war
and branch of service: 1775–1991,” Table Ed1-5 in Historical
Statistics of the United States, Earliest Times to the Present: Millennial
Edition, eds. Susan B. Carter, Scott Sigmund Gartner, Michael
R. Haines, Alan L. Olmstead, Richard Sutch, and Gavin Wright (New York:
Cambridge University Press, 2006); “Estimated Number of Disabling
Industrial Injuries, By Major Industry Group: 1942 to 1946,” in Statistical
Abstract of the United States, 1947 (Washington: G.P.O., 1947),
For a full list of sources used in this MultiMedia History, please
see our Credits and Sources page.
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