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The 5 Most Expensive Wars in U.S. History

5. World War I

5. World War I

World War I with Germany began on August 1914 and ended November 1918. On July 28, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia for assassinating Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Germany backed Serbia and began a bombing campaign throughout Europe.

On April 2, 1917 President Woodrow Wilson declared war on Germany. Much of this was due to public opinion, which had irrevocably turned against Germany after Germans sank a U-Boat of the British Ocean Liner Lusitania. The number of American lives lost was 323,018 and total cost to America was $334 billion. 

4. The Korean War

4. The Korean War

The Korean War began on June 25, 1950 when North Korea launched an invasion of South Korea at the approval from Soviet Dictator Joseph Stalin. On June 27, 1950, President Harry S. Truman ordered naval, air, and ground forces to protect Seoul, capital of South Korea from invasion.

Congress decided a 'Declaration of War' was not necessary. The number of American lives lost was 34,000 and the total cost to America was $341 billion.

3. The Vietnam War

3. The Vietnam War

The Vietnam War began September 1945 and ended April 1975. War began when North Vietnam declared independence from South Vietnam. One of the main accelerants to the war was the August 1964 attack on USS Maddox by North Vietnamese torpedo boats in the Gulf of Tonkin.

The number of American lives lost was 58,220 and the total cost to America was $1 trillion.

2. The War on Terror

2. The War on Terror

The “War on Terror” in Afghanistan and Iraq is the second-most expensive war in US history. War began in Afghanistan in October 2001 and officially ended in December 2014, although troops are still deployed there today. President George W. Bush declared war on Afghanistan after the September 2001 bombing of the World Trade Towers, which cost the USA $3.3 trillion. The number of American lives lost was 2,216 and the total cost to America was $1.07 trillion.

The war with Iraq began in March 2003 and ended officially in August 2011, although troops are also still deployed there today. President George W. Bush declared war on Iraq on March 19, 2003. The goal was to topple Saddam Hussein and destroy 'Weapons of Mass Destruction'. The number of American lives lost is 4,410 and the total cost to America is currently $1.06 trillion.

1. World War II

1. World War II

World War II is the most expensive and deadliest military conflict in world history. It began on September 1, 1939, when Germany invaded Poland, and ended on September 2, 1945. Adolf Hitler and his National Socialist (Nazi) Party signed strategic treaties with Italy and Japan to further ambitions of world domination.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared war when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in December 1941. The number of American lives lost is 418,500 and the total cost to America is $4 trillion.