With over 50 countries involved, and fighting that spanned three continents, World War II was the most devastating and consequential conflict in human history. When the United States was drawn into the war in December 1941, two years after it began in Europe, the country put every resource it could spare into the effort. The American contribution to the victory over the Axis powers was not only in its industrial scale weapons and material production, but also in manpower.
Dubbed the great arsenal of democracy, the U.S. manufactured more than 96,000 bombers, 86,000 tanks, 2.4 million trucks, 6.5 million rifles, and billions of dollars’ worth of supplies in the Second World War. The U.S. also mobilized more troops during the conflict than any other Allied power other than the Soviet Union. In the final year of the war, the number of active-duty American military personnel totaled 12.2 million, up from less than 500,000 in 1940.
Of the 16.3 million Americans who are estimated to have served in WWII, more than 400,000 were killed in action. Today, only 167,284 American veterans who returned home are still alive.
According to The National WWII Museum, “there are still 8,200 World War II veterans living in Texas, the fifth most of all states.” WWII veterans comprise 0.6% of the state’s total veteran population of 1,408,464. Nationwide, WWII vets account for 1.0% of the total veteran population.
Nearly 80 years have passed since the war’s end, and currently, an average of 180 veterans of the conflict die each day in the United States. “Over the next year, the number of WWII veterans is expected to fall by roughly half, and by 2034, a little more than 1,000 are likely to still be alive,” according to projections from The National WWII Museum.