Before formally entering World War II in December 1941, the United States established itself as “the arsenal of democracy,” supplying overseas allies with weapons to confront the fascist threat posed by the Axis powers. By war’s end, the U.S. not only produced nearly two-thirds of Allied military equipment, but it also mobilized over 16.3 million troops – more than any other Allied country except the Soviet Union.
In 1945, the final year of WWII, an estimated 12.2 million Americans served in the military, up from only about 334,500 in 1939, the year the war began with Germany’s invasion of Poland. The mass military mobilization – including both draftees and volunteers – was the largest in U.S. history and drew thousands of men and women from all 48 states, as well as Alaska and Hawaii, neither of which had been granted statehood at the time of the war.
About 92,990 Americans residing in Minnesota enlisted to fight in World War II, the 22nd fewest among states, according to Army and Army Air Forces enlistment records from The National Archives, adjusted to account for reporting gaps.
Against a population of 2,792,300 at the time, according to records from the 1940 census, this means that about 3.3% of Minnesota’s entire population enlisted during WWII, the fifth smallest share among states.
All state-level enlistment data is from The National Archives. State residents who enlisted in the U.S. Navy or Marine Corps were not considered. About 13% of records could not be scanned and are missing from the database. To account for this shortfall, we added 13% to the number of each state’s reported enlistees to calculate our final estimates.
|Rank||State||Est. Army enlistment in WWII||Share of 1940 pop. who enlisted (%)||Total casualties from state|