How Do the Losses Suffered on 9-11 Compare with Other U.S. Tragedies?





The chart below lists the loss of American lives in various battles and incidents. The chart does not include the loss of enemy lives, except where indicated. No one yet knows how many people were killed on the Day of Infamy. The figure of 3,000 includes hundreds of foreign nationals who worked at the World Trade Center.

DAY OF INFAMY September 11, 2001

3,000 Dead

Context
The first plane crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center at 8:48 am. The second crashed into the south tower at 9:03 am. The third plane crashed into the Pentagon at 9:45 am. The fourth plane crashed outside Pittsburgh at 10:10 am. In the space of one hour and twenty-two minutes approximately 3,000 people died.

PERSIAN GULF WAR January-February 1991

148 U.S. Dead

Context
The air war began January 16. The cease fire was agreed to February 28. Total allied deaths: 248.

BATTLE OF THE BULGE 1944-45

19,000 Dead

Context
The Battle of the Bulge was the largest land battle of World War II. It began December 16, 1944 and ended January 28, 1945. In the space of 44 days 19,000 U.S. soldiers were killed.

PEARL HARBOR December 7, 1941

2,403 Dead

Context
Like the recent attack, the one staged by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor came from the air. But the Japanese flew 360 planes, not 4. In little over an hour, the Japanese sank or disabled 19 ships.

SINKING OF THE LUSITANIA May 7, 1915

102 Americans Dead

Context
The Cunard liner was sunk by a German submarine off the Irish coast. One hundred two Americans were among the dead; 1,152 died in all. The loss of the ship galvanized public opinion against Germany. President Woodrow Wilson resisted the pressure to go to war. The following year he ran for reelection on the slogan, HE KEPT US OUT OF WAR.

SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR April-August 1898

379 Dead

Context
Three hundred seventy-nine sailors and solders died in battle. Another 5,000 died from disease after an epidemic of Yellow Fever swept through the ranks.

BATTLE OF ANTIETAM September 17, 1862

2,108 (Union) Dead

Context
During this one-day battle, begun by Robert E. Lee to take the war to the North, the Confederates lost 2,700 soldiers, the Union 2,108. It is considered one of the most important battles of the Civil War.

BATTLE OF BUNKER HILL

400 Dead

Context
This one-day battle cost the British 1,000 lives and the Americans 400. It lasted one day.


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Alicia - 9/8/2003

How many lives have been lost to date since the beginning of the "2nd Perian Gulf War"?


Tim Roberts - 1/21/2002

I appreciate the comparisons of American death tolls from various "days of infamy." Despite the article's placement of the World Trade Center bombing at the top of the column, September 11, 2001, even as of the date of this posting (January 21, 2002), remains the country's second bloodiest day. Fortunately, for those of us Americans living today, its death toll is short of the deaths on the gruesome battlefield of Antietam, Maryland, September 17, 1862, when over 5,000 Union and Confederate soldiers met their fate. Tim Roberts Metropolitan State College of Denver Department of History

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