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The Number of Troops Minnesota Sent to Fight in WWII

imageForEntry13 Gu2Before 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
1 New York 1,052,268 7.8 31,215
2 Pennsylvania 583,132 5.9 26,554
3 California 579,052 8.4 17,022
4 Ohio 492,735 7.1 16,828
5 Texas 452,159 7.0 15,764
6 Massachusetts 342,401 7.9 10,033
7 New Jersey 324,956 7.8 10,372
8 Illinois 304,303 3.9 18,601
9 North Carolina 261,613 7.3 7,109
10 Tennessee 238,039 8.2 6,528
11 Georgia 229,174 7.3 5,701
12 Indiana 222,436 6.5 8,131
13 Alabama 209,261 7.4 5,114
14 Missouri 206,252 5.4 8,003
15 Michigan 180,139 3.4 12,885
16 Kentucky 174,612 6.1 6,802
17 Mississippi 168,744 7.7 3,555
18 Connecticut 163,462 9.6 4,347
19 Oklahoma 154,411 6.6 5,474
20 Virginia 153,089 5.7 6,007
21 Wisconsin 152,498 4.9 7,038
22 Florida 144,839 7.6 3,540
23 South Carolina 129,788 6.8 3,423
24 West Virginia 125,551 6.6 4,865
25 Washington 124,995 7.2 3,941
26 Iowa 109,591 4.3 5,633
27 Louisiana 107,099 4.5 3,964
28 Maryland 95,469 5.2 4,375
29 Minnesota 92,990 3.3 6,462
30 Oregon 84,565 7.8 2,835
31 Arkansas 83,379 4.3 3,814
32 Maine 72,361 8.5 2,156
33 Kansas 70,897 3.9 4,526
34 Rhode Island 64,256 9.0 1,669
35 Colorado 51,509 4.6 2,697
36 Utah 46,205 8.4 1,450
37 Montana 43,844 7.8 1,553
38 New Hampshire 41,752 8.5 1,203
39 Idaho 41,152 7.8 1,419
40 Nebraska 40,553 3.1 2,976
41 New Mexico 39,005 7.3 2,032
42 Arizona 34,399 6.9 1,613
43 Vermont 27,144 7.6 874
44 North Dakota 20,635 3.2 1,626
45 South Dakota 20,598 3.2 1,426
46 Delaware 20,154 7.6 579
47 Hawaii 15,965 3.8 689
48 Nevada 11,784 10.7 349
49 Wyoming 11,342 4.5 652
50 Alaska 2,068 2.9 91
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