WW2: A Numerical Look

Population of the USA in 1940 was approx 132 Million.
Of those, about 27 million were in the critical age range of 18-44 and male. Of those, only a total of 16 million had served in uniform by the end of the war. That leaves another 11 million (a little under half) who never put on a uniform.

And yet every war movie ever made makes it look like only a few cripples and diseased people stayed behind (and guys who selfishly had 4 children before the war so they could evade the draft). Rich people didn’t need to get college deferements or buy their way out of the draft. They were certain to have people in high places find nice uniformed officer jobs for them to sit the war out in.

Of those who served, only 73% ever served “Over There”. Without even accounting for all the “over there” jobs that were not in places where combat was likely, that means that 27% of all uniformed military jobs were performed right here at home, by people who never left here. Not people who rotated back and forth during the war.

And yet our modern media constantly refers to them all as the Greatest Generation, even though most of them didn’t do all that much at all.

If you served in uniform in WW2, you had a less than 1% chance of being killed in combat. It was safer fighting Nazies than working on a farm. And yet we carry the universal narative that everyone back then was crawling through black sand on Iwo Jima, scaling ropes up cliffs on the French coast, or flying suicidal daylight bombing runs over German cities to destroy ball bearing factories. Similar to the popular French narative that all French men were in the Resistance, and not colaborating cheeze-eating surrender monkies.

Of the people who served, it is estimated that 900K were black and 350K were women. Yet it won’t be long before the only stories our children are taught in school about WW2 are about black pilots with red tails. Indeed, popular movies of a single unit dominate the stories of American fighter pilots. It seems that White pilots were self-serving glory hounds seeking early promotions and medals and couldn’t be trusted to protect the bombers from the Enemy. If you were a black man serving in uniform, you had a less than 1/100th of a percent chance of being killed by the enemy.

What is the point of all this? Just some perspective. The worst things about being in WW2 were the lice (cured by DDT), the disease (cured by penicillin), the heat (cured by Air conditioning), and the stink (cured by underarm deoderant).

… unless you were one of those less than 1%.


About No One

I am totally non-threatening
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2 Responses to WW2: A Numerical Look

  1. Slick Willy says:

    Not sure what you are getting at here… is this a shot at popular film and media depiction of WW2, or a shot at schools and the education system, or what?


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